Valleywide : Kuehl to Be Honored on Coming Out Day

Thirty-five years ago, she played Zelda Gilroy, the television teen-ager with a crush on an indifferent pal on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."

Today she's the first openly gay member of the state Legislature, a liberal Santa Monica Democrat who represents portions of the southwestern San Fernando Valley, including Encino, Tarzana, Woodland Hills and Topanga Canyon. On Wednesday, Sheila J. Kuehl will be honored for her support of gays and lesbians in the entertainment industry.

Joining Kuehl in receiving the Dick Sargent National Coming Out Day Award will be openly gay "Frasier" actor Dan Butler. Named for the "Bewitched" star who died in 1994, the awards will be presented at a Hollywood reception sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group, and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center.

"It gives the opportunity to come together and show support for openly gay and lesbian individuals working in the entertainment industry," said Mike Ausiello of the Los Angeles center.

Wednesday's reception coincides with national Coming Out Day, an annual event that aims to to show support for gays and lesbians who have publicly revealed their sexual orientation. Ausiello said such support is particularly needed in the entertainment industry.

"A lot of people are still remaining in the closet, particularly actors," he said.

The awards will be presented during a reception scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. at the community services center at 1625 N. Schrader Blvd. in Hollywood. The event is open to the public and admission is free, Ausiello said.

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