Showtime wants to help you come out

Showtime announced today in a press release that its looking for people who would like to participate in the new documentary series, Way Out.

Below is an excerpt from the release,

Showtime Networks, executive producer Bryn Freedman (A&E’s Intervention) and casting producer Adam Drucker (A&E’s Intervention) are searching nationwide for gays and lesbians who want to come out to important people in their lives and are willing to share that journey on TV.

The documentary series Way Out will profile gays and lesbians coming out to significant people in their world. The show’s aim is not only to help the people profiled and the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community in general, but also to use television’s vast reach and power to enlighten and increase understanding of what it’s like to feel compelled to hide an essential part of oneself.

The press release also states that the production team for the show was "alarmed by the recent San Francisco State University study about family response to a teen’s coming out and its conclusion that "teens who experienced negative feedback were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide." The same study reported that "parents who take even baby steps to respond with equanimity instead of rejection can dramatically improve a gay youth’s mental health outlook."

The producers are aiming to raise both visibility and awareness with Way Out. Along with Freedman and Drucker, the production team for the show will also include producer Todd Shotz and director Jeffrey Tuchman.

Shotz oversaw production on Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner and is the executive producer on Whatint Abafazi: When You Strike a Woman ("a feature about the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and one woman’s fight to bring pride back to her township"). Shotz also produced four anti-Prop 8 viral videos (two starring Molly Ringwald and Margaret Cho) that were featured on CNN and ultimately aired statewide as television commercials for the campaign itself.

Tuchman is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary producer, director, writer and teacher with credits such as Voices of Civil Rights, Mavericks, Miracles & Medicine, Railroaded in Texas, and The Man From Hope. He’s currently, at work on several documentary features, including Veiled Humor, a film about Muslim stand-up comic Shazia Mirza.

At this point, the production team are the stars of the show, and their credits are impressive. I’ve always been a fan of Intervention, particularly for the care and compassion that seems to be shown the families featured on the show. And it does seem to help people change their lives for the better.

In terms of casting for Way Out, the producers "are looking for gays and lesbians who have already made the decision to come out to important people in their lives and are willing to share that journey with us. We want to offer our subjects a forum in which to show what life in the closet is like, to explain why they’ve chosen to come out now and to accompany them during this transformational event."

If you would like to participate, you can apply via the show’s website, and you can email with any questions you have about being on the show.

If I were currently in the process of coming out, I don’t think I would choose to do it on television, but, for some, it might seem like the ultimate form of calling for back-up.

Would you ever consider coming out to your loved ones via a show like Way Out? And when it airs, will you watch?