"The Amazing" Randi is gay: Debunker of psychics and healers comes out at 81

Posted by JD Uy
March 22, 2010 4:37 PM |

''I'm gay.... From some seventy years of personal experience, I can tell you that there's not much "gay" about being homosexual. For the first twenty years of my life, I had to live in the shadows, in a culture that was -- at least outwardly -- totally hostile to any hint of that variation of life-style....

''This declaration of mine was prompted just last week by seeing an excellent film -- starring Sean Penn -- that told the story of politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. I'm in excellent company: Barney Frank, Oscar Wilde, Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres, Rachel Maddow, are just a few of those who were in my thoughts as I pressed the key that placed this on Swift and before the whole world...''

James Randi, 81, writing for his blog, Swift. Randi (a/k/a The Amazing Randi) spent part of his career as a professional magician, but in his later decades has become more widely recognized for his efforts to expose the phony nature of psychics, faith healers, and peddlers of the supernatural. (Randi.org)

His matter-of-fact manner and gruff approach to these popular interests never won him any favor with celebrity psychics and televangelists or their supporters -- eg. Sylvia Brown, John Edward, Uri Geller, Rosemary Altea, Peter Popoff -- but his work has proved immeasurably important in the age of television where seeing and believing are usually two separate realities. He's also tackled questionable health therapies like homeopathy and therapeutic touch. 

''I think that today is coming out day for me.... By not coming out, that would be dishonesty by omission. I owe it to all my friends out there to make a clean breast of it. I'm not the least bit ashamed or embarassed by the thing, of course.... Nobody really cares when you come right down to it. I'm sure there's going to be certain repercussions.... I was only a couple of blocks away [from the Stonewall Riots]. I lived in Greenwich Village. So, I saw that whole thing unfold....

''I would very much like to see the law be established that gay marriage is possible. Indeed, I'm considering doing exactly that. After all, I'm 81; you've got to hurry along, you know.... It might be a waste of time and airfare.... I would want it to be legal in Florida, since I own property here, and inheritance rights, and all of those things. I would want it to be legal here, otherwise, it wouldn't be very effective for me.''

James Randi speaking with Host D.J. Grothe on the internet broadcast of "For Good Reason." Randi explains that his family has likely always known he was gay, but it went unspoken; and that being gay is a part of his nature, not necessarily worth making a big deal about. Both men discuss the fact that they're both gay and atheist, and the importance of skepticism as a tool against the "junk science" that cultural conservatives use to rail against homosexuality and gay rights. (For Good Reason)

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