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HGTV’s Jonathan Knight Writes Emotional Message on National Coming Out Day

Before going to bed on October 11, 2022, HGTV host — and New Kids on the Block member — Jonathan Knight took the time to talk about coming out. The host of “Farmhouse Fixer” didn’t want to let National Coming Out Day end without adding his two cents on the importance of authenticity and inclusivity.

National Coming Out Day was first celebrated by the Human Rights Campaign in 1988 to commemorate the National March in Washington for the anniversary of Lesbian and Gay Rights. The organization says the goal of the annual celebration is to “promote a safe, inclusive and loving world where LGBTQ+ people can live truthfully, openly and fearlessly.”

Knight, who confirmed in August that he married his longtime love Harley Rodriguez, wrote on Twitter at the end of the day: “On this #nationalcomingoutday I’m going to bed knowing so many are struggling. My life changed when I was able to live my authentic life. Come out when you feel ready, and know that life is getting SO MUCH BETTER!! There is so much support and love. You are not alone!”

Fans flooded Knight’s post with strong reactions; many thanked him for being such a positive role model to many LGBTQ+ fans and also for helping change public perception towards acceptance and inclusion.

One person wrote: “Years ago I was tweeting about a young man whose family is like family! He lived with his father who kicked him out of the house at the age of 16 when he told him! Jon, you messaged me to make sure this guy was okay, you wanted to contact him! I will always remember that! You are great”

Another commented: ‘I’m so glad you came out. Watching you with Harley changed my view of same-sex marriage. I lifted up to see it in a way that I now see is wrong. People living their authentic lives taught me so much. Pray that everyone can start living an authentic life!”

“Thank you. I’ve struggled with my queer identity, and knowing I’m not alone helps,” wrote another fan. “That’s why representation is important.”

Knight rose to fame in the 1980s as a fifth of the hugely popular boy band New Kids on the Block. It was big news in January 2011 when he confirmed he was gay, following an 1980s TV appearance by fellow pop star Tiffany, where many believed she “pulled out” Knight.

When she appeared on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” Tiffany was asked if she had dated members of New Kids on the Block while touring with them.

She replied, ‘The quiet one, the shy one. [He] later became gay. I did not do it. I had problems with that. I was thinking maybe I did. Now looking back when we were dating, he was so much fun. We did facials together. He was so easy to talk to.”

Her reaction caused a fan and media frenzy, as many felt the pop singer had just exposed Knight as gay. She later apologized for being so candid, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Knight said there were no hard feelings and released a statement on the band’s blog, saying he didn’t consider her comments an outing with him, as he had technically come out to family and friends two decades earlier.

He wrote: “I’ve never been laughed at by anyone but myself! I did almost twenty years ago. I never knew I’d have to do it all again in public just because I was reunited with NKOTB! I’ve got my life lived very openly and never hid that I am gay Apparently the first requirement to be a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption ‘I am gay’ I apologize for this have not done if this is what was expected! My belief is that you live your life by example, not by a magazine caption! If there has ever been confusion about my sexuality, then you are someone who doesn’t even know!”

Knight continued: “I love to live my life openly and honestly, but at this point I choose not to talk about my private life any further! My fellow band members don’t discuss their private lives with their loved ones and I don’t think I should be discussing mine just because I’m gay!”

Over the years, however, Knight has become a bit more open about discussing his relationship and life experience, acknowledging the influence he has as a public figure. In 2015, he shared his excitement at the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, by changing his last name on social media to reflect his relationship with Rodriguez, using the hyphenated name Knight-Rodriguez.

In 2016, he told Entertainment Tonight how hard it was not to be completely yourself as a teenager, from going on prom dates with girls to becoming a heartthrob for millions of girls when New Kids on the Block came on the scene.

“If we were then where we are now, I would have been openly gay with the New Kids from day one and that wouldn’t have been a problem,” Knight said. “Back then there was such a stigma that I couldn’t even tell my best friend. These girls I went to prom with were really good friends and these days most girls like gay men and would say, ‘Yeah! Let’s go to the prom!’”

“Because we could have been open then, we would have just had a better time,” he added. “I know I would have.”

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