For 15 years I have been telling you what a huge supporter of gay rights Howard Stern is.  I experienced first hand his unwavering support for anything that meant equality for the GLBT community.

Before same sex marriage equality became the cause for many.  Before gay rights became the call-to-action buzz word in politics, Stern was a positive force, dedicating hours of influential and valuable airtime to the lobby for gay rights.

Every time Stern joked with me and other gays on his morning radio show or late night E! Entertainment television show, he was showing his mostly macho 20 million-plus audience that gay people deserved respect.  It’s because of Stern that fans would stop me at Home Depot and other unlikely places to shake my hand and talk.  And send me letters.

Howard Stern has become more vocal about his support for the GLBT community.

A letter I received in 2009 from a Stern fan sums up Stern’s impact on the GLBT community.  After watching Stern and I on the E! show (in 1999), the twentysomething fan wrote:

“I know at some point in that half hour, there was a realization that maybe there was a possibility I could have that acceptance that Howard showed you.  Here was this amazing man, Howard Stern, one of the people that I respected and admired the most telling me that I was okay.  I know he was telling you but he was speaking to me.  I deserved to be free, even though I did not know what that meant at the time.”

Today, the world is seeing more than ever what a feeling, compassionate, smart, strategic and eloquent straight advocate for gay rights Stern is.

Stern’s recent vocal and passionate support of Ellen DeGeneres’ contract with retailer JCPenny (“If JCPenny pulls out of their contract with Ellen I will tell all my listeners to boycott that store”), Rosie O’Donnell as well as less high profile people across the country has made him the target of ding-a-lings like Michelle Bachman. But instead of quieting down, Stern gets incensed.

And an incensed Stern is someone the gay community wants on its side, with Stern repeatedly calling Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachman “vomits.”

“It’s deplorable and despicable what conservatives are doing to the gay community,” Stern said on a recent broadcast.  “Gay people should not be marginalized or have to justify their existence at this point.  There are miserable people out there that just are angry.  Anybody who has a happy life wouldn’t think about who a gay person loves.”

Stern doesn’t want to be the advocate he is but understands his position, “I know it means something to the gay community to hear these words from straight people… gay rights should not be an issue in 2012 but it is.  And straight people need to show their support.”

Rosie O’Donnell spoke to her audience recently about Stern’s advocacy.

“Howard talks about gays in a way that will move you,” said O’Donnell.  “He articulates the issues to straight people in a way that is more digestible to them.”

In 1994, the assholes at the Philadelphia Gay News wrote an editorial about me “Nice People are Evil Too” responding to the publicity resulting from the media tour I was doing that summer where I detailed over and over what a wonderful man Stern was, as well as his team.  The editor compared Stern to Rush Limbaugh, Anita Bryant and Jesse Helms because of the “intolerance he promotes” which has always bothered me.

I hope that editor is paying attention today – and starts rallying his readers to give Stern a GLAAD award next year.