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Kristy McNichol outs self to support teens

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. actress Kristy McNichol says she is coming out of the closet to help kids who may be bullied for their own sexual preferences.

McNichol, 49, released of a photo of herself and her longtime partner, Martie Allen, as a gesture of solidarity with the younger generation.

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"She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support," McNichol's publicist, Jeff Ballard, told People magazine. "She would like to help others who feel different."

Ballard added McNichol also wanted to be "open" about who she is as her 50th birthday approaches.

McNichol won an Emmy in the 1970s television series "Family" and also starred in "Empty Nest." She left show business for health reasons two decades ago and has been living what Ballard calls "a very private life" of tennis, yoga, traveling and raising miniature dachshunds.

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