Credit: Michael Schwartz/

Eighties sitcom star Geri Jewell publicly comes out as a lesbian in her upcoming memoir, I'm Walking as Straight as I Can.

Best known for her role as Blair's (Lisa Whelchel) cousin Geri on the Facts of Life, Jewell, 54, was the first person with a disability to appear regularly on prime-time television. And the show didn't shy away from her condition; Jewell's character often said, "I'm not drunk, I have cerebral palsy."

In her book, which hits stores April 1, Jewell discusses discrimination she encountered in the industry, as well as her money problems, marital woes, addiction and eventual recovery.

"To get film roles while being disabled is definitely a challenge," said the actress, who recently appeared on Deadwood. "I'm proud of being a role model."