We have a lot of sympathy this week for Marie Osmond and her family, in the aftermath of the suicide death of her son, Michael Bryan. Recent speculation that Marie’s son was a closeted gay man in agony has been fueled by Roseann Barr’s vicious blog entry. The internet is abuzz with criticism of the Osmond family and that poor unloved gay son, the Mormon church’s anti gay stance, and accusations that the Osmonds must be hypocrites if they draw strength and faith from their church.
This really doesn’t have much to do with straight spouses – but it’s about family, and how families are judged. We straight spouses sure know a lot about that. We are so often judged by people who never have experienced having a spouse reveal that they are gay. People who just know that this would never happen to them. People who know what they would do if they were us. People who know just what we oughtta do.
We know all about the judgments of folks who think it’s no biggie to find out your spouse is gay,
Or who think you ought to just join up with the fight for gay rights,
Or who think that your children should never be allowed near those people,
Or who think that you had to have known, what, you stupid or something,
Or who think that having a lesbian wife is so hot you lucky man.
Constantly, straight spouses are judged by people who actually KNOW NOTHING.
A time of loss and profound grief has been publicly responded to with unwarranted personal attacks on Marie, her family, and their religion, all in the name of gay rights. There’s a powerful amount of judgment going on, and any denial of these so called “truths” is met with cynicism and hateful sneers. Many straight spouses know EXACTLY how this feels, including the ones who are Mormon, or former Mormons.
Here are some facts:
1. There are no news reports that Marie’s son was gay. His closest friend denies that he was.
2. Gay or straight, he’s dead. He suffered from depression, addictions, and was estranged from his father. Gay or straight, that’s enough to send any young adult out the window.
3. Marie has given public support to her daughter who is openly lesbian.
4. Marie has stated that she supports gay marriage.
5. Marie is taking steps to move forward with her life.
The death of a child is one of the most profound losses any parent can experience. The entire process is flooded for many parents with doubts, what ifs, should haves. The know it alls who are poised to tell a mother that if only she’d left her church her son would have been “accepted” and not committed suicide, are a mindless, thoughtless, cruel rabble of bitter, twisted hatemongers.
When Marie’s daughter Jessica came out, this blog gave Marie a bouquet of “paper roses” for her public support. We do not get to choose being parents of gay men and women, or husbands and wives of people who have a latent realization that they are gay,lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual. It happens in our families. All our families. How we deal with it is what matters.
It’s very hard to deal with your grief at the death of your child when people you don’t know are blasting you for hating gay people all over the internet. Especially when you’ve said you don’t!
So Marie, from us to you – here’s another bouquet. With our heartfelt sympathy for your grief and loss.