We want to send an appreciative note with some real cyber roses to Marie Osmond. Her recent interview concerning her lesbian daughter touched a lot of hearts here at the Straight Spouse Network. Some of us who have gay and lesbian spouses also find we have a gay or lesbian child. Marie’s response that she loves her daughter and is true to her Mormon faith struck some resonance with many of the people in our network.
The experience of having a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered spouse or other family member crosses cultures, countries, religions, languages, and all social boundaries. When this experience happens to a famous family known for conservative values, the typical mainstream media reaction invites an “ah ha! gotcha!” response from the general public. Witness the media reaction to Senator Larry Craig’s adult children and their awkward but sincere defense of him, in which followup stories reported on their divorces and failures. Some years back, there was the celebrated feud over gay rights between Candace Gingrich and her brother Newt, the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time. Our guess is that the Gingriches are not the only brother and sister to ever fight publicly!
There was the outing of Eagle Forum Founder Phyllis Schlafly’s son in 1992 by a now defunct gay activist publication, and the ensuing outcry. Later, Vice President Dick Cheney just continued to publicly accept and love his daughter Mary, who became a mother with her lesbian partner in 2007.
News flash, world. Gay people happen. Everywhere.
The fact is that gay people happen in all families. Perhaps if their families were all as accepting as the Osmonds, Cheneys, and Mrs. Schlafly show to the cynics, there would be more gay and lesbians living honest lives and fewer straight spouses coping with deceit, shame, doubt, and despair. Families are all different, with unique relationships and strategies for communicating and coping. The judgement of a harsh world on individual family values and beliefs does not help any of us.
Marie’s words have also indirectly provided encouragement for some straight spouses who are Mormon, and who struggle to reconcile what has happened to their families with the continued profession of their faith.
We like real people too, Marie. All the people mentioned above are real. Thank you for reminding a polarized, cynical and sometimes sneering world of just how real we all are. So, no paper roses for you, because as you say, those are imitation – you get the real cyber roses from us for the sweetness in your heart!