• On October 11, 2008 (Coming-Out Day), a Daily Kos reader who is a PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Mother and who posted using the name “1864 House,” wrote about how she acquired two gay sons. Her two straight daughters were the results of hours of birth pains, but her two gay sons were not. Her first gay son (her daughter’s best friend) became hers after he came out at age 16. The PFLAG mother writes, “He didn’t talk about his situation at home too much, but we weren’t surprised when he went home one night and found all his belongings in black plastic trash bags in the back yard. […] The only logical response was to put my arms around him and ask, ‘What color do you want to paint your room?’ He chose purple. And we chose a son.” Her second gay son became hers when her first gay son brought home a gay boy (“R”) who was on the streets. This second gay boy was thinking about buying a bus ticket to San Francisco, hoping to be lucky enough to find a place to stay there. The PFLAG mother writes, “We talked to R and convinced him to stay with us for at least a couple of days so we could help him figure out a better, safer plan. He ended up staying for five years, until he moved to the Twin Cities to finish school.” Now, all of her children—two straight daughters and two gay sons—are in their late 20s and have moved from her home—and she and her husband are still active in promoting acceptance of gay people. She concludes, “I am proud to say that someone I love is gay.”
• In 1983, during Thanksgiving weekend, Catholic parents Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata discovered that their oldest son, Jim, a sophomore in college, was lonely. He told his mother, “Mom, I’m lonely. I’m lonely for another man.” This was how Mary Ellen realized that her son was gay, and she told him that his being gay didn’t matter and that she loved him. He asked, “Then why are you crying?” She replied, “I don’t know.” His father didn’t know much what to say to him. He asked, “Are you sure?” and “Can you change?” Then he remained silent, wondering if his oldest son could be gay and still be a Catholic. As it turned out, Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata took a long time — nine years — to be comfortable while being open about having a gay son, but eventually they did become comfortable. In addition, they rejected neither their son nor their religion. In fact, Mary Ellen wrote a book titled Fortunate Families: Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sonsabout Catholics learning to be open about having gay children. Together, she and her husband founded a group called Fortunate Families to help Catholic parents with gay children. Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata believe that their family has been fortunate in having a gay son, and they believe that having a gay son has made them better Catholics.
• Celebrity publicist Howard Bragman has helped a number of actors and athletes to come out of the closet. One of the actors was Dick Sargent, who played the second Darren on the TV sitcom Bewitched. After Mr. Sargent made his decision to come out, Mr. Bragman arranged for Entertainment Tonightto interview him. This made Mr. Sargent laugh because he figured that Entertainment Tonightwould not be interested; after all, it had been years since he had been on TV. However, Entertainment Tonightwas interested, and after the interview appeared Mr. Sargent received many, many letters thanking him for coming out of the closet and living his life honestly. In addition, he started getting a lot more acting jobs. Mr. Bragman says, “Typically, when actors come out, good things happen. In fact, every person I worked with who came out ended up happier in their new life.”
• If you are a gay boy, having a lesbian for a sister can be advantageous, and vice versa. World-famous Barney’s window-dresser Simon Doonan grew up knowing he was gay, and his sister discovered that she was a lesbian later in her life. They often traded gifts. He would say to her, “I’ll give you this toy airplane if you’ll give me your plastic lacy parasol.” And she would say to him, “I’ll give you my golliwog, the one in the gingham dress with the two rows of rickrack on the hem, if you’ll give me your toy shovel.” While they were kids, they played Robin Hood and Maid Marian. She was Robin Hood, and he was Maid Marian.
• Both comedian Amy Poehler and singer Liza Minnelli have huge gay fan bases. Ms. Poehler and a pregnant friend saw a concert by Ms. Minnelli and afterward they visited Ms. Minnelli in her dressing room. Ms. Poehler says, “I told my friend, who was pregnant at the time, that Liza had to bless her baby so that it would either be gay or be a big supporter of the gays for the rest of his or her life.”Ms. Minnelli agreed. She put her head down by the pregnant friend’s belly and sang a couple of slightly altered lines from Cabaret: “What good is sitting alone in your womb? Come hear the music play!”
• Len Evans, a publicist for Project Publicity, came out to his mother on a Thanksgiving Eve. He and his mother were watching an episode of Will and Gracein which the gay character Jack is trying to hide his gayness from his mother, and his friends Grace and Karen are pretending to be his girlfriends. Len’s mother turned to him and said, “This show reminds me of you and your friends. Is there something you want to tell me?” He then admitted that he was gay. He says, “She hugged me and said she had been waiting for me to tell her for years. I guess it’s true that a mother always knows….”
• “I grew up in San Francisco. I know many same-sex families. I tell people, ‘They raise their children the same way you do — they love them. There are many kinds of family, not just the Norman Rockwell kind.’”—comedian Robin Williams.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved