Belinda Carlisle Gets Real



BELINDA CARLISLE 2 X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COMLast year you filmed a public service announcement for marriage equality. Why is this subject so important to you?
My son is gay, and I want the best for him. I don’t understand why gay marriage is such a divisive issue in the first place. My son has political leanings and he’s outspoken about it and he got me riled up, so we filmed the video in our backyard. I’ve always been really opinionated, and I think at this point in my life I don’t have a lot to lose by saying what I feel. These are things I believe in.

Speaking of your son, James Duke, he came out as gay when he was only 15. In your book you mention being shocked and having no idea he was gay. I found this really surprising since you’re so savvy and have been around gay people throughout your career.
Well, I had little hints along the way that maybe he could be gay. Most of my friends are gay and lesbian, but when it’s your own kid it’s different, regardless of how open-minded you are. It took me by surprise. It was shocking and it wasn’t shocking. The first thing I thought about was how difficult it could be for him. The world can be harsh. Once I got over it, I had to think about how to tell my husband. My husband is also very open-minded, but for a lot of men it’s a reflection on their own masculinity. It was a big, intense process. It took six months to a year for the dynamics in our family to adjust, but I wouldn’t want him any other way, honestly.

He’s moving to Los Angeles this summer. What advice have you given him about drugs and avoiding the pitfalls of the city and people who might take advantage of him?
I can’t give him advice. He won’t listen to anything I say. I just get yelled at. I was his age once, and I know how it is. I just tell him to be careful and practice safe sex and try to be smart. I think that everyone has to learn the hard way. 

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