Mama's Got Something to Tell You
BY Trudy Ring
August 16 2010 5:25 PM ET
It seems like most of the feedback you’ve gotten has been really positive.
It’s been overwhelmingly positive. You have fears your whole life about things and it just turns out to be completely the opposite. I hadn’t really planned this … but with the [Proposition 8] ruling, the stay was lifted on Thursday, and I just went, "You know what, this is my tipping point," and like I say, I’d been talking to Chely a lot, a lot of the things she said just hit home in a way that they hadn’t before, and talking to Lisa, and having people on, like Ted Olson on the Prop. 8 thing — when you hear the conservative case for gay marriage you just realize that we are in a really critical moment in our history in civil rights.
What has been the most surprising reaction you’ve gotten?
I think the thing I was the most shocked at was how shocked people were. There were funny stories on the Internet like, “This just in: Radio Shack is recalling all their gaydar devices.” I sort of thought people knew — like I say, I wasn’t in the closet. I’ve been out to my friends and family and coworkers for years; I just didn’t talk about it on the radio. It is interesting how there’s such a presumption of heterosexuality when you look a certain way. We talked this morning about the subsets of letters — I was touched by all the straight people who wrote in and said they cried all the way through the show, not just gay people, but I guess there is something in what they say, like, “walking in your truth.” One letter-writer said, “Can we stop with this Oprah ‘walking your truth’ shit and get back to the fart jokes?” The biggest subsets of letters: men who are disappointed who are used to holding my picture and with one hand; straight women that said, “Yay. more men for me.” Straight elderly single unmarried losers who thought I was their role model and were disappointed that it’s because I’m gay. A lot of grateful gay people, but an interesting subset of gay people who said, “Thank you, but there’s part of me that’s a little sad because we lost a great straight cheerleader.” Again, maybe they had the same thought I had, what if I lose my platform because I’m talking about who I am personally? But in the end, it’s what everybody says it is; it’s remarkably empowering and freeing,
I take it your mooks are cool with this?
They’re my good friends. We’ve been close friends for many, many years. As they said, there’s just more things to make fun of me for.
How about your Republican family?
That was also the lesson I wanted to try to impart with my story. Way back when, I spent so much time worrying about if they’d judge me that I judged them. And they could not have all been more supporting and loving. From the listeners, the letter I got the most, they said, thank you so much for trusting us with your truth, and I realized I was doing the same thing to my listeners that I was to my family for all those years. My 87-year-old Republican mom, I called to leave her a message, to give her a heads up, I said, “Hey, mom, if you want to come on the air, it’s OK.” When I finally got her it was after the show and she had actually written a prepared statement and was reading it — I said, “Mom, we’re not on the radio, that’s OK. Mom, it’s just me, we’re not on their air.” But she was prepared for me.