The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Simple Audacity

Not to beat a dead horse on the Michael Savage thing, but when I crossposted it to my Daily Kos diary, I read a comment that made me realize there was more to be said. Melissa Etheridge called into the Stephanie Miller show and commented on the Savage saga. It reminded me of what started this whole thing in the first place. Take a close look and see if you can spot what Melissa did wrong.

Here’s a hint. It’s near the beginning.

It’s a simple “Thank you.”

There’s a few more things that need to be said here.

I meant what I said in my earlier post about every other acceptance speech at the Oscars. Just about everyone else who snatched a trophy thanked their spouse or S.O.

It makes sense.

Anyone who’s ever accomplished anything, anything at all really, knows that you don’t do it completely by yourself.

Nobody does. Friends, family, team members. They all contribute.

And if you’re married, chances are your spouse has made sacrifices here and there, quietly, willingly, and lovingly.

They’ve probably listened supportively when you griped and complained, and bucked you up to go back in for another round, telling you they believed in you even if you didn’t.

They probably stayed up nights waiting for you to come home from a gig, or a job, or to work out that last note or line or chord, so you could go to sleep.

They’ve probably wiped a tear or two, or smoothed a furrowed brow.

They’ve probably taken care of you when you were sick, along with taking care of the house, the kids, and everything else.

And they probably did all the above even when they had needs and concerns of their own waiting to be met.

That’s what people who love each other do for one another.

And when we do, we say “Thank you.” Period.

My day-to-day life as a gay man with with a husband and a son is about daring to have the simple audacity to act as though I have the right to live my life as openly and unashamedly as anyone else.

I’ll be damned if I’ll let anybody tell me differently or try to make me do differently without a fight.

What kind of world is it if we can’t even publicly thank the people who love us for their support?

In Melissa’s case, this was the woman who stood by her and supported her through dealing with breast cancer. I know cancer. I’ve seen members of my family deal with it. Chemotherapy. Hair loss. Nausea. Radiation treatment. Days when you can’t get out of bed at all. You don’t get through that without the care and support of people who love you.

My dad died of cancer last year. My mom was right there with him every step of the way: going to doctors appointments; seeing him through treatment; sitting beside him when the got the news it was terminal; taking home and caring for him; giving him his medicine; giving him water when he needed it; helping him get to the chamber pot beside his bed and emptying it; and figuring out how to help him with that when he couldn’t get out of bed anymore.

After he died, I remember her saying that one day towards the end, when she was doing the above, my dad looked at her and said something like “I’m sorry you have to do this.”

My mom looked him right in the eye and said simply, “Baby, we’ve been together 50 years. This is what I’m supposed to do.”

That’s what people who love each other are supposed to do. You don’t do it expecting thanks. But when you receive that kind of care and support from your loved one, you say thanks even if you don’t need to.

Gay & lesbian couples have been doing it for a long time now, and often without the support of family or the social support that other families receive; especially in the 80s, when when the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit, and taking care of our own was often the only way anybody received care.

Melissa did what she was supposed to do. Melissa did the right thing. She had every right to do it. She could have gone to the Oscars by herself. She didn’t. Nor did she hide her family in the wings. That’s the kind of thing families like the Cheneys might do.

People do as much every day for strangers who do much less for them than Melissa’s wife does for her.

People do as much for someone who holds a damn door open for them.

That is was somehow controversial, revolutionary or subversive for Melissa to do it just proves how damn much still needs to be done.

7 Comments

  1. Mike could be jealous HIS wife, if he has one, isn’t as beautiful as Melissa’s is.
    Or HE might abandon his wife during a cancer treatment, like Newt Gingrich did.

    I’ve had my own marital troubles, and hoped I could have what ANYONE whose spouse sticks to their vows would have.
    I’ve met Melissa Etheridge, besides such a big raw voice for such a little woman, she is VERY beautiful. The way a rose bloom is…or a songbird.
    I couldn’t begrudge anyone such love in their lives as you have Terrence.

    It’s SO hard to have it, some of us long for it, never had it…or want back what we once had.
    I think it’s an abomination to keep someone from doing all they can when they love someone..and someone loves them back, and wants so badly to care for their children…when so many don’t.
    And not reward or respect those who do it, IN SPITE of prejudice against their famiies, such as you do, Terrence.

    I have been very moved by the gratitude of gay folks sometimes, like the gay soldiers that have taken a bullet for Mike Savage’s rights in this country.
    How awful he doesn’t get the tremendous moral authority behind THAT kind of behavior.
    Or give thanks…

  2. This was a beautiful, moving post: I think it’s one of your best in a while.

    It isn’t controversial or subversive: it just goes to show what a complete and total extremist Savage is (not that we didn’t know that).

  3. Wow, very touching. It almost brought me to tears reading the part about having the simple audacity to live your life as open as everyone else.

    I really applaud you.

    Always keep doing what you’re doing and never give up hope.

    Paul

  4. THANK YOU.

    One day… maybe not in our lifetime… none of this will even be an issue. One day the whole world will finally understand that “Love Is Never Wrong”…

    In the meantime… Yes, there’s still much to be done.

    Angie

  5. I think what Melissa did was wonderful and this comment is coming from a hetero. I think more of “Hollywood” needs to take a stand for who they are, and give their spouse s/o credit like Melissa did. I don’t have a problem that she kissed or thanked her wife, she had every right to do that just like anyone else. They are a beautiful couple and they have beautiful children.

  6. i think that this is a step forward for gays and lesbians. its just what we need. someone to tell the world that shes not sorry for who she is she not going to hide because of it and in fact she does the opposite. i read melissa’s book about a dozen times actually and there was a passage in there that said that when she went to the grammy’s so long ago she was asked by her manger if he could sit beside her she knew why he was doing it and she let him do it any way. i am very glad that she went from that to thanking her wife on stage if front of everyone. way to go melissa.

  7. THank god she did!
    And thank god for people like us who get it…
    May all our ours remain open-
    Your writing was moving-
    True…
    I try to remind myself to give my energy to the light as his negativity will drain into the nothingness of nothingness…

    Thanks for that peice of writing…it was great-
    Genevieve

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