Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Homophobia at the Olympics and Lunch in the Heartland



FOX News columnist and executive editor John Moody wrote a hissy-fit column this past weekend where he said that the U.S. Olympic Committee this year has changed their motto of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ “Were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do,” he asked, “or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?” Setting aside the fact that all the athletes have to go through stiff competitions to qualify and they’ve earned their places on the team, Moody’s attitude reminded me of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin when someone else tried to make the Games about something other than being faster, higher and stronger. Yup, that’s the one where Adolf Hitler intended to showcase his warped ideas about the superiority of having an Aryan Nation. Instead, the Fuehrer stumped off in anger when a black “sub-human”---his words, not mine---named Jesse Owens won four gold medals in track and field events.

What possible reason other than racism and homophobia can explain Mr. Moody’s anger over having ten black athletes competing in South Korea and for the first time, having two openly gay U.S. athletes at the Games? And I’m still trying to figure out what he meant by “different” unless he’s talking about the eleven Asian-Americans on our squads or the fact that 45% of the athletes this year are women. “No sport that we are aware of awards points — or medals — for skin color or sexual orientation,” Moody wrote. Is it any wonder the blow-back on his column was so fierce that FOX ended up taking it down?

Next up: The mini controversy created by Adam Rippon, our openly gay figure skater, when he didn’t want to meet with Vice President Pence before the opening ceremony. His reasons? Pence has advocated for federal funding to go to institutions that offer gay conversion therapy and, as governor, he signed a bill that allowed businesses to refuse services to LGBT customers. Then there’s free-style skier Gus Kenworthy, a returning Olympian who won silver at the Russian Olympics. He came out of the closet since those Games and he was more diplomatic in his refusal to meet with Pence stating that he didn’t want to be “distracted” from his training. About coming out of the closet? Gus said it felt good not to carry that “dirty little secret” around anymore---his words, not mine---and the peace of mind that brought him, he says, has improved his skiing. 

The whole issue of gayness and being in the closet was brought down to a personal level for me this past weekend when a young relative I haven’t seen in over six years came into town and wanted to take me out for lunch. I’ve known he is gay since he got married three-four years ago but I’ve never had a conversation with him about the topic. I had heard stories from others in the family about who did their best to accept and understand the news and who initially rejected the idea adding extra drama to his disclosure; I’m guessing it’s that way in most families. He brought his wife/husband with him---I still don’t know what label to hang on his marriage partner---and I was a tad nervous on what to say when meeting him for the first time. I decided to make it clear from the minute they walked into the house where I stood on the acceptance scale. After being introduced I hugged the partner and said, “Welcome to the family. I didn’t get to tell you that back when you two got married.” By the time they left after lunch, I knew we couldn’t ask for a warmer and more likeable guy to join the family fold.

Over the years I’ve had several friends who are gay. One I've known since we were both toddlers and his parents ended up divorcing over their son’s sexuality. Another guy I thought I knew well in college didn't come out of the closet until after his elderly mother died. By then he was in his sixties and his coming out was an ‘aha moment’ that made pieces of my own life fall into place. We had dated for several years and while we talked about getting married, I’m grateful that we didn’t. I can’t imagine the pain a woman goes through when she thinks her closeted spouse is rejecting her in the bedroom and she has no clue why. And then there was my work friend and ski buddy in the '60s who agonized over telling his military-career father that he is gay. I'm not sure if he ever did. He moved out of town to put distance between him and his family and we lost track of each other. These three guys are the defining factors in why I fully support working towards a world where sexual orientation is no longer a “dirty little secret.” Are you with me…or do you share John Moody’s fear that the Olympics and life in the U.S.A. are getting “too dark, too gay and too different?”  ©

Photo: Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy at the Olympics.

30 comments:

  1. Jeans. - I am VERY strongly with you.

    I'd read of Adam Rippon and the Pence meeting(or lack!) and thought: a gay young man can show the courage to stand up for what is RIGHT, where so many American politicians and sundry others have failed abysmally - the cowards!!! I do hope due justice is delivered to all the evil-doers in my lifetime, I want to see good triumph over evil.

    I've given up hope that the T-followers will see light. They're too damn bigoted, racist and white-supremacy minded. 'I love the uneducated!' was publicly proclaimed, and the followers accepted that - so shall they be treated by me.

    Rant over! ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When Trump said "I love the uneducated" at one of his rallies I was shocked the crowd didn't realize they'd been insulted but afterward I've seen a systematic attempt to paint a college education as a negative thing rather than a positive. We are living in a weird times.

      I love your rants, Libby. Never change.

      Delete
  2. Of course I’m with you! Toleration of other is something we should all be living and striving toward. It is our duty as human beings to tolerate differences.
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I never thought, though, that we'd be tested like we are in this day and age.

      Delete
  3. I can't even comment on this because my head will explode.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can you imagine not being able to be open about who you are to the people you are closest to until you're in your sixties? I can understand the fear of rejection. Marriages break up over this and families fracture. A gay guy that I know came out to his mother first. She accepted it with an open heart immediately, but it was much harder for him to tell his father. Everyone knows now. It is still hard for the father to accept it, but the family is in tact. Holidays are spent together, and I guess you could say that the father tries. We still have a ways to go on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if in general it's easier for a mother than a father to accept? I suppose it matters if either parent ever had a suspicion and how strong of an influence their church teachings (or lack thereof) enter into the picture. There is also the issue of mourning the grandchild you'll never have that is also a part of the disclosure. Got to be an emotional time for everyone.

      Delete
  5. With you all the way on this one. One thing we can be grateful for is that none of us has to go home to John Moody. Could be he is protesting too much??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could not live with a guy like him! It's a sickness to hate that much.

      Delete
  6. I'm a Liberal Democrat Feminist. Of course I'm with you. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that's a label I am also proud to wear.

      Delete
  7. Oh. My. God! We have had gays and women and other nationalities around us since 1492! Why does this even make the news? Transgender is newer (to me) yet in our 112 unit complex we have two! What a struggle THEY go through!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, not everyone believes closeted gays should come out into the light plus there's the churches that preach against it. And you are right, they've been with us since probably the beginning of man on earth, transgenders, too, probably.

      Delete
  8. Jean:

    I could care less about people sexual orientation as long as it does not affect me. I shiver to think how hard it must be for all family members to accept it. It saddens me so many deaths in LGBT community over this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I could give a rats ass about anyone's sexual orientaton-heck I have a nephew who is trans. this guy in particular is an asshole. And we haven't even started on the "darker".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure you mean John Moody from FOX News is an asshole, not your nephew. If so, I've thought the same thing, even before he wrote this piece.

      Delete
  10. Sorry, but I blame religion for this. Otherwise, it would be no big deal..to each his own, as it should be.
    More accurately I blame religion and it's followers who cling to these obscure passages in the Bible or other religious books. I can't imagine a parent not supporting their child in every way possible to give them a solid secure and loved life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Mary, about religion being the source for the way many people feel on this topic.

      As for parents not being supportive, I think it's a shock to many parents and they need time to come around. They have to first say goodbye to their own expectations and, in the back of their minds they'd probably start worrying about their child's physical safety in a world where part of the population hates gays. Some would even erroneously wonder what did they did wrong that he/she turned out gay and/or one parent blaming the other. Lots of emotions evoked in this family dynamics.

      Delete
  11. A co-worker told me he voted for Trump because he was tired of all the 'concessions' being made for gays, and trans people and wanted it to stop. I asked how it affected him personally. It didn't because he didn't know any. Then why is it even an issue I asked? His reason was God. He didn't think God made mistakes like that so those people were severely mis-guided and needed saving from themselves.

    I don't argue with people because there's no point, and I keep hoping to hear something that makes sense, but it mostly seems to be exactly what you and the other comments have stated. Not the better side of human nature.

    I watched Ted Koppel tell one of the hate-mongers on Fox that he believes Fox has been bad for America. I agree, but we have free speech in a democracy, so if you like stupid, you can always find it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you for trying to engage your co-worker in respectful conversation. You have incredible self control. If I had been in that conversation I would have said, "If God doesn't make mistakes, then maybe He made gays to be like they are." Or "Maybe God doesn't make mistakes but basic biology in the womb can go haywire." But you're right, at a certain point you have to back off because they are too set in their ways and you still have to live or work with them.

      I didn't see Koppel tell say that about Fox but he's right. I find the whole exploding nature of having so many sources to get our information disheartening. Way to easy to exploit and create false narratives.

      Delete
  12. Like you, I have gay friends who are courageous and wonderful. It has always been a sticking for me (and my late husband) that people could be so ignorant and judgemental. I always said that if any of my kids (and now grands) were gay, all I would worry, in this world we live, is for their safety and happiness. I'm a late in life Liberal Democrat but probably always was a Feminist. And when homophobia raises its ugly head in an event when all nations can come together but not LGBT, it's an utter mockery. Uh - think Brian Boitano, Mark Spitz. There should be no place either in the Olympics or the world at large for anything but peace and tolerance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Olympic skating teams, especially, have long had gay skaters. What set off Fox & Friends is the fact that when the two I wrote about didn't get kicked off the U.S. team when they came out in the open about it. I really haven't seen much criticism elsewhere---could be there, I just don't know one way or another.

      Thanks for the comment. I believe it's your first.

      Delete
  13. I think Trump & Pence are racists when it comes to reality such as Gay people. People are people. I so loved your comment when you hugged your young relative's husband, Welcome to the family. Beautiful Jean. You are a beautiful person. The Fox network is bad, so bad. There are people in that network who just hate, sheer evil in my mind.
    That's about it my friend. I'm still feeling ill so I'm going back to bed. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't have said it better, Paul.

      Hope you are feeling better soon!

      Delete
  14. Late to this post, and didn't read all the other commenters, but I hope they are all with you. I am 1000% with you and it makes me FURIOUS that some people still cannot accept people as they are. Also, it's "husband" if men are married and "wife" if women are. But someone up above this comment likely already mentioned that. Love this post. THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone who posted a comment is with us but kind of think if someone didn't agree they wouldn't step into what they might perceive as the lion's den.

      I did learn something since writing this about what labels goes on those in a gay marriage. I was told from a trusted source: If the couple are males, then they are both called husbands. If the couple are both females, then they call their partner, wives.

      Delete
  15. I had missed the whole Moody controversy (LOL, it didn't come up on NPR). I can't imagine he watched any of the figure skating; Johnny Weir's wonderful ambiguous personal style would have driven him nuts! :-) -Jean P.

    ReplyDelete