"You've probably seen the really interesting piece on 'The Road to Gay Marriage in New York' in the NYT," writes Savage Love reader Shannon. "But I was really struck by this bit that underlines what you're always saying about the political importance of being out to your family."
Shannon included the relevent chunk in her email:
Nobody ever expected Carl Kruger to vote yes.
A Democrat from Brooklyn, known for his gruff style and shifting alliances, Senator Kruger voted against same-sex marriage two years ago, was seen as a pariah in his party and was accused in March of taking $1 million in bribes in return for political favors. Some gay activists, assuming he was a lost cause, had taken to picketing outside of his house and screaming that he was gay—an approach that seemed only to harden his opposition to their agenda. (Mr. Kruger has said he is not gay.) But unbeknown to all but a few people, Mr. Kruger desperately wanted to change his vote. The issue, it turned out, was tearing apart his household.
The gay nephew of the woman he lives with, Dorothy Turano, was so furious at Mr. Kruger for opposing same-sex marriage two years ago that he had cut off contact with both of them, devastating Ms. Turano. “I don’t need this,” Mr. Kruger told Senator John L. Sampson of Brooklyn, the Democratic majority leader. “It has gotten personal now.”
Mr. Sampson, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage, advised Mr. Kruger to focus on the nephew, not the political repercussions. “When everything else is gone,” Mr. Sampson told him, “all you have left is family.”
The only leverage adult LGBT children have over our parents, siblings, and other family members is our presence in their lives. If they don't respect you, if they don't accept you, if they don't support your equality, do not see them. Too many LGBT people worry about being rejected by their families when it should be—it must be—the other way around: our families should be worried about being rejected by us.
I met a girl—a lesbian teenager—at one of the receptions I attended over the last week in New York. She told me, tearfully, that her parents had thrown her out and they were refusing to see her until she "changed." I wish you could've seen the look on her face when I told her to tell her parents that they had it backward: she wasn't going to see them until they changed. She laughed, she hugged me, and she said that she'd never thought of it that way. I told her to start thinking of it that way. (Then I told her to stop smoking.)
"I think Ms. Turano's nephew deserves a shoutout, don't you?" says Shannon. "His personal courage has ended up helping a lot of people."
Agreed. I hope he comes forward.