Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sally Field on being the mom of a gay son

In honor of National Coming Out Day, I wanted to share a beautiful, poignant video of Sally Field being honored as a Straight Ally for Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

Sally Field has long been one of my favorite actresses...I remember first watching her in "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun"! I have always loved her exuberant energy and passion for justice. I was not aware that she, too, is the mother of three sons--quite spread out in age (she had her youngest when she was 23, and her oldest at age 41).

She's often spoken out against war and for human rights. When accepting her Emmy in 2007, she said, "If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamn wars in the first place!" Amen! I was so disappointed when "Brothers and Sisters" was cancelled last year, since it offered a chance to see Sally on the screen once again. Her character on Brothers and Sisters, Nora, seemed to be very similar to her real-life personality.

Field has dedicated much of her time to volunteering for women's rights. She serves on the board of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international women's nongovernmental organization and has cohosted the Global Leadership Awards six times.

Her youngest son, Sam, came out in 2007, and now she also advocates for gay and lesbian rights. She describes all three of her sons as kind, loving, productive human beings, and Sam introduces her at the award ceremony by talking about what it's like to have Sally Field for a mom.

Field has an important message for parents whose children are gay. She has not previously talked about Sam's journey, because she felt that it was his story to tell. But she remembers her relief when he came out of the closet, because it meant he would be able to live an honest, affirming life. She thanks the people who have been brave enough to fight for human rights for all. At the end of the speech, she uses a quote to describe her mothering philosophy: "A mother is not someone you lean on; a mother is someone who makes leaning unnecessary."

The GLBT justice issue is highly personal to us, because we love so many people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. It's definitely one of many important issues for us in the upcoming presidential election. We also have many friends whose children or siblings (or parents) are gay. Sometimes I have pondered how I would respond if one of our sons is gay. From the time of their birth, they have been hearing Fred Small's song (Everything Possible):
"Some girls, they grow up strong and brave, some boys are quiet and kind. Some race out ahead, some follow behind, some go in their own way and time. Some women love women, some men love men, some raise children...some never do. You can dream all the day, never reaching the end, of everything possible for you."
So I hope we have prepared them to have that honest discussion with us if the need arises. I hope they know that our love and acceptance of them would not waver one inch, and that our only desire for them is to be happy and loved.

I encourage you to watch her speech...she actually starts speaking around 5:48, after her son Sam introduces her--but his introduction is worth watching as well. Warning if you are easily offended by language...she does drop the f bomb at around 13:11.

Love that Sally Field!!

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