May 1st, 2012
The big news from the GLAAD Awards a week ago was the surprise appearance of Cher to congratulate her son Chaz on his recognition by the group. But for me the more interesting story was that Chaz step-mother was the one scheduled to present the award.
Mary Bono Mack is a congresswoman from the Palm Springs area. A moderate Republican, her record on gay issues is mixed. She has voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but she also taken positions that were not in the interest of equality. Oddly enough, while she may not exactly represent my views, I’ve spoken to enough of the ‘Oh, Honey’ generation of gay men to know that her views are probably not too far from where they are (Palm Springs is, after all, where old gay Republicans go to
But I have wondered just how Mary has responded to Chastity/Chaz. Mary became Chaz’ step-mother when he (then Chastity) was 17; Mary was only about eight years older. And while there has been no public bickering, one never knows whether there was resentment or hostility between the two and my brief interactions with Chastity suggested that a relationship of any sort would require the patience of a saint.
I suspected that Mary would be classy in her demeanor. Her request that Cher deliver a eulogy for Sonny after his death seemed like a class act. But support for transgender issues is not exactly the hallmark of Republican congress members.
So I was pleased to see Mack there to support Chaz.
“I’m so honored that GLAAD asked me to present the award,” Mack told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think if anyone exemplifies courage and bravery right now, it’s Chaz. He’s had an extraordinary year — two years, actually — put himself out there for the public to see and I think America has fallen in love with him.”
Mack faces a redrawn district that is increasingly trending Democratic and her percentage of the vote has fallen in recent elections. But she is a sitting congresswoman and a Republican. And I find it encouraging that our nation’s social attitude has changed to the point where Mary Bono Mack can show up at the GLAAD Awards and tell the Hollywood Reporter how proud she is of her transgender stepson and no one, not even the professional anti-gays, has apoplexy.
We have won. Now it’s just a waiting game.
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.