Six years ago, Rupert and I shared several car rides from the bay area to upper lake county. I listened intently as he told me of his early life, his struggles in Hollywood, and those irritating meetings with Madonna.
Ok, ok, ok. So Rupert was not ACTUALLY in the car with me. His voice was. And it was coming out of the car stereo from the book on tape where he was reading his autobiography.
I did not initially have a crush on Rupert. Years ago when I watched him in the movie Another Country, I was barely out about my sexuality. I did not feel attraction for him but rather identified with his character. Both of us though, it seemed, were VERY much enamored of a young Cary Elwes..
I do not really know Rupert Everett. I can say I know of him, and his hanging around in West Hollywood and the gay scene there. But, I don’t know him, not a thing about him, really.
This I do know, and I can say this with absolute certainty. My ignorance of him is NOTHING compared to his ignorance of me. I am well assured that he is quite unaware of my existence, let alone my personality, skills, talents, manner and ability to love.
Yet, with complete and total unawareness of me on the planet, and of many others who do what I do, he feels competent to tell a reporter that there could be “nothing worse” than gay dads. (Why?)
I do not claim to be perfect in my life and in the things I do… but I can tell you that the one area that I am most focused to be the best I can be, is parenthood. I have been told by many that I am a “great Dad” and I accept those words because I aspire to be that.
Both my sons were born to practicing drug addicts. My eldest son was born six weeks before his due date, weighed four pounds and had heroin in his system. My partner and I needed to alter the nipples on his bottles so that he got exactly 16oz in each feeding so that his brain would develop properly.
My younger son, who we got at a year old, had never had a bath in his life. His mother had only wiped him down with diaper wipes. It was not her fault, she was doing the best she could. She shook so much from the drugs she feared that if she attempted to bathe him in water, she would drown him.
Do I think I am the “worst” alternative? No.
Like anyone else, Mr. Everett has a right to his opinion. I am not sure why that opinion should be given any more merit than if it had come from any other person with anti-gay bias. Because he presumably knows how to make love to a man, he is held up in the public and the media as if he should be an expert on all gay people. He is not.
I confess, when I saw Mr. Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding, … my heart fluttered. I really fell for his charisma, his wit, his charm. I did want to know him personally.
The reality is, I don’t know him personally, and he does not know me.
After his comments last week, as far as I am concerned, it is just fine for it to stay that way.
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I don’t know what he said, but I can guess. I think you are spot on about the internalised self-belief systems that a lot of men have – somehow their masculinity is compromised by looking after children. There are too many men who have internalised the subconscious social assumption that there is something ‘wrong’ with men wanting to take care of children, and when you add the whole “gay-paedophilia” hysteria that still exists. This translates into a lot of serious and often subterranean prejudice against gay men being seen as parents. It is very, very sad. Knowing someone who is one of a the very small number of men working in early childhood I am very aware of the discrimination and hostility they often have to deal with from both some women and other men.
I feel very sorry for men like this Everett, because they so limit the possibility of who they can be. However, they also need to be challenged because it is not just themselves they damage – their voices help to shore up the justifications for legal and social structures that can impact negatively on the families of gay men. This is going back a few years ago now, but I know someone who had his child taken away by the state, for what even a judge eventually decided was little more than being a single gay man. By the time it was sorted the damage had already been done. I still feel angry just writing about it now. So, yes it is very important that we speak out against this, especially as it can involve the lives of children.
There are only two people on this planet who have any right to decide whether or not you are a good dad, and even they will probably need another twenty years to fully understand what it means. Everyone else should worry about their own lives. Not make pronouncements about things they are ignorant on.
I agree with you about the man/woman roles in life. My daughter wanted to be a car mechanic, but the school tried to get her into a shop for her school work experience. We managed to get her in the local airport servicing the aircraft. They were quite happy to have her because she was small enough to crawl inside the wings to do minor checks once someone showed her how. Most of the men had to struggle to get inside.
Len was quite ill a few years back and couldn’t do the outdoor work he usually does on the house so I took that over and he took over running the house, cooking etc. You should have heard some of the comments we got from the Ukrainians. One woman said ‘I wouldn’t let my husband in MY kitchen.’ I told her I felt sorry for her. His health is much better now and he loves doing the cooking still. I only cook when he has to go back to UK and I stay here. As for looking after the kids, where our foster children are concerned he’s great and I’m the big bad wolf, cos I always have to deal with the discipline (he’s often one of the ‘kids’ I have to tell off cos he’s still a big kid even though he’s 66).
People, even in this day and age still see it that the wife has to do one thing and the husband another. I had to have a go at our eldest girl here the other day cos I told her to do something and she said ‘No, that’s a man’s job’. I think I have got through to her there is no such thing. The only thing a man can do that woman can’t is make a baby, the only thing a woman can do that a man can’t is HAVE a baby.
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When is the last time we saw Rupert Everett in a move? Good for him, he got himself into the news with a provocative statement. My heart fluttered when I saw him in My Best Friend’s Wedding too, but it won’t again since I now know there’s just a dummy behind that beautiful face.
I really wish people, especially public figures, would stop speaking for others.If he had said HE and his partner would make bad Dads, that would have been fine, maybe they would, but to speak for all is just irresponsible. I don’t think there is a child on this planet that would turn away the love of a parent, no matter what that parent is. Shame on Rupert Everett for not realizing that love is love and ever child needs, wants and deserves that. They did a study years ago on orphan babies, some were given touch, cuddling, being spoken softly too, as a parent would and the other babies were just given basic needs, diaper change, food etc. but no other interaction. The babies that had no other interaction failed to thrive even though they were given the exact same care as far as basic needs. It’s LOVE that children need and indeed crave to be all that they can be and it doesn’t matter if it comes from two Dads, two Moms, or a Mom and Dad. To all the parents ( whatever your sexual orientation is) who have stepped in to give that love, I believe you all hold a very special place in God’s heart.
Thank you for this post!
Being straight and being able to get pregnant is by no means the formula of being a great parent. I think Rupert need to look around a little more and see people like you and your children.
And thank you for looking after these precious children.
Lost of Love!
What kid doesn’t complain about how terrible their parents are, straight or gay, until they get kids of their own. I know mine did, and their kids now say how terrible they are. Most of my friend’s kids think they have the worst parents in the world. One of my own children, out of the blue, one day said sorry, When I asked what for she said ‘It wasn’t until I got boys I realised what a bitch I had been with you and dad.’
That’s OK then for my daughter to be a lesbian mum. To be honest, my daughter can’t make up her mind if she’s lesbian or not. She said she was lesbian after two bad relationships with men, then her relationship with a woman was just as bad, if not worse so she now says she’s not lesbian.
While in the relationship my daughter started having visits from Social Services. One of the Social Workers told us (I was back in england and staying with her at the time) that sex should only be for when you want a baby. I and my daughter are church goers. When we went to church on Sunday I told our pastors wife what the social worker had said. She shouted across the other side of the church to her husband ‘Oi, you’ve had your oats, Social said that sex is only to have children, since we’re not gonna have any more I don’t have to have sex with you any more.’ Since the conversation had been between me and her, nobody else knew what the heck she was talking about and I think it’s the only time I’ve ever seen her husband go red. You should have seen the looks we got from everyone.
As you say, the Social Worker obviously didn’t have the slightest idea about gay relationships (or any other for that matter), but I thought I’d lighten the tone a little and give you a bit of a laugh,
The sad part is, Kievjoy, there are people who really, really, sincerely believe that – that sex is ONLY for procreation.
What sad, pathetic, grasping little lives them must lead… You almost have to feel sorry for them.