Oprah’s Revealing Conversation with Lesbian and Gay Celebrities
Last Sunday, Oprah Winfrey sat down with comedian Wanda Sykes, Emmy Award winning Actor Dan Bucatinsky of Scandal and Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family to talk about being gay in America and being gay in Hollywood on an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter. Winfrey discussed coming out, bullying, acceptance from families, marriage equality, the state of television, parenting and discrimination.
Ferguson had to come out to his father three times (at the ages of 17,19 and 21) before his father could grasp the concept that his son was gay. “My friend Nate Berkus told me that ‘You have to give your parents time to grieve the person that they thought you would be.’ You have to give them the space to do that,” said Winfrey. Bucatinsky chimes in and said that his parents were grateful that he told them. “The wall that goes up between you and your family when you’re hiding anything or something that profound becomes a wall to everything. It becomes a barrier to everything: to emotion, to connection…” said Bucatinsky about opening up to his parents. Sykes on the other hand had a completely different reaction from her parents.
Wanda Sykes’ “Trifecta of Discrimination”
“I was 40 when I came out to my parents and I hadn’t planned on it,” said Sykes who came out to her parents after her divorce. Sykes married Dave Hall, a record producer, in 1991 and the two separated in 1998. Sykes “chose to be straight”, not because she was in denial about being a Lesbian but because she repressed her feelings for thinking that she was “wrong” for being gay. Sykes was raised in a religious family and attended church regularly which contributed to the repression.
Sykes also talks about her “Trifecta of Discrimination”. The trifecta being: her being a woman, her being a lesbian and her being black. At 44 years old, Wanda Sykes came out publicly during a gay rights rally and since then, has faced even more discrimination. Within the black community there has been a struggle to accept homosexuality, a large part of it due to conservative faiths. Sykes dominates her male-ran, largely misogynistic comedy industry where few women are prevalent or as popular as their male counterparts. Sykes paved the way for many young female comedians and many young black comedians.
When she was 44 years old, Emmy-nominated comedian Wanda Sykes came out during a gay rights rally. Since then, she says, Wanda’s faced a “trifecta of discrimination” because she’s black, gay and a woman. Watch as she shares how her family struggled with what the black community would say about her sexuality.
Ferguson and Bucatinsky experienced bullying at a young age and struggled with suicidal thoughts. “I had people who bullied me and someone who would push me and call me an expletive and a homosexual. I got called a lot of names, had my face shoved in the snow. My dad would try to get me to go out and fight my bully but I wouldn’t and I remember promising myself that if there wasn’t something on the other side of this, that if I wound up being gay at 18 and there wasn’t something on the other side of this and something better, then I would kill myself,” said Bucatinsky. Gay bullying is prominent all over the world and claims the lives of about 30% of all completed suicides. In this same study, 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have reported being physically and verbally bullied at school. Although, Ferguson and Bucatinsky said that this bullying have made them better men and contributed to who they are today, action against gay bullying and bullying of all kinds need to be taken to make the world we all live in safe for anybody no matter what their race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion or identity.
How Being Bullied Made Actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Dan Bucatinsky Stronger
Scandal actor Dan Bucatinsky and Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson both say they were bullied for being gay when they were growing up. Watch as they look back on that time and reveal how it shaped them into the strong, confident men they are today.
As far as being gay in Hollywood, these three prominent starts attribute door opening to Archie and Bunker. The first time the word “gay” was used on network television was in 1973 on an episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Since then, “Will & Grace”, “Ellen” and now “Modern Family” have/had gay characters and show gay characters with families. People used to be uncomfortable with these shows and now they come up to these actors/actresses and express how alike their families are to gay families. That is because families with gay parents are still families and go through the same issues that families with cis-heterosexual parents would go through.
Sykes, Bucatinsky and Ferguson also expressed their pain and anger with people’s interference of LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. “ I don’t understand why people really get upset about something that doesn’t affect them at all,” said Sykes. Ferguson also explains why he is adamant about using the word ‘husband’, the word that he fought so hard for.
If you missed the episode and want to watch it, check your local listings to find out when it will be showing next.
Laverne Cox has became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award in an acting category. Cox received a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sophia Burset in the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” “Orange is the New Black,” a prison-set hybrid “dramedy,” could have [...]July 10, 2014
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