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Maya Keyes and her dad


Alan Keyes and his wife subscribe to the belief that family is not about loving your children as living breathing individuals. It’s about punishment for being openly gay.

Via AmericaBlog. Send Alan Keyes to P-FLAG. This moralist needs to sit down with some parents that actually love their gay children. How low can you go — a man of his alleged reputation as a Christian (a lunatic, but that’s my perception, not his) putting his daughter out for her orientation and political beliefs. How all-American. He is the lowest of the low when it comes to “family values.” (WaPo):

…Maya Keyes — liberal, lesbian and a little lost — finds herself out on her own. She says her parents — conservative commentator and perennial candidate Alan Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn — threw her out of their house, refused to pay her college tuition and stopped speaking to her.

Maya, 19, says her parents cut her off because of who she is — “a liberal queer.” Tomorrow, she will take her private dispute with her dad into the open. She is scheduled to make her debut as a political animal, speaking at a rally in Annapolis sponsored by Equality Maryland, the state’s gay rights lobby.

She plans to talk about “what it was like for me growing up as a liberal queer in a very conservative household. I’ve known so many other people in a position like mine, where their families really don’t want much to do with them. Maybe I can help by talking about it.”

During his failed campaign last fall against Barack Obama (D) for the Illinois Senate seat, Alan Keyes lashed out at Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Cheney. Keyes told a radio interviewer that Mary Cheney was a “selfish hedonist.” Then, without having been asked anything about his own family, he volunteered that “if my daughter were a lesbian, I’d look at her and say, ‘That is a relationship that is based on selfish hedonism.’ I would also tell my daughter that it’s a sin and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her deal with that sin.”

Maya heard the comments and recoiled. “It was kind of strange that he said it like a hypothetical,” she says. “It was really kind of unpleasant.”

Her parents have known that Maya is a lesbian since they found a copy of the Washington Blade, the gay weekly, in her room and confronted her at the end of high school (she went to Oakcrest School for Girls, a Catholic school in McLean run by the church’s highly devout Opus Dei movement.) Ever since, Maya says, her parents have told her that her sexuality is wrong and sinful.

“As long as I was quiet about being gay or my politics, we got along,” she says. “Then I went to the Counterinaugural,” last month’s protests in Washington against President Bush. “My father didn’t like that.” Maya returned from the demonstration to find that she had been let go from her job at her father’s political organization. She says she was told to leave her father’s apartment and not to expect any money toward attending Brown University, where she was admitted but deferred matriculation to spend a year teaching in southern India. “In my father’s view, financing my college would be financing my politics, in a sense,” Maya says, “because I plan to be an activist after college.”

She wrote to her parents to tell them about tomorrow’s speech, but says she got no response.

After I contacted Alan Keyes’s office, press secretary Connie Hair called back with a prepared statement from him: “My daughter is an adult, and she is responsible for her own actions. What she chooses to do has nothing to do with my work or political activities.” End of statement.

…Maya Keyes is looking for answers to all those conservatives who e-mail her about how she’s going to burn in hell and to all those liberals who e-mail her about how she’s a traitor because she won’t disavow her father. And then there are the people who think she’s a whiny brat, “that I’m immature for thinking that I want my parents to talk to me.”

It’s not politically expedient for him to actually love and accept Maya if she’s out of the closet. It’s the whole damn Right wing perspective in a nutshell. What they fear most is that gay people are coming out, and they are the people you know and love.

For homophobic, publicly pious Repugs with gay kids, they cannot reconcile the fact that:
1) They actually procreated and raised gay children in spite of their strident religious child-rearing;
2) They might have to respond to homophobic friends (and minions) that they love their children;
3) They may be wrong about the nature/nurture thing with homosexuality;
4) They will have to show the error of their homophobic political stances and hypocrisy

Coming out of the closet for these people is their worst nightmare. They aren’t thinking about the gay child, only themselves. The Cheney’s tap-dancing around Mary is just as bad, symptomatic of the same list of problems mentioned above, sans the religious aspect. For the more secular Repugs, you get a reaction like the Cheney family, an attempt to publicly re-closet the gay offspring to quiet political constituencies that you gay-bait to, while accepting the gay child within the immediate social circle.

What kind of message is that sending to the child? Mary Cheney, as an adult and having worked as a professional homosexual for Coors, was perfectly happy to lie down and be walked on by the Right, including Keyes, in order to further her dad’s path to the White House. I have no doubt that Maya would have done the same thing. These parents are vile because they created an environment that encourages self-loathing behavior in their kids.

The only reason that Mary Cheney and Maya Keyes were able to come out is because they saw that they could do so and survive, even thrive — that is the gift of the gay rights struggle — every person that comes out makes it easier for the next,

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding