Tuesday, July 10, 2007

All in the family

Taken from Oprah Winfrey's website, here and here. I think they were showing some interesting stuff about a few families, called All in the Family.

The eight Huckaby children—Jude, Joan, Jann, Jason, Janie, Jonathan, Jody and John Jr.—grew up in a small southern town. Raised in a close-knit, conservative Catholic home, the Huckabys' life centered on their family and their faith.

"All you had to do was walk in the house to know it. You saw statues of Jesus and Mary and Joseph and a whole bunch of saints," Jody says. "My parents showed all of us what it means to be family every day."

Every day the Huckaby children's father took them to school—and when they came home, their mom had cookies, cupcakes or other treats waiting. "We always felt as though [when] we went to bed at night, we had a good time," Jann says. "We had really lived a good day."

With all 10 family members living in a three bedroom, one bathroom house, space was a little tight. "It's kind of hard not to know what's going on with each other," Jonathan says.

Despite their close upbringing, four of the Huckabys were hiding one important thing—they were gay. "I was first [to come out]," Jason says. "It was about 1985 and I was studying to be a Catholic priest. I'd been in seminary for a number of years, and I came to the point in my life where I realized that I didn't want to live my life alone, that I need today to have a partner in my life." So he wrote a letter to his parents, telling them he was gay.

After receiving the news, the Huckabys' parents told the other seven children about Jason's letter, and Jonathan says they were "not pleased." "Even though it was very scary, I trusted that there was enough of a solid foundation there that it would eventually be a safe thing for me to do, to come out to my family," Jason says.

Jonathan and Jody say as they grew up, they, too, realized they were gay. "If only we had been able to talk about it. There were no parameters. We went to Catholic school, and you certainly didn't talk about that with the nuns," Jody says. Their parents' reaction to Jason's letter made Jody concerned to come out, but eventually, he and Jonathan each admitted their secret. Jody says a fourth brother is also gay.

At first, even their other siblings rejected their lifestyle. Their sister, Jann, says it took her more than a year to fully accept it. "I had prayed about it, and I realized that I did not need to judge. I needed to love," Jann says. When their brother Jude first heard the news, he thought Jason had chosen to be gay. "After the other brothers came out, I said, 'This can't be a choice. This has to be…the way they were born,'" he says.

Jody, who is now the executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), says his organization helped his mother find peace with having four gay children. "For me, it's sort of a full-circle experience, because all these years later, I'm running this national organization, and it's for parents, it's for family members and friends and straight allies to deal with these issues," he says.

I don't know which is more remarkable, the fact that four of eight of them are gay or that the whole conservative Catholic family is alright with it.

Blood is thicker than water.


Queer Ranter said...

That's interesting, awesome even.

savante said...

Four of them?! What in the world is in the water over there?!

coolgardy said...

Actually, the Catholic church accepts gays as they believe, God hates the sin, not the sinner.