Blogging for LGBT Families: Dear Ellen

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Dear Ellen,

Huh. I just realized I've never written a letter to a celebrity before -- or I don't think I have. I don't remember ever writing to Sean Cassidy or Donnie Osmond or Karen Carpenter as a kid, and I certainly can't remember ever writing a letter to a celebrity as an adult. Now I'm all self-conscious about this, is there a certain way to write a letter to a celebrity? Do you have to watch that celebrity's shows in order to write a letter because I don't really watch your show. My partner's mom watches, so I do sometimes stop to watch small segments or get up to see what's going on when there's a lot of shrieking or laughter. But no, I am not a regular viewer. It's not you -- it's me, I just don't watch much TV. If I did, I'm sure I'd watch your show.

Ellen DeGeneres Since I can't start this letter by going all fan-girl, I guess I'll just tell you a little bit about myself, because the letter will make more sense that way.

I'm a lesbian. I live with my partner and three of our six kids in the suburbs of Chicago and I pretty much hate it. Not the partner/kids part, the living in Chicagoland part. We're from the south and we like the south. It's cheaper. It's warmer (a lot warmer) and the people are, well, they're our people. I know that sounds weird -- most queer people I've known in the south want nothing more than to leave -- to find some place with more gay folks and gay accepting folks. I've lived in some of those places. They're nice to visit but they don't feel like home.

A couple of weeks ago, we were heading to Atlanta to attend the annual BlogHer Food conference and decided to turn that trip into a mini-vacation to visit family and friends. Our vacation was a whirlwind quick visit and ended in Florida, where we saw a couple of our grown up kids and a bunch of friends before heading back to Chicagoland.

We headed for home after dinner on a Monday night, drove five hours and stayed the night in Forsyth, Georgia and this is where you come in, Ellen. You could be the next Oprah!

TW teased me about booking a hotel in Forsyth, Ga during Oprah's farewell week. Whatever! I booked Forsyth because it fit the bill. That hotel was five hours into the trip and it was right across the street from a Waffle House. We would have to visit a Waffle House because it was our anniversary, and we became a couple, officially, at a Waffle House.

For us, nothing says "home" like a trip to a Waffle House; listening to the staff tease each other, people watching and eavesdropping on the conversation of the locals. So we sat down at the counter and ordered the usual, (Egg & Cheese sandwiches with hashbrowns - cheese, onion, tomato and mushrooms for me, cheese, onion and mushrooms for TW), and sat back to enjoy the conversations around us.

Right behind us were two tables of men -- mostly older men, though some closer to 40 than to 60, one guy even had on overalls. We were amused by their chatter and tried hard not to laugh out loud.

"You can find anything on that there internet. I can even find porn-ah-gro-phee."


Yea, it was like that. And it was awesome. We looked at each other and smiled. And then there was this...

"We don't have no Ho-mo-sex-u-ahls around here."


Believe it or not, we were still smiling. We're from the south. We're used to folks being pretty clueless about the world -- and about us. It's fine, really. Those nice guys would have been nothing but nice to us even if they'd figured out we were ho-mo-sex-u-ahls. Probably.

Now you get it, why I'm writing you this letter? Why I say you could be the next Oprah? And maybe you should be.

While I've never been a fan of Oprah and my partner and I walked out of the Waffle House laughing and we're pretty sure those guys didn't really mean any harm... I'm also very sure there are ho-mo-sex-u-ahls in Forsyth and some of them are probably teenagers who are terrified to be who they are.

Oprah's visit to Forsyth, Ga was a good thing. It opened up the discussion. It brought issues related to race and class out into the light of day and I do believe that the conversation she started played a big role in turning things around in Forsyth.

You could visit Forsyth and help start that kind of conversation about sexual orientation. The LGBT teens and families who live there would thank you.

~Denise
BlogHer Community Manager
Life. Flow. Fluctuate.

Photo Credit: ronpaulrevolt2008.

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