Terrance Heath

Freeheld

Filed By Terrance Heath | February 25, 2008 12:54 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: laurel hester, marriage, oscars

I can count on one hand the times that an Oscar win caused me to jump up and down in the middle of my living room, out of excitement. And there are even fewer that have brought a tear to my eye. Tonight was one of them, when Freeheld won for Best Documentary Short Subject. (I only hope the reason the server was down when I wrote this is because so many people were visiting it as a result of the Oscar win.)

When I first read the story of Laurel Hester, and her dual battles against cancer and discrimination, I blogged it, and blogged it, and blogged it, because I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure her story was told. So did so many others. I only hope this win will mean that more people will hear this story, and more people will ask themselves whether stories like this one ought to happen. And if the answer is no, I hope they ask themselves what they're going to do about it.

Maybe it's the late hour, and maybe it's the sleep deprivation talking, but in some way, tonight feels like win for all of us; a small victory. (The producer of No Country For Old Men thanking his partner was the icing on the cake.)

Sure, Michael Savage and the rest of the haters will almost certainly spew their usual bile over the fact that we exist--that we live, love, dare to do so publicly, and have the simple audacity to say "thank you" to the people who love and support us--just as they always do.

But tonight I will hold on to a little hope. After writing this, I will pick up Dylan--who generally hang out with me, the night owl parent, until I turn in--give him a kiss and put him to bed. I'll tiptoe into Parker's room and give him a kiss on the forehead. Then I'll turn in myself, and curl up next to the hubby.

And before I go to sleep, I'll allow myself the luxury of hope. I'll let myself hope that maybe tonight, tomorrow, and the next day, that the world progresses a little closer to the time when movies like Freeheld won't be made because stories like Laurel Hester's and so many others won't happen. I'll let myself hope that the world is progressing towards a time when my grandchildren will bewildered that stories like Laurel Hester's happened, let alone that anyone would make movies about them, just as I was bewildered by the stories of past discrimination I heard growing up Black in the south.

And in the morning, I'll allow myself to hope that I won't have to look back and find that I was just dreaming.

Crossposted from The Republic of T.


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Michael Bedwell | February 25, 2008 3:14 AM

Well said, Terrance! Tonight's Oscar show had to be about the least overtly "gay" in quite a while. Maybe that's why it was so boring.

But, yes, "Freeheld's" win was wonderful, all the more so because one of the producers introduced and praised the surviving lesbian partner in the audience, and they got the award from Tom Hanks whose timeless remarks about those "angels" who had been lost to AIDS in his Oscar acceptance speech for "Philadelphia" was briefly excerpted in one of the night's many montages. Alas, the set up with the soldiers in Iraq eliminated a clear description of what each of the short docs were about.

Though not gay himself, the nod to the passing of Heath Ledger, an icon to many of us for his harrowing "Brokeback Mountain" incarnation, was shamefully of the proverbial "blink and you missed it" length. I was hoping that Daniel Day Lewis would make up for it a bit by repeating his gracious dedication of an earlier award [SAG?] to Ledger. Sadly, he did not, and the staggering actor who was robbed of his Oscar for BBM was slighted again.

But, after the four actor awards, the world most cares about the Best Picture moment and its producer got to thank his man and call him "Honey" before untold millions watching around the world.

Not so bad a night afterall.

Garden State Equality did a lot of hard work to help Ms. Hester and were featured in the movie too. They have a special page set up to celebrate the Oscar win and to remember Ms. Hester.

Thanks for posting about this Oscar win, Terrence!

I'm glad that buzz such as this will cause more GLBT people to know about this win --- gratifying after BBM missed being Best Picture several years ago by the hair (and homophobia) of the Academy's chinny-chin-chins.

Mike Bedwell, mitigating the fact that Heath Ledger's memorial moment was literally a second or two, is the fact that (1) it was kept for last, and that alone is a subtle but special homage, and (2) Hillary Swank alluded to him quite obviously when she said in her intro something like "Some of these people made their contributions decades ago, and some of them have been taken from us far too early when their best was yet to be." (That's my paraphrase) It wasn't the most gratifying remembrance we might have imagined, but it did carry a special emphasis that was unmistakable.