Waymon Hudson

Did We Just Stumble on Another Gay Scandal?

Filed By Waymon Hudson | January 28, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: flight attendant, gay politicians, politics, scandal, tabloids

As if flying weren't bad enough nowadays, it seems that cluelessness is on the rise in the skies.

As most of you know, I spent yesterday flying to Denver for the Creating Change conference. As if going from 78 degree weather in Florida to 19 degrees in the Mile High City wasn't enough to put me on edge, I had a minor run-in with some, shall we say, uninformed people on the plane who assumed that I was involved in a salacious gay scandal...

It all started innocently enough.

I was wearing a rather geeky/sweet shirt that my husband had made for me at Christmas. The shirt comes from a silly joke I told him one night to make him giggle:

You can call me Mush, I'll call you Room...
And together we're two fun guys!

Get it? Mush-Room... Two fungi/fun guys... Hilarious, right? Don't judge. It'll hit you later how brilliant the joke is.

Well, my shirt had two little mushrooms on the front with "Two Fun Guys" over it and on the back it had "Mush." (Yes, Anthony's says "room").

When I was coming out of the bathroom, the flight attendants stopped me and asked what my shirt meant. I explained that it was a silly little inside joke that my husband and I had with each other. We struck up a conversation (being a former flight attendant, I often chat with the crews and share stories), which lead them to ask why I was going out to Denver.

I told them about Creating Change and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. They seemed cool with and rather interested. They then asked why "Room" (as they had taken to calling my hubby) wasn't with me. I explained that since he is in the middle of running for office with his election day rapidly approaching, he needed to stay home and campaign. Then the comment that made me stop in my tracks:

Oooo! Did we just get clued in to another political scandal?

I simply stood there with my mouth open and looked at the attendant. I asked what she meant.

He's not out, is he? This is so tabloid!

I replied calmly that he was very out. Anthony and I had been married for years and are well known for our activism and LGBT rights work in South Florida. She looked a bit shocked and said:

Well I guess times are changing...

I went back to my seat a bit angry. Why does a politician being out have to be a "scandal" or "tabloid"? It just made me realize that the first thing people think of when they think gay politician is scandal.

It is a hard reaction to overcome. We have always lived our life openly and campaigned very openly. Anthony's campaign website has pictures of us and our foster son. His work in the LGBT community is listed proudly, as is our marriage, just like any other political campaign.

Yet some people's reaction will always be that it is something weird or dirty or outrageous.

Let's hope that we really do start creating some change in the way people view our lives and families. Maybe by being so open and accessible about our lives, we are doing just a little bit to change that reaction...

Even if it is one flight attendant at a time.

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Bill Vayens | January 28, 2009 2:48 PM

Welcome to the real world, poodle.

It's easy to forget that once you move beyond the boundaries of the enlightened areas of these United States there are some very provincial attitudes out there - and there's never an end to the surprise when they're expressed.

But you hit the nail on the head. It's by being open and accessible about our lives that we begin to break down those stereotypes and lift the curtain of ignorance just a little.

Unfortunately there are so many of them and so few of us willing to be that open.

But you're a young pup. We elders are fortunate enough to have enough perspective to appreciate the radical changes that have taken place in the past 50 years (well maybe 40 in my case ).

We still have a long way to go, but believe me, we have also come very far.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 29, 2009 12:16 AM

Perhaps the attendant thought Anthony was running on the Peyote party platform for Magic Mushroom reforms. :)

Way to go, Waymon! I always try to wear or carry some item when I travel to make a subtle, positive statement about my sexuality.

However, the unfortunate reality is that as long as the Ted Haggards of this world make headlines, and even good politicians like Sam Adams tell lies, gay + politics is going to = scandal in the minds of many folks.

Good luck to Anthony!

Jim Toevs

beachcomberT | January 29, 2009 10:33 AM

I like the campaign web site and the fact you guys are open about your domestic life. But I see a little irony -- we keep saying we should elect politicians on the basis of their policies and political achievements, not according to whom they sleep with or the beauty of their trophy spouse. But from Obama on down to little Oakland Park, the campaign literature always presents them as "family people," with wives, kids and dogs. I'm sure your goal is to show your family is just as mainsteam and non-weird as any hetero couple, but it seems a bit odd for gay couples to get sucked into this Ozzie & Harry fantasy promotion. Did you guys consider a campaign photo of yourselves dancing shirtless in South Beach or skinnydipping in the Keys? (just kidding!)

I understand what you are saying, but we kind of are that boring couple in the pictures. :) It's hard to walk the line between being yourself and being "photo ready" in politics in all aspects, including family.

That story made me laugh in the beginning, now I'm typing a comment with my brow furrowed.

Thanks a lot Mush... and Room too.

Hey- We're just two fun guys... :)

behindTheCurtain | January 29, 2009 11:35 AM

Get the damn chip off your shoulder. Being out and political is something new for a lot of Americans to understand. Inclusiveness means lowering your hackles and being an ambassador for being who we are. It's pretty silly to put off people and get angry. Why not help them understand that the era is changing, and that we don't bite?

I'm not sure where you are getting the "chip on the shoulder". I was very polite and had a great conversation (in which the other flight attendant was supportive of what I was saying) educating her about my family and what it means to be an out candidate.

I was angry internally as I went back to my seat and thought through the conversation, but was never mean to her. It was just a frustrating thing to have to hear, but not a surprising one.

behindTheCurtain | January 30, 2009 8:44 PM

Being gay isn't necessarily novel. 'Out' partnerships are novel. Having a husband and being a man is novel. Running for office is novel if you're gay (think about the public reaction to Harvey Milk).

That people think this way is to be expected. They know no different, and people still connect 'gay' with 'scandal'. The anger is misdirected. Be happy that people are becoming aware. There are always going to be people that pose conditional love and acceptance on others. That is their problem, as we own our own emotions.

Often these people wear T-shirts that aren't as clever as yours. Theirs probably say"