Rev Irene Monroe

Oprah is not gay, folks

Filed By Rev Irene Monroe | December 16, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: best friends, Chicago, lesbian, love, oprah, Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is known everywhere around the world, and has touched nearly everyone.

oprahgayle.jpgHer media stardom and public ministry make her omnipresent as well as omnipotent. Her converts would argue she is also omniscient, especially with her monthly oracle -- O, The Oprah Magazine -- pontificating the principles of self-help, self-love, and self-giving.

Oprah's principles empower women the world over and derive from her own personal narrative.

And because she has been so public about her life, it appears that no topic is off-limits with the queen of daytime talk. But when it comes talking about her private sexual life, the public feels, Oprah is neither honest nor open.

The public no longer queries Oprah about her longtime boyfriend, Stedman Graham, of twenty-plus years: they met in 1986, were engaged in 1992, and now no wedding is in sight.

And it's rumored the relationship soured, and that Oprah and Stedman no longer reside together -- although she denies it -- but he still ceremonially shows up as Oprah's escort for important photo-op moments, like the Dec. 5 Kennedy Center honors. And according to the recent Star Magazine article titled "O, Please!: Oprah & Stedman Put on a Show," the "distance between the two isn't just geographical."

But the distance, as the public has witnessed, both geographically as well as emotionally between Oprah and her gal pal, Gayle King, editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine, isn't. And for over two decades now Oprah has denied the rumors that she and Gayle are more than just two sistah-girls being sister-friends.

After 30 years of four-times-a-day phone calls and frequent sightings of "where you see Oprah you also see Gayle," the public continues to question Oprah about their relationship.

"No, I'm not a lesbian, I'm not even kind of a lesbian," Oprah stated on "A Barbara Walters Special: Oprah, The Next Chapter."

"The reason why it irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's number one," Winfrey told Walters. "Number two...why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life."

In a culture that constantly sexualizes the coupling of same-gender and opposite-gender consenting age adults, we ignore our own friendships with our "best friends forever."

In all human relationships -- sexual or platonic -- we long for a relational connectedness to spend as much time as possible with, at least, one person in our lifetime who shares our common interests and highest ideals.

The words "friend" and "freedom" derive from the same Indo-European and Sanskrit etymological roots, meaning "to be fond of" or "to hold dear." When it comes to having a friendship with someone, the relationship should never be predicated on gender, age, race, or sexual orientation, but rather it should be built on the deep heart-to-heart sharing, accountability, and sustainability that only a good friend can give you.

Feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt states, "Friendship is a relatively rare topic in patriarchal Christian theology, having long taken a backseat to marriage as the normative adult human relationship. This led to the hegemony of heterosexual marriage as the standard. ...Friendship is the most inclusive way to describe a variety of voluntary relationships, including women with women, men with men, women with men, adults with children, humans with animals, persons with the Divine, and humans with the earth."

Oprah explained to Walters her relationship with BFF Gayle:

"She is... the mother I never had. She is... the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don't know a better person. I don't know a better person."

In our culture of constantly labeling same-gender relationships as gay, it diminishes and distorts the romantic relationships we LGBTQ people have with our significant others. As a matter of fact, constantly labeling same-gender relationships as gay not only wrongly assumes that the only reason for two people of the same gender getting together is for sex, but it also keeps in place the myth of the hypersexual and predatory homosexual.

In the Hebrew Bible, the Ruth and Naomi narrative is an iconic text used in civil unions and weddings of LGBTQ couples.

It reads:

"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me," Ruth uttered to her mother-in-law Naomi.

The narrative holds high esteem in my community not because the women are lesbians, but rather because the narrative depicts an unconventional relationship about loyalty and love that crosses the boundaries of age, nationality and religion; thus, by extension embracing a variety of voluntary same-gender coupling -- straight or gay.

Oprah is not gay, folks!

And she's not a closeted dyke either, but rather the world's beloved daytime talk show diva.

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I posted on this topic last week. I just don't think people are used to seeing two adults be friends, that's it.

I am not sure if is Oprah is gay or not. I would bet she might not even know it. I believe she is probably not having a sexual relationship with Gayle. Nor Stedman.

But, what people don't take into account is how sexually and relationally damaged Oprah probably is as a result of the intense abuse she suffered in her childhood. I would bet anything that this is what creates the mystery around Oprah's relationships.

I am sure there are experts who would disagree with me, but the reality is that many survivors of abuse never recover enough to have a healthy, adult, intimate relationship. But, that doesn't mean they can't be healed in many other areas of their life. This is where I see Oprah.

She is a wonderful woman who has been severely hurt in her life. She is doing the best she can. And right now, she is lucky to have someone like Gayle in her life to be her trusted companion and friend, and I don't mean that in a sexual manner.

I am in the camp to just leave her alone, and let her live her life in a way that makes sense to her, even if most of the world doesn't understand it.

janiice J carney | December 17, 2010 11:18 AM

Sometimes people are very close, emotionally and sexually attracted to both genders; it is called being bisexual, If Barbra’ Walters felt her place on network television was to ask the lesbian question, she should have been a good journalist and asked the follow-up question’ would you call yourself a bisexual?

I really do not care whether Oprah comes out or not, or whether she is gay or not. What I do care about very much is that she is personally responsible, via a couple of her shows on trans people in the week before Mother's Day 2005, for my father coming around from rejecting me because of my transition, to accepting me for who and what I am. When I called my mom for Mother's day that year, she immediately put him on the phone, and he was in tears, apologizing for the years of rejection an all I could say was that of course he was forgiven, that I had been praying for this to happen for years. It only took my mother a little longer, but it was thanks to Oprah having reached out through the television screen to touch my father's heart.