The following is a small snippet from the interview starting at 6:32:
“I am not a political person. I have done political things before but it’s been brought to my attention that this is a political act, even though that’s now what it feels like to me. It just feels like personal exposure and its uncomfortable. From my understanding, is that so much research has been done that says that if anyone knows someone that’s gay or lesbian, then when they are addressing gay or lesbian issues; political issues that effect their rights, they’re less likely to vote against them, to take away their rights. So if you knew me before and you cared about me before; I am the same woman. I am the same mother too all of these children and if I can be that lesbian you know now, oh okay if I vote this way then that might actually effect this person that I know, that Meredith.”
While I think that it took great courage to publicly reveal her sexual identity, I long for the day when such an admission is no longer necessary. Who we love should never take precedence over the act of love itself. The fact that gays and lesbians must still declare their sexual preference to the world is a reflection of the hegemony of heterosexism. It saddens me that this is a political act and yet when heterosexuals embark on a relationship together, it is simply considered a natural part of ones life's path.
I remember watching the Ellen interview on Oprah. For the first time images and video from their intimate wedding were made public. When Portia walked onstage, Ellen's whole demeanour changed and you could tell that this woman is the love of her life. It was positively beautiful and yet Oprah kept calling the two of them cute. Though Oprah clearly thought that this was an expression of acceptance, it amounted to the belittling of their relationship.
Accepting gays and lesbians means more than calling them “cute”, it means validating the love that they share with their significant other. These relationships are every bit as serious and meaningful as heterosexual partnerships. Even amongst those who claim to be liberal, a stigma still attaches itself to a gay and lesbian identity. Meredith should have been able to go about her life loving who she chose without having to make a declaration on national television. Heterosexual stars carry on long term relationships constantly without having to appear on television to announce that they are choosing to share their lives with someone. While it makes me happy to know that one of my favourite television moms is enjoying her life, it saddens me to know that it’s considered political act.