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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zach Wahls on David Letterman

Posted by on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM

The wonderfully articulate son of lesbian moms (and new author) chats with David Letterman about bullying and homophobia, and it's kind of amazing: Wahls is so naturally empathetic towards those who might disagree with him/his family, it gives Letterman a chance to come out swinging.

Also, I don't want to be one of those people who, like, survives life in a gulag and then remains forever and inordinately amazed by life outside the gulag—"Sandwich wrap? We didn't have that in the gulag!!!"—but as someone who grew up gay in Texas in the 1980s, I'd like to say that I never thought I'd live to see the day when the accomplished son of lesbian moms discusses homophobia on television with David Letterman. Good work, human progress.

Thank you, Towleroad.

 

Comments (13) RSS

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1

Now if Letterman can get over his own misogyny.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
2
"I don't want to be one of those people who, like, survives life in a gulag and then remains forever and inordinately amazed by life outside the gulag".

Fucking brilliant. I'm right there with you.
Posted by gloomy gus on April 24, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
3
He (Zach) seems like such a self-assured, amazing person. He really comes across well.
Posted by MLM on April 24, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
4
"—but as someone who grew up gay in Texas in the 1980s, I'd like to say that I never thought I'd live to see the day when the accomplished son of lesbian moms discusses homophobia on television with David Letterman. Good work, human progress."

Amen! I'm beginning to appreciate why the older activists in ANY civil rights struggle - feminists, African-Americans, GLBTs - overwhelmingly tend to be so much more optimistic and less angry than the young firebrands. We've SEEN the arc of history, we've seen how far we've come in our own lifetimes, and thus we KNOW that progress is not only possible but inevitable.

(Note: this theory doesn't explain Larry Kramer, who manages to keep a full tank of righteous outrage even after all these years. God love him, I envy him that sometimes.)
Posted by Pope Buck I on April 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
seandr 5
LOL on the sandwich wrap.

People of our age had the privilege of witnessing an enormous transformation in attitudes towards gays, and I often find myself amazed when I remember what things were like in the 80's.
Posted by seandr on April 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 6
I'm with you too. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and young gay people amaze me now. And Zach Wahls. When I was his age I was in the military, and paranoid that I'd be found out, because at that time I would have been imprisoned. At that age the thought of speaking out so articulately and stridently was so far outside my reality... I'm just floored watching stuff like this. When my partner and I got together over 20 years ago, we just assumed we would forever be "housemates" under the law. The very notion of any sort of legal recognition for our relationship didn't exist. We were still fighting for the right not to be fired for being gay. Nobody even talked about gay marriage.

We once talked about adopting. One of the reasons we decided not to go ahead was because we were afraid of how it might impact the kid to have 2 dads. Now watching Zach I can't help think our fears were wrongheaded. If we had adopted, our child would probably be about his age now. *sigh*

Dave, your comment about life outside the gulag is amazingly astute. It is really hard to see past our childhood traumas and realize it is a different world now.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on April 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Stiny 7
RePo @6,

You and your partner would doubtless have made better parents than half the dipshits out there who DO have children.

It burns me up that people who want to have children and who would devote their resources to being good parents would be denied that right because of what's between their legs, while millions of children (most of whom are the products of unplanned/undesired pregnancies) languish in foster homes live in marginally (dys)functional families that can't give them a good environment.
Posted by Stiny on April 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Vince 8
I like that his parents taught him to stand up to bullies. Teach your children to keep their power and not let others steal it.
Posted by Vince on April 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
9
@8 Yeah, I would have liked to hear him expound on what some of those tools were.
Posted by paulus on April 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
David Schmader 10
9: He got a little into it, mentioning turning attention back to the bully, and not letting bystanders be bystanders, but letting them know they're an active part of the bullying.
Posted by David Schmader on April 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
11
See this is what happens when we let the gays raise kids!
Posted by Democrat1234 on April 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
David Schmader 12
(And thanks for the words, GG and RP.)
Posted by David Schmader on April 24, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 13
Dave seems to have come a long way on this issue. I remember a monologue or two that came very close to crossing the classic homophobia line. I can't blame him too much though because many comedians back a few years ago used gay people as their punch line. Most know better now.

And Dave, I worked in Houston and Galveston in '85-'87 and I know EXACTLY of what you speak. You had to be very careful what you said and how you looked. I was fired from a part-time weekend job at a Texas City hospital because one of the patients there (a young woman surrounded by men in cowboy regalia) complained - after seeing my pierced ear - that she was afraid of catching AIDS when I drew her blood for the lab.

We have come a long way. But I hoped on a plane to Seattle shortly thereafter - and I really don't want to go back to Texas for any reason. Glad you are here with us.
Posted by Bauhaus I on April 24, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this

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