Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Celebrating the end of Prop 8 with "The Birdcage"

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, The Birdcage
Tonight, in celebration of the overturning of Prop 8 in California, Mike, Ren and I sat down and watched The Birdcage again... 

Back in 1996 when The Birdcage came out I was in my second semester of my junior year of college (well, year 3 of 5 anyway) and was a few months away from my first real performance in college... coincidently La Cage aux Folles.

I was still an art major and had been out for just a couple of years when, seeing the trailer, hurried to pick up my mom and take her to the movies with me.

I was a little nervous... here was this mainstream movie about two gay men, raising a son and dealing with the problems wrought when said son's fiancĂ©e invites her conservative, right wing parents to South Beach to meet the family.  The world had not had a huge number of major gay characters yet.  Yes, just a few years before there had been both The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Too Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar... neither of which were huge financial successes (Priscilla made $11 million in the U.S. while Too Wong Foo made a little over $36 million in the U.S.)  But The Birdcage, with its all-star cast and huge marketing budget, was able to make over $126 million dollars in the States.

And there I sat, with my mom, in a dark theatre in Sevierville, Tennessee, almost 21 years old, I realized that I was in a really amazing moment.  My mom, who had thankfully always been supportive, was laughing hysterically at the movie, dancing in her seat to the music and, after leaving the theatre, quoted quips like she'd had months of rehearsal.

She loved it and I loved that we had just seen this movie without any awkwardness (regardless of my early nerves).  Somehow I had anticipated weirdness where we would have to discuss whether I would have children, marry a drag queen or deal with homophobic Republicans.  But the worry was all pretend... I should have known that it was no big deal because my mom always made me comfortable being me (and encouraged it fully... even when I wasn't ready... more on that in a future post.)

So, after 14 years, it amazes me that our country has not yet fully embraced how normal it really is like my mom had.  But thanks to a logical and pragmatic justice in California we may finally be on the road to reality.  

America... we're getting there - step by step.  I just wish that our country didn't have to pussy-foot around.  If my mom were around today she'd likely be furious with our country and ask, "Why can't we skip the trailers and get on with the feature presentation?!"


Joan Aardvark said...

This was so wonderfully honest and brought a tear to my eye. That movie is one of my favorites and your mother sounds wonderful! She is just the type of mother I aspire to be to Zane. Thank you for sharing.

Thomas said...

Aw, thanks Amy! I have no doubt you are and will continue to be Zane's hero. :)