Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Meredith Baxter Comes Out as a Lesbian

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I don't know if you can see this Facebook conversation (Link Here), but it's about Meredith Baxter, who played the mom on the 80s TV show Family Ties, revealing that she's a lesbian. According to Lisa Durden, the thread's originator, Perez Hilton outed Baxter when he revealed she was on a "gay" cruise.

This morning on The Today Show, Matt Lauer, interviewing Baxter said the cruise was with 1200 lesbian women. Baxter told Matt Lauer how she realized she was in love with a woman, and also says that she's a very private person who didn't want her private life tossed into the spotlight like this. Also, she says that she's not political, but she's been told her story and circumstance is very much so.

The question on everyone's mind is how could Meredith not know she was gay all these years? The actress says she didn't realize that she preferred women sexually until 7 years ago.

Oprah covered this topic of sexual preference late in age back in March under Women Leaving Men for Other Women. You can see other women who've had a Baxter-like life change at Oprah, and also the About.com Oprah section has a summary of that show and the O Magazine article on which it was based, She's So Fine, and "sexual fluidity."

Read more about Meredith's outing at the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Abiola Abrams at The Examiner also has a round up of comments, such as Sherri Shepherd from The View wondering if Baxter's husband will think he made her gay.

Denise at BlogHer.com tells in a forum post why Baxter's news is important to her.
Baxter is like a lot of women her age, they were married several times and it never occurred to them that their failed and unhappy marriages were due to being with the wrong gendered partner. This is a story that isn't told very often. It's a story that an entire generation of women haven't heard or have only begun to guess at. Hearing that story is important to our community.

Watch her face when Matt intros her and leaves her to say "I'm a lesbian" - see that deer in the headlights look? That's real. That's something that an awful lot of us recognize in ourselves and in others. She may be comfortable with her own sexuality and happy in her relationship, but there's still a stigma attached to saying it out loud whether you're on morning TV or in your living room or the office. (Denise)
Some people don't buy the "I didn't realize I was gay until I was 50" proclamations because for years we've heard you're born gay and know your sexual orientation at an early age. They'd prefer to believe that people like Baxter have been lying to themselves for decades. Baxter has been married three times and has what she calls "a slew of children." On Family Ties she played a really cool mom that seemed the epitome of a modern, well-adjusted wife.

Unrelated but that show, by the way, had one of the best opening theme songs ever.

1 comment:

SusanGabriel said...

I wrote a novel about a woman coming out late-in-life called Seeking Sara Summers. For these women it isn't about getting their 15 minutes of fame (a criticism of Meredith Baxter on another site), it's about getting a life. I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage to simply be who you are.