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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED MARCH 13, 2002 12:18:35 ET XXXXX
ROSIE: 'I AM GAY PARENT'; INVITES BUSH TO SPEND WEEKEND
Talkshow Queen Rosie O'Donnell unloads in a high-impact interview with ABC-TV set for air Thursday night [9-11 PM ET].
"I am the gay parent," O'Donnell tells Diane Sawyer on PRIMETIME THURSDAY, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. "...I first fell in love at 20, with a woman."
In the interview, O'Donnell challenges President Bush to spend a weekend with her family, network sources claim.
President Bush has said...I believe children ought to be adopted in families with a woman and a man who are married.
Well, he's wrong. President Bush is wrong about that. He's really wrong. And, you know, he and his wife are invited to come spend a weekend at my house with my children.
The DRUDGE REPORT can now reveal details from the ABC interview.
On why she decided to talk publicly about her experiences as a gay parent:
Part of the reason for doing this interview, I don't think America knows what a gay parent looks like. I am the gay parent. America has watched me parent my children on TV for six years. They know what kind of a parent I am. So when you think of gay parenting, you don't have an image to hold onto. I will be that image, because I am a gay parent...
I was stunned into action. I mean I never knew that there were a half a million kids in foster care in America.... I always thought to use my voice as an advocate for children because...they have no right legally.
On whether her audience is aware that she is gay:
I don't really know... you know, I don't think about that. Everybody who is in my life has always known...So I'm not really sure. You know, it's not something that I'm going to change my show. I mean the only thing different about my show yesterday and the day after this airs, is that now the audience knows one more thing about me. It doesn't make me different than I was the day before. I've just let them in a little bit more. I'm the same person that I was.
You know there are many, many housewives out there who watch the show and who love me. And you know, people had said to me, 'Well, you don't want to do this case because what if they stop watching?" I said I have more faith in them than that. I really do. I think if they felt as though it was a lie, if they felt like I was pretending to be who I am on the show, they would turn away. But I haven't lied to them yet. This is another element that I hadn't shown them. But it was never a lie.
On why she waited to tell her audience about her sexual orientation:
Well, I wanted to make sure, until I was in a committed, long term relationship. I've been in one for about four years. A person I'm going to spend my life with. I wanted to ... to make sure that, um, I was ready to handle whatever it is that comes with this. And I wanted there to be a reason. And the Lofton case, this young boy Bert, ten years old, being threatened to take away from the only family he's known. That's a good reason for me. That's a really good reason. And all those 3,400 children in Florida, it's a really good reason I think. You know, I'm not really doing it for a big coming out thing and I don't begrudge anyone who does that. For some people being gay is a huge challenge in their life. It never was for me. And if it's a big challenge in your life when you finally say it, it's fanfare and trumpets and confetti. It's not that for me. I'm saying it now because I want people to know that I'm the kind of parent that the State of Florida...thinks is unworthy and it's wrong.
On whether her decision to take up this issue is tied to the end of her television show:
Any of this, have anything to do with your decision to leave the show. That you want to take on this issue. Any part of it?
Oh, some of it definitely had to do with my leaving the show. You know, I feel creatively I've done everything that I wanted to do on the program, and, you know, we've had a great run.
On whether her TV show or magazine will change focus:
The magazine will be the same. We take really adult approach. We treat women with respect and dignity and we assume that they're intelligent...It's not going to become the gay "Rosie" magazine and it's not going to be the gay "Rosie O'Donnell show." It's just going to be the "Rosie O'Donnell show."
On how she became involved in the Florida gay adoption case:
When I read it, I thought, my Lord, if somebody came to me now, and said, "Oh, Parker, you know, he's a foster kid? And the parents' rights are terminated. But we're gonna take him now because you're gay," my world would collapse. I'm lucky to have adopted my children, not in the state that I live, Florida. I'm lucky, because otherwise I would be in danger of losing my children.
I said, can you please send me the file on the Loftons. And, [an official] at the ACLU, said, "Okay, but why did you want this?" I said ..."I would like to read their case study. And if it is what I believe it is, I would like to do a national interview in support of them, and identify myself as a gay parent, in the hopes that possibly allowing this child to stay in his family." And they were in shock. The ACLU said, "Are you kidding?" I said "I'm not kidding."
On her right to parent:
I know I'm a really good mother. I know it. I'm a really good mother. And I have every right to parent this child. And I have every right to adopt this other one who I fostered. You know, it takes a lot for a gay person to become and adoptive parent. It takes a lot to become a foster parent. You have to go through all the certification; you have to go through 30 hours of training. You have to really want to save a child who others have deemed unsaveable. And for the State of Florida to tell anyone who's willing, capable, and able to do that, that they're unworthy is wrong.
On the difficulties of being gay:
I don't think you choose whether or not you're gay. Who would choose it? It's a very difficult life. You get socially ostracized. You worry all the time whether or not you're in physical danger if you show affection to your partner. You're worried that you're an outcast with your friends and with your ... society in general. It's a very difficult life. I don't think anyone would choose it.
On when she knew she was gay:
We didn't have a typical house. My mom had died....My dad was not very available...You know, it wasn't the greatest environment...it was never like a priority for me. I never thought about it...I remember driving my car when I got my permit. I was 18 and I was alone and I was like, I totally think I'm gay. Like I said it out loud in the car...just like that it hit me...I first fell in love at 20, with a with a woman and, then I've had lovers who have been men as well. I mean, you know, it took me a while to understand and to figure out all the things that made me me, where I was most comfortable, who I was, and how I was going to define my life. What coat fit me. And I found the coat that fit me.
On going public with her sexuality:
Part of the reason why I've never like said that I was gay until now was because I didn't want that adjective assigned to my name for all of eternity. You know, gay, Rosie O'Donnell. Because it's never in the top ten list of how I identify myself...you know, my childhood was much harder to get through than anything about my sexuality...
It would be a better story, I think, for a lot of gay activists if I had a real, you know, great coming-out story to tell you. I don't. It was never a big deal for me. It remains not a big deal for me. It is not the way that I describe myself. But nor is it a way that I distance myself from. You know, it's been reported in the tabloids for many, many years. Every person in my life, yourself included, knows my partner. I'm in a committed, long-term life relationship. So it's not a surprise to anyone in my life.
On how her partner feels about her speaking out:
Well, she's a very private person, you know....she thinks it's a good thing to do on the whole, but she's like, "I hope they don't expect me to do like an Anne Heche interview"...She's a very intelligent, proper, southern woman. And, you know, this was never what she thought her life would be, with a famous person...we have a wonderful, supportive, loving relationship and she makes me very, very happy. And I am, you know, also talking about it publicly to me is a commitment to how strongly I feel about it. You know, I said to her, you know, as soon as I sit down with Diane, you ain't going nowhere, no matter what you do. Because I do. I feel, I mean but I felt that when we had a child together. When we adopted Blake together. I felt that, a life commitment that I never felt with anyone else. And I was sure enough to know that I can speak about it honestly and openly and without shame. Because it's a very beautiful thing.
On her feelings toward Tom Cruise:
I never once said I want him naked in the bed doing the nasty. I want him to mow my lawn and get me a lemonade. He makes my palms sweat. He makes my heart beat, and I adore him, gay, straight, or somewhere in between, he is the perfect man that ever walked the face of the earth...Some gay rights people, or gay activists have said, "Oh, you're trying to make people think that you're straight by saying that Tom Cruise thing." As if gay people cannot appreciate the aesthetic beauty of somebody of the other gender. That is so untrue. He's absolutely the most handsome, gorgeous, make me blotch man I've ever met in my life. That doesn't mean that that's my sexuality, or that I'm going to end up marrying him or would want to. You know, I've said on my show many times, I don't like him in an adult, sexual, carnal way. I like him like Davy Jones. I used to put his poster on my wall, and kiss it goodnight before I went to bed. That's Tom Cruise to me.
On whether she's experienced discrimination:
Not for being gay. I have to tell you, I never did. I felt the hardest thing in my life to get through was my childhood...A lot of the gay community has really given me a lot of crap in the last, years saying, you know, she's so out. And it's true. I am. I have lived my life very openly and very truthfully. When I was with a man, everyone knew who my partner was. And when I was with a woman, everyone knew who my partner was. There was never any secret or any hiding. There was never any trying to trick anyone. But I never said it, because it never felt to me like a vitally important issue.
On the ability of gay men and lesbians to parent:
I don't think it negates your skills as a parent, if you're homosexual. I do think the kids will get teased and, you know, in some capacity that's very sad, and eventually I think that it will stop. But it will only stop when we see the grown children of gay parents... My children are very happy children. They're well adjusted, they're happy. And would it be easier for them if I were married to a man? It probably would. But as I said to my son, Parker, if you were to have a daddy, you wouldn't have me as a mommy. Because I'm the kind of mommy who wants another mommy. You were born a blondie. I was born a brownie. This is the way mommy got born. He said, "Okay, I'll just keep you."...
On the whole, what people think of is, you know, the gay life style is a lot of party, pretty boys, and South Beach dancing, but those are generally not the people who are applying to adopt. It's people who are settled, who know that the priority in their life is to have a family, to raise a family, to maybe have a family that's happier than the one they grew up in...
I'm not asking that people accept homosexuality. I'm not asking that they believe like I do, that it's inborn. I'm not asking that. All I'm saying is, don't let these children suffer without a family because of your bias, because of Anita Bryant's hate-filled rhetoric. There's no reason for that.
On whether she hopes her kids will be straight:
Yes, I do. I think life is easier if you're straight. I hope that they are genuinely happy, whatever they are. That if they're gay, they know they're gay and they live a happy life. But if I were to pick, would I rather have my children have to go through the struggles of being gay in America, or being heterosexual? I would say heterosexual. Although I think if I could take a pill to make myself straight, I wouldn't do it, because I am who I am, and I've come to this point in my life, and I'm very happy, you know. But it's a lot easier in the world to be heterosexual than it is to be gay.
On being open with her children:
In our house I've just been very open with my children from the beginning. And they ask me anything, and they know that some people don't like people because they're gay. They know that. And some people may say things to tease them because their mommy's gay. But the fact that their mommy's gay doesn't mean that they're going to be gay. And even if they are gay doesn't mean that they're not going to be happy.
On why she is giving up her successful television show:
Their reality is very skewed by my fame. And I think it would be good now, when he's in first grade and my daughter's in pre-K, just to simmer down a little bit...I'm leaving because I feel as though I've done everything I've wanted to do....I will continue to raise money and awareness about the rights of children in a country where they have no rights. And that's what my mission and my life is...This is what I believe my calling is in my life. It's not to be a talk show host. So doing a case like this makes perfect sense for me. Just to bring attention, to say to everyone, I know it's not what you're used to thinking about, I know it makes people uncomfortable. The gay thing. But the parents that they're talking about who are not good enough, it's me. It's me. So you've seen how I love my children. You've seen how I care for my children and talk about my children on a daily basis for six years. When you think about those gay parents, think about me. Because it is me.
Filed By Matt Drudge
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