Legendary film critic Roger Ebert has written an especially heartfelt piece about encountering same-sex relationships for the first time as a child, and how that perspective has shaped him ever since.
Ebert relives his memory of unfamiliarity with LGBTQ issues in his youth and their lack of mention in family conversations as he grew up. Yet when his mother began to work for and eventually became close friends with a lesbian couple, the support from his family for the couple’s engagement and marriage followed naturally. He emphasizes his mother’s pleasure at smaller details, like the rings Dee and Dollie gave each other, and her lack of interest in what exactly it meant for them to be engaged. Ebert remembers his astonishment at his conservative mother’s casual reaction at two women spending their lives together and goes on to speak of his positive experiences within the LGBTQ community today.
As a group that reports defamation and inaccuracy in media coverage, a part of GLAAD’s mission is to tell the individual stories of real people in an effort to empower them and therefore make media more inclusive. The media can sometimes distance itself from everyday people, and personal perspectives like Ebert’s are integral to continuing conversations that increase understanding and support. Roger Ebert’s story is especially touching and proves that the simple act of LGBT families making friends within a community can have an enormous impact that will be felt for decades.