The Advocate (Guin Turner interviews her mom) October 1997
The Advocate – Life in the Turner Family – October 28th 1997
I grew up in a commune, isolated from the rest of the world. After I left, at age 12, I put so much energy into trying to fit in that I took a long time to realize I was different in more ways than just my upbringing. I was about 13 when I first asked my mom, “what would you do if I turned out to be gay?”
Her response was, “I would think I had done something seriously wrong with your upbringing.” This disturbed me, not because I thought I was gay but because it was such an uncharitable opinion coming from a woman who otherwise wanted to save the whales and the crack babies of the world.
I was 18 when I first nervously acted on my jumbled attractions and 21 when I decided I was all-the-way gay. My mothers reaction ranged from “I’ve made such bad choices in my life; how can I judge your choices?” to “No-one in this family is normal; why would I expect you to be?” Both of which are barbed forms of acceptance but niether of which is a bad start. I think she’s now starting to feel that it makes her cool and in the know.
My father, well, I never really told him straight up. I made Go Fish; he saw it and said it had “the real makings of a cult classic”. I got videotaped without my knowledge drunk in a taxicab coming on to the female driver. It was on TV. He wrote me a card saying “Caught you on late-night TV. Talk about a coincidence! And talk about wasted”. So all i can say is, I guess he knows, and if it really upset him, he would have said something by now.
(the rest of the interview consists of Guinevere interviewing her mother and is quite interesting)
Guinevere: Did you know I was gay before I told you?
Guin: Never crossed your mind?
Mom: Truly didn’t. Never crossed my mind at all. the context in which you told me was a letter and what you said was “I think I might be”. So I didn’t know what to make of it.
Guin: So that doesn’t really count as my telling you I was gay does it?
Mom: No. I mean I guess you never told me. The next time I remember talking about it was when you went to a company dinner with Rose.
Guin: Given that, how did you feel when you realised I was gay?
Mom: You do have feelings, whether in a moment or over time. It’s disorientating. But when I thought about it, it’s like, I’m not homophobic. Some of my closest friends throughout my life have been gay. I have no moral judgement. If you can find happiness in a loving relationship with anyone, who am I to judge who that person might be?
Guin: So did you feel responsible for my being gay?
Mom: No. I wondered because we were struggling with so many other issues whether you were saying you were gay just to act out.
Guin: Who was the first person you talked to when I told you?
Mom: I don’t even remember. Undoubtedly Nils (husband). I remember being a little stressed about telling granny.
Guin: How did she react?
Mom: She just accepted it. I took the Vogue with you and Rose in it and gave it to her. She read the article and said “So is she?” and I said “Yeah”. And that was it.
Guin: How do you feel now?
Mom: After you said you might be gay, I didn’t see you for a long time until you showed up with Go Fish. You were clearly well adjusted, within limits, deeply involved in this culture, strongly committed to presenting it. What was I going to think? I guess this is who she is.