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08/26/2009

All the (equal rights-deprived) world's a stage

by Jeremy Hooper

There are some careers that are undeniably, inextricably linked to the LGBT community. Fields that are teeming with gays at every rank, from entry-level to top dog. Lines of work in which anti-gay bias is not merely a socio-political reality that graces the American landscape, but rather a deeply personal, deeply hurtful affront to friends, colleagues, bosses, loved ones, and selves. Theatre is one such world.

Before launching G-A-Y, this writer worked on Broadway. My world was filled with gay-headed families of every variety, many of whom had achieved astronomical professional success in their careers. Yet despite their achievements and accolades -- and regardless of how many heterosexuals their words, music, or scripts may have delighted over the years -- these accomplished pros, like all LGBT people, have never known a world where their bonds are fully protected or their existences fully respected. Creativity can create a two hour staged illusion, but it cannot change reality.

So since the Broadway world is one of America's most LGBT-filled professional environments, it's no surprise that there is a heightened passion for gay causes among this community. We've seen this advocacy come even more into prominence in the eye-opening wake of Prop 8, with groups like Broadway Impact cropping up to stem the tide of anti-gay activism. It's because the theatre community is so rich and fulfilled, with LGBT people contributing so much to this richness and fulfillment, that the men and women who live, work, and play in this world simply cannot stomach the constant attacks on the "lifestyle" that they know as "life."

So what if you were a theatre professional whose mother spends her every day gunning for LGBT rights? Might it bother you that as you try to carve out a path that is so rich in gay history, your matriarch is working to carve away the gains that gay people have made? When you appear in theatrical satires like Sodom: The Musical (a production that starred Village People singer Randy Jones), might it concern you that the person you most want to see in the audience, smiling and applauding, is someone who regularly goes on CNN to non-satricailly deny Mr. Jones (and various other production members) of their civil equality? And since your mom has dedicated her adult life to countering equal rights, might you see a principled need to step up and say, "Hey, wait just a minute, mama?!"


Well, you'll have to ask Maggie Gallagher's son for yourself. Only he knows the answers to these questions.

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Your thoughts

Wow. Poor guy.

Posted by: Garet | Aug 26, 2009 9:24:11 AM

Wow. The resemblance is uncanny, too.

Posted by: Christopher™ | Aug 26, 2009 11:43:57 AM

Where did you see a picture, Christopher?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 26, 2009 11:46:52 AM

I just looked "Patrick Gallagher" up on IMDB, and then did a Google search for a variety of movie and play premieres to make sure it was the same person.

Posted by: Christopher™ | Aug 26, 2009 12:39:47 PM

Christopher: That's not the same one. The one who was in Night At the Museum and is currently in "Glee"? That's not him.

Although there is certainly a physical similarity.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 26, 2009 12:45:27 PM

You know what... you're right. He grew up in Canada. So it couldn't be him.

Sorry for the false alarm. Although they do look a lot alike.

Posted by: Christopher™ | Aug 26, 2009 12:50:33 PM

So, maybe I'm dense, but does The Gagger have a gay son? Who is also involved in the theater? He would be (I guess) in his twenties?? early thirties?? When is his tell-all book coming out?

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 26, 2009 1:28:50 PM

Dick: Maggie has a son who is in theater. He was in the off-Broadway production of "Sodom: The Musical", a satirical take on the S&G story that starred Village People singer Randy Jones.

That's the bulk of what I know.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 26, 2009 1:37:00 PM

So, yes, it is official: I am dense! Thank you for clearing that up.

Did he play the part of the gas-bag in the blue dress going around rattling, hissing and spitting venom at all things LGBT? Oh, no, wait.. I think his mother beat him out for that role.

But, unless he is a raging homophobe himself, there still may be a good book in it.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 26, 2009 2:17:38 PM

I've known Patrick for years. He's a very talented guy and quite likable as well. His mother's public position is something she has to answer for, not him. I love my parents, but we have some very strong disagreements on some political matters. I can understand outing someone who is privately gay but publicly takes an anti-gay stance. But outing someone who is straight because he works in a field with many gays and his mother is anti-gay rights? I don't see the point. There's no hypocrisy, only guilt by association.

Posted by: DaveS | Aug 26, 2009 2:23:06 PM

Well Dave, let's be very clear here. There's no "outing" going on. Unless, of course, one sees being in the theatre as a bad thing.

If we tell you that Meryl Streep's daughter is in the theater, is that outing? No! The same goes with Patrick. We were tipped off to the fact, and we put it out there. He, by nature of appearing in this public business in public productions, has made himself a semi-public figure.

And as for the point: That maybe, just maybe, someone who works closely with the LGBT community would see a need to take a stand against a family member's very hurtful activism! If Patrick were to come out and say, "I adore my mother but she's WRONG on this," he could do more to stop NOM's agenda than all of us put together! It's his prerogative not to. Nut we are well within our rights to raise these questions!

You are 100% right that the child does not have to answer for the sins of the mother. But we can wish and hope that the child might help us stop his mother from her career of using our love to brand us as "sinners."

But we're thrilled to hear he's a good guy. We never doubted as much.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 26, 2009 2:51:01 PM

I'm on the fence about outing. Those who are privately gay and publicly anti-gay are an easy call - out them. Those privately gay and closeted (but not anti-gay) - no outing - but encourage them to come out.

If Maggie's son is gay, I think it is somehow relevant, as it would expose a deeper personal agenda or motivation than we had thought. She should then be hammered with questions about her efforts to control her son's life and how that squares with "family values." If Patrick is gay and is outed against his will, he should blame his mother. Patrick is just one person, while his mother is waging a vicious campaign against every gay person in the US.

By the way, does anyone know if Patrick's surname is Gallagher, Srivastav, or something else?

Posted by: Richard Rush | Aug 26, 2009 5:15:00 PM

Richard: Patrick Gallagher identifies as straight. We have no reason or desire to dispute that.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 26, 2009 5:24:14 PM

By "outing," I did not mean to suggest Pat is gay - he's not - or that he was outed as an actor. I meant he was outed as Maggie's son. My point is that like everyone else, Pat is faced with choices about how active to be about his beliefs. I think you were trying to pressure him to do something that the rest of us do not get pressured to do. It would be nice if we all devoted more attention to making the world a fairer place. I can't say I do as much as I should, or that my actions match my strong feelings on the subject. But does Pat deserve to be confronted, as he now might, more than the rest of us, about what he thinks and whether he should try to embarrass Mom? I don't think so.

I also think you exaggerate the significance of Maggie Gallagher's straight son publicly saying he disagrees with Mom. Who would care? It would be a little more significant if Pat were gay and came out, but still not as significant as Dick Cheney's daughter. But a straight son? So what? NOM would survive, and Prop 8 still would have passed.

Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh on you. I can understand your antipathy toward Maggie, and this world is changing for the better -- too slowly -- more because of people like you than people like me. Still, I think this indirect attack is unwarranted.

Posted by: DaveS | Aug 26, 2009 9:34:28 PM

Dave: I don't think you're being "Harsh" at all. I just think you're inaccurately sizing up the situation.

I dare you to show me where the "attack" lies. Patrick is in the theatre. Maggie is an anti-gay activist. Both of them, to varying degrees, are in the public spectrum. All this post did was make note of these facts, of which we only just became aware. And form those facts, I put forth a few simple questions. The answers could very well be "No," in all instances -- I have in now way suggested one possible outcome! But what is unfair is to act as if asking these questions was somehow wrong!

As for what he could do: I think you underestimate the worth here. I'm nto sure if you are aware of the extent to which Maggie Gallagher currently influences the gay rights debate in this country, but if you ever want me to clue in, please let me know. I mean that sincerely, as I have an EXTENSIVE library of most every appearance, musing, essay, etc. that she has put forth on the subject. For modern gay rights activists, Maggie Gallagher has become *THE* face of those who are seeking to deny equality. If her own son, by virtue of his own life experiences, took a stand for what is fair and right, it absolutely could be a powerful statement. And beyond that: If he considers the denial of LGBT equality to be a detriment (and I'm not even sure if he does), then I would think that he might have a desire to speak up simply out of principle! I know I would. In fact -- I HAVE! I told my own tale of parental conflict on national TV (2006 on PBS) because it was crucial to my story as an activist!!

So bottom line: Whether or not Patrick cares to ever address any of this is his prerogative. But as long as he takes part in a public exercise like the theatrical arts, and as long as his mother takes part in a public exercise like anti-gay punditry, then it is perfectly fair for someone (especially a lover of both the theatre and the gays) to say, "Hey - -did you know that he's related to her?" People can and they will. And some would argue that for a principled gay person or ally, the acknowledgement and related questioning is actually more like a MUST!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 26, 2009 10:06:28 PM

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