It was early, early this morning when I heard it on NPR. They had chosen Richard Blanco as poet for President Obama’s second inauguration. The announcer said, “He is Cuban-American and gay,” so I got really excited. Then the interview began. With his lovely lilting voice (Harvey Fierstein lite) Richard talked about how proud he is to be an American, about how, when he was 7, he tried to convince his family to eat turkey, not pork, on Thanksgiving. He read a poem, lovely and patriotic to the core. There were lots of words like “identity” and “pride” tossed here and there. But no one mentioned the word “gay” — no questions from the interviewer; no mention from the gay poet.
Why? Did they agree not to discuss IT or did IT just not happen, as in “better not bring THAT up. I was disappointed — sad actually. As a parent of a gay son, I felt proud and I wanted to hear how he felt about being a gay poet given this great honor.
Then I started imagining a mother taking her gay teen to school and listening to the radio. I imagined the child getting excited. “WOW– he’s gay! Yep, I know that voice. Hey! No mention about his being gay – Bummer!” (or whatever disappointed teens say these days).