I've been fortunate that I was not disowned or ridiculed for my sexuality by my family, but we all know too many people that have been cast out of their homes, removed from their families, and separated from their relatives. Maybe it is even you that has been deleted from your loved ones' lives.
Now imagine if you were a member of a family where the father was a conservative radio host whom over the years loved you very openly on his talk show, but once an openness occurred about your sexuality, you were considered an outcast.
Brandi Burgess, daughter of conservative radio host Rick Burgess, shared a heartbreaking story of coming out as bisexual to her family on AL.com this morning. The 27-year-old actress, who currently lives in Philadelphia, describes being rejected and shamed by her father, who’s cohosted Alabama’s The Rick and Bubba Show for over twenty years. The five-hour long radio show, which counts Sean Hannity among its supporters, has long been a beacon of conservative programming.
“It started with my Instagram post at a Pride parade: a picture of a mother holding a sign saying ‘I love my gay son,’” explains Brandi in the emotional op-ed. “I got a text demanding its removal: ‘How dare you compromise my platform!?’, ‘Remember who you represent.’, ‘Are you a gay?’”
After much prayer and contemplation, Brandi explained that she was bisexual. The response, she says, was a “constant barrage of shame.”
"You think you're so mod, so special,” her dad told her. “But you're nothing. You're typical."
“The story my father tells is one of a lost lamb, covered in shame,” she says. “In his public musings, he speaks of my sin. Without my consent, he uses me as a cautionary tale.”
After an emotional conversation with her step-mother, Brandi felt ready to talk to Rick about her relationship with a woman, preparing a speech about “fluidity, non-binary queerness, Lin-Manuel Miranda quotes, etc.” When she met her father at the radio show’s office, however, he was armed with a bible and unwilling to back down. She left profoundly hurt, and more aware than ever of her father’s impact of young listeners in her home state.
After a hard healing process, however, she’s ready to help the countless others who have heard the same or similar hate speech in their communities and are looking for hope. Her message? You’re not alone, no matter what you hear on the radio. – teenvogue.com
Another section of her letter that left my jaw on the keyboard was:
I blocked everyone in my family from my social media because it was "killing my grandmother." I grew silent. I mourned my family. I believed I was selfish, a fraud.
I visited home this summer. I wasn't allowed too close to my siblings, for fear of infecting them with my queerness. – al.com
We think it's brave that Brandi is sharing her story with all. It's important to know that … okay, I'll say it … life does get better.
In talking with those friends that have been disowned from their family, it is obvious that the pain of no longer speaking to their father, mother, or certain siblings is still there. But what many of them come back to is that they definitely need to love themselves. It is their life they need to live, not the lives of others.
Did Brandi's story resonate with you?