Now this was a blast from the past! Blair Warner’s cousin Geri is gay! I don’t think I ever actually knew her real name until now but I sure recognized her immediately as I was a loyal, every-day-after-school Facts of Life watcher. Ah, Jo!
After reading the Daily Mail article about her coming out in her new memoir, I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond (ECW Press, April 2011) among other revelations, I was pretty stunned by the vitriol in some of the comments:
“And this is news how? Like we couldn’t guess she was a lesbian (along with Rosie O’Donnell)? No one cared back then and no one cares now….”
Well someone’s bitter. I mean, if you’re not interested, don’t buy the book. That’s easy. What’s hard is writing a memoir and revealing yourself so publicly. Like most memoirists, celebrity, “celebrity,” or regular person, she probably wrote it for herself, to help others, to illuminate some aspect of the human condition or some combination of the three.
You don’t see many people knocking Alison Bechdel or Jeanette Winterson for writing their memoirs and while those could be called literary or brilliantly written, something a lot of memoirs just aren’t, it doesn’t mean they have no value or that people won’t care or that simply telling your story and revealing yourself doesn’t have inherent value.
There are too few stories of lesbian experiences out there—and I hazard to guess the same is true of performers with cerebral palsy—and we need them.
So, all you memoirists out there, keep writing. I know I’ll be reading.