Melissa Etheridge is quite a mother, and she proved it last Saturday night at the Family Equality Council Los Angeles Awards Dinner, held at Universal Studio’s Globe Theatre. While her fiancé beamed from the audience, Etheridge took the stage and teased the crowd, strumming her guitar, as she launched into tale after tale of motherhood.
The legendary rocker joked with the audience about how good it was to be at the event, which celebrates gay-parented families.
“I’ve got two teens and two seven-year-olds. I don’t go out and do anything anymore. I’m too tired.”
Etheridge then reminisced about the media clamor 17 years ago when she was one of the first gay moms to come out; and she remarked about the commonness today of families headed by gay and lesbian parents.
“Is it just me, but are we everywhere?” Etheridge laughed.
She then told a story about going to Lulu Lemon recently to get a pair of soccer shorts for her daughter. The sales clerk, a young woman, showered Etheridge with praise for coming out as a lesbian mother. The young woman was herself raised by two moms, she had just bought her moms tickets to Etheridge’s show.
Etheridge may have been one of the first to go public, but gay parents were in no shortage at the awards event. Funny man and gay dad Alec Mapa of Ugly Betty fame emceed the event of more than 300 gay parents and their supporters.
Honorees of the evening were Peter Paige & Bradley Bredeweg, creators of ABC Family’s groundbreaking drama series The Fosters, produced by Jennifer Lopez, about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms; and Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mom honored for her advocacy after being removed from her leadership position with Boy Scouts of America because she is gay.
One of the poignant moments of the evening was a short, heartfelt speech by a gay dad whose home was repeatedly vandalized and his children harassed because neighbors in his small Arizona town learned that the household was headed by two dads. As a show of support, the two fathers and their family were treated by Family Equality Council to a vacation in Provincetown for the organization’s annual Family Week.
“Instead of being hated for being a two-dad family, we were embraced,” he said, choking back tears.
As he accepted his award, Paige survey the audience of mostly thirty-something and middle-age mom and dads and remarked, “It’s staggering that anyone could be threatened by anything happening in the this room. Its appalling and it has to stop.”
The message of the evening was that gay parents are just regular moms and dads, trying to do laundry, get their kids dressed and ready for school, and all the other mundane but normal things that other families do.
As Alec Mapa summed up, “We want the same things, but we’re gay, so we want nicer things.”
Also on hand at the event were Orange is the New Black’s Laura Prepon Scandal’s Dan Bucatinsky, David Miller, and Casey Bloys, Darren Criss and Amber Riley of Glee, Adam Lambert, Glee creator Ryan Murphy, actress Busy Phillips, and the cast of ABC’s Scandal including Scott Foley, Tony Goldwyn and Jeff Perry; Tim Allen, Pauley Perrette (NCIS), George Takei, Harold Perrineau, Aisha Tyler, Kathleen Robertson, Tuc Watkins, Alex Newell (Glee), Tamara Barney and Heather Dubrow of Real Housewives of Orange County, Carlon Gebbia and Joyce Giraud, and Yolanda Foster of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Dale Dickey, Debbie Holliday, Amanda Bearse, and the cast of ABC Family’s The Fosters including Maia Mithcell, David Lambert, Cierra Ramirez, Jake T. Austin, Danny Nucci and Hayden Byerly.