Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why gay men love Tammy Faye!

I'm mourning the loss of Tammy Faye. Not because I'm religious - I'm not. Not because she was larger than life - she was. Not because she was a camp classic - that's a given. I'm mourning Tammy Faye because she was a televangelist/religious personality who didn't discriminate against gay people. She embraced them and shared her love with them.

Tammy Faye didn't play it safe when it came to gay people. On her PTL show she embraced gay men who were dying of AIDS - she didn't call it "God's wrath"like her contemporaries were doing. She was there to hold a hand and offer comfort.

Later Tammy hosted a show called "The Jim J. and Tammy Faye show" with openly gay (and flamboyant) Jim J. Bullock. It was hilarious to watch him make off color remarks and her go "Oh Jim!". They obviously got along great and I thought it was hilarious. (No one else watched it was gone in a flash)

She also appeared on "The Surreal Life" a reality show where "D-list" stars live together in a house. She got along with people like porn star Ron Jeremy and anger prone Vanilla Ice. She was very accepting and motherly to all of them. By the end they were all sad to leave her. She had that supportive way about her.

Tammy befriended 2 gay filmmaker Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato. They made a documentary about her called "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" . She did lots of interviews with the gay press to promote it - always talking about love and acceptance.

Perhaps the thing that says the most about Tammy Faye Bakker is how her son Jay Bakker turned out. He rebelled against his father and family, became an addict, got lots of tattoos & piercings. He eventually cleaned up and decided he also wanted to minister but to people like himself. He started preaching in bars to the punk rockers, goth kids and tattoed outsiders.

Jay started to get a decent following and religious organizations started to fund his church. Jay met with a gay person who said they didn't attend church because they weren't welcomed there. Jay then had a revelation that this anti-gay stance the church has is un-Christian and morally wrong. Christianity should be a place of acceptance for all people.

When Jay told his congregation of his change of heart, it didn't go over well, it also didn't go well with the people funding his church. They pulled all of their money. Jay tried to spread his message of tolerance on speaking engagments but congregations didn't want to hear his message about accepting gays. (You could hear the crickets chipring at one African American church) Jay stuck to his beliefs, pretty much lost everything and had to start over.

When Jay told Tammy about what was happening she hugged him and told him to keep doing what is right. Despite everything Tammy did raise a nice boy and a good man.

I'm sad to see Tammy Faye's big heart disappear from this world.


Westcott Ruth said...

It's nice to see at least one TV evangalist go to heaven. The world will be a little less fabulous and outragous without Tammy Faye.

David Neubecker said...

Daddy say's everytime a bell rings, and angel gets her eyelashes. RIP Tammy Faye

NotShyChiRev said...

The good news is that Jay's group is growing and doing much better these days. I totally agree with your read on her...a great big, eye-shadowed pool of love and acceptance.@