Magazine article Out

Shirley, You Can't Be Serious!

Magazine article Out

Shirley, You Can't Be Serious!

Article excerpt

One more thing to love about us homos: Not only do we have the power to create divas with the swish of our hands, but we can also create anti-divas-and we enjoy them almost equally. Last February, when I wrote in this column that the homophobic Fred Phelps Family Band ironically do great things for GLBT rights, I didn't expect that within a couple of months his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, would become the latest antigay anti-diva.

E-mailing Shirley with some follow-up questions shortly after writing that column, it became clear to me that she had a wicked sense of humor that rivaled almost any queen's. After explaining that I was Episcopalian, she wrote, "a gay Episcopalian? Isn't that redundant?" We quickly became BFF pen pals.

Shirley is now being contacted as a reliably humorous pundit by gay publications all over the world, an incredible testament to the power of queers to turn that which oppresses them into that which amuses them. A few weeks ago I was sent a link to an Australian gay publication that had asked Shirley to weigh in alongside more gay-friendly celebs on the gayest song of all time. Her reply:

"I'd have to say the American national anthem-'Star Spangled Banner.'... And 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen comes a close second."

That's seriously funny stuff coming from someone we previously only saw ranting Scripture on Fox News. While the rest of the mainstream straight media is busy debating and screaming at Shirley, the gay media is joking with her. For a truly surreal experience listen to a podcast we did at, where we chat about American Idol and America 's Next Top Model.

Our collective gay history with anti-divas goes way back. Think of Anita Bryant. During an antigay press conference in 1977, a gay activist threw a pie in her face. Before she even had the whipped cream wiped out of her eyes, she deadpanned, "At least it wasn't a fruit pie." C'mon. What gay man didn't see a kindred bitter sister in her after that?

And for years we sat back smirking as we listened to Star Jones-formerly Reynolds-spout antigay Christofanities at us on The View. Privately, we'd already concluded that hubby Al was one of us, and all we had to do was wait for her sham Marriage(TM) to implode. The jokes wrote themselves. It was simply easier to enjoy watching her do herself in than to become outraged by her. …

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