I have a habit of dropping ideas into my draft folder and then forgetting to come back to them. There’s a dozen or so sitting in there I decided I’m due for a round of spring cleaning.
This link from last October winds up being somewhat topical after this weekend’s gender identity conference. about Kelly McGillis finally marrying her same-sex partner and why she waited nearly 30 years to admit in public that she was gay.
Their affair had long been the source of fevered rumour, with reports that the couple — who met when Kelly was still married to her second husband, millionaire Fred Tillman — were often to be seen walking hand-in-hand around the quiet town of Collingswood, where the actress has lived for the past two years.
Now, with extraordinary courage, the publicity-shy star has admitted she hid her sexuality after becoming convinced she was being ‘punished by God’ for being gay.
It led, she says, to her falling into two disastrous marriages, and numbing the guilt over her secret life with years of alcoholism and drug-taking.
So why has she finally chosen to own up to her relationship with Miss Leis, which for so long she insisted on shrouding in mystery?
‘I drank a lot. I couldn’t eat. I twitched incessantly and I had nightmares. Because I was so afraid to go to sleep at night, I would drink’
The answer, say those who know her, is that Miss McGillis, who also starred in Hollywood hits such as Witness and The Accused, has finally come to terms with a harrowing rape ordeal that she believed was her penitence for her sexuality.
Isn’t that terrible? She was with a woman lover in 1982 when two guys broke into the apartment, then insulted, assaulted, and finally raped the couple.
It wasn’t an easy job ignoring the woman she loved so that nobody would suspect she loved one.
According to friends of the couple, it has long been a volatile affair, with the lovers splitting up several times during the almost ten years they have been together.
The relationship also came under strain, sources close to them in the U.S. say, because of the actress’s refusal to acknowledge publicly Miss Leis as her partner. ‘My kids have always been very understanding,’ Miss McGillis said this week. ‘But it was their friends, and their friends’ parents, that weren’t very accepting. My kids suffered a great deal because I was with Mell, and that bothered me a lot, and so I chose never to talk about it’.
Others might speculate that her reticence was also, in part, down to the fear that it could affect her chances of resurrecting her once-stellar career.
She counsels at a women’s prison now, talking with those in for drug and alcohol reasons. Her rapist is also in prison somewhere; a cold case detective tracked him down due to a second attack he perpetrated more than a decade ago. He’s currently serving a 50 year sentence.
Is it any different for gays and lesbians wanting roles in movies and television now? Does it make it easier when people like Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris openly admit their sexual preferences, or are there still a lot of stars who want to keep their sexuality off camera?
I’m also curious if McGillis hung onto any of the religious stuff that led her to think she was being punished with gayness. It sounds like she’s gotten over the sense that she’s somehow a disappointment in God’s eyes, but does she still believe in one, or has she left that behind now?