Saturday, January 05, 2013

Robert De Niro is a QueerSpawn

Robert De Niro is a name that most people know. Whether it is as a director, producer or actor in such films as The Godfather II, Mean Streets, Raging Bull or Cape Fear, to just name a few.

Born, August 17, 1943, in Greenwich Village,[2] New York City, the son of Virginia Holton Admiral, a painter and poet, and Robert De Niro, Sr., a gay abstract expressionist painter and sculptor.

Growing up in New York’s Little Italy – a few blocks away from Martin Scorsese – De Niro was nicknamed ‘Bobby Milk’ for his pale skin. He and Marty saw each other several times in the neighborhood, but never spoke until being introduced at a party in 1972. One year later, Mean Streets began their eight-movie (so far) director/star collaboration.

De Niro’s capital ventures have included: cofounding the film studio TriBeCa Productions, the Tribeca Film Festival, Nobu and TriBeCa Grill.

De Niro and his first wife Diahnne Abbott have a son, Raphael, a former actor who works in New York real estate. De Niro also adopted Abbott's daughter from a previous relationship, Drena.

De Niro has twin sons, Julian Henry and Aaron Kendrik, conceived by in vitro fertilization and delivered by a surrogate mother in 1995, from a long-term live-in relationship with former model Toukie Smith.

In 1997, De Niro married his second wife, actress Grace Hightower, at their Marbletown home. Their son Elliot was born in 1998 and the couple split in 1999. The divorce was never finalized and in 2004 they renewed their vows. In December 2011, Hightower and De Niro welcomed a daughter, Helen Grace, born via surrogate.

In addition to his six children De Niro has three grandchildren – one from his eldest daughter Drena and two from his son Raphael.

De Niro gets his perfectionism from his father. Robert De Niro Sr was an acclaimed Expressionist painter who studied his subjects in depth and repainted canvases hundreds of times. A 2004 biography claimed Robert Sr – who split from his wife when Robert Jr was two – was actually gay and had affairs with Tennessee Williams and Jackson Pollock.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Liza Glendevon was a QueerSpawn

 Born Mary Elizabeth Maugham (full name was Mary Elizabeth Maugham Paravicini Hope, Baroness Glendevon) was the only child of William Somerset Maugham, perhaps the century's grumpiest writer, and Syrie, his wife turned society decorator. Her parents married in 1917, after her mother's divorce from the British pharmaceuticals magnate Henry Wellcome. Her mother was a daughter of orphanage founder Thomas John Barnardo. She was known as Liza, after her father's first successful novel, Liza of Lambeth.

Liza grew up in a unique environment: Noel Coward (who called her Liza Boo) composing songs in her mother's house, Cecil Beaton photographing her, and Beverly Nichols gossiping about her. "Liza is a perfect darling," effused Beaton of the 13-year-old. "I adore her. She is unique, wise, sophisticated and yet very childish." David Herbert declared unequivocally that Syrie's "adoration of Liza was touching and her whole life revolved around her".

Liza also was the plaintiff in one of the most celebrated family-law trials of the early 1960s, when she fought her celebrated father's unsuccessful attempt to prove that she was not his child. She could not understand what had turned her father against her. "Dearest Daddy, you are making me quite miserable by refusing to see me . . . How can you suddenly turn on me when I have done absolutely nothing?" The situation may have been explained by a bitter comment made by Maugham to Alan Searle: "The trouble with those two [the John Hopes] is that they're too damned happy"; and by the fact that Maugham was already suffering the effects of Alzheimer's.

In his memoir Looking Back (1962) Somerset Maugham denied paternity of Liza. Around the same time, he attempted to have her disinherited in order to adopt his male secretary, suggesting that she was actually the child of Syrie Maugham and Henry Wellcome. The subsequent 21-month court case, fought in British and French courts, determined that Maugham was her biological father, and the author was legally barred from his adoption plans.

Elizabeth Mary Maugham: born Rome 1 September 1915; married 1936 Vincent Paravicini (one son, one daughter; marriage dissolved), 1948 Lord John Hope (created 1964 Baron Glendevon, died 1996; two sons); died Hopetoun, Lothian 27 December 1998.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zach Wahls is a QueerSpawn

It is not often the famous offspring of LGBT parents are actually famous because of their parents’ sexual orientation, but that is the case for Zach Wahls. Born Zacharia Wahls in Iowa on July 19, 1991 to lesbian parents Terry Wahls and Jackie Reger. Zach has one sister, Zebby. Zach burst onto the scene when he got up to testify before the Iowa House of Representatives. He had no idea what was in store for him. After simply sharing his story and explaining his thoughts on why same-gender marriage is constitutionally protected, and ought to remain so, a video of his testimony made its way–unbeknownst to Zach–onto YouTube. Over the course of that week, the testimony proceeded to go ludicrously viral, landing Zach appearances on MSNBC, CNN and the Ellen DeGeneres Show, with various iterations of the video racking up some two million hits on YouTube. On leave from his environmental engineering studies at the University of Iowa, he’s doing his best to juggle his various ongoing projects with his passion for seeing full marriage equality both protected in Iowa and secured in other states. Zach is trying to balance engineering classes, writing, speaking, advocacy and training (and a personal life!) amid the developments since his Iowa testimony. He continues to enthusiastically advocate on behalf of families like his.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mike White is a QueerSpawn

Michael Christopher White, born June 28, 1970 is writer, director, actor and producer for television and film. His is also the winner of the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for his film Chuck & Buck. Mike is the son of Lyla and Mel White. His father is an openly gay Reverend and former speechwriter for “Religious Right” figures such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Both Mike and his father appeared in two seasons of The Amazing Race.

White was a writer and producer on Dawson’s Creek and Freaks and Geeks and wrote and acted in the films School of Rock, Nacho Libre and Orange County. He got his first impulse toward writing scripts from his favorite teacher in second grade, the mother of playwright Sam Shepard. White is not only a vegan, but is also a Second Generation because he identifies as bisexual.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

A Funny Thing Called “Dad”

My family said my whole life would change. I did not believe. I do now. Becoming a father has changed my life. It changes the way I look at my life. I am no longer the priority in my life. My son is my focus and while that has been a quite jarring shift, it has been for the better.

My partner and I adopted Farber from day one – in July 2008. Unlike many adoptive families, we were present for his birth – all of it. His entry into the world is a story unto it’s self, but he made it – all 4lbs and 1 ounce.

Now that “little peanut” (that is what the nurses called him in the hospital) is almost 3 and has developed into a little man (who is ironically allergic to peanuts). Even in his worst of moods I find myself laughing or noting a characteristic of the person he has become or will be. His facial expressions could keep me entertained for hours.

We sit down each night and at points during the day and read a variety of books. Because I write reviews for, I am always testing the waters with him on books that are above his reading comprehension, but then we always find something in them to connect with. Sometimes Farber will count stars in the sky, tell me all the colors of a shirt, or point out letters or words he knows. His curiosity and smarts are the magic that makes our world a better place. And it begins with reading.

He is smart and I often wonder – was I this smart at this age – is it because we read everyday. His grasp of technology is scary and inspiring. In fact his favorite book right now is the booklet that came with Super Mario Cart for the Wii – he’ll sit and stare at the ity-bity, tiny pictures for hours if we let him.

His sense of timing is uncanny and deliberate. When he does a smirk or little dance, I roll into a hard laugh. This laugh, unlike before I was a Dad is familiar. I often catch myself looking around for who that laugh is actually coming from. My laugh is my father’s. I laugh just like my Dad.

The one thing besides an appreciation for reading, learning and teaching that I want Farber to have is for…. Humor. I want him to have the comedic wit that seems to bounce around our family. It is one-part sarcastic, one-part mischief, two-parts smarts, and finally one-part creativity. Farber has the recipe and the ingredients, now it is time to wait for it to bake. And we, “chef Daddy and Papa” will hone those skills with funny voices, silly faces and a sharp tongue.

Having a sense of humor will be his shield in a world and society that does not understand or respect a kid with two Dads. He’ll meet it dead on with a “punny” turn-of-phrase, or superior knowledge. Or maybe he’ll just have a hardy laugh in their face, a laugh that sounds just like his Dad’s.

In order to help Farber and kids like him tell their story before that can tell it themselves, I wrote Families Come in Many Different Shapes, Sizes and Colors. It is available on

Friday, April 22, 2011

50 Cent is a QueerSpawn

50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) (Hip-hop Artist)

Born into a notorious Queens drug dynasty during the late '70s, 50 Cent lost those closest to him at an early age. Raised without a father, 50's mother, who was bisexual but also involved in drugs was found dead under mysterious circumstances before he could hit his teens. The orphaned youth was taken in by his grandparents, who provided for 50. After living a dangerous and notorious street life during his teens, the birth of his son put things in perspective for the post adolescent, and 50 began to pursue rap seriously. He as signed to Columbia Records in 1999, which resulted in "Power Of A Dollar." Later mentored by Eminem and Dr. Dre, 50 Cent became one of the most well-known rap artists.