Does your family say “I Love You” yet it feels empty? You are not alone. Many in the LGBTQ+ community have faced this reality. Host Jonathan Wilson explores how and why we must overcome this obstacle in his podcast Redefining Family. His show spotlights stories of resilience as his guests share how they have redefined their definition of who they consider to be their real family. Heartfelt, honest, and vulnerable, these stories of overcoming shed light on what family actually means.
Dr. Lynda Spann - The Final Straw & Lesbian Couple Advice
In this episode, Jonathan closes the loop on the few stories that he shared, revealing the final straw that led to his decision of demoting 18 relatives from family status to blood relative status. In addition, we meet Dr. Lynda Spann, a Lesbian Couple's Therapist. Dr. Lynda tells us about her own coming out journey while also providing words of wisdom about coming out to "baby lesbians", other young lesbians, and their partners.
About Dr. Lynda Spann
To learn more about Dr. Lynda, please check out her website:
Eloise Morrison - Love For Her Gay Father
In this episode, Jonathan speaks further to his experience may not necessarily have been strictly due to his LGBTQ+ status. In addition, we meet Eloise Morrison, who has recently come out about being the daughter of a gay man. She tells us about the conflict between her love for gay family members and what she learned from the Catholic church. In addition, she decides to reveal who she is to a few other precious people.
To learn more about Eloise's story, please read the article: https://beachmetro.com/2021/05/19/guest-column-raising-of-pride-flag-at-st-john-catholic-school-will-have-deep-personal-meaning-for-local-resident/?fbclid=IwAR01xHD5Y8X-2ALjxmzkVRswZY0YCeBakfMMXLObGtkBqNX20vpIKz4ZCRU
Hannah Dhue - Conflicts Between Evangelical Ideals & LGBTQ Community
In this episode, Jonathan speaks to the mental and verbal abuse that he endured from a former family member. We meet another LGBTQ "Family"-abuse survivor, Hannah Dhue. Hannah was raised in an Evangelical household in the midwest and just recently came out to her family after finally getting tired of covering her relationship of nine years.
Hannah Dhue (she/her/hers) is an entertainment media professional with six years of experience in the business. After graduating Illinois Wesleyan University in 2015, she moved to LA with her partner and began working for one of the leading media service vendors, Deluxe Entertainment. She then moved on to her first major studio position at Sony Pictures in 2017. There, she took on leadership roles in both the womens' and LGBTQ+ employee business resource groups, living out her passion for one day achieving equality within the industry and beyond. She is currently a manager of TV Mastering at Disney, her dream company, where she continues to serve the womens' and LGBTQ+ communities in various volunteer capacities. In her spare time, she enjoys seeing movies or live theater, reading, writing and editing fiction with her partner of nearly nine years.
Sarah X - Family Love & Hate & Love
In this episode, Jonathan speaks to being physically and verbally attacked by one of his siblings with only one of the 18 former family members coming to his defense. We then meet "Sarah" and her struggles with coming out at 13 and her journey over the course of the 15 years that followed.
Grant Keller - A Father’s Love For His Gay Son
In this episode, Jonathan speaks to his journey coming out to his father after getting his car stolen from a boy he met outside of a club. We then meet Grant Keller, a Vietnam vet with a traumatic childhood, who shares about his journey to acceptance for his late gay son, who died in a car accident.
About Grant Keller
Grant was born in downtown Los Angeles in 1948 and grew up in Mar Vista and Venice.
"My childhood was filled with the trauma of physical abuse and neglect. My dad was an alcoholic and my mother was psychotic.”
"My mom kicked dad out when I was eight and I was put in Catholic school soon afterwards. They taught me many strange things, including homophobia.”
"My mom was a single mother with three children returning to work in the mid 1950’s. She was overwhelmed and didn’t have much time for us. I was the oldest so I helped raise my brother and sister. I tried to become an adult at eight. My sister called me the good daddy.”
"I joined the Navy in 1967, right after Venice High School, and was trained in Aviation Electronics. I married my high school sweetheart and went to Vietnam. When I joined my squadron they took one look at my size and assigned me to loading 500 pound bombs on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.”
"I experienced several traumatic events, including a flight deck fire, and losing a buddy to jet exhaust. A few days before the birth of my children, I was exposed to Agent Orange in Da Nang, South Vietnam, in a night mortar attack, and narrowly missed being blown up in an aircraft explosion. I did finally make my way back to Los Angeles.”
"My first sight of my twins, Anna-Lisa and Aaron, transformed me. I devoted my life to raising them properly, so they would always know they were loved. I didn’t know how, but would figure it out.”
"I returned to ditch digging full time and went to night school to study engineering. Ten years later I graduated with honors from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Later I graduated from USC with an engineering master's degree. I worked as an aerospace engineer for 40 years and became an engineer/scientist specializing in research and development.”
"I raised my twins with love and respect, and they were beautiful and smart children. They asked to move back to the Westside so they could graduate from Venice High like their parents. When they graduated from high school, Aaron came out. I was completely clueless but I loved both of my children, so I set myself to figuring it all out."
Rudy Scott - Another Side of A Financial Services Black Executive
In our second episode, we talk to another Black Executive who also identifies as gay, Rudy Scott. We learn about an intersectional perspective from Rudy as an immigrant, Black, and gay male.
Born Rudolph Scott, Rudy immigrated from Jamaica as a small kid and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Rudy talks about his strict upbringing and some of the challenges with acceptance from his blood relatives, his experience as a gay, Black executive, and how he defines family.
This was a fascinating and educational episode for me. I love the conversational format and am really looking forward to future episodes!