Creep of the Week: Nancy Heche

By D'Anne Witkowski

Nancy Heche

If only the new memoir by Nancy "My daughter Anne was a celebrity lesbian but I said a prayer and now she's not" Heche was called, "No, Call Me Crazy." Alas, it is not.

No, Heche's book, "The Truth Comes Out, The Story of My Heart's Transformation," is yet another tool in the "ex-gay" movement's belt, which isn't surprising since Heche has been a darling of the movement for years now. In fact, given her daughter Anne's very public relationship and then breakup with Ellen DeGeneres, Nancy Heche is perfectly positioned in the right-wing's eye for such a role. Even better, Anne is now married to a man. (To her credit. Anne has publicly denounced her mother's "ex-gay" work).

But Anne's short-lived lesbianism wasn't Nancy's only brush with the "homosexual menace." Nancy's husband Don, Anne's father, was secretly gay. He died of AIDS in 1983.

"Don's death took us to the depths of despair. It was the savage, sickening end of our beautiful, perfect Christian family. What could be worse?" Heche writes in "The Truth Comes Out."

After her husband's death, Heche vowed that she would never even utter the word "homosexual." The family blamed the death on cancer.

So imagine her surprise when Anne was publicly lip locking with DeGeneres.

"I thought homosexuality had done us wrong and why would we even let that word cross our lips? Did Anne forget all that? Did she forget what homosexuality did to us?" Heche told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nancy hasn't, and she's made quite a name for herself making sure nobody else does, either.

On Sept. 23 Nancy will be in Palm Springs speaking at Love Won Out, an "ex-gay" conference sponsored by Focus on the Family and Exodus International.

I recognize that Nancy Heche is hurting. Many people have gone through the painful experience of realizing their spouses were gay and the ways of dealing with it are as varied as the individuals involved.

But as anti-ex-gay activist Wayne Besen wrote in June 5, 2005, column, "It is ironic that Nancy is headlining a conference that encourages gay men to marry" given her history with her own gay husband.

Not to mention the fact that since the 1970s the mental health community has stated quite clearly that being gay isn't something you can cure, nor does it need a cure to begin with.

But don't worry. Heche is a psychotherapist helping others to hurt themselves. "One couple I'm working with, he was living homosexually but they're trying to keep the marriage together," she told the Sun-Times. "I saw them standing together, praying together, and her tears were dropping down. I thought, 'I never had that opportunity with my husband.' It was so beautiful to see. Hooray for them for doing the hard work."

Yes. Denial is hard work, indeed.

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