Rhea's Face
Journey to Moriah
(book, 1999)

a short autobiography
Mother Phoenix

1995 Press Conference
Bruce's Statement
Rhea's Statement
Phila. Daily News

1999 Speech at the Indiana State Capitol
The Answer is Love

Rhea fights burnout
Tragedy in the Heartlands

Christmas 1997
another bashing
A Mother's Tears

Rhea's husband

A friend's witness
Dixie Writes

March, 1996
Mrs Murray goes to Washington

 Nov. 1996 letter for the Chrysler Campaign
No More

Butch --
by Rhea Murray

My husband Butch, aptly named, is probably more of a bear than a tiger. He is a diesel technician whith massive, wrench-twisting hands. Where I fell flat on my face when I found out our 13 year old son was gay, Butch just lumbered along and said, "Ah, he's a good boy! That's all that matters."

We would drive our son to the nearest community that would offer support for gay teens; it was an hour's drive away. My husband and I would take turns making that hour's drive there, a three hour wait in the parking lot, and then another hour's drive back home. It was at least a 5 hour commitment. He never once complained. He would always ask Bruce to tell him about his meeting on their ride home. However, when he would make one of these journeys, he would always give the gay facilitators and youth a scare. They would see this grizzly Adams type character pull up along side them in his four wheel drive truck, and they would scatter in all directions. "Hell, honey, I am going to have to hang a pink triangle on the front of my truck, so they'll know I am friendly." 

Butch good naturedly takes the ribbing from the lesbians he meets. They
usually respond to his name by saying, " I bet I am more Butch than you!"
He grins and says, "You're probably right, honey." I see the first anxious
moments in gay men's faces, when they first encounter Butch. After their
exchange, they would timidly offer their hand for one of Butch's bone
crushing handshakes. He usually pulls them into an embrace, pats their back with his bear paws, and says, " Aw, hell, I'm a hugger!" The looks on the gay men's faces are usually priceless.

When my son and I did the interview for the high school paper, a fellow
employee of Butch's copied the article and distributed it throughout the
plant. Someone took it to the higher ups and tried to get Butch reprimanded. You haven't lived, until you are "out" in a blue collar world.
If anyone approached Butch about the issue in a negative way, he would growl in his grizzly bear fashion, "You got a problem, pal!" Usually they
timidly respond, "No" and slink away. 

Whenever we travel to different cities to do our advocacy work, we always go to the gay bars to let them know that there are parents who are supportive of their gay children. Usually, we are surrounded in a relatively short time. In Washington, D.C a lesbian wept in Butch's arms as she told of her alienation from her father. 

Butch's philosophy is very simple and very pure. He said he learned when he was in Vietnam, that people are people. Everyone loves, needs to be loved, cries, hurts and bleeds. He may not be much of a tiger, but he is one hell of a bear with one hell of a big bear's heart. And I am one hell of a
lucky lady who gets to curl up beside that sleeping (snoring) bear at nights.

Rhea Murray
Seymour, IN

Copyright, 1996. All rights reserved.
Rhea Murray can be reached by email at rmurray@mail.hsonline.net.