a short autobiography
1999 Speech at the Indiana State Capitol
A friend's witness
Nov. 1996 letter for the Chrysler Campaign
Rhea Murray on "Moms and Dads go to Washington" PFLAG Lobbying Day - March, 1996Wow! What an experience!!! My husband Butch and I had always dreamed about going to Hawaii on our 20th wedding anniversary. When we had learned about the trip to Washington planned by the Houston PFLAG Chapter, we looked at each other and said, "Well, maybe, we can go to Hawaii on our 25th anniversary." But after this incredible week, I would now have to add, "only if there is no Moms And Dads Going To Washington."
The whole week was a series of inspiring events from the White House Reception to standing with our light in the darkness of a sanctuary to publicly claim our gay child and a gay Holocaust victim. My hopes soared after encountering the enthusiasm and energy of the people from National PFLAG, HRC, the Houston PFLAG Chapter, and the Washington, D.C. PFLAG Chapter. I now know with all certainty in my heart that we will overcome. With love, we WILL overcome . . . one person at a time.
I will be forever thankful that was able to drink deep from this well of renewing love this week. The day-to-day living in such a hostile community made my spirit grow tired and weary. I had a huge emotional lump in my throat most of the week. Here old friends shun me ; there I was embraced by strangers, as if I was a long lost family member. This coming together of people from all regions of the country in a single mission was, indeed, empowering. However, the blending of the many hearts into one was truly a God- touched moment.
We have made many new friend from parents to the gays we met in the gay bars who were overwhelmed by our support. We and another couple spent three and a half hours in a gay bar called Circle. There we were surrounded by gays and lesbians who had many painful stories to tell. Our presence meant so much to them. Their presence intensified our commitment to the struggle.
Thank you Houston PFLAG Chapter for making this possible. You are a living testimony that you can turn a cherished vision into a reality. God bless each and every one of you.
PS The lobbying visits we had were the following:
Senator Dan Coats - Well, I knew I was walking into the lion's den with this one. And, I did come out with the stench of lion's breath all over me. But my husband compared me to a badger who grabbed hold of that old lion's tail and just wouldn't let go. (His position is giving civil rights to gays would be the same as giving civil rights to child molestors.) I had to take a shower after that visit.
Senator Richard Lugar - He is undecided on the issue and would like to learn more. So his aid asked me to be a resource person for his office on this issue. (Yeah! A foot in the door!!!)
Rep. Lee Hamilton - Well, I still can't believe this one. He is coming to my Seymour PFLAG Chapter meeting to have dialogue with our members. I can't wait to let them know about this one at this afternoon's meeting. Hamilton is a man of his word and he made a pledge.
PSS It was great meeting all my pflag-talk friends. My love to you all.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. --- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Rhea Murray can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.