News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post: From ABC News In 2004, Rosie O'Donnell and her partner, Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell, played host to their first gay and lesbian family cruise and invited cameras to shoot as part of an HBO documentary.The filmmakers captured the bonding aboard the ship — parents coming together to share tips, children telling stories of their common experiences, wedding ceremonies — but they also captured the negativity faced by the vacationers. When the ship docked at Nassau in the Bahamas, it was greeted by two local church groups of antigay protesters who shouted at the men, women and children as they disembarked.Rosie, however, did not get off the ship."Kelli advised me not to," Rosie said. "Malcolm X's daughter, Atallah Shabazz, was on the the cruise, and she's always been a kind of spiritual big sister, kind of leader and friend. She said, 'Let me go and address the crowd for you', and there was something very poetic about having her stand in my place and speak the way that she does to a group of people that probably could hear it a little better than coming from anger-filled me."The cruise didn't only attract gay parents."There were these two women the last night who came up to me, and they said, 'Rosie, I just want to tell you, we're from Long Island. We're not gay,'" Rosie said, on the documentary. "'We came because we're fat, and we knew that nobody would make fun of us at the pool. But next year, we're bringing our husbands and kids.' I was laughing my a— off because no one knew what to expect, and everyone came together in such a beautiful mosaic."The idea for the cruise originated in 2002 when Rosie and Kelli went to a gay and lesbian family week in Provincetown, R.I., with their four children."It was so empowering for the kids to see their lives mirrored back in thousands of other families," Rosie said. She and Kelli asked themselves how they could duplicate the idea, and Kelli came up with the idea for the cruise.Rosie said that overall the cruise was positive, and that the O'Donnells' company was now in its third year, having offered a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada, last summer. This year's cruise will sail from Seattle to Alaska. Another will go to the Galapagos Islands in November."All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise" debuts this week on HBO.
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