Tag Archives: Portia de Rossi

The Dowager Countess Goosenberry

24 Sep

The Dowager Countess Goosenberry

I first met the Dowager Countess Goosenberry in 1992 when she was visiting the States. At that point she was just the 12th Countess Goosenberry, for her husband, Alfred, was still alive.  I have been very fortunate to remain close friends with the Dowager Countess Goosenberry and she has given me permission to make public some of our very private conversations.  My thanks to the Dowager for her candor on issues ranging from governments around the world to her views on women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community.  My additional thanks to my husband and my friend Brad for helping corral the Countess, for she was given to the drink during this particular interview.

When did you first become an ally to the LGBTQ community?

That moniker has become quite cumbersome, hasn’t it? Honestly, Michael, I’m not sure I ever met a gay until my dear son Tarquin introduced me to some of his friends.  My Tarquin is quite open-minded and obviously a member of the Labour party (as am I on certain occasions).  Might I add that he is quite the debonaire bachelor, ladies.  He can cook and sew, in fact he did my makeup for this interview  Yes he is quite a catch, my Tarquin.  I’m now in my eighth decade and the whole kerfuffle seems to me to be much ado about nothing. Back home in Shropshire the gays can make their partnerships official — but then we Brits have always been ahead of you Americans in regards to civil rights.   In fact,  my Tarquin said he actually went to a gay wedding and it was quite lovely. I don’t like to drop names, frankly I’m not a name dropper, but Tarquin went to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding. Tarquin designed Portia’s dress.  I just can’t figure out why some young woman hasn’t snapped up my dear Tarquin yet.  Might I just add, Michael, that we in Great Britain do not discriminate against gay boy scouts.

Countess, is it true that you are personal friends with the Queen and with other members of the Royal Family?

I don’t like to discuss with whom I keep company, but yes. Liz and I are old friends.  We used to play on lawns and landscaped gardens together. When my Tarquin was younger, Prince Edward once gave him a Woody.

I beg your pardon. What?

Oh yes. My Tarquin loved the Toy Story movies and Prince Edward was kind enough to give him the Woody figurine, it is not a doll mind you; it is a figurine.

Oh, I see. Countess, I know you live in Shropshire now, but have you any thoughts about our upcoming Presidential election?

Michael, you know I thought your Mr. W. Bush was just ghastly and it  seems to me that your country  wants more of Bush with that odious Mr. Romney.  I don’t mind telling you that we are not fond of Mr. Romney back home. His behavior in London was unforgivable, and his attitudes towards women are shockingly medieval. Although I do sometimes don a wimple–it can be very forgiving on the neck of a woman of my age. Before my Alfred died, he would have given Mr. Romney an earful. (Just between  you and me, my late Alfred did tend to lean toward the Labour Party. Made for some awkward drinks parties, I can assure you!)

Countess, I want to be respectful, but didn’t your late husband have an affair?

Yes, yes. It is true. My Alfred did have several dalliances, but then we did love each other to the very end. If you want the truth, I looked forward to my time alone. So many seasons, I would find myself hinting over the top of my ladies’ magazine, “did you see that pretty little so and so down in the village. I do believe she was eyeing you inappropriately.” Even after his tryst with Maggie Thatcher, we were still able to hold our marriage together.  You know they met at a leather bar?

I’m sorry, what? They met where?

Yes, at a leather bar. You see they both were buying new saddles for their respective horses.  I seem to recall the mention of some sort of stud fee, as well. Alfred told me all about it.  Apparently, Maggie has quite a grip and is much taller and more muscular than I remember.

Oh, I see. It seems an unlikely match.

Well, it was on the order of opposites attracting, really. I believe she also reminded him of a German nanny he had in the 30s… Ah well, it was brief and in the long run made our union stronger. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a Brazillian wax. We shall chat again soon!

The Dowager Countess departed before I could get her to clarify that statement. I look forward to sharing our next chat with you as soon as I can.

Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 18, Ellen DeGeneres

18 Jun

Today we honor and celebrate an international celebrity who uses her voice and fame to make the world a better place. Ellen DeGeneres was born in 1958 in Louisiana. After her parents’ divorce and her mother’s remarriage, the family moved to Atlanta, TX, where Ellen finished high school in 1976. She moved back to New Orleans for college but dropped out after one semester.

She held a number of jobs (including selling clothes at JCPenney, for which she is now the official spokesperson). She also started doing stand-up comedy for fun, quickly realizing that this was her passion. By 1981 she was the emcee at a local comedy club and began touring nationally. In 1982 she was named Funniest Person in America by Showtime. In 1986 she appeared for the first time on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; Carson invited her over for an onscreen chat after her performance, making her the first comedienne in the show’s history to be treated this way.

She had a number of small film roles and was a frequent guest on television shows. In 1994, she starred in These Friends of Mine, renamed Ellen after the first season. Tired of the rumors about her sexuality, Ellen came out as lesbian on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, followed by a very successful coming out episode for her character on Ellen. Sadly, while the public were interested in the sensation of the coming out, they lost interest in the show’s sensitive portrayal of her exploring her identity and Ellen was cancelled after one more season.

She starred in The Ellen Show for the 2001 – 2002 season. A wonderful, witty show in which her character was out from the beginning, it co-starred major talents like Cloris Leachman and Martin Mull. CBS seemed to have no idea what to do with the show, bouncing it from one slot to another, confusing fans and eventually killing it. (The whole series is available on DVD and streams from a variety of sources; go find it and watch it!) Soon after this she had her award-winning turn as the confused fish Dory in Finding Nemo. She has also hosted the Academy Awards and the Prime Time Emmy broadcast.

In the talk-show void left by Rosie O’Donnell’s departure from daytime, many celebrities launched new chat shows in 2003. Ellen’s was the clear winner, combining her charm, wit, and easy-going nature with guests for a combination that appealed across demographics. While Ellen is seldom as political as she could be on the show, she is open about her life and her family, frequently talking about her wife, Portia de Rossi.

Ellen uses her significant wealth and public voice to support charitable causes. She has won many broadcasting and comedy awards but has also been noted for her contributions to social justice. She makes an enormous difference simply by being the lesbian in everyone’s living room but also recognizes that the power of her celebrity can be wielded to good effect. In 2011, Secretary of State Clinton named Ellen the Special Envoy for AIDS Awareness in recognition for her work in that area.

As an added bonus, Ellen has a wonderful mother, who turned around her shock at Ellen’s coming out to be a staunch advocate for the LGBT community. Betty DeGeneres is the first non-gay spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Project and perhaps the most visible member of PFLAG.

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