By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Governor’s daughter comes out

Bay Windows breaks some pretty big news today: Gov. Deval Patrick’s 18-year-old daughter, Katherine Patrick, has come out as a lesbian, right before this weekend’s Boston Pride parade. Katherine tells editor-in-chief Laura Kiritsy:

As private of an issue as it is, we’ve sort of had to come to terms with the fact that we are a public family and there you give a part of yourself away. And we also … wanted people to know that it’s not only something that we accept, but it’s something that we’re very proud of. It’s a great aspect of our lives and there’s nothing about it that is shameful or that we would want to hide.

Two interesting side notes: the governor did not know about his daughter’s sexual orientation until after last year’s battle over marriage equality; and he makes the common-sense point that he was uncomfortable about talking with Bay Windows because he wouldn’t do an interview to announce that his daughter was straight.

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  1. Anonymous

    The tipoff was when she started commenting about how incisive the Globe editorial staff seemed to be….

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Both Edwards and Kerry brought it up in the debates. Edwards did it in a way that seemed natural and easy. Kerry had me covering my eyes.

  3. Ari Herzog

    How is this big news? She is a lesbian. Fine with me. Good for her!

  4. Rick

    Who cares? Is anything private anymore?

  5. Jeff Epperly

    “and he makes the common-sense point that he was uncomfortable about talking with Bay Windows because he wouldn’t do an interview to announce that his daughter was straight.”Jeez, Dan. “Common sense” dictates that there would be no need to announce someone is straight because (aside from the fact that most everyone assumes that until told otherwise) nobody’s possibly going to do a “gotcha” story about heterosexuality.The governor didn’t have to expend all that political capital so straight people could marry.I wouldn’t necessarily expect Patrick to see those simple truths because he’s so close the subject. But I’m disappointed you didn’t.I live for the day these things will require no pre-emptive strike because they will be non-news. But even you start out the post by noting it’s big news.

  6. Anonymous

    I found this oddly offensive the first time I read it and hadn’t intended to comment.1. Queasy feelings begin when the personal details of the offspring of political figures are news.Is this truly newsworthy?Would it be equally as newsworthy if Chelsea Clinton announced she was no longer a virgin? And do we truly care?And what escapades are the Bush twins up to these days?2. Were the graphic family details really significant?Frankly, who cares? This seems to be in much the same category as Dick Cheney’s daughter.Lynn

  7. O-FISH-L

    That anyone would call this “big news” is ridiculous. Pathetic is more like it. It isn’t just the superfluous media coverage of the daughter’s sexual preference, but her tender age at the time of the announcement. I am somewhat sympathetic to aging gays quietly coming out of the closet, but there is a lack of poignancy when an 18 year-old is reported to have “come out”. Those minutes, or was it seconds, in the closet must have been agony. Please. Spare me.This teen is barely old enough to legally consent to sex, so to immediately parade her around to proclaim with certainty that she is definitely a lesbian seems both premature and perverse. Does she really even know what she is yet? And –how do I put this delicately– she isn’t exactly Vanessa Williams or Naomi Campbell so rushing for the lesbian label provides a nouveau, chic way to explain why there aren’t any boys around in sometimes cruel high school.I have been amazed at Deval Patrick’s incompetence but his celebrating this announcement marks a new low. I’m all for supporting family members no matter what, but in this case, true support would have been telling the daughter to wait a while, give it a chance.

  8. Anonymous

    Wow, O-fish must have missed his high school years. For starters, young people (you HAVE heard of young people, haven’t you, O?)tend to be sexually active much younger than age 18. And high school can be very, very rough for kids, either gay, straight or undecided. Being “in the closet” during those formative years often happens because of fear of social pressure, ostracism, bullying – you name it.

  9. bostonbeagle

    There was nothing graphic or explicitly sexual about any of this. The young woman is coming out as a lesbian, which still can be very tough for kids. The fact that some commenters called this “offensive” or “perverse” points to this fact. I welcome the day when being gay is like being left-handed, and the response really is “who cares”.I commend Katherine for her courage, and her parents for their unqualified support. I wish I had had both of these at her age.

  10. Bill

    Hey, Katherine Patrick is entitled to her own life. What makes me a bit uneasy, however, is her father’s active involvement in the announcement. Wouldn’t a simple statement supporting her or followup comment to Bay Windows have sufficed? I hate to draw this parallel, but Dick Cheney expressed support for his daughter, but never felt the need for a joint interview on this topic. Also, did the governor need to bring his press secretary to the interview? That mixes the personal and the (publicly funded) official and gives fodder to those who suspect a political motive. Unfortunately, given the governor’s support from the gay community and his role in the upcoming pride parade, that’s how it will be perceived by his opponents. Look at some of the comments from the yahoos on today’s Herald story.

  11. fiferstone

    Seems to me that this is one of the unfortunate side-effects of having someone in your family be a high-profile public servant, such as governor. Nothing’s private and your only option to control the manner in which ordinarily private things become public is to make them public yourself, which the Patrick family seems to me to have done with a fair amount of grace and dignity. O-fish-I ought to read Dan Savage sometime, he could advise you that the incidence of suicide among teens who identify as gay (both genders) spikes into the stratosphere. It helps no one to trivialize that pain by saying “Please. Spare me.” Such a comment only displays your own ignorance of the true depth of such pain…says the stepmom who’s husband’s daughter from his first marriage committed suicide in the basement at the ripe ole’ age of 18. She was not old enough to drink legally, but she was in enough pain to decide she wanted to pull the plug and boy, did she ever get it right the first time-death by strangulation, taking minutes, thus says the official death certificate. I also understand that self-hanging is a very unusual choice of suicide method for a female. Females more often use pills. Please, o-fish-i, educate yourself a bit about the context, before deciding that you know the depth of another’s pain.

  12. MeTheSheeple

    Seems strange the Globe credited Bay Windows for the photo online yesterday, but not in print today, for what my memory says is the same picture.

  13. Dan Kennedy

    Sheeple: Let me engage in some educated speculation. Marilyn Humphries is a successful freelance photographer. After the Globe ran her photo online yesterday, she may have complained — the Globe had no right to run that photo gratis, even with Bay Windows’ permission.Today’s use is the result of a separate deal she cut with the Globe. Thus, no need to credit it to Bay Windows.I ran a page image rather than the actual photo for that very reason — the page image is covered by fair use, but not the photo by itself.

  14. O-FISH-L

    Bostonbeagle, I maintain that it’s indeed perverse, as in improper, to literally parade a teen barely old enough to attend an “R” rated movie in front of the cameras to forever label her sexual identity, gay or straight. Deval should have told her, “Think it over for a while, now clean your room.”BTW, has anyone identified a lucky lady that Katherine Patrick is/was involved with or are these still just homosexual thoughts that she is having? As for Fiferstone, such studies claiming “gay teen suicide spikes into the stratosphere” have long been debunked. Those studies are merely alarmist tactics trying to drum up more funding for the gay agenda in the public schools. You do gay teens a disservice by repeating them. From http://www.tradtionalvalues.orgThe latest studies that expose the 30% [of gay teens attempt suicide] urban legend appear in the December, 2001 issue of Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The author of these studies is Cornell University psychologist Ritch Savin-Williams. Savin-Williams says previous homosexual teen suicide studies were flawed and exaggerated because they were drawn from group homes or runaway shelters where the most troubled teens gather. Researchers also took at face value the claims that these teens made about their attempts at suicide. Savin-Williams responded to [a critic] by noting: “When I solicit a broad spectrum of youths with same sex attractions, and not only those who openly identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual while in high school, and asked in-depth questions about their suicide history, I found statistically no difference in the suicide attempt rate based on sexual attractions.” Savin-Williams believes that pro-homosexual adults have done a disservice to homosexual teens by creating a “suffering, suicidal, tragic” script for them that often leads these troubled teens to report attempted suicides when these events did not occur. According to Savin-Williams, homosexuals do a disservice to “gay” teens when they “paint them with one rather narrow negative brush stroke.” Homosexuals, however, have won great inroads into public schools by claiming that “gay” teens are killing themselves in record numbers.

  15. Anonymous

    I feel terrible for this young woman.As you know,the average Gay person lives about 20 years less than a Heterosexuality.

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