Robert Hanley

One of my agent’s fellow hopefuls was entertainer Robert Hanley, who was there with his wife Corrine. We were waiting around at one point for Nancy to show, and we all started talking about our pitches, the responses we were getting, and about what kind of book we were pitching.
The only things I knew about Robert and his wife when I told them about My Husband Betty was that they were practicing Catholics and that Robert was an entertainer. (A little while later he told me he was originally from the Bronx). So I explained my next book a little cautiously, not knowing if they were judgemental Christians or not. But once what I was saying became clear to them, we had a great chat about homosexuality, acceptance, Catholicism – you name it. Robert said he’d pray for me – not because he’d cast me or Betty as sinners, though – but because he recognized the challenge to our marriage that transness was. Corrine even mentioned how she felt it must be an “at birth” condition, like homosexuality, because who would choose it?
One of the most wonderful things about being out is being surprised like this. That is, I end up talking to all kinds of people, not just people who I think might be cool with transness. And more often than not, I find people are more sympathetic than judgemental. And honestly, I think they can connect with me – even if they, like I, don’t innately understand transness, because anyone who is married, anyone who has been in love, understands that you do what you can to be with the person you love.
So thanks to Robert, and Corrine, and all the lovely people out there who instead of thinking I’m a sinner or insane, know instead that I’m a woman struggling to preserve and honor her marriage, and that trans-folks are, in the same vein, neither sinners nor crazy, but people struggling with something that the rest of the world can’t understand.
Here’s a little more about Robert Hanley, if you’re interested. If you’re like me, you’re going to see his picture and think “I’ve seen him somewhere” and then, as you read the article, you’ll realize you have: he’s been in movies and tv shows, and did stand-up comedy, too.
But you know, I really should know to trust Catholic former New Yorkers. I mean, if you can’t trust a mensch from the Bronx, who can you trust?

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