OutLoud, a new StoryCorps project, records and amplifies the voices of the LGBTQ community.
Ninety-year-old Rita Fischer remembers the phone call she got when her son Jay Fischer told her he is gay. It was the 1980s, and she says she had no idea.
"When you called and came out, it was quite a shock. I had no inkling—none whatsoever. You tell me you're gay, and I said, 'Listen. Give me a half hour to come to myself, and I'll call you back,'" she tells her son on a visit to StoryCorps in New York City.
She did call him back. She said "this is not a telephone discussion. I think you best come speak with dad and I. But don't worry; we're going to love you the same way."
Her son Jay, now 65, says he thought she knew. "When you talked about not knowing about me being gay, I mean, I consider you a lot of things, but dumb isn't one of them. And I had left so many clues. I had somebody over for three times a week for five years."
"In your house. I had a f*** buddy."
"That's what you call them? F*** buddies?" Rita says. "I don't know what you call them, but I didn't know, and that's all. I would not be so dumb now. I have what they call gaydar."
She says a "very high point" was taking part in Jay and his partner Michael's commitment ceremony. "Dad I and were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. And you suggested that we make it a joint celebration. And when dad and I walked you down that aisle. I was so overwhelmed that I thought I was going to drop dead from a heart attack. It was one of my bursting moments of pride," Rita tells her son.
"I consider you a blessing to both me and Michael. And that's as best as I can put it," Jay says.
"I think straight parents should be involved with their gay children. I told everybody and anybody who would listen to me, that I had a gay son and that I was very proud of my gay son."
Audio produced for Tell Me More by Jud Esty-Kendall.
The State Department on Wednesday announced it was revoking visas for a number of Venezuelan government officials the U.S. says have violated the human rights of the Venezuelan people.
"We have seen repeated efforts to repress legitimate expression of dissent through judicial intimidation, to limit freedom of the press, and to silence members of the political opposition," Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement.
If you remember, the Venezuelan government deployed its military to pacify protests that erupted back in February.
The State Department did not name the individuals it was sanctioning, nor did it say how many will be affected by the restrictions. Harf explained:
"With this step we underscore our commitment to holding accountable individuals who commit human rights abuses. While we will not publicly identify these individuals because of visa record confidentiality, our message is clear: those who commit such abuses will not be welcome in the United States."
The Wall Street Journal quotes congressional aides briefed on the matter saying the sanctions affect "high-ranking Venezuelan military, National Guard and police officials."
The paper adds:
"The sanctions would come just three days after the U.S. failed in its efforts to secure the extradition of Gen. Hugo Carvajal, Venezuela's former intelligence chief who is wanted in the U.S. on drug charges and had been detained on the Dutch island of Aruba.
"Last week, Mr. Carvajal, whose nickname is El Pollo, or 'the chicken,' was detained on the Dutch island of Aruba for four days, generating angry accusations from Venezuela's government that he had been 'kidnapped,' and warning Aruba would suffer economic consequences.
"He was set free Sunday when the Dutch government determined that Mr. Carvajal, who had been named, but not yet recognized as consul in Aruba, had diplomatic immunity. The Dutch decision reversed an earlier ruling by Aruba authorities who found Mr. Carvajal had no such immunity and was liable to arrest."