2012 Election | Max von Essen | Mitt Romney | News | Theatre

Gay Actor Max von Essen's Blisteringly Truthful Facebook Letter to Friends Supporting Mitt Romney: READ

A open letter to friends supporting Mitt Romney on Facebook by actor Max von Essen, who plays Magaldi in the Broadway production of Evita, is getting some attention around the web.

VonessenIt's well worth a read.

Hey (    ),

Listen, I know you didn’t mean any harm commenting on this post and I like you, we had some great times growing up. But Romney and Ryan believe that I am less than you. They believe I am a second class citizen and don’t deserve the same rights that you had the privilege of being born into simply by being straight. They want to add a constitutional amendment that will ban gay marriage forever. It will set us back decades and ensure that I never legally have the opportunity to have a family or a partner in my lifetime.

They also believe that being at your partner’s side when he/she is dying is a benefit, not a civil right. They could keep me from my partner dying in a hospital. Could you even imagine something like that in your own life? Being separated from your wife on her death bed? Could you imagine your marriage never being recognized and being told that your family is not a family and you do not deserve any federal rights that comes with marriage. Over 1100 rights.  Did you know that? 1100.

Ryan doesn’t believe in the hate crimes act fought unwaveringly for by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, murdered for being gay in Wyoming. Murdered for being gay. Could you imagine if I was murdered for being gay? Could you really look my mom in the eye and say ‘oh well, we can not prosecute this crime as a hate crime’?

I know there are important issues involved in this campaign. I know people are suffering and the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years and I am so tired of it. So tired of feeling that I am less than. So tired of knowing I have friends on here who will vote for someone who will keep me a second class citizen for my entire lifetime. I have already spent half a lifetime hiding, half a lifetime conforming. It is exhausting, demeaning and I am worn out. I want to love myself full out.  I want a president who can look me in the eye and say ‘You are equal!’ ‘You are equal to everyone else in this country and I will fight for your rights. The time is now and it is long overdue.’ Romney and Ryan could not look me in the eye and say that and I feel sorry for every gay and questioning child who might have to listen to a president who believes that he/she is not equal. Children will take their lives. It is the WORST form of trickle down bullying and it absolutely splits my heart in half. When the president says you are less than, it gives permission to every authority figure, every politician, every teacher, every bully on the playground to push you around and bully you and treat you less than. It is dangerous and lives will be lost.

If this is not important to you, please remove me from your friends list. I need people in my life who love me and consider me 100% equal.


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  1. Amen, brother. Well met.

    It's time, folks, to have those tense awkward conversations with friends and family.

    This is not some mere "difference of opinion" - you may well have friends and family voting against your worth as a human being. It's person. Let them know it is.

    Because this is the reality - they're not Republicans who "still accept you for being gay". They're Republicans who fully accept, and with their votes SUPPORT, bigotry and discrimination against you as a human being.

    That's the ugly hateful truth. They still love and care about you? Really? It's not you they accept, it's the discrimination against you that they accept. And it's high time more LGBT people called that out as the insulting affront to human decency that it is.

    Have the awkward talks. Have the tense conversations. Change doesn't come if you dont' give it a reason to.

    Copy and Paste von Essen's letter. It's well done and makes its point.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 26, 2012 9:45:33 AM

  2. Amen. I'm just about to the tipping point with my parents over this. I feel tired, too. To quote The Lord of the Rings, "I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread."

    Posted by: Michael W. | Oct 26, 2012 9:49:21 AM

  3. The TR headline to this post reads as though Von Essen supports Romney. Perhaps revising the title is in order?

    Posted by: Mchl | Oct 26, 2012 9:52:48 AM

  4. Tears..

    Posted by: Drag | Oct 26, 2012 9:54:59 AM

  5. I love you, Max, and I applaud your integrity and your grace and your passion. Let us hope that the slight uptick in Obama polls according to Nate Silver is a harbinger of good things in two Tuesdays.

    Posted by: Dback | Oct 26, 2012 9:56:57 AM

  6. Such a heartful and wonderful words from a very good looking man, who also seems kind and wise. I think I'm in love.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Oct 26, 2012 10:07:39 AM

  7. In the past two days Ive read this quote attributed to three different people.

    Posted by: Jerry | Oct 26, 2012 10:09:10 AM

  8. I have been expressing these same sentiments. If we had a Republican candidate that was openly racist or anti-Semitic, it would be a deal breaker for a lot of our Republican "friends", but for many of these "friends" homophobia isn't quite as bad. They are willing to throw us under the bus. They are no longer my friends, and I am telling them why.

    Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2012 10:09:33 AM

  9. Heartfelt and moving words by the young actor Max von Essen.

    Posted by: andrew | Oct 26, 2012 10:20:47 AM

  10. Agreed MCHL. It's a good letter. It's a terrible Towleroad headline.

    Posted by: chris | Oct 26, 2012 10:22:02 AM

  11. Confusing Headline: You might try:

    Gay Actor Max von Essen's Blisteringly Truthful Facebook Letter to Friends Who Support Mitt Romney: READ

    Posted by: Andrew | Oct 26, 2012 10:25:14 AM

  12. Confusing Headline: You might try:

    Gay Actor Max von Essen's Blisteringly Truthful Facebook Letter to Friends Who Support Mitt Romney: READ

    Posted by: Andrew | Oct 26, 2012 10:25:16 AM

  13. @littlekiwi, I feel like that is 100% the wrong thing to do, no surprise you suggested it. Don't let politics ruin friendships, politics are stupid, bombastic things that always sound much worse than they are.

    Of course equality is extremely important but you need perspective too. Sure there are a lot of hate filled people that hate me out there, but there are way more people who would defend me. Politics is all talk with little action, and when the action comes you will probably be surprised at people's humanity.

    If someone you are friends with is supporting a candidate that will work against you as a person, surely there is a reason you guys are friends, right? You didn't befriend them after they declared such a stance, so work with them! If your friend was drinking himself to death you would help right? Not just lecture away as fast as possible.

    I am going through this with some friends and they are straight up wrong in supporting Romney, they fit the above mold perfectly. Why drop them as a friend because they don't get it? I can be multifaceted and I can try to help my friends. I applaud people doing things like this Max guy, but each person needs to address this situation in a unique way.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 26, 2012 10:56:06 AM

  14. I couldn't agree more!

    Posted by: troschne | Oct 26, 2012 11:25:47 AM

  15. @FENROX--I certainly will be dropping those friends. I have straight friends who get it, and won't be voting for that POS Romney, and they will be the ones I keep. I will also be dropping some self-loathing gay friends because they DON'T get it, and will be voting for him. I could agree with Von Essen more!

    Posted by: troschne | Oct 26, 2012 11:29:26 AM

  16. @ Little Kiwi :
    I totally support the sentiments expressed in your post.

    I don't want to be friends with anyone who "accepts" me.
    I don't want to waste my time having conversations with someone who "has gay friends too".
    I don't want to be a friend of anyone who ever thinks that two men kissing or being affectionate is "inappropriate" or "appropriate".....it's just none of their business.
    My worth as a person is not "disordered" nor are my human characteristics worth less than everyone else's.
    @ FENROX : You can be as multifaceted as you want, but do you seriously define "friends" to include people who "accept" you ????....even though you're gay......ha ha ha.

    Among my friends there is no "accept" there is just "being"..straight or gay.
    But I don't even want to know any jerk who would vote for a pair of shallow plastic pretenders such as Romney/Ryan.
    It's not "politics ruining friendships", as you say, FENROX, it is the attitudes of straights trying to ruin my life and my rights of equality by pretending to be "friends" while voting for two scum-bigots who want to deprive my fellow gays of their civil rights......did you get that c i v i l
    r i g h t s........
    Romney/Ryan are the sexist equivalent of racists. They are also women haters.....but of course they "accept" women, but not their rights to make decisions for themselves, nor their absurd notions of getting equal pay to men. But some of their best "friends".... are women.
    And Ryan is a clown from of the 'Life of Brian', "every sperm is sacred" song.

    As for us, it's all about Civil Rights; I want nothing to do with anyone who considers me less than absolutely equal, no more no less. If that ruins "friendships" , then the filtering exercise has been worth the effort....
    Goodbye to all those who "accept" me,I never wanted you indulgence in the first place.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 26, 2012 11:44:56 AM

  17. Bravo Max, well said. This isn't about politics, it's about civil, social and moral equality. One party claims LGBT folks and women have no claim to equality, and thus show themselves to be morally bankrupt, socially ignorant and unworthy of civil tolerance. Those who support this party have already abandoned any claim to the "friendship" of LGBT people and women.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Oct 26, 2012 11:49:36 AM

  18. Certainly I don't disagree with anything Mr. Von Essen wrote. But "blistering?"

    Given that the ultimatum the letter leads to is (to paraphrase) "and if you don't agree you can just ..... delete me as a Facebook friend," I'm not really feeling the heat. Telling people you don't want to be FB friends feels a little too much like the heated riposte of an snippy 12 year old girl.

    (PS- Yes, I know that he meant more than not being FB friends. But it is poorly-worded and almost bathetically (yes, with a B; look it up.) anti-climactic.

    Posted by: Buster | Oct 26, 2012 11:53:18 AM

  19. @BUSTER: thanks RICK/JASON

    Posted by: BEEB | Oct 26, 2012 12:03:20 PM

  20. "Poorly worded" is not hyphenated. Look it up.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Oct 26, 2012 12:14:17 PM

  21. @FENROX . . . I get what you are saying, that there is something to what you wrote: "You didn't befriend them after they declared such a stance, so work with them!"

    I do feel that there is something quite ambiguous in that statement: What stance, specifically, would these friends be declaring when they vote against your equality with them?

    So, let's say you work with them, and they with you, assuming they do not shoot you down before you have had the chance to explain why their STANCE is a potential betrayal of your friendship, shoot you down for being merely political, what if after friendly commisceration, after you have explained the 1100 rights their vote denies you, after you have told them of the stories where straight people allowed gay people to die alone, scared, in an emergency room cubicle because they refused to respect, or even just tolerate that that person loved the wrong sex, if after you told them of elderly gay people who were kicked out of the homes they built with their lifelong partner because the courts refused to recognize their relationship, turing that persons posessions over to a family of straight vultures to could not be bothered with the deceased unitl after he/she was deceased, after telling them the thousand and one heartaches gays have suffered, still suffer because they do not have the same rights . . . what if, supposing they actually were your friends and listened to all you had to say and still they vehemently maintained their stance, would you still call them friends?

    But what if they could not even be bothered to listen, simply dismissing anything you had to say as merely argumentative, would you still call them friends?

    "Why drop them as a friend because they don't get it?" you ask? Here's why: because they don't get it for one of two reasons, they are eighter willfully ignorant and they shut down when people try to explain things to them, or because they, despite being your alleged friend, don't give a damn if you have the same rights, or deep down think you are just their funny little gay friend who when they really think about it is a perverse little imp who does not deserve the same rights as them.

    If you don't think better of yourself to pick your friends better, don't fault us for being more discriminating in the people we choose to call friends.

    I will go even one step further: "Who is my brother? Who is my sister?"

    It's for damn sure not the brother or sister who do not care that we live in a country that denies their brother the same rights as them, the brother or sister who would vote for a presidential candidate like Mitt Romney.

    Posted by: Ricco | Oct 26, 2012 12:16:37 PM

  22. "I know people are suffering and the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years and I am so tired of it."

    When straight people mention how "selfish" the LGBT community is for wanting equality when there are "so many other issues" that are "more important", I think we all need to remind them that we experience this needless discrimination IN ADDITION TO - poverty, homelessness, losing our homes, mental and physical health issues, and discrimination based on race, gender, and creed, etc.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Oct 26, 2012 12:16:54 PM

  23. @Jackfkntwist, No dude. It's about perspective and faith in people. Oh yes, also compassion. My grandpa was a racist, I still loved him, i still hate his racism. That ambivalence is important to me because it makes my grandpa a more faceted person. YES, his facets are negative, dark, bad things! He isn't perfect! He is WRONG.

    I don't want my friends to be people that support my FACEBOOK political issues with no dissent. I haven't volunteered for any political or social rights issue in 7 years. So for those 7 years I am 100% guilty for my role in the world. I am not making the world a better place, I would have no right to admonish someone for doing about as much as I am to change the world for the better (or worse).

    So yeah, I will keep my mufti-faceted friends. I will work with them to change their minds to a more compassionate and logical structure. They are important to me and I am not going to let this temporary drama ruin a friendship. If Romney wins are gays gonna be executed on sight? No, it will be bad LIKE IT WAS WITH BUSH, but not Armageddon. And hey! In a bad situation like a Romney presidency, I will be comforted by friends.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 26, 2012 12:18:02 PM

  24. His last line is the clincher. It's where we have the most power. When we allow people who clearly and publicly say we are not their equals and that our equality has to be prevented by law to think that it's okay with us and "doesn't affect our friendship" that's where we fail ourselves.

    if we think for a minute they'd stay our friends if the situation was reversed and we advocated their legal inequality, we're kidding ourselves.

    Sure, case basis. Family is a different situation. But really. If the people you hang out with look down on you, time for new friends.

    Posted by: Lymis | Oct 26, 2012 12:20:15 PM

  25. Hilarious. Four years ago this actor voted for the candidate who had repeatedly expressed his opposition to the gay marriage. Half a year ago this actor was planning to vote for the politician who had still been reiterating his opposition to the gay marriage. But now he renounces his friends planning to vote for other politicians opposed to the gay marriage. Pathetic.

    Posted by: AG | Oct 26, 2012 12:20:46 PM

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