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The Tao Of Uncle Poodle: Honey Boo Boo's Kinsman Speaks Out

UnclePoodleTLC reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is having far more pro-gay cultural impact than most people anticipated.

Who could have predicted that 7-year old beauty contestant Alana and her family would use their televisual platform to celebrate LGBT inclusion, as they have with Alana Boo Boo's openly gay "Uncle Poodle," Lee Thompson?

Now Thompson himself is speaking out, and his remarks are actually quite profound.

In an interview with the Georgia Voice last week, Thompson, 29, first explains the origins of "Uncle Poodle," telling the paper it all started with Boo Boo's pageant coach.

"We were at practice one day, getting ready for a pageant. Her coach was talking about her gay friends, and she said, ‘I love all my poodles.’ Alana thought she was really talking about dogs. She wanted to know how many poodles she had, and what were their names,” Thompson said in his sit-down with Topher Payne. “And I said, ‘No, Alana, she’s talking about gay people.’ Well, that did it. All gay people are poodles to her now, and I’m her number one poodle.” Boo Boo would then use the p-word to describe Anderson Cooper, who was at that point about a month away from officially coming out.

Thompson later discussed how he and long-time boyfriend Josh married in August, surrounded by friends and family, something many may assume would cause a stir in the deep south. It didn't. Not in Midgeville, at least, and Thompson says all the acceptance he has experienced comes from the fact that he accepts himself.

"I’m gay, but I’m as redneck as I can get," he says. "f you want people to accept you, you have to show you don’t have a problem with yourself and just be up front about who you are. If you do, you earn people’s respect. If everybody would just go on and do that, ignorant people couldn’t cause so many problems. I know this is how I was born and I don’t need to explain it to anybody. I live my life for who I am. That’s why ‘Born This Way’ is gonna be my next tattoo."

If anyone has a problem with him or the other few dozen LGBT people in the area, he doesn't know about it: "If there’s people who have a problem with [homosexuality], they keep it to themselves, just like if I have a problem with them, I keep it to myself.”

Uncle Poodle isn't the only LGBT person on a Georgia-based reality show. AMC's Small Town Security, which takes place in Ringgold, Georgia, features Dennis Croft, a transgender man who is the force's Lieutenant and another example of how being open and honest about ourselves can help open other people's minds and hearts.

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Comments

  1. Isn't it funny how in the deep South you get real gay men and not the hideous "daaaahling, I love your dress" types of New York? Long live the deep South with its real characters.

    New York could learn from the deep South, you know.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 14, 2012 9:19:30 AM


  2. I also like the comment that Lee Thompson made about there not being any gay bars where he lives. He says he goes to the same bar as everybody else regardless of sexual orientation. What a great example! The segregationist queens of New York and California should take notes.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 14, 2012 9:27:43 AM


  3. Good for Uncle Poodle! I get so tired of "liberal" Yankees dumping their pre-conceived prejudices about the neanderthal south as their God-given right and civic duty. I've heard ignorance from the mouths of Manhattan cab drivers that could crack glass. Blatant ignorance is not endemic to the south alone. Lee Thompson is precisely right, "If you want people to accept you, you have to show you don’t have a problem with yourself and just be up front about who you are. If you do, you earn people’s respect." Words to live by - north, south, east and west.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 14, 2012 9:32:48 AM


  4. Good for Uncle Poodle! I get so tired of "liberal" Yankees dumping their pre-conceived prejudices about the neanderthal south as their God-given right and civic duty. I've heard ignorance from the mouths of Manhattan cab drivers that could crack glass. Blatant ignorance is not endemic to the south alone. Lee Thompson is precisely right, "If you want people to accept you, you have to show you don’t have a problem with yourself and just be up front about who you are. If you do, you earn people’s respect." Words to live by - north, south, east and west.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 14, 2012 9:32:50 AM


  5. Hmm
    gay = fou fou dog?
    I don’t see that as so charming

    Posted by: jw | Oct 14, 2012 9:34:40 AM


  6. Hmm
    gay = fou fou dog?
    I don’t see that as so charming

    Posted by: jw | Oct 14, 2012 9:34:42 AM


  7. Real Pride outside the ghetto :)

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Oct 14, 2012 9:35:35 AM


  8. While I am glad that something gay positive is coming out of this hideous pap called reality tv, I still loath reality tv.

    Frankly I think all reality tv should be outlawed or at least scrapped from the airwaves. All of it is an insult to intelligence and is helping dumb down Americans across the spectrum.

    Posted by: mikenola | Oct 14, 2012 9:40:06 AM


  9. Really, Jason? I thought you'd be pissing blood because a "real" gay man is allowing himself to be called a "poodle" by two women. How delightfully inconsistent.

    Posted by: luminum | Oct 14, 2012 9:43:08 AM


  10. Sure it's not the most PC thing to refer to gays as poodles obviously. But, for Honey Boo Boo and her family it comes from a place of love and endearment. I think he could change hearts and minds or at least make people think. This show gets monster ratings from lots of families who may not be the most gay friendly.

    We need more depictions of gay men like Lee in the media.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Oct 14, 2012 10:09:13 AM


  11. @Brian in Texas, agreed.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Oct 14, 2012 10:24:51 AM


  12. Let's see some results at the polls.

    Which Southern state will be the first to make poodle's marriage more than symbolic?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 14, 2012 10:37:23 AM


  13. @KevinVT,

    I grew up in some of the most 'progressive' places in the country. I live in one today. No question many people here regardless of ideology are far less bible thumping and more tolerant of gays than some other places. No question we have some very progressive laws. That said, on a day to day basis and among people of every socioeconomic background here, you'll still see simmering anti-gay attitudes, or just plain mean spirit-ness in general. It's like yeah, we vote correctly the way 'progressives' like it, so it's OK if we behave like a**holes on a day to day basis, because we earned it.

    For anyone familiar with especially the urban northeast, you'll have to admit for a 'progressive' place, we have a pretty rough crowd here. You aren't going to encounter too much passive aggressiveness here, but well encounter a lot of aggressiveness in general. Take our 'progressive' reputation with a grain of salt, that's all I'm saying.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 14, 2012 11:24:15 AM


  14. @JASOn, @BILL and others who fill their mouths with stereotypes even as they denigrate other percieved stereotypes: What I find funny are gay men and women who have either forgotten the history of gay bars, or totally ignorant of them. In an ideal world there would be no need of gay bars, but we live in the real world, a world where homosexuality was driven undergorund, where gay men and women, even gay red necks have been fired from their jobs, attacked, brutalized emotionally, spiritually, economically.

    That Uncle Poodle lives in a world wherein he can safely negotiate his little south hamlet unmolested is not so much a testament to his love of self as the year in which he lives 2012.

    He fails, as do you Jason and Bill, to give credit to the gay men and women who lived bravely in the open when it was dangerous to do so. I am glad that Uncle Poodle feels so empowered, but that empowerment comes as a result of others who have come before him, and blazed the trail.

    And if we liberals, as you like to title us, look at the south as Neanderthal, then that is only because we liberals have had the pleasure of living in the South, but not the pleasure of loving and accepting families and townfolk, like Unlce Poodle, and know very well that there is a vast divide in attitude toward gays in the South and the North.

    How many southers states have equal marriage? Hmmm . . .

    No one is stereotyping the South. We only point out the realities of a more toxic south and southern red-necked attitude.

    Have you ever met the quintessential New Yorker, Chicoagoan, or big city gay man? Let me introduce him to you: he is that gay man who left the toxic South and made his own way in a more accepting large city.

    Posted by: Ricco | Oct 14, 2012 11:29:46 AM


  15. Forgot: He's pretty hot,too.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 14, 2012 11:33:10 AM


  16. JASON Dear boy, I live in New York City. No one I know in all the years I have lived hear (probably longer than you have been on this planet) has ever talked this way.

    I had to laugh at your comments (I always do, in fact) because it demonstrates your lack of maturity and inability to go beyond hearsay stereotypes that infest your commentary here at Towleroad.

    I get it that you post here simply to annoy and provoke. Most of us fall for it. But, in a way, it is very sad because one has to take your comments at the face value that this is how you think and how you believe and how you view the world.

    I pity you, son. It is regretful that you cannot own up, back up or even man up to the absurdity of your comments.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Oct 14, 2012 11:35:48 AM


  17. It is nice that this gentleman is comfortable with the situation where his southern neighbors "keep to themselves" their seething hatred of the gay. I, too, live in a town where my partner and I are quietly out. I have the blue and yellow equal sticker on my car bumper, and we speak to our neighbors freely about our partners. But the fact is, most (not all) of the neighbors are Bible thumping bigots who want us to hide our sinful relationship from the rest of the world and who will vote for every Rethug who promises to discriminate against us in the laws. I really don't get the warm and cuddly feeling this guy does about the south. Maybe it is because I am a northern transplant. They hate us just enough not to throw stones through our windows. The feeling is mutual.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Oct 14, 2012 11:49:30 AM


  18. I'm happy for this man, his partner and his family. It's nice to hear that, once in a while, a gay person living in those parts manages to catch a break, but PLEASE do not try to pass the South of as some sort of bastion of tolerance where "real" gay men live in harmony with their straights or that the rest of us effeminate Yankees are too snobbish and stupid to know how "fake" our lives and personalities are. There is a reason the South is widely known for it's often VIOLENT intolerance towards anyone or anything not straight, white, and christian. One "Poodle's" relatively quite life among the toothless does not suddenly make for an enlightened and accepting culture - it's an anomaly, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there were probably a few times in his life that he's had to at least verbally defend himself against some crazy Jethro foaming at the mouth over his openly being gay. If I'm wrong, then I will happily go bobbing for some pigs feet!

    Posted by: natamaxxx | Oct 14, 2012 12:18:25 PM


  19. Hey I am all for redneck puppy play, but this whole poodle crap needs to be retired. It's about as respectful as the old people who call the blacks "darkies". And equating all gay men with the gayest of dog breeds is an insult to both groups. Plus he looks more like a Lab - who is probably no stranger to a collar and cage either.

    Posted by: Apollo | Oct 14, 2012 12:19:44 PM


  20. What a load of BS.
    I am not a poodle; I don't look like one and if anyone called me one there would be a fight.

    If the straights had "a problem with us" and kept to themselves then there would be no need for a struggle for our rights.
    It is precisely because straights,religious and political, have a smug self righteous agenda against us that has brought us to fight........
    So no, I won't live as a poodle.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 14, 2012 12:27:13 PM


  21. When did flashing gang signs become "redneck"?

    Posted by: BobN | Oct 14, 2012 12:46:12 PM


  22. I suspect the whole redneck aspect of the show is played up for ratings. The only reality is probably their love of fame and money.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 14, 2012 12:53:41 PM


  23. I think its cute. And no doubt, it shows progress. I was happy to hear this "ain't nothin' wrong with bein' gay, everybody's a little gay." remark. And it shows how living an open life changes attitudes for all of us.

    But Bill and Jason, you forget your gay history. Without the effeminate liberals from New York and the North, our progress would be much slower, and I dare say you wouldn't know about Uncle Poodle and hold him up as the bastion of a true gay man, because he wouldn't feel safe living open. Few of us would.

    Shame on you. Remember your history.

    Posted by: Perky McJuggs | Oct 14, 2012 1:01:42 PM


  24. I live in the South, so don't try to bullsh*t me about the South and its "accepting" attitudes. You CAN find true friends and supporters here but people being generally non-confrontational, "polite" is just a social veneer, not true acceptance by any stretch of the imagination. The minute they step into that voting booth you're just another f*gg*t who is lesser than they are, who doesn't deserve the same rights they have. Because "The Bible says....."

    So don't give me that "the South is SO much better" sh*t.

    It's also true that the ONLY real confrontations I've had were in large cities. Dallas, Houston, NYC. But that's partly due to greater visibility, which you don't really have in much of the South outside a few big cities. Between people being nice to my face but stabbing me in the back as soon as it's turned and actual, you know, RIGHTS codified into law, I'll take rights, thanks.

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 14, 2012 1:26:52 PM


  25. It's Milledgeville, not Midgeville. When I was a kid, and for decades before then, Georgia mothers would scare their children into behaving (or "being have" as my brothers and I used to say) by threatening to send us to Milledgeville, which, everyone knew, was the site of the state psychiatric hospital. Not very enlightened on the topic of mental illness were we; but it was effective.

    Posted by: Steve Scarborough | Oct 14, 2012 2:08:39 PM


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