Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sharon Gless on PFLAG Moms, Granddaughters & Going 'Straight for Equality'

In an exclusive cover story with Ambiente Magazine, award-winning actress Sharon Gless dishes about her gay fans . . . her upcoming film (Hannah Free) . . . and her decision to sign PFLAG's Straight for Equality pledge during a recent cruise with fellow actress Rosie O'Donnell and R Family Vacations.

"I had a very personal reason for signing it," Gless told Ambiente. "First of all, Rosie asked me if I would present it to the audience. I have a granddaughter who is gay, who came out about three years ago, so I said, 'I'm signing this in honor of my granddaughter, who I adore.' I did it because my granddaughter is fabulous and because Rosie said 'would you sign this' and I said 'absolutely.'"

"I signed it because it sets an example," she said.

Gless also commented to Ambiente about her experience playing Debbie, "the iconic PFLAG mom," on the hit Showtime series Queer as Folk.

"I heard from a lot of gay men because of Queer as Folk," she told Ambiente. "Some were hesitating in coming out, because their best friend had killed himself. But I also have letters from young men who told me that their parents watched the show to see Debbie, and they wanted their mothers to be like Debbie. I think the show saved a lot of lives."

Gless told the magazine it was "an honor" to play Debbie and that she is "very honored that [she] gets picked to bring gay issues to the forefront," as she is with Hannah Free, where she plays an aging lesbian spearated from her partner in a nursing home.

It is a story, Gless says, "that will touch people's hearts."

"The gay community has always been there for me," the actress said. "And it has been wonderful to get these parts that allow me to tell the gay parts. Not only the fun parts, but the sadness and the struggle that goes with it."

For the complete Ambiente interview with Gless, including her thoughts on Proposition 8, Cagney and Lacey and more, click here.

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