I think I speak for the overwhelming majority of Americans when I say, "Who cares?"
And I mean that in the best possible way.
In fact, most folks would just feel sad that the thrice-married, mother of five took 55 years to figure out who she really was.
Baxter, however, expected a different reaction.
How was the process of coming out to your grown children?
Oh, a piece of cake. They were cool. All the kids were basically grown — the youngest [twins] were 17 at the time — and everyone was great. They basically just said, “We just want you to be happy.” So I really could not have asked for a better process than that.
In your personal life with the people you’ve told, has it been a cakewalk?
Maybe a cakewalk on their side. It was absolute fucking agony for me, only in the respect that I was so fearful.
Fearful of what?
Fearful of reaction, of judgment, of whatever I was sure was going to come. One of my greatest concerns was [for] a little skin care company [Meredith Baxter Simple Works] that I’ve been involved in for 11 years, and [my partners there] are just wonderful people. They’ve been so darling and worked so carefully and honestly with me, and I never said anything to them. I wrote them a letter and got a response that made me just ... I could have sung, I was so happy. They were so lovely.
Why did Alex Keaton's mom anticipate an unpleasant response? I'm beginning to suspect straight people understand gay people more than gay people understand straight people.
In 1972, Baxter starred in a television series called Bridget Loves Bernie (I'm assuming her agent is currently pitching Bridget Love Gidget) about a Catholic woman who married a Jewish man. Although the show was a hit, the amount of hate mail the interfaith story generated resulted in its cancellation.
Fast forward 37 years, Jews and Christians are marrying faster than Jews and Christians are getting divorced. In other words, things change... people change... attitudes change.
In the 70's, stay-at-home moms may have abandoned Merv Griffin's talk show had they known he was gay but Ellen DeGeneres has great numbers in daytime. People just aren't offended by homosexuality like they used to be.
Now, if Meredith Baxter really wants to lose work, alienate friends and be shunned by her family, she should announce she's Republican. Some things never change.