MORE: You recently said you believe your father would have supported gay marriage. Why was it important for you to say that?
P.D.: Obviously the gay community is still by and large very angry at my father for his tardiness in addressing the AIDS issue. It seemed a perfectly organic thread in all of this—in the novel that I’m publicizing right now and in what’s going on in the country and the way the ultra-conservative right keeps using my father for anything that they want. So I did feel that it was an important point to make. I can’t defend or make excuses for his tardiness in addressing the AIDS issue. He was late in coming to that. But it wasn’t because of any kind of prejudice on his part.
You know, my father’s flaw was that he trusted people around him too much. And he delegated authority and put too much trust in the people around him. And I think the people around him did not want him addressing anything that had to do with gay people. So the fact that there was AIDS out there, and that so many people in the gay community were ill or dying, was I think something they kept from him. When his friend Rock Hudson died is when he did address it and speak out. But, you know, I never did ask him toward the end or before Alzheimer’s claimed too much of him, “Do you wish that you had spoken up sooner?” In my heart I think he probably in retrospect wished that he had.
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