Transcript: Gay Teen, Sister Susan Kidd, Planet Parent, and Paddlemaker | Mar 27, 2002

(music plays)

A title appears inside the shape of a house: More to Life. Words spin against a red and orange background: Health, Family, Home, Money, Fitness, Life. Fast clips show images related to the previous concepts, such as a dollar bill, a wheat field, and strands of DNA.

In animation, the title appears inside the shape of a house: "More to life."

Then, Mary Ito sits in a studio with textured yellow walls and the logo of the show in the background, which reads "More to life."

Mary is in her late thirties, with short black hair and bangs. She's wearing a blue blazer and a silver pendant necklace.

She says TODAY WE WILL MEET A NUN WHO THINKS SHE HAS THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD.
FIRST, ONE OF THE TOUGHEST JOBS. AS EVERY PARENT KNOWS, RAISINGS A CHILD IS TOUGH. BUT FOR THE PARENT OF A GAY CHILD, THERE ARE DIFFERENT AND SOMETIMES MORE DIFFICULT ISSUES THEY HAVE TO FACE. WHAT ABOUT THE TEENS? WELL, THEY ARE NOT ONLY COPING WITH THEIR FEELINGS THEY ARE DEALING WITH REACTIONS AND SOMETIMES DISCRIMINATIONS OF OTHERS. MY GUESTS TODAY KNOW ABOUT THIS PASSAGE OF LIFE. WE HAVE Anna PENNER IN THE STUDIO, SHE IS A STUDENT AND A VOLUNTEER AT THE COUNSELLING CENTER....

Anna is in her twenties, with short brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a red shirt.

Mary continues ALSO MARLENE MORAIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF PARENT, FAMILIES AN FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS.

Marlene is in her late forties, with short curly brown hair. She's wearing a red turtleneck.

Mary continues WE WELCOME YOUR CALLS TODAY.

A caption reads "416-484-2727. 1-888-411-1234."
Then, it changes to "moretolife@tvo.org"

Mary says HELLO. ANNA AND MARLENE. WELCOME. I AM GOING TO START WITH YOU, MARLENE, YOUR SON IS NOW 31. SO ITS BEEN A FEW YEARS.

Marlene says ITS BEEN ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS, YES. GOING WELL.

Mary says GOING WELL. GREAT TO HEAR. WHEN YOU TAKE YOURSELF BACK THOUGH FIVE YEARS AGO, TELL ME WHAT YOUR REACTION WAS WHEN HE TOLD YOU THIS.

The caption changes to "Marlene Morais. 'Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.'"

Marlene says I WAS FORTUNATE BECAUSE THROUGH MARK'S TEEN YEARS IN HIGH SCHOOL, HE WAS A VERY... SEEMED TO BE A VERY ANGRY YOUNG MAN. I USED TO WORRY ABOUT HIM. OF COURSE THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL HE BEGAN TO WITHDRAW FROM HIS FRIENDS, WASN'T GOING OUT THE WAY YOU THINK OF A TEENAGE BOY GOING OUT WITH FRIENDS ON A SATURDAY NIGHT. I WAS SERIOUSLY WORRIED ABOUT HIM. SO WHEN FINALLY I FOUND OUT THAT HE WAS GAY, IT WAS A RELIEF TO ME TO FIND THAT HE WAS JUST GAY. I MEAN I THOUGHT THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM, SO THIS WAS NOTHING. GAY, YOU CAN HANDLE.

Marlene says SO ON YOUR LIST, GAY WAS AT THE BOTTOM.

Marlene says WAY DOWN AT THE BOTTOM. [LAUGHTER] HIS MENTAL WELL-BEING AND HEALTH WERE FORE MOST. BASICALLY I DIDN'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT. I HAD THE USUAL PARENTAL WORRIES. HIS MENTAL WELL-BEING, OF COURSE, MAKE SURE HE IS HAPPY WITH HIMSELF. HIS PHYSICAL SAFETY WAS AN ISSUE. YOU WORRY ABOUT HEALTH ISSUES WHEN YOU FIND OUT THAT YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER IS GAY. THOSE ARE THE MAIN THINGS PARENTS COME TO US WITH.

Mary says AS A PARENT, THINKING ABOUT IT, THIS BEING THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF AIDS, THE DISCOVERY OF AIDS, DID THAT CROSS YOUR MIND AS WELL?

Marlene says IT CROSSES THE MIND OF EVERY NEW PARENT. ONE OF THE THINGS WE DO BESIDES HELPING FAMILIES STAY TOGETHER AND HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THEIR GAY OR LESBIAN CHILD AND TO BRING THEM TO ACCEPTANCE IS TO EDUCATE THEM ABOUT AIDS, ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT BOTHER THEM. ITS NO DIFFERENT FOR MY GAY SON THAN MY DAUGHTER WHO IS NOW SINGLE. I MEAN THE CONCERNS ABOUT AIDS ARE BASICALLY THE SAME. THERE ARE A LOT OF MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AIDS, THINGS A NEW PARENT DOESN'T KNOW.

Mary says LET ME ASK YOU, ANNA, WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU TOLD YOUR PARENT? WHAT WAS THEIR REACTION TO THIS NEWS?

Anna says THEY WERE VERY SUPPORTIVE, THEY MAD MANY OF THE SAME CONCERNS THAT YOU MENTIONED.

Mary says WERE THEY SHOCKED?

The caption changes to "Anna Penner. Peer Counsellor."

Anna says THEY WERE VERY SURPRISED. MORE SURPRISED IN FACT THAT I THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE. BUT AS MY MOTHER PUT IT, ITS JUST NOT SOMETHING YOU THINK ABOUT WITH YOUR CHILDREN. YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN'S SEXUAL ORIENTATION. ANYMORE THAN A CHILD THINKS ABOUT THEIR PARENTS' SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

Mary says INTERESTING THAT YOU SAY THEY WERE MORE SURPRISED THAN YOU THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE. DID YOU FEEL THAT THERE WERE SIGNS ALL ALONG THAT YOU WERE... THAT WERE OBVIOUS TO YOU AND THAT YOU THOUGHT THEY MIGHT HAVE PICKED UP ON?

Anna says FOR ME IT WAS SIGNS THAT I THOUGHT I WAS GETTING FROM THEM, CASUAL COMMENTS OR MY MOTHER TOOK ME TO GAY PRIDE IN WINNEPEG BEFORE I CAME OUT TO HER. SO I ASSUMED THAT SHE HAD AN IDEA. BUT IT WAS A SURPRISE TO BOTH MY PARENTS.

Mary says I'M CURIOUS TOO, I HOPE YOU DON'T MIND ME ASKING, I'M CURIOUS HOW YOU PUT IT. DO YOU LEAD UP TO IT? COME OUT WITH IT?

Anna says I CAME OUT ON THE PHONE. IT WAS AFTER I HAD MOVED TO TORONTO, A FEW WEEKS AFTER I HAD MOVED HERE. MY SISTER HAD FOUND OUT THAT I WAS GAY IN A CONFRONTATION. SHE WAS SHE ENCOURAGED ME TO TELL MY PARENTS.

Mary says HAD YOU NOT PLANNED TO TELL YOUR PARENTS.

Anna says I DECIDED I WOULD NEVER TELL MY PARENTS. EVER. I WAS LIVING IN A DIFFERENT CITY. WHY DID THEY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING? WHICH LOOKING BACK WASN'T THE BEST IDEA. BUT IN MY STATE OF MIND THIN, IT JUST SEEMED LIKE THE EASIER THING TO DO. BUT I DID COME OUT OVER THE PHONE. MY MOTHER WAS TALKING ABOUT PLANE TICKETS OR SOMETHING. SUDDENLY I WENT, MOM, I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU. I EEM GAY. I STARTED SOBBING.

Marlene says ITS A VERY EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN. A LOT OF TIMES PARENTS ARE THE LAST TO KNOW BECAUSE THEY ARE THE KEY PEOPLE IN A CHILD'S LIFE. THE THOUGHT THAT MAYBE THEY WON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE OR WON'T WANT YOU AROUND OR WON'T WANT YOU IN THE HOUSE IS TERRIBLE. I MEAN, ITS A VERY FRIGHTENING DIFFICULT THING FOR THESE KIDS. SMZ I'M GOING TO REMIND OUR VIEWERS, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT RAISING TEENS, YOUNG PEOPLE, WHO ARE GAY OR LESBIAN. PERHAPS THERE ARE ISSUES YOU ARE DEALING WITH, ISSUES THAT YOUR ARE FACING BUT YOUR CHILDREN ARE FACING, GIVE US A CALL.

Mary says I'M GOING TO TAKE A CALL. MARY ELIZABETH.

The Caller says HI. IS THERE ANY EASY WAY TO TELL YOUR PARENTS ABOUT YOUR SEXUALITY?

Mary says EASY? I DON'T KNOW.

Marlene says I THINK THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS YOU SHOULD PREPARE BEFORE YOUR TELL YOUR PARENTS. A NUMBER OF STEPS THAT YOU CAN HAVE IN PLACE. FIRST OF ALL, I THINK I WOULD MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A GOOD SUPPORT GROUP IN PLACE, JUST IN CASE IT DOESN'T GO QUITE THE WAY YOU HOPE IT WOULD GO. DON'T EXPECT YOUR PARENTS RIGHT OFF THE BAT TO BE... TO SAY ISN'T THAT GREAT? ITS SOMETHING WE ALWAYS WANTED. CHANCES ARE THEY ARE GOING TO BE IN SHOCK, THEY ARE GOING TO BE UPSET. I MEAN, ITS PROBABLY TAKEN YOU A LONG TIME TO COME TO TERMS SO YOU HAVE TO GIVE THEM, YOU KNOW, CUT THEM SOME SLACK, GIVE THEM TIME TO GET USED TO THE IDEA. I THINK IF YOU ARE FINANCIALLY DEPENDENT ON YOUR PARENTS AND YOU HAVE A STRONG FEELING THAT ITS GOING TO GO BAD BY AN YOU ARE IN SCHOOL PERHAPS, PERHAPS NOW IS NOT THE TIME. PERHAPS IT MIGHT BE PRODUCE DENT TO WAIT UNTIL ARE THROUGH UNIVERSITY. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS YOU CAN DO. THERE IS A LOT OF READING MATERIAL. PERHAPS THAT SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO YOUR PARENTS WHEN YOU GO IN. BE CONFIDENT WHEN YOU GO IN. BE SURE OF YOURSELF. DON'T GO IN SAYING I THINK I MIGHT BE GAY. BECAUSE THAT LEADS AN OPENING, WELL, MAYBE YOU'RE NOT. MAYBE YOU HAVEN'T MET THE RIGHT PERSON OR MAYBE WE CAN GET YOU HELP. SO BE CONFIDENT. THERE IS A NUMBER OF ISSUES.

Mary says YOU BRING UP A GOOD POINT THERE. WHAT IF A YOUNG PERSON ISN'T REALLY SURE? IS EVERY PERSON SURE WHEN THEY TELL THEIR PARENTS?

Anna says NO. DEFINITELY NOT. EVEN THOUGH I HAVE BEEN AWARE OF MY SEXUAL ORIENTATION FOR TWO YEARS NOW, THERE IS ALWAYS THAT QUESTION AT THE BACK OF YOUR MIND, WHAT IF I AM WRONG? WHAT IF BY TELLING THEM I AM PUTTING SOMETHING OUT THERE THIS BIG? WHAT AM I AM WRONG?

Mary says SEE, I FIND THAT QUESTION VERY INTERESTING. I THINK YOU ARE NOT IN FAVOUR OF A PARENT SAYING WELL ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO UNDERMINE...

Marlene says YEAH. WHAT WE HAVE FOUND IS MOST OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WE SEE HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH THIS ISSUE FOR A LONG TIME. MY SON SAID HE KNEW AT AGE FIVE THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT, COULDN'T PUT A NAME TO IT, BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING. SO VERY OFTEN THIS IS SOMETHING THEY HAVE BEEN THINKING ABILITY A LONG TIME BEFORE THEY COME OUT TO ANYBODY. THEY HAVE TO COME TO TERMS WITH IT THEMSELVES. SO VERY OFTEN THEY ARE SURE. I MEAN, THERE ARE, OF COURSE... TEENS IS A CONFUSING AGE.

The caption changes to "Today's topic: Raising gay and lesbian children."

Mary says YEAH. I DON'T SEE THE QUESTION AS BEING SO OUT OF LINE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WHEN I CHECKED YOUR WEBSITE FOR THE COUNT SLELING CENTER, YOU HAD A LIST OF QUESTIONS THAT, YOU KNOW, THE PERSON SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES, THAT WAS THE FIRST QUESTION ON THE LIST. ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS?

The phone numbers and email reappear briefly.

Anna says IT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WANT TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE TELLING OTHER PEOPLE. BUT I THINK WHEN PARENTS OR ANYONE ELSE SAYS ARE YOU SURE? ITS REALLY A PAINFUL THING. BECAUSE ITS SO HARD TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE GAY OR LESBIAN OR BY SEXUAL WHEN SOMEONE SAYS, ARE YOU SURE? IT SETS INTO ACTION ALL THESE DOUBTS AND FEARS AND WORRIES. I HAVE HAD A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS TELL ME TO KEEP MY OPTIONS OPEN. THAT IS A COMMENT THAT PERSONALLY I FIND VERY OFFENSIVE BECAUSE I DON'T REMEMBER CHECKING LITTLE BOX SAYING I WANT TO BE THIS. I DIDN'T HAVE AN OPTION. I DON'T HAVE AN OPTION. ITS WHO I AM. ITS NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

Mary says YOU KNOW, MARLENE, YOU WERE TALKING TO THE CALLER SAYING VERY OFTEN YOUR PARENTS WILL BE SHOCKED. NOW YOU WEREN'T SHOCKED. YOU SAID YOU WERE RELIEVED.

Marlene says I WAS RELIEVED THAT'S ALL IT WAS.

Mary says DO YOU THINK THAT IS THE TYPICAL REACTION?

Marlene says I DON'T THINK IT IS THE NORM. FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN THROUGH MY EXPERIENCES AT P-FLAG, PARENT TAKE DIFFERENT TIMES TO COME TO TERMS WITH IT. NOT EVERYBODY COMES TO TERMS WITH IT RIGHT AWAY. IT COULD TAKE A YEAR. THERE ARE DIFFERENT STAGES THAT PARENTS GO THROUGH WHEN THEY FIND OUT THEIR CHILD IS GAY. ITS LIKE GOING THROUGH ANY OTHER EXPERIENCE. THEY ARE HANDLED DIFFERENTLY BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE. SO THERE ISN'T A RULE OF THUMB ABOUT TIME OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

Anna says THE OTHER THING ABOUT SHOCK IS, I WOULD THINK ITS SHOCKING BEYOND THE ACTUAL HOMOSEXUALITY IS THE SHOCK FOR A PARENT THAT ALL THOSE YEARS... BECAUSE YOU SAY YOUR... ALL THOSE YEARS YOU THOUGHT THAT CHILD WAS SOMETHING HE OR SHE WASN'T.

Marlene says ABSOLUTELY.

Mary says ITS LIKE LOSING A CHILD.

Marlene says IT IS. ITS WHAT WE SAY. THIS IS A MOURNING PERIOD PARENTS GO THROUGH. THEY ARE MOURNING THE LOSS OF WHAT THEY PERCEIVED TO BE

[OVERLAPPING VOICES].

Mary says IS IT LIKE A DEATH OF A CHILD, THE STAGES?

Marlene says IT IS. ITS THE DEATH OF WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOUR CHILD'S LIFE WAS GOING TO BE. I MEAN PARENTS LOOK IN A CONTRIBUTE AND THEY DON'T SAY, YOU KNOW, I'M HOPING THIS IS GOING TO BE A GAY CHILD. YOU LOOK IN THE CONTRIBUTE AND THINK THIS CHILD WILL BE GOING TO UNIVERSITY, BE MARRIED, HAVE CHILDREN, ITS WONDERFUL. WELL, WE SAY TO OUR PARENTS YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR DOORS OPEN. YOU DON'T KNOW. YOU DON'T KNOW.

Mary says DID YOUR PARENTS GO THROUGH THAT, ANNA?

Anna says I THINK TO A CERTAIN EXTENT THERE WAS A CHANGE OF PERCEPTION. BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU CAN'T REALLY SAY YOU ARE LOSING YOUR CHILD BECAUSE FOR ME AT LEAST, MY SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS SUCH A SMALL PART OF WHO I AM. ITS WHO I LIKE, NOT WHO I AM. SO WHO I AM DIDN'T CHANGE FROM THE MINUTE BEFORE I TOLD MY MOTHER I WAS GAY OR MY PARENTS UNTIL THE HOME AFTER. I WAS THE SAME ANNA THEY HAD ALWAYS KNOWN.

Marlene says THAT IS ONE OF THE THINGS WE TELL PARENTS. EXACTLY THAT.

Mary says LET'S TAKE ANOTHER CALL HERE. WE HAVE SHANNON ON THE LINE. HI, SHANNON.

The Caller says HI. MY FATHER... I AM LESBIAN AND MY FATHER THINKS ITS A GENE MALFUNCTION OR SOMETHING. HE THINKS ITS A CHOICE, YOU CAN CHANGE. I HAVE NOT TOLD HIM YET.

Mary says THAT IS INTERESTING. ANNA, YOU ADDRESSED THAT WITH FRIENDS TELLING YOU TO LEAVE YOUR OPTIONS OPEN. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY TO SHANNON?

Anna says WELL ITS THE CONSTANT DEBATE OF NATURE OR NURTURE. REALLY THERE IS NO SIMPLE ANSWER TO THAT. WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU TO CHANGE THAT. YOU CAN'T TELL YOURSELF TO CHANGE THAT. YOU JUST HAVE TO DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT TO YOU. YOU CAN'T LET OTHER PEOPLE DICTATE WHAT THAT IS.

Mary says MARLENE, ANYTHING TO ADD?

Marlene says WELL, HER FATHER SEEMS TO BEING HAVING A CONTRADICTION. HE IS SAYING ITS A GENE MALFUNCTION, AERND A CHOICE. DEFINITELY NOT A CHOICE. I THINK THAT ITS A MATTER OF HOW HE WAS RAISED. ITS A MATTER OF IGNORANCE. HE NEEDS TO LEARN. HE NEEDS TO... IF THIS YOUNG WOMAN FEELS SHE IS READY TO COME OUT, MAKE SURE SHE SHE PROVIDES HIM WITH LEARNING MATERIAL.

Mary says NOW, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT MARLENE'S SON WHO KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT HIM AT FIVE. WHAT ABOUT FOR YOU, ANNA? WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE A LESBIAN?

Anna says THINKING BACK, I KNEW I LIKED GIRLS IN GRADE FIVE BUT I DIDN'T REALIZE I WAS A LESBIAN UNTIL I WAS 16. JUST BECAUSE I NEVER REALLY PLACED WHAT I WAS FEELING. I REALLY DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT LESBIAN, GI ISSUES. SO, ONE DAY I WAS READING A MAGAZINE WHEN I WAS 16. IT WAS ABOUT A LESBIAN ACTIVIST. I WAS READING WHAT SHE WAS FEELING AN I WENT, THAT'S ME!

Mary says DID THAT HIT YOU LIKE A WALL?

Anna says OH YES. IT WAS POSSIBLY THE SCARIEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE, JUST REALIZING THIS PART OF MYSELF. THINKING AHEAD THINKING, WHAT NEXT?

Mary says IS IT SOMETHING THAT YOU KEPT TO YOURSELF FOR A WHILE? DID YOU NEED TO SHARE IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE?

Anna says FOR TWO YEARS I DIDN'T SHARE IT WITH ANYBODY. I DIDN'T START COMING OUT UNTIL I CAME TO TORONTO SEVEN MONTHS AGO. AT ALL.

Mary says NOW, YOU KNOW, YOU SAID THAT YOU PLANNED TO NEVER TELL YOUR PARENTS BUT BECAUSE YOUR SISTER FOUND OUT AND THE ISSUE WAS BROUGHT TO AHEAD, YOU DID TELL YOUR PARENTS. I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT YOUR PARENTS WERE VERY SUPPORTIVE. I MEAN, THEY WERE SURPRISED BUTTENED UP BEING SUPPORTIVE. IN THE END, WAS IT MORE OF AN ISSUE FOR YOU?

Anna says IT WAS.

Mary says IT WAS IN YOUR MIND, YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A HUGE PROBLEM?

Anna says IT WASN'T SO MUCH THAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A HUGE PROBLEM. MY MOTHER IS VERY INVOLVED WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES. SHE IS CHAIR OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION IN MANITOBA. SO I KNOW SHE IS SUPPORTIVE. MY FATHER IS TOO. ALONG WITH MY EXTENDED FAMILY. I WAS WORRIED THEY WOULD LOOK AT ME DIFFERENTLY. NOT THAT THEY WOULD HATE ME OR KICK ME OUT, BUT JUST THAT I WOULD SEE SOMETHING IN THEIR EYES THAT HADN'T SEEN THERE BEFORE. OR THEY WOULD SEE SOMETHING IN ME THEY HADN'T SEEN BEFORE. THAT WAS SCARY. I DIDN'T WANT TO CHANGE THEIR OPINIONS.

Marlene says IF PEOPLE WOULD REALIZE THE SUFFERING AND FEAR THAT THESE YOUNG PEOPLE GO THROUGH, IF PARENTS COULD JUST SEE THAT, THEY WOULD MAYBE STOP THINKING ABOUT THEIR OWN ISSUES SURROUNDING HAVING A GAY CHILD AND CONCENTRATE ON THE HURT THEIR CHILD SUFFERED ALL THAT TIME. ITS NOT EASY TO REALIZE TA YOU ARE GAY. CAN YOU IMAGINE? JUST HAVING THAT INITIAL SHOCK, MY GOD, I AM A LESBIAN. HOW FRIGHTENING. ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND HER. IF THEY COULD STOP AND LISTEN TO THAT.

Mary says YOU KNOW, I DIDN'T KNOW THAT YOUR MOTHER WAS CHAIR OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION. THAT IS VERY IRONIC, ISN'T IT? INTELLECTUALLY YOU COULD SAY, WELL, MY PARENTS ARE TOTALLY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND WOULD BE UNDERSTANDING, I WOULD THINK. BUT THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE WORKING THERE AS A PARENT-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU HAD DIFFICULTY WITH.

Anna says ITS SUCH A PRECIOUS BOND. SOMETHING I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO AVOID JEOPARDIZING. I WAS SO SCARED THAT THAT RELATIONSHIP WOULD CHANGE. BUT IN FACT, IT MADE IT STRONGER. BECAUSE I FELT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY PARENTS HAD REALLY BEEN HINDERED BY THE FACT THAT I HAD EFFECTIVELY LIED TO THEM FOR TWO YEARS. WHO DID LIKE? NOBODY.

Mary says WE ALWAYS WANT OUR PARENTS' GOOD FAVOUR.

Marlene says WE DO. IN A LOT OF CASES, THEY FIND THE RELATIONSHIP IMPROVES. I KNOW IT DID WITH MY SON. [OVERLAPPING VOICES] TO ME, THERE WAS A TURNAROUND. I DON'T KNOW IF HE WOULD SAY THAT BUT IN MY EYES THERE WAS A COMPLETE TURNAROUND. HE WENT FROM A ANGRY YOUNG MAN TO SOMEONE WHO IS CHEERFUL AND LOVING AND GENEROUS. JUST A COMPLETE TURNAROUND.

Mary says NOW, THERE HAS BEEN AN ISSUE IN THE NEWS INVOLVING A 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT IN DURHAM, A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT. HE WENT VERY PUBLIC WITH HIS SEXUAL ORIENTATION BECAUSE HE WAS TOLD BY HIS CATHOLIC SCHOOL THAT HE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO BRING HIS BOYFRIEND TO THE PROM. I WONDER WHAT YOUR OPINION IS.

Marlene says WELL, I THINK IN THIS CASE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS DISCRIMINATING. I DON'T KNOW HOW ELSE TO SAY THAT. I THINK THIS YOUNG MAN'S RIGHTS ARE BEING DENIED. THE CHURCH IS ASKING HIM TO DENY WHO HE IS. HE IS BEING ASKED TO NOT TO GO GO TO HIS PROM WITH A PERSON HER CARES ABOUT. I THINK THEY ARE WRONG.

Mary says HOW DO YOU FEEL, ANNA?

Anna says I AGREE. OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE ISSUES OF FAITH. BUT NO MATTER WHAT SOMEONE'S FAITH IS, ANY FAITH SHOULD SUPPORT LOVE AND SHOULD SUPPORT TOLERANCE. ITS SENDING SUCH A STRONG MESSAGE WHEN A SCHOOL BOARD WILL SAY, YOU HAVE TO HIDE WHO YOU ARE. BECAUSE IF SCHOOLS ARE TELLING YOU THIS, IF PRINCIPALS WHO YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO RESPECT ARE TELLING YOU YOU CAN'T BE WHO YOU ARE, YOU HAVE TO HIDE WHO YOU ARE, THAT IS A REALLY STRONG MESSAGE, NOT TO THIS INDIVIDUAL, BUT TO ALL GAY AND LESBIAN YOUTH. OR OTHER YOUTH IN FACT.

Marlene says THIS WAS THE TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD, THERE WOULD NOT BE A ISSUE. IT WOULD NOT BE PERMITTED. I THINK THAT THIS... THE SCHOOL IS ANSWERING TO THE CHURCH. I HAVE A FEELING THIS CASE IS GOING TO GO FORWARD. I DON'T THINK THAT THIS SMALL... WHAT INITIALLY MIGHT HAVE BEEN A SMALL ISSUE... I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED TO SEE IT GO TO THE SUPREME COURT. WOULDN'T SURPRISE ME IN THE LEAST.

Mary says NOW WITH YOUR WORK MARLENE, MEETING PARENTS AN YOUNG PEOPLE, IS IT COMMON FOR TEENS... THIS BOY IS 17... IS IT COMMON FOR TEENS TO COME OUT ABOUT THEIR SEXUALITY?

Marlene says WE ARE FINDING THAT THEY ARE COMING OUT EARLIER AND EARLIER. THERE IS SO MUCH EXPOSURE NOW. THERE IS... ITS A TOPIC NOW THAT IS DISCUSSED OPENLY. THERE IS SO MUCH IN THE CITY OF TORONTO, PARTICULARLY. THERE IS SO MUCH SUPPORT FOR THESE KIDS NOW. THERE ARE SO MANY PLACES THEY CAN GO, SO MUCH READING MATERIAL. SO THEY ARE COMING OUT EARLIER AND EARLIER. THAT IS GOOD. OF COURSE. SAVES THEM YEARS OF SUFFERING.

Mary says BUT WOULD THERE BE ISSUES PARTICULAR TO BEING A TEEN THAT MIGHT ALSO MAKE IT TOUGHER BY COMING OUT...

Marlene says SCHOOL. SCHOOL. IN MY MIND, ETSZ YOUR FRIENDS, THE DISCRIMINATION THAT MAKE IT THE TOUGHEST ON THESE KIDS.

Mary says LET'S TAKE ANOTHER CALL. DAVE IS ON THE LINE FROM BARE E. HI.

The Caller says HI. MARLENE, WHAT WAS EDDIE'S REACTION WHEN HE FOUND OUT THAT YOUR SON WAS GAY?

Marlene says DAVID MC GREGOR.

The Caller says YES, MA'AM. HOW ARE YOU, SWEETHEART.

Marlene says VERY WELL. YOU?

The Caller says GOOD.

Mary says SOMETHING INSIDE HERE.

Marlene says AN OLD FRIEND. ED WAS AT FIRST... HE FELT GUILTY. HE THOUGHT IT WAS HIS FAULT BECAUSE AT THE SAME TIME MARK REALIZED HE WAS GAY WAS THE TIME OUR PAR RAJ BROKE DOWN, IF YOU REMEMBER. MARK WAS 12 OR 13. SO ED IN HIS IGNORANCE OF THE TOPIC, OF THE ISSUE THOUGHT THAT PERHAPS THE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE MIGHT HAVE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT. SO WE HAD A LONG CHAT AND HE REALIZES IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. HE IS FINE. AT THE MOMENT, HE'S GREAT.

Mary says THAT IS INTERESTING YOU BRING UP THAT, THAT THE PARENTS FEEL GUILTY.

Marlene says OH YES. THEY THINK THERE IS SOMETHING THEY MUST HAVE DONE. WE TELL THEM, YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING. YOU CAN HAVE ONE GAY CHILD AND TWO STRAIGHT CHILDREN AS I DO, RAISE ND THE SAME HOUSE. BUT THEY THINK THAT.

Mary says WHAT ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER? TELL ME HOW SHE HAS BEEN THROUGH ALL THIS.

Marlene says MARK'S SISTERS ARE ACCEPTING. ITS MARK. TWO SISTERS. ITS MARK. ACTUALLY, I THINK THEY SUSPECTED. THEY TELL ME THEY SORT OF KNEW. HE WASN'T BRINGING HOME GIRLFRIENDS, RIGHT? I PUT IT DOWN TO BEING BUSY WITH SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY, THE REST OF IT. THEY SUSPECTED IT. I DON'T THINK THEY CARE. NONE OF US CARE. ITS NOT AN ISSUE WITH US.

Mary says ANNA, DO YOU HAVE SIBLINGS?

Anna says I HAVE A YOUNGER SISTER. OLDER HALF YOU SIBLINGS.

Mary says YOUR SISTER FOUND OUT.

Anna says SHE HAS BEEN THE MOSTS SUPPORTIVE PERSON. SHE SAYS SHE KNEW BEFORE I DID. I'M SURE THAT'S TRUE. SHE HAS BEEN SUPPORTING ME ENTIRELY, ALL ALONG. IF IT WEREN'T FOR HER, I WOULDN'T HAVE COME OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE.

Mary says LET'S TAKE ANOTHER CALL. KIM, HI.

The Caller says HI. MY QUESTION IS I HAVE A 5-YEAR-OLD. LIKE YOUR GUEST WAS SAYING HER SON KNEW WHEN HE WAS FIVE, MY SON LIKES TO TRY ON MY UNDER WEAR AND BRAS AND WOMEN'S THINGS. BUT HE IS SECRET ABOUT IT, LIKE HE FEELS GUILTY. I HAVE NEVER PUT HIM DOWN FOR TRYING ON ANYTHING. IF HE WANTS TO PLAY, GO AHEAD. HE WANTS TO TRY... HE WANTS A WOMAN'S WIG. THINGS LIKE THAT. I'M WONDERING IF THOSE ARE EARLY WARNING SIGNS.

Marlene says I DON'T THINK YOU SHOULD START THINKING ALONG THOSE LINES AT THIS POINT. I CERTAINLY THINK YOU ARE HANDLING YOUR SON CORRECTLY. HE SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO DO THESE THINGS, IF THAT IS THE WAY HE CHOOSES TO PLAY, THEN LET HIM. BUT AS I SAID EARLIER, WE SHOULD ALL KEEP OUR DOORS OPEN. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT DIRECTION OUR CHILDREN ARE GOING TO TAKE, WHETHER ITS, YOU KNOW, WE ARE THINKING THEY ARE GOING TO UNIVERSITY AND THEY DON'T WANT TO GO, OR WE THINK THEY WILL GET PAR RID AND THEY ARE GAY. BUT LET HIM GO. HE IS FIVE. HE IS A BABY. DON'T START WORRYING.

Mary says YEAH. I WONDER THOUGH, IF THERE ARE SIGNS ALONG THE WAY THAT MAKE A PARENT PAUSE, MAYBE PERHAPS SOME OF THE SIGNS YOU WERE GIVING ABOUT HOW YOU WERE NOT DOING THE TYPICAL TEEN BEHAVIOR ABOUT GUYS. IS IT SOMETHING THAT A PARENT SHOULD BRING UP OR SHOULD THEY ALWAYS LEAVE IT TO THE CHILD TO BRING IT UP FIRST?

Marlene says WE SUGGEST THAT... SOME OF OUR PARENTS HAVE APPROACHED THEIR CHILDREN. BUT WE THINK ITS BEST THAT ITS LEFT UP TO THE CHILD. YEAH.

Anna says I THINK AT THE SAME TIME PARENTS SHOULD WITHIN THE HOUSEHOLD SAY THAT THEY ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THEIR CHILDREN, NO MATTER WHAT. MAKE SURE THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE AWARE OF LESBIAN AND GAY ISSUES.

Mary says SO YOU ARE SAYING CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS OPEN IF THEY WANT TO COME OUT TO TELL YOU.

Marlene says RIGHT, RIGHT.

Anna says WHETHER OR NOT THERE ARE SIGNS. EVEN IF YOU ARE A HUNDRED PERCENT SURE YOUR CHILD IS STRAIGHT, THAT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING. YOU SHOULD STILL BE SUPPORTIVE.

[OVERLAPPING VOICES].

Marlene says I THINK THAT WE ALL NEED TO TEACH ALL OF OUR CHILDREN ACCEPTANCE AND ABOUT DIVERSITY. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. SOME WEAR GLASSES, SOME ARE IN WHEELCHAIRS, SOME ARE BLACK, SOME ARE GAY. WE NEED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE ACCEPTING OF ALL PEOPLE. ITS A BIGGER ISSUE THAN JUST GAY OR LESBIAN.

Mary says ABSOLUTELY. I AM GLAD YOU BROUGHT THAT UP. EVEN THOUGH YOUR CHILD MAY NOT BE GAY, HIS FRIENDS OR PEOPLE YOU MEET IN THE COMMUNITY. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT YOU, YOU KNOW?

Marlene says IN SCHOOL, THESE CHILDREN WHO ARE HOMOPHOBIC HAVE HEARD THIS SOMEONE. WHERE HAVE THEY HEARD IT? FATHERS AN MOTHERS. YOU NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN AT HOME.

Mary says TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATIONS, P-FLAG. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

Marlene says ITS THE... PCHL-FLAG WAS STARTED AS A SUPPORT GROUP FOR PARENTS WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE COME OUT TO THEM. WE HAVE EVOLVED FROM THAT. WE HOLD SUPPORT MEETINGS EVERY MONTH. WE HAVE AN EDUCATION MEETING ONCE A MONTH AS WELL. WE EDUCATE. WE SPEAK. WE HAVE BEEN ASKED TO SPEAK IN A NUMBER OF COMMUNITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS. WE HAVE ALL KINDS OF READING MATERIAL, BOOKS. WE ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO HELP. WE ARE INVOLVED WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD, INVOLVE WD THE TORONTO POLICE DEPARTMENT. WE HAVE A HOT OF HANDS EV WRI WHERE, TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Mary says WELL, BEST OF LUCK TO YOU. AND BEST OF LUCK TO YOU TOO, ANNA IN YOUR STUD ES. MARLENE MORAIS IS VICE PRESIDENT OF P-FLAG, PARENTS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS. ANNA PENNER IS A UNIVERSITY STUDENT.

A slate reads "Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, www.pflag.ca."

Mary says ANOTHER ISSUE PARENTS FACE, TEENS AND PREGNANCY. IT CAN OFTEN BE A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. PLANET PARENT PROFILES ALL KINDS OF SITUATIONS. THIS WEEK THEY LOOK AT HOW ONE FAMILY HAS BEATEN THE ODDS.


A clip plays on screen with the caption "Video Diary."
In the clip, a woman does paperwork inside a kitchen.

The caption changes to "Crystal PerrymanMark. Entrepreneur."

Crystal is in her thirties, with black hair in dreads.

A toddler sits next to her.

The caption changes to "Sojourn PerrymanMark. 11 months old."

A young man picks up and kisses a baby.

The caption changes to "Kevin Mark. Office Worker."

A girl flops on a couch.

The caption changes to "Sable PerrymanMark. 5 years."

As a picture shows Crystal holding a younger Sable, Crystal says SABLE'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Crystal shows a picture of the family of four and says CHRISTMAS 2001. OUR FIRST FOUR FAMILY CHRISTMAS.

In another picture Kevin holds a newborn baby.

Crystal says SOJOURN ONE-WEEK-OLD IN KEVIN'S ARMS. ITS OUR FAMILY. ITS OUR LIFE.

As Crystal and Mark walk hand in hand outside a school, he says WE ARE HEADING TOWARDS OUR HIGH SCHOOL OVER HERE.

She says THIS IS WHERE EVERYTHING STARTED. REMEMBER I CAME TO YOU AND I SAID... I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU. YOU WERE LIKE, WHAT? I'M PREGNANT. YOU WERE LIKE...

He says GET OUT OF HERE.

She says IT REMINDS US HOW FAR WE HAVE COME. A WORLD HAS HAPPENED SINCE. WE ARE STILL YOUNG BUT WE HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH IN THE PAST WHILE. I WAS THE LAST PERSON I EVER EXPECTED TO BE A TEENAGE PARENT. I HAD A HIGH IDEAL OF MYSELF. I THOUGHT I WOULD REALLY GET THROUGH SCHOOL, GO TO COLLEGE, YOU KNOW, DO THINGS. SO IT WAS A MAJOR SET BACK. I WAS THINKING I HAVE RUINED MY LIFE.

At home, as Sable wakes up, Crystal says GOOD morning SABLE. RISE AND SHINE. YOU ARE STILL TIRED. FIVE MINUTES TO REST. OKAY?

At their interview, Kevin says THERE IS NOTHING THAT COMES INTO YOUR HEAD. THERE IS NO PREPARATION FOR IT.

As Sable does homework, Kevin says START ON THE, WE. THIS SIDE. THIS WORD IS W-E. CAN YOU SAY THAT?

Sable says WE.

Crystal says GOOD JOB.

Crystal says I GOT BLAMED FOR ME IN RUINING MY LIFE AS WELL AS AS RUINING HIS. I GOT A LOT OF STUFF. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LIVE? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? I GOT, YOU CAN'T GO TO SCHOOL LIKE THAT! QOU WILL END UP WORKING AND NEVER BEING HAPPY. IN DEBT. THE WHOLE STRING OF THINGS.

As she holds Sable in her arms, Crystal says DID I TELL YOU I WENT TO UNIVERSITY AND GRANL WAIGS? HOW DID YOU FEEL SEEING MOMMY ON THE STAINL.

Sable says MOMMY IS SO BEAUTIFUL.

Crystal says GOOD. I AM GLAD YOU FEEL THAT WAY. I FELT BEAUTIFUL THEN. YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT IN LIFE, SABLE. IS THAT TRUE?

Sable says YEAH.

Crystal says IT IS. ANYTHING IS YOURS. WITH PRAYER AND FAITH AND GOOD WORK. I LOVE YOU. SABLE IS A GIFT. A UNIQUE GIFT. SHE CONCEIVED EVEN THOUGH WE WERE USING THREE METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL. SABLE WAS MEANT TO BE. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT WHEN I SORT OF GOT THAT, THINGS STARTED TO CHANGE FOR ME.
A LOT OF WHAT I DO IS SET UP MY BUSINESS PLAN. I AM WORKING ON THE INTERNAL INFRA STRUCTURE. SO I SPEND TIME ON THE COMPUTER, ON THE PHONE. SOMETIMES I NEED THIS TABLE FROM THE BREAKFAST TABLE TO THE WORK TABLE. THEN THE DINNER TABLE TRANS FORMS AGAIN AS WE SIT DOWN TO DISCUSS OUR BUDGET AND BILLS. THINGS GOT HARD. THERE WAS TIMES WHEN GOODNESS I HAVE TO APPLY FOR A GRANT OR WE WON'T EAT. THERE ARE TIGHT SPOTS.

Kevin says MY PRIMARY ROLE WAS PUTTING FUNDS INTO THE HOUSE, SUPPORTING THE HOUSEHOLD AND FAMILY. BEFORE I DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO UNIVERSITY. I WANTED TO GO TO COLLEGE AND GET SOME TYPE OF TRADE OR WHAT HAVE YOU. BEING WITH CRYSTAL MAKES ME REALIZE SO MUCH MORE IS POSSIBLE. WHO I AM NOW IS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN WHO I WAS BACK THEN.

As clips show the couple bathing Sable, Crystal says WE TRY TO MAKE BATH TIME A TIME WE CAN GET TOGETHER AND USE TOUCH AND MASSAGE AND ALL THOSE GOOD STUFF TO HELP THE CHILDREN FEEL LOVED AN CARED FOR.

Kevin says I WANTED TO BE NOT A COOL DAD OR ANYTHING BUT SOMEONE THAT IS ALWAYS THERE FOR MY KIDS.

Crystal says I WANTED THE CHILDREN TO FEEL LIKE THE HOME IS THEIR SAFE SPACE TO BE AND NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD, THEY ARE SUPPORTED HERE.

At night, Crystal guides Sable in prayer and says GOOD LORD, I PRAY FOR MY SISTER AND MY FAMILY. AND FRIENDS. AMEN.

As a clip shows the four sitting on the same bed, Crystal says SATURDAY MORNINGS WE HAVE BREAKFAST IN BED TO GET A CHANCE TO HAVE THE FAMILY BED TOGETHER. I SAID, YOU KNOW, I LOVE MY LIFE. EVERYTHING FITS. EVERYTHING FEELS GOOD. THAT COULDN'T BE SAID FIVE YEARS AGO. I AM FREE. I CAN DO WHAT I WANT WITH MY LIFE. IT MEANS...

Outside the school, Kevin says ALL OF OUR AWARDS ARE STILL THERE.

Crystal says THE WALL OF FAME. OUR GRAD PICTURES.

Kevin says WE STAY TOGETHER BECAUSE OF OUR FEELINGS TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER. WE ARE GREAT FRIENDS. WE LOVE EACH OTHER. ITS NOT JUST THE LOVE THAT WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. ITS ALSO HARD WORK.

Crystal says I SEE GOOD THINGS FOR US. I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE CHILDREN ARE WILL... WILL AMAZE US IN WONDERFUL WAYS. WE ALWAYS SIT BACK AND SAY WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT THEY WILL DO. ITS AN HONOR TO KNOW WE ARE PART OF THAT.

The clip ends.

Back in the studio, Mary says WHAT A GREAT STORY. THAT IS A VIDEO DIARY FROM PLANET PARENT WHICH YOU CAN CATCH TONIGHT AT 7 O'CLOCK.
NEXT, MORE ON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH A NUN WHO IS TRYING TO CONVINCE THEM OF A HIGHER CALLING.

A commercial break plays.

An ad for 8 PM show Studio 2 plays.
Then, an ad plays promoting the TVO.org website.

The break ends.

Back in the studio, Mary says THERE IS A GROWING CONCERN THAT MEN AND WOMEN ARE NOT INTERESTED IN A religious LIFE. SISTER SUSAN KIDD IS SPEAKING TO YOUNG WOMEN IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS, ENCOURAGING THEM TO CONSIDER BECOMING A NUN. THEY CAN GET A LOOK AT HER MISSION IN A TV O DOCUMENTARY WHICH AIRS ON WEDNESDAY, TONIGHT.

Susan is in her thirties, with short black hair and bangs. She's wearing a green plaid blazer over a black turtleneck, and a silver pendant necklace.

Mary continues SISTER Susan WELCOME.

Susan says THANK YOU.

Mary says HOW MANY WOMEN ARE BECOMING NUNS TODAY?

The caption changes to "Sister Susan Kidd. The Congregation of Notre Dame."

Susan says THE NUMBERS ARE DOWN TODAY. WHAT WE KNOW IS THERE ARE PROBABLY BETWEEN 40 AND 50 WOMEN WHO HAVE TAKEN THE FORMAL STEP IN TERMS OF APPLICATION. HOW MANY ARE ON MAILING LISTS, WHO KNOWS.

Mary says SO 40 TO 50 WOMEN WHO WANT TO TAKE THE STEP AS OPPOSED TO HOW MANY 40 YEARS AGO?

Susan says MY. IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME 40 YEARS AGO. THE NUMBERS WERE LARGER. PEOPLE WERE ENTERING IN THE 50s AND 60s WOULD HAVE BEEN HIGHER THAN THAT. MAYBE IN THE THOUSANDS.

Mary says WOW. SO WHY THE DECLINE OVER THE YEARS?

Susan says I THINK WHAT HAPPENED TO US AS WOMEN IN GENERAL IS THAT PEOPLE HAVE FOUND OTHER WAYS OF BEING INVOLVED IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS AND IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT NO LONGER DO YOU HAVE TO BE A SISTER TO BE A TEACHER OR TO BE INVOLVED IN HEALTH CARE. THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO WOMEN. THE WOMEN ENTERING NOW FEEL GOD IS CALLING THEM TO SOMETHING.

Mary says INTERESTING. THERE ARE OPTIONS. WHAT ABOUT YOU BACK IN 1987 WHEN YOU TOOK YOUR VOWS? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A NUN?

Susan says I WAS CURIOUS M I NEVER HEARD GOD CALL MY NAME OR MY BED DIDN'T SHAKE. I WAS TAUGHT MY SISTERS IN HIGH SCHOOL IN ONTARIO. IN FACT ONE OF THEM ASKED ME IF I HAD EVER CONSIDERED BEING A SISTER. MY ANSWER WAS, NO, OF COURSE NOT. [LAUGHTER] I DID HAVE A FRIEND IN HIGH SCHOOL WHO WANTED TO BE A SISTER THOUGH. SO IT WASN'T NECESSARILY FOREIGN TO ME BUT I THOUGHT HE WOULD DO IT AND I WASN'T GOING TO TO F AS I TALK TO THEM ABOUT BEING A TEACHER, I WANTED TO BE A TEACHER, THEY SEEMED TO HAVE A NORMAL LIFE TILE... LIFESTYLE. REGULAR FOLKS WITH GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS. THEY HAD A SOCIAL LIFE, A PRAYER LIFE.

Mary says YOU BRING UP INTERESTING POINTS. ONE I THINK IS THE... ITS A MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE CALLING. YOU KNOW? YOU SAID ABOUT YOURSELF, IT WASN'T A CALLING FOR YOU. ITS NOT A CALLING FOR OTHERS M BUT MANY THINK THAT THERE HAS TO BE THIS VOICE, RIGHT? WE CAN NARROW IT DOWN TO ONE INSTANT. BUT ITS NOT THAT WAY.

Susan says FOR MANY, ITS NOT THAT CLEAR. I BELIEVE GOD IS CALLING PEOPLE BUT ITS NOT CALL LIKE A TELEPHONE CALL OR AN E-MAIL. IT WOULD BE EASIER IF IT WAS. GOD PUTS A DESIRE IN OUR HEART. ITS UP TO US TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO RESPOND TO THAT. THAT IS WHERE IT BECOMES MORE CLEAR.

Mary says YOU SEE, IF THAT IS TRUE, THEN I CAN SEE WHY GOING OUT AND TALKING TO WOMEN COULD POSSIBLY WORK BECAUSE IF ITS JUST A FACT THEY HAVEN'T CONSIDERED IT, RIGHT, OUT COULD BE A MISSED OPTION.

Susan says EXACTLY. AS WOMEN CHECK OUT THEIR OPTIONS FOR CAREER POSSIBILITIES, I INVITE THEM TO CHECK OUT LIFESTYLE POSSIBILITIES. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE.

Mary says I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THE AVERAGE AGE OF A NUN IN CANADA IS 71. OF COURSE THE NUMBERS ARE DIMINISHING. WHY IS IT THAT YOUNG PEOPLE THOUGH ARE NOT INTERESTED IN JOINING A CONVENT? YOU TALK ABOUT SOME ATTRACTIVE OPTIONS HERE, THEY HAVE CHOICES TODAY, THE CHURCH IS DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS. WHY ARE YOUNG... WHAT PROBLEMS DO THEY HAVE WITH THE CHURCH?

Susan says IN MY EXPERIENCE LISTENING TO WOMEN TRY TO GO FIGURE OUT WHERE TO USE THEIR GIFTS TO THE BEST POSSIBILITY, THE CHURCH HAS NOT BEEN ALWAYS OPEN TO RECEIVING THE GIFTS OF WOMEN. SISTERS LIKE MYSELF ARE LINKED WITH THE CHURCH. FOR BETTER OR WORSE, IF I MAY ADD. SO THAT IS A BLOCK FOR PEOPLE. MY GIFTS WON'T BE TOTALLY RECOGNIZED AS A CATHOLIC WOMAN. I CAN DO BETTER IN OTHER WAYS, SOMETIMES IN OTHER PLACES. DIFFERENT OPTIONS PRESENT THEMSELVES. WE HAVE NOT BEEN CONSIDERED... WHEN WE LEFT THE HABIT, THEY USED TO WEAR A VISABLE SIGN OF THEIR PRESENCE. WE NO LONGER... MANY WEAR SIMPLE CROSSES OR THINGS. WE DON'T WEAR THE FULL HABIT. SO WE ARE NOT PRESENT, NOT SEEN AS AN OPTION.

Mary says BUT I THINK ABOUT THE FUNDAMENTAL VOWS THAT YOU TAKE, POVERTY, CHASTITY, OH BEAD YENS. THOSE HAVE NOT CHANGED. BUT TIMES HAVE CHANGED. WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOCIETY AND THE EMPHASIS ON MATERIALISM, CONSUMERISM, SEX, INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, THOSE SEEM TO CONTRADICT THE FUNDAMENTAL VOWS. SO IS THAT AN ISSUE AS WELL? WITH WOMEN GROWING UP TODAY, THEY THINK THAT DOESN'T SPEAK TO ME.

Susan says I THINK THE VOWS HAVE NOT CHANGED. THE WAY WE LIVE IN THEM HAS. WHEN SISTERS LIVED IN LARGE INSTITUTIONS, POVERTY MEANT ONE THING. THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING. WHEN THERE WAS A SISTER NAME SUPERIOR, THE VOW OF OH BEAD YENS, SHE HAD IT. NOW OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE VOWS IS DIFFERENT. I HAVE ACCESS TO FUNDS. I DO HAVE A CAR AT MY DISPOSITIVE AL. I HAVE A CREDIT CARD TO BE ABLE TO USE. CELIBACY REMAINS THE SAME. I DON'T MARRY, I WON'T HAVE CHILDREN, I'M NOT GOING TO HAVE SEX IN THAT WAY. SOCIETY OFFERS THESE AS THE WAYS... THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS IN LIFE. I CONSIDER MY LIFESTYLE TO BE COUNTER CULTURAL. THAT FOR MANY WOMEN IS ATTRACTIVE. I THINK THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS.

Mary says COUNTER CALL CHUR RAL. YOU ARE RADICAL.

[LAUGHTER]

Susan says RADICAL NUN.

Mary says WE HAVE A CLIP FROM THE DOCUMENTARY THAT IS AIRING TONIGHT ON TVO. YOU ARE TALK TO GO THE WOMEN.

A clip plays in which Susan stands inside a classroom facing a group of female students.

Susan says WHEN YOU GET MARRIED YOU MAKE ONE VOW. WE HAVE THREE VOWS. DO YOU KNOW THE WORDS?

A student says POVERTY CHASTITY, BEING...

Now sitting alone in a room Susan says I BELIEVE THAT THAT WE ARE A OPTION IN THIS WORLD AND WE NEED PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT. IN A SENSE I AM SELLING AN OPTION, AWAY OF LIFE.

Inside the classroom, she says
THIS IS THE WAY IN OUR VOW FORMULA. POVERTY FIRST, CHASTITY IS SECOND. Obedience IS THE THIRD. THAT IS WAY WE HAVE COME TO KNOW THE VOWS.

At her interview, she says ITS SOMETHING THAT IS FREEING. ITS HOW I PRESENT THE VOWS. I AM FREE TO DO MANY THINGS BECAUSE OF MY VOW TO COMMITMENT. THE FACT THAT I AM NOT AT HOME COMMITTED TO ONE PERSON, THE FACT THAT I DON'T HAVE CHILDREN ALLOWS ME TO RESPOND IN MANY WAYS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE UNABLE TO.

The clip ends.

Mary says YOU MENTIONED YOU HAVE ACCESS TO FUNDS, YOU HAVE A CREDIT CARD. BUT THE CHASTITY, THAT NEVER CHANGES. IS THAT THE BIG STUMBLING BLOCK FOR YOUNG WOMEN?

Susan says I THINK AS FAR AS THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION THAT YOU NEED TO EXPRESS YOURSELF FULLY TO BE TRULY A WOMAN, YEAH, ITS ATTRACTIVE TO PEOPLE. FOR ME TO STAND UP AND SAY THERE IS AN OPTION AND I AM AS HEALTHY AN HAPPY, ITS HARD TO GET OUR MINDS AND BODIES AROUND THAT ONE, FOR SURE.

Mary says EVEN IF YOUNG WOMEN WERE SERIOUSLY INTERESTED IN BECOMING A NUN THAT PERHAPS THEY FEEL THEY CAN'T QUITE MAKE THAT COMMITMENT, THAT IS TOO DIFFICULT TO MAKE. DO YOU COME ACROSS THAT IN.

Susan says I DO. PEOPLE WHO SAY TO ME, YOU KNOW, I WOULD LOVE THAT LIFESTYLE PART BUT THERE IS SOMETHING IN ME THAT WANTS TO BE A MOM OR SOMETHING IN ME THAT WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN. WE CAN'T DENY THAT. CELIBACY IS A GIFT GIVEN TO SOME, NOT TO ALL, PRAISE BE TO GOD OR NONE OF US WOULD BE HERE.

[LAUGHTER]

Mary says I WANT TO ADDRESS THIS. SOME OF THE NEGATIVISM WE HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF SCANDALS PLAGUING THE CHURCH. HOW DOES THAT EFFECT YOUR RECRUITMENT WHEN YOU SPEAK TO YOUNG PEOPLE? DO THEY BRING THAT UP?

Susan says ITS A CHALLENGE. I CAN'T DENY THAT. THE REALITY IS WE HAVEN'T DONE WELL AS FAR AS AUTHORITY WHO HAS AUTHORITY AND HOW THAT IS USED AND OFTEN ABUSED. ITS A HUMAN CONDITION. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS TRYING TO BE IN TOUCH WITH THE DIVINE. SOMETIMES WE DO IT WELL, SOMETIMES WE DON'T.

Mary says WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THEM? SORRY BUT WE MAKE MISTAKES?

Susan says HONEST TI IS THE BEST WAY M TO RECOGNIZE THERE HAVE BEEN ABUSES AND NOW HOPEFULLY IN THE NAMING OF THEM WE CAN CONTINUE TO GROW THROUGH THAT. I THINK WE HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HELP THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HURT BY THAT. HOW CAN WE BE THAT CHRIST FIGURE FOR PEOPLE?

Mary says THERE IS A LOCAL CASE OF A YOUNG BOY, A GAY BOY, WHO IS GOING TO A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND IS NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE HIS GAY PARTNER TO THE PROM. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT STORY?

Susan says I AM A PART OF A GROUP THAT HAS STRONG BELIEFS, THE GROUP BEING THE CHURCH, THAT HAS STRONG BELIEFS ABOUT WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE AND WHAT IS NOT. I THINK WE ARE GROWING IN OUR UNDERSTANDINGS OF PEOPLE AND IN RELATIONSHIPS. FOR THAT GROWTH, I'M GLAD. I THINK THAT WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO BE ACCEPTING AND BE WELCOMING OF PEOPLE. ITS NOT WHO HAS AND WHO HASN'T. ITS THE PERSON. HOW CAN WE RESPOND IN LOVE AS JESUS DID TO SO MANY PEOPLE WHO LOOK DIFFERENT WHAT WHATEVER THE NORM IS.

Mary says SO WHEN STORIES LIKE THAT COME OUT IN THE MEDIA, DO YOU FEEL ITS DAMPING FOR PEOPLE SUCH AS YOURSELF TRY TO GO GO OUT AND RECRUIT WOMEN, THERE COULD BE A PERCEIVED INTOLERANCE?

Susan says CERTAINLY THE WAY THINGS HIT THE MEDIA, ITS LIKE LOOK AT THIS ONE RULE AN THERE IS NO MOVEMENT FOR THAT. I WOULD MUCH RATHER THINK OF THE RELATIONSHIP, THE HUMAN RELATIONSHIP AND HOW CAN WE AS A CHURCH RESPOND IN LOVE AND CHARITY TO THE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. BUT IT MAKES FOR A DIFFICULT SALE, IF YOU WILL, WHEN ALL THE PRESS IS SAYING NEGATIVE AND NO.

Mary says YOU KNOW THE LINGO. [LAUGHTER] I THINK ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN THAT WAS IN THE 80s WITH THE PRIEST, SHAWN OH SULLIVAN. THAT WAS CONTROVERSIAL WITH THE BILLBOARDS ALL OVER THE CITY OF JES US ON THE CROSS. I REMEMBER THE CAPTION, DARE TO BE A PRIEST LIKE ME. DO THESE CAMPAIGNS WORK? THAT KIND OF AD CAMPAIGN? YOU GOING OUT, TALKING TO GIRLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY?

Susan says CERTAINLY I THINK THAT AD CAMPAIGNS DO, WHAT THE TRAVELING TOURING NUN SHOW TENDS TO DO IS PUT A FACE ON REALITY. PERHAPS THE MORE VISIBLE PRESENCE OF THE SCHOOL VISIT MORE SO THAN A BILLBOARD. BUT THERE ARE WOMEN. IT LET'S PEOPLE KNOW THERE ARE PEOPLE MAKING THESE CHOICES. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY IF YOU THINKING ITS AN OPTION FOR YOU. IN TORONTO, WHEN THE ARCH DIE SAYS SPONSORED THE AD CAMPAIGN, YES, MORE PEOPLE APPLIED TO THE SEMINARY THAT YEAR. WE ARE NOT THE SOUND OF MUSIC, WE ARE NOT THE BELLS OF SAINT MARY. HOW CAN WE GET THE WORD OUT.

Mary says GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR WORK, SISTER SUSAN.

Susan says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Mary says SIS TUR SUSAN KIDD appears IN THE DOCUMENTARY TONIGHT.

A slate reads "Poverty, chastity, obedience. Tonight 10:45 PM, 'The view from here.'"

Mary says HERE IS ANOTHER PERSON WHO DOES WHAT HE LOVES. A FORMER COMPETITIVE canoeist HAS BEEN HAND CRAFTING PADDLES FOR 30 YEARS. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. STUDIO 2 VISITED DON IN HIS WORKSHOP WEST OF THUNDER BAY. ITS A REGION THEY ARE CALLING CANADA'S CANOEING CAPITAL.

A clip plays on screen in which an older man smooths out a piece of wood. Fast clips show him and a younger man handcrafting rows inside a large workshop.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Don Meany. XY Co. Canoe Paddles."

Don, in his sixties, clean-shaven, says
I LOVE IT. I LOVE THE WORK. AT THIS STAGE OF THE GAME, I'M GETTING UP IN YEARS AN ITS A HASSLE FOR ME. MY SON WILL TAKE IT OVER. BUT I WILL STILL HAVE MY FINGER IN THE PIE SOMEWHERE. THE MACHINE PADDLES DON'T HAVE THE SAME-PUT IT THIS WAY, ITS LIKE BUILDING A VIOLIN AND ONE IS A Stradivarius AND ONE IS A REGULAR VIOLIN. I BUILD THE STRAT. WE USE A BAND SAW AND SANDING MACHINES BUT ITS MOSTLY HAPPENED WORK. THE SHAPING OF THE HANDLES AND THE SHAFT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD EYE. THE XY COMPANY WAS FORMED IN 1798. ALEXANDER MC KEN SEE AP HIS FRIENDS IN COMPETITION TO THE KNOT WEST COMPANY. HE WAS KNIGHTED. SO I READ SOME STUFF AND I SAID, LOOK, XY. THAT IS UNIQUE. BELONGED TO A VERY VERY FAMOUS MAN. HE WAS A DOER. HE WAS A MOVER AND A SHAKER. I LIKE THAT.

As he shows paddles to a man and a woman, he says THERE ARE DIFFERENT SIZES. ALL MY PADDLES, THIS IS THE MAC KEN SEE, A FRASIER, THIS IS A GEORGE SIMPSON, ALL NAMED AFTER THE EARLY FUR TRADERS. I AM KEEPING HISTORY ALIVE HERE. OUR BASIC PRICES IS 100 DOLLARS CANADIAN, 75 U.S. WHETHER THEY BUY OR NOT, I WILL TAKE THE TIME TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS, HOW THIS PADDLE WORKS, WHY ITS DESIGNED THE WAY IT IS. I'M THE GUY WHO DID THIS. THIS IS MY DESIGN. I KICK THIS HANDLE BACK.

The woman says VERY GRACEFUL.

Don says SEE! NOW I HAD ANOTHER LADY SEE THAT. SHE SAID ITS BEAUTIFUL.

[LAUGHTER]

Don says THE SANDING, THEN THE FINE SANDING. THEN THE FINAL BY HAN. THEN IT GOES TO THE DIP ROOM. WO DO THREE COATS. BETWEEN EACH COAT WE HAND SAND AND DIP AGAIN.

Fast clips show Don dipping a new paddle in a dark yellow liquid. Then, he and the younger man seen before get into a canoe and paddle away on a lake.

Don says WE HAVE SOMETHING HERE I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD TAKE THE TIME TO COME AND SEE. ONCE THE BOAT IS MOVING AT THE SPEED ITS DESIGNED TO GO, YOU JUST HAVE TO TAP THE WATER AND IT MA MAINTAIN. ITS NOT A BIG POWERFUL STROKE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "In 1967, Don Meany represented Ontario in a canoe race across Canada."

Inside the workshop, Don shows a paddle and says THIS IS THE PADDLE I USED IN 1967. 3,000 MILES ON IT.

A clip plays with the caption "Centennial Diary. Radio broadcast."

A male broadcaster says AND THE RACE IS ON. 10 CANOES NAMED BY THE TEAMS AFTER THE NAME OUS FUR TRADERS AND EXPLORERS OF CANADA'S EARLY HISTORY.

Don says IT WAS WON BY MANITOBA. THEY FINISHED FIRST. THEY WERE ALL PROFESSIONAL PADDLERS. BRITISH COLUMBIA SECOND, ALBERTA THIRD, ONTARIO FOURTH. IT WAS AN EXPERIENCE THAT I WOULDN'T CHANGE FOR THE WORLD. I THINK ITS... CANOE MAKING GOES WITH THE AREA. WE HAVE A TRADITIONAL BUILDER UP THE ROAD HERE, THEY WILL MA CAMERON AN RANDY. THEY MAKE THE BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN OF THE TRADITIONAL CANVASS AND CEDAR CANOE. THEN KEITH ROBINSON WHO HAS BEEN HERE SINCE 94. HE HAS COME A LONG WAYS, BUILD BEAUTIFUL CANOES, VERY LIGHT WEIGHT, UP TO DATE STUFF. THEN WE HAVE ONE LAD OVER HERE THAT BUILD THE BARK CANOES. HE DOES EXCELLENT WORK. PEOPLE SAY HOW CAN YOU DO THAT ALL DAY LONG? I SAY HOW CAN YOU DO WHAT YOU DO ALL DAY LONG. I'M HAPPY. ARE YOU HAPPY? A LOT OF THEM ARE NOT. AT THE END OF THE DAY, BOY, ITS HARD TO LIVE. I DON'T THINK I WILL EVER FULLY RETIRE. I WILL ALWAYS KEEP MY FINGER IN THE PIE. BUT THERE ARE FISH WAITING, I WILL TELL YOU THAT.

The clip ends.

Back in the studio, Mary says THAT IS IT FOR TODAY'S SHOW. TOMORROW, THE 20th CENTURY NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD. WE WILL TALK TO TWO ANTIQUE EXPERTS ABOUT HIDDEN TREASURES in your attic. From royal figurines from your grandmother to Star Wars collectibles, you may be sitting on a pot of gold. Find out tomorrow at 1.

Watch: Gay Teen, Sister Susan Kidd, Planet Parent, and Paddlemaker