Sigourney Weaver played the intolerant mother of a gay son in Lifetime’s Prayers for Bobby in 2009. The movie, based on the book about Bobby Griffith’s death after coming out to his family in 1983, captured an audience of over 17 million households the weekend it premiered.
The film still holds such a powerful message about what intolerance can do to families that it screened in New York City on National Coming Out Day, October 11, and will now be available globally to help reach more communities.
Weaver, whose character in the movie evolved from narrow-mindedness to a PFLAG supporter with a mission to save other LGBT kids from suicide, was around to answer questions after the screening.
Even though there has been progress towards equality, she realizes there hasn’t been as much movement as one would expect.
“Parts of this country are really digging in,” Weaver said. “This is the big battle, and I’m afraid it has not changed. That’s why the pope saying ‘Let’s love each other’ was so profound. He needs to go talk to Congress.”
Weaver was torn about boycotting the Sochi Olympics.
“I’m incredibly surprised by the way that Putin is digging in and becoming a real dictator. He was a sort of secret dictator and now, with everything’s he’s done, it’s radical, it’s such a frightening time,” she said. “It’s happening right in front of us. It’s hard for me to believe that there’s nothing the world can’t do to save those girls [Pussy Riot] and young people.”
While Weaver thinks it’s difficult to tell the athletes that have been training for years they can’t compete in the Olympics, she also thinks it’s the perfect time to make it clear equality is what needs to happen.
“I think the Olympics may be a great way for some, without trying to be shocking, but trying to be exuberant and show the world what it means to be gay,” she said. “How can you resist that?”
Weaver hopes the message of her film, to “listen and have respect for your children,” becomes a lesson for mothers and fathers. While she, a mother of a 23-year-old daughter, understands how many parents want to keep their kids in a safe bubble, it’s important to remember “you can’t keep them on a leash.”
She also hopes people realize kids need support, which is why Weaver had decided to take on such a heartbreaking role.
“I know that when I go to GLAAD events and Comic Con, there are all these great kids. They have so much going for them, especially when they are trying to figure out who they are,” Weaver said. “They are so vulnerable; the last thing anyone should be doing is making them feel bad for what or who they are. My god, they need so much support.”