Marge Ballack – Mentoring and Support

“She’s very happy that she has gay aunts.”

For any of us, [role models] are those people we admire for what they say, how they act, and how they treat people, I think. It is important to have role models who are gay, who are like you. We admire [youth] so much. They are not alone and they know that. I’m telling you, they saved us. They put themselves between us and harm’s way to protect us at that rally. [1] It was amazing.

There were teachers who were sympathetic when I was in high school [at Woodway Senior High in Edmonds]. I guess that’s who I looked up to. They were aware that I was different and they knew why. It didn’t need to be spoken about, but they took me in and cared for me. Not that I didn’t have parents, but [the teachers] were my role models. It’s important to have role models. There were just a handful of [adults] who let me be who I was, let me talk. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be as healthy as I am now.


[Our niece, who also lives in Spokane, came out what two years ago.] We knew she was gay for quite a while. She started shaving her head at age 10 and wearing a stocking cap. We were like, “Yeah. Uh-huh. She’s . . .” She’s very happy that she has gay aunts. She refuses to go to some family functions unless she’s guaranteed that we are going to be there. It’s just, she says, she feels so alone, “And when you guys are there, I’m great.” She’s pretty important to us.


[1]An apparent reference to a rally that occurred outside the Washington State Supreme Court the day it heard arguments on Ballantz and Lantz’s suit: “Same sex Marriage Case Stirs Passions on All Sides,” Spokesman Review, 9 March 2005.


Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson in December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture.