Gary Watts was born in 1940 in Logan, Utah into a committed Mormon family. He attended Utah State University, where he was captain of the basketball team and was named to the 1963-64 Academic All-American team. After serving a two-year church mission in New Zealand, he married Mildred ‘Millie’ Cragun, his sweetheart since middle school. Gary then attended the University of Utah College of Medicine, graduating in 1968.

Millie Watts was born in 1941, also in Logan. Her dad was a well-known and popular family practice physician. In the 15 years after they got married, Millie and Gary had six children. Life was exactly how they had envisioned it, and they were happy.

Gary worked for 35 years as a radiologist at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah. He was president of the UVRMC medical staff in 1981-82, and president of the Utah Medical Foundation in 1988-89. Millie was involved in a panoply of activities, serving as president of the Provo PTA, president of the Utah County Medical Auxiliary, and president of her church’s primary education program three times. 

Just before Christmas 1989, Gary and Millie’s son Craig told Gary he was gay. When Gary told Millie, she thought one trip to the psychiatrist would straighten Craig out. She also wondered how it was possible that a good kid like Craig could be gay.

Three years after coming out to his parents, Craig was excommunicated by the Mormon Church. Gary and Millie were forced to choose between their church and Craig. They chose Craig. They soon became deeply involved with LDS Family Fellowship, which supports Mormon families with LGBTQ members and friends. They have also served on the board of PFLAG.

In 1997, Gary and Millie’s daughter Lori came out as lesbian. Lori and her wife Sherene have two children by artificial insemination. Craig meanwhile lived in Asia for decades, where he fathered three sons through egg donation and surrogacy. In 2015, Craig moved back to Provo to enlist Gary and Millie’s help in raising his kids. Gary and Millie are grateful for the role that modern medicine has played in providing them with these five grandchildren, to go with eight more from their other kids.

Gary, Millie and Craig welcomed OUTWORDS to their home overlooking Provo in April 2018. A dusting of snow lay on the mountains behind the house where the Watts family grew up. Craig’s coming out set the Watts family on a new path – a family path of love, honesty, and friendship that has ultimately united and strengthened the entire clan. 
Kate Kunath: [00:00:00] We're rolling.
Mason Funk: Okay, good. We'll go for about probably two hours. We'll probably take a little bit of a break midway through. Try to keep your answers relatively short because we've got a lot of ground we want to cover. You guys have had a lot of family history and stories. When possible, if I ask a question, try to enfold my question into your answer. You've probably done that before. If I say, "What year were you born?" You would say, "I was born in ..."
Gary Watts: Okay.
Mason Funk: [00:00:30] As opposed to stating, "1940," or, "1930." Whatever year it was. Try to make a complete sentence in other words. With that, would you please start by just introducing yourselves and spelling your names? Spell them all the way out.
Gary Watts: You go.
Millie Watts: Well I'm Millie Watts. I was known as Mildred before I became a grandma. The name Mildred is just too hard to pronounce. It's M-I-L-L-I-E W-A-T-T-S.
Mason Funk: Okay. How about you?
Gary Watts: [00:01:00] My name is Gary Watts. G-A-R-Y W-A-T-T-S.
Mason Funk: Millie, would you just please tell us where you were born and the exact date of your birth?
Kate Kunath: Can I pause for one second?
Mason Funk: Sure.
Millie Watts: ... miracle surgeries on his eyes.
Mason Funk: Like the LASIK or something else?
Gary Watts: No, I actually had ...
Gary Watts: Oh, I didn't do that.
Millie Watts: [00:01:30] Okay. I'm Millie Watts. M-I-L-L-I-E W-A-T-T-S. I was born in Logan, Utah on May 17th, 1941.
Mason Funk: Okey dokey. How about you?
Gary Watts: My name is Gary Watts. I was born in Logan, Utah. I was born on April 15th, 1940. Oh, and my spelling is G-A-R-Y W-A-T-T-S.
Mason Funk: Okey dokey.
Kate Kunath: We have the same birthday.
Gary Watts: Oh, we do?
Millie Watts: [00:02:00] Oh, income tax day?
Kate Kunath: Yeah.
Millie Watts: Oh, well happy birthday. You just had your birthday.
Mason Funk: Just generally speaking, I always like to have our subjects just give us ... Paint a little portrait what I call of the family and the background you grew up in. Since there are two of you, you can take turns a little bit. You can talk a little bit and let the other one talk. For both of you, I'd love to just know, what was your family culture growing up?
Millie Watts: [00:02:30] Growing up, our family culture.
Gary Watts: You start. I think you are the cultural icon of the family.
Millie Watts: [00:03:00] He was very busy a lot. Delivered a lot of babies. We were a happy family. I remember mother would have us wait until dad was home before we had our dinner at night so that we could spend time with him. Logan was just a small town. We could go anywhere we wanted in Logan and we felt safe. I remember riding my bicycle all over town and having fun
Millie Watts: [00:03:30] Then it was like everybody knew everybody. It was like the village. You had to be on your toes and behave or someone else in the village might tell your parents about it. I had a lot of good friends, walked to grade school. It was just two blocks away.
Millie Watts: [00:04:00] Then junior high was close to my dad's office, so he would always drive me and my friend to school. Then later, high school, we took the city bus because there weren't school buses. Anyway, it was a charmed life.
Mason Funk: Was part of the family culture and your environment growing up, was it very much surrounded by the Mormon church and the Mormon faith?
Millie Watts: [00:04:30] Absolutely surrounded. Our growing up time was surrounded by the Mormon church. Logan was very Mormon. We went to church. I enjoyed the programs for the kids. There was what we called MIA, Mutual Improvement Association, that was on weekdays that teenage kids went to. My dad always held offices in the church.
Millie Watts: [00:05:00] There's Word of Wisdom, which you're not supposed to smoke or the main things that ... you know, to smoke, drink coffee, no alcoholic beverages. We could dance. We danced a lot. But the church was our, that was our social network. I don't remember any ... Well, I think I remember one girl that went to high school with us that was not Mormon. The rest of the kids were all Mormon
Millie Watts: [00:05:30] I think at the time, divorce was really frowned on. I don't think I knew anyone that was divorced. It was just everybody was happy in their own families. That's the way it was. If they weren't happy, you didn't know. You didn't know about it.
Gary Watts: [00:06:00] Homogeneity was a way of life in Logan, Utah.
Mason Funk: What was that?
Gary Watts: Homogeneity was a way of life.
Mason Funk: Homogeneity. Yeah.
Gary Watts: I remember when Craig, our son who spent a lot of time in Asia, when he comes back to Utah, he is always commenting on how homogeneous the culture is even now, which is much more diverse than it was when we grew up as youngsters in Cache Valley.
Mason Funk: You grew up there as well.
Gary Watts: I did.
Mason Funk: Tell us about your family.
Gary Watts: [00:06:30] Well, I am the third of four boys. I was actually a big disappointment because my two older brothers had come and my mother was hoping desperately for a little girl and she got me. I grew up in a family. My father was initially a basketball coach and was a great basketball player. He was an all conference basketball player at Utah State. Sports played a great role in our family. The three boys, we did everything.
Millie Watts: [00:07:00] You forgot Barbie.
Gary Watts: Well, I'm going to go on to that. We basically played sports all day long. It didn't matter what, but basketball was our major sport, but we did them all. Then seven years after I was born, my only sister came. Her name is Barbara. Then we had another younger brother, who is 11 years younger than I was. When I was five, my father left coaching and started a retail lumber business, which was successful in Logan.
Gary Watts: [00:07:30] I spent quite a bit of time in my teenage years working at my father's retail lumber business. When I got old enough, I would take deliveries. We'd go to the railroad car and unload sheet rock. It was what everybody else did. Working in their family business.
Gary Watts: [00:08:00] It was a great thing for me because it taught me that I did not want to be a lumber man or I didn't want to do sheet rock as I got older. It was one of the great motivations to go to medical school and get an education along with Millie's father, who was a mentor and played a role in my desire to go into medicine. It was great. I talk about homogeneity. I did not actually meet a black person in my life until
Millie Watts: We had foreign students.
Gary Watts: We did have foreign students, but there really was not much diversity. We grew up in a cocoon, if you will.
Millie Watts: [00:09:00] A happy cocoon.
Gary Watts: It was happy. Yeah, we loved our time. Growing up in Logan, Utah was a great blessing.
Mason Funk: I know I said not to do this, but earlier you mentioned that your faith journey was a little different than Millie's. You were not raised maybe with the same level of devoutness or something. Can you talk about that?
Gary Watts: [00:09:30] Well I think our family was maybe not into the church scene as much as Millie's was, although my father did have church positions, but it wasn't the same degree of faith as it might have been taking place in her family. We didn't have family prayer very often, which was encouraged by the church. There were a lot of questions raised about certain tenets of the Mormon philosophy, but I was a faithful member and obeyed things. I actually served a mission for the LDS church for two years in New Zealand.
Gary Watts: [00:10:00] Millie and I had a temple marriage. We followed the tenets, but I think I started to question some of the faith tenets a little more so than Millie did earlier on. We refer to her sometimes as being Molly Mormon, which is the way of looking at somebody who's a believing, devout Mormon. I probably wouldn't be considered a Molly Mormon or whatever the appropriate name was, but very faithful and did all the jobs that I was asked to do.
Gary Watts: [00:10:30] It was only after Craig came out to us when I was 49 years old that things really changed in that regard.
Mason Funk: I think something that I always am curious about in regard to Mormon faith is it's ... Even within the Christian church, the Mormon church is regarded as separate. I wonder if from inside the Mormon faith, if there's a certain sense of separateness and a certain sense of being called apart and a sense of specialness.
Mason Funk: [00:11:00] I guess that maybe comes with the faith because you feel more select, in a way. Is there something there like that, would you say?
Millie Watts: Well, I think the Mormon faith, we have our leaders as the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles.
Millie Watts: [00:11:30] There's a belief that they receive revelation from God and that the Mormon church is the only true church on Earth. There's a feeling of being a select group, but there's also the missionary work and trying to bring other people into the fold. That feeling, too.
Gary Watts: [00:12:00] Honestly, I was always a little puzzled by the ... When I came to recognize that other Christian faiths in some cases didn't even view Mormons as Christian because the actual name of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a puzzle to me. Now that I'm a little older and have talked to more people, I understand where that comes from a bit, but Jesus Christ was the center of Mormonism, basically. It came about as they view it as a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Gary Watts: [00:12:30] It's called of Latter-day Saints as compared to the Former-day Saints, who would have been at the time of Jesus. That's really where the name comes from. It always was a puzzle to me as to why people would consider Mormons not being Christian. I think it was a lack of understanding because they hear the word 'Mormonism' and they attach a certain meaning to that and don't understand the-
Millie Watts: [00:13:00] Well, and besides the Bible, we have the Book of Mormon, which sets us apart and then the Doctrine and Covenants. We have two other scriptural books that other people don't have.
Mason Funk: Maybe also just the geographical component gives it an aura of specialness and maybe uniqueness and also isolation because everyone associates this one state with the Mormon church.
Gary Watts: One of the things we didn't mention in our earlier discussion was the fact that Millie and I are both fifth generation Mormons. Our great-grandparents came across-
Millie Watts: [00:13:30] Great-great, I think.
Gary Watts: Great whatever it is. They came across the plains. Interestingly enough, we did some research and Millie's great-great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather were in the same wagon train, unbeknownst to us until recent research discovered that. Our great-great-grandparents almost certainly knew each other, even though-
Millie Watts: [00:14:00] Yeah. There's a lot of small world tying in with Mormon people. This is how I feel or felt, if all your ancestors got on those wagons and came across the planes when Brigham Young was doing The Great Migration, then you're considered royal blood because your ancestors go right back to the time when the church was first organized and they were moving to Utah.
Mason Funk: [00:14:30] It's like being on the Mayflower.
Millie Watts: Yes.
Gary Watts: It is.
Mason Funk: Interesting.
Mason Funk: Okay. Well, that's great. Tell us how you met. You had six kids, I would imagine in relatively quick succession. Paint a picture of your courtship, your marriage and those early years when you were having kids and just setting up your lives.
Gary Watts: [00:15:00] Maybe I should tell how we met because as Millie mentioned, her father was a family doc in Logan, Utah. When I was 13, I had appendicitis. Her father took out my appendix. I had not met Millie at that point in time, but while I was in the hospital, he mentioned that he had a daughter whose name was Mildred and told me that I should look her up because she was starting junior high.
Gary Watts: [00:15:30] She was starting in the 7th grade. I was in the 8th grade. We hadn't met before. She came from a different elementary school than I did, but I took him at his word and locked him up. I'm not sure he's been happy about that the whole time, but that's actually when we met. We became sweethearts at that point in time and it's continued on to ... How many years have we been married? 56 years now?
Millie Watts: I think we're coming up to 56.
Gary Watts: [00:16:00] Coming up on 56 years this year.
Millie Watts: We basically grew up together.
Gary Watts: You add another nine years to the 56 years of marriage. I've known this woman for ... What? 62, 63 years. 66. 67 years. No, 66.
Millie Watts: We joke that we've finally been married longer than we dated.
Gary Watts: Yeah, 65 years.
Millie Watts: [00:16:30] Yeah. It's a long romance. Now the Mormon church discourages dating before the age of 16, but back then, junior high ... I always say you can't really count that as dating. You don't have a car. You're going with a group of kids. Sometimes the dad picks up the boys first and then comes and picks the girls up, but we were-
Mason Funk: There was a little something something there.
Gary Watts: [00:17:00] Well in fact, when I turned 20 as is traditional in the Mormon church to ... Most of the boys and now a lot of the young women also served what are called missions. You go on a two-year mission where you prostholith and do service in the area where you're called. When I got my mission call, I was to go to New Zealand. I was going to be gone for two years. Millie and I had made a decision that she would wait for me until I got back and we would get married. We worked it out so that she could date and do the kinds of things ... A lot of missionaries get what are called Dear Johns, where they write, "Dear John, I've found somebody else."
Millie Watts: [00:17:30] Yeah. After two years.
Gary Watts: That didn't happen in our case. When I finished my mission, we came back and in the meantime, my parents had built a new home up on the east end of town. I moved into that home and we lived in it. I lived in it for eight weeks, and Millie and I got married eight weeks after I got back from New Zealand. She waited and it's one of those successful missionary waiting things that worked out well for both of us.
Millie Watts: [00:18:00] I did date.
Gary Watts: Oh, yes. She dated.
Millie Watts: I dated other guys, but I just would match them up with Gary and think, "Gary is the one for me." Our backgrounds are so similar. We really have similar backgrounds.
Gary Watts: We married and started our family. In fact, Nancy was born ...
Millie Watts: [00:18:30] She was born my senior year at Utah State. Then I ended up going another year to finish. When Gary went to med school, we had one child. She was about six months old. Then in medical school, when he was in medical school, we had two more children. When he finished medical school, we had three kids. That was the Mormon thing to do. You bring these spirits into the world and get them in the fold.
Millie Watts: [00:19:00] I have to say too, I just loved being a mother and having a lot of little kids around me. Gary was gone a lot in his training, so it was fun. Then we had three more. You want to talk about that?
Gary Watts: [00:19:30] Well when we graduated from med school, we went to UCLA to do our post-graduate work. We added two more while we were there.
Millie Watts: We ended with Cheyenne.
Gary Watts: Well, yeah. During the time of post-graduate training. Then our last one was born when we first moved to Provo. The first year we were here.
Gary Watts: We weren't that atypical.
Millie Watts: No.
Gary Watts: [00:20:00] I had several classmates in medical school that got married about the same time we did, had similar size families.
Gary Watts: In fact, two of my classmates went to the same internship and residency that I did. We're all the same.
Millie Watts: We were all really good friends and had our babies at the same time. The wives would hang out with the kids together while the guys were doing their training.
Gary Watts: We both look back on our time in medical school as being one of the best times of our life. I loved medical school. We loved the time there. For anybody that's watching, medicine is great. Go for it. It's a worthwhile profession.
Millie Watts: [00:20:30] We lived in university housing. Everybody was kind of on the same level of wealth. We called it early marriage furniture. We all had furniture that was given to us from our parents. Our apartments were small. Everybody had kids that could play together and playground in the middle of the common area. It was a great time. Yeah.
Gary Watts: [00:21:00] Well, I was just going to comment just one interesting anecdote. Millie's parents did some redecorating or something while we were in med school. They gave us the rug for the entry place to their house and it covered our entire apartment.
Millie Watts: It was wall-to-wall carpeting for us.
Gary Watts: In our university village apartment.
Mason Funk: [00:21:30] That's cute. Skimming a little bit over a lot of years, obviously, but I'm wondering as you're raising these six kids ... Now you've got this brood. You're raising them up and they're all involved in activities. I'm sure you're crazy busy with your medical practice and you're crazy busy as a mom. It's a little bit of foreshadowing, but were there ever any moments when you wondered some version of either, "Is this all there is?"
Mason Funk: [00:22:00] Or when you stepped outside of your lives and wondered if everything ... In other words, were you looking at your lives or were you just living them, I guess? Did you have any sense that something might happen that would dramatically shift this trajectory you were on?
Millie Watts: [00:22:30] No. I think we were busy with family. Gary was busy with his practice. We had reached our goal, I think. The family. Gary finally out of med school. We moved to Provo because Gary's brother lived here and then some of his colleagues were here. No. I never looked outside of the family. I was content. That's what we had.
Gary Watts: [00:23:00] I would say that we lived a charmed life. Everything had worked. I don't think there was any re-examination or any looking, wondering if we had missed out on anything. They were idyllic times. We were the quintessential Mormon family, if you will. Temple marriage, six children, everything working. Generally respected in the community.
Gary Watts: [00:23:30] Our kids had great friends, got along well with everybody. Craig, who ultimately came out as a gay son, was the student body president of Provo High School, which is a high school of maybe 1600, 1800 people. Well-followed by everybody. I don't know how life could be more idyllic, really. Honestly. It was what we had sought and lived and I think we both loved it. I think the family loved it.
Millie Watts: [00:24:00] Most of em other didn't work. We all had big families. We just had a lot in common. There wasn't much diversity at all.
Gary Watts: We fit in.
Millie Watts: Which I kinda enjoyed.
Mason Funk: Yeah. Okay. Well, that's wonderful. It does create a sense of just how, as you say, you lived a charmed life and you felt like everything was just how you wanted it to be.
Gary Watts: [00:24:30] Always in the approved group. Never any issues that were to come.
Mason Funk: Then I guess fast forwarding to of course ... I know you've told this story before. At some point, Craig came and said, "Well, mom and dad, I have some news. I want to talk to you." Can you tell us what happened when that happened and what that was about?
Gary Watts: Yeah. Well, it happened around Christmastime it seemed like. Isn't that when gay people come out?
Millie Watts: I don't know.
Gary Watts: [00:25:00] It seems like they always choose a holiday or something.
Millie Watts: I know we had a lot of family here for a big family dinner. They were all in the living room. For some reason, Craig and Gary were out in the family room in this deep, deep discussion.
Gary Watts: I don't know what prompted Craig to use that time, but he called me aside and said, "Dad, we need to talk." I could tell he had something serious.
Gary Watts: [00:25:30] We sat down and he said, "Dad, I'm gay." I have to say, I had no suspicion at all. That thought had not even crossed my mind. It was a complete surprise to me. I thought for a minute and I think the first question I asked to him, which might be revelatory ... I don't know. I said, " How gay are you?" His response was, "Pretty gay."
Gary Watts: [00:26:00] Look. I look back on that and I think how our society failed us as a family at that moment because here I am, having all the education I've had. I have a medical degree and all the post-graduate training and I know almost nothing about homosexuality.
Gary Watts: [00:26:30] I knew enough to ask him how gay, recognizing that maybe there was ... Maybe I had some feel about the Kinsey scale. Maybe thinking that if he's a two, three or four, maybe this doesn't mean that he's not going to have a heterosexual marriage and so forth. Ive become a little critical of our school systems and whatnot for the lack of my inability and my ignorance about it and recognizing that if I'm ignorant, the whole community has got to be ignorant because it just isn't out there.
Gary Watts: [00:27:00] The thing that I guess I want to say is that it was interesting because I had read an article in Dialogue, which is a journal of Mormon thought. I just researched this the other day. It had actually been published in 1987. This is 1989 when Craig is coming out.
Gary Watts: [00:27:30] I had read this article two years before, but for some reason, it resonated with me. It was one of the things that I had read about homosexuality that made sense. It put it all and made me understand. I couldn't think that people were choosing to be gay. This was written by a psychiatrist in Salt Lake City who will forever be a hero in our family because it almost ... In that very first conversation with Craig, I said, "You know, I read this article in Dialogue not long ago by this psychiatrist in Salt Lake that made a lot of sense to me.
Gary Watts: [00:28:00] Let's call him and have you go see him," which is what basically happened. This was I think on a Friday or a Saturday. We call him on Monday, made arrangements. Craig went up and saw him and spent-
Mason Funk: What was the purpose? Do you have a sense of why you wanted Craig to go see?
Gary Watts: Well, I felt like we as a family ... I immediately felt like I didn't understand it. I felt like here was somebody who had walked the walk, this psychiatrist, that made sense.
Gary Watts: [00:28:30] I wanted to talk to him and I wanted Craig to talk to him so that we could figure out what this really meant going forward. It was one of the best decisions of my entire life. Our life. Dr. Stout just had it nailed at that point. He was a Mormon psychiatrist who had been through ... In fact, I remember distinctly when we first talked to him after Craig had met with him for a little bit, he told us that Craig was the fifth student body president that he had in his practice that had come out as gay.
Gary Watts: [00:29:00] I thought that was remarkable. What is it about gay people that makes them student body presidents kind of thing. Unfortunately, Dr. Stout ended up with a glioblastoma within two or three years after this event and died. Great loss because he would have been such an asset for everybody in the community and in the state because he was just a terrific guy who had it all figured out and helped us figure it out rather quickly.
Mason Funk: [00:29:30] Now let me switch over to you, Millie. When did you become aware of this conversation?
Millie Watts: Okay. Well, the night that Craig told Gary. Then when Gary and I went to bed, Gary told me.
Gary Watts: [00:30:00] I should interject here. We were having this conversation and my side of family were up here. Millie was wondering where I was because-
Millie Watts: Well I kept coming in here and saying, "Get in the other room."
Gary Watts: We had to cut short our discussion so that I could pay attention to my family. Anyway, it was an interesting dynamic.
Millie Watts: Anyway, that night after Craig told Gary, Gary told me when we got in bed. I, thank God, probably said, "Oh, that's ridiculous."
Millie Watts: [00:30:30] Honestly, didn't know any gay people, really. I did, but I didn't know they were gay. My perception of gay people, they were in San Francisco or New York City. Very promiscuous and Craig was Mr. Perfect.
Millie Watts: [00:31:00] He was a perfect kid. He had a teacher that dubbed him that early on and everybody always said that and he was. He was a good kid. I thought, "How can a good kid be gay?" Because in my mind, that was very simple. So I thought, one trip to the psychiatrist and he'll be heterosexual. I think he's just mixed up. So that was my perception. Yeah.
Mason Funk: [00:31:30] Just back to you for a second, Gary. Because I've lived what Craig lived. When he told you this, was he emotional? Was he just very straightforward?
Gary Watts: No, no. He was-
Mason Funk: Say Craig by the way.
Gary Watts: [00:32:00] Well, Craig, I think Craig had thought about it a lot as it turns out. I mean, he first became aware of his feelings he said when he was 11, 12. He was attracted to men and he'd gone through high school and through all the church programs and whatnot trying to ... And he became increased in his religiosity, if you will. He decided he was going to be a more faithful Mormon so that this thing, this attraction, God would take it away, so to speak. In fact, he delayed going on a mission. I didn't what was, because he was gay, but he ... And we didn't push that.
Gary Watts: [00:32:30] I didn't want him to feel like he had to go but he delayed and I think eight or nine months before he went. Then he made the decision to go and he went with the idea that he would go and dedicate his life to God and leave this thing, he would come back and this would be gone and that didn't happen. He had been back maybe close to a year from his mission and having some experiences at BYU where he was a student and had sort of gained a little insight about his own homosexuality and started to realize that it wasn't anything that he'd done to himself, that it was something that he discovered, that he didn't choose.
[00:33:00] He had reached a point where he felt comfortable enough to sort start to inch out a little bit and-
Millie Watts: Well, here's the thing, Gary was really encouraging him to get married. The Mormon church, when the missionaries come back, they're encouraged to get married. Gary had his eye on a few girls that Craig had dated and he says, "We can help you if you want to go to school and still be married."
Millie Watts: [00:33:30] So I think there was that pressure for Craig. But as far as information for Craig to even find out about homosexuality was hard. He said he'd go to the library and get books and hope nobody was seeing him reading the books. But he says it wasn't good information.
Millie Watts: [00:34:00] I mean, we're talking about before the internet. So there was not good information for us.
Mason Funk: Of course. Right. One of the huge features of course in the whole dialog at that point is in the 80s was AIDS.
Millie Watts: Yeah, that's right.
Gary Watts: That's right.
Mason Funk: So if anybody had any association with anything gay kind of in that time period, especially parents, I'm just assuming that, I don't know ... Did you?
Mason Funk: [00:34:30] Like I did when I came out to my parents, this was a couple of years before '87, literally the first question they ask me was, "Are you okay?" They thought I was going to be coming to them to tell them that I was gay and that I had AIDS.
Gary Watts: Had AIDS.
Mason Funk: Do you remember having thoughts about that or was it-
Millie Watts: Well, I didn't worry about Craig having AIDS because when he came out, we all kind of talked together and studied it together and I don't think Craig was, had even kissed a boy by then.
Millie Watts: [00:35:00] But here's some of the things though I think where I came out to Craig first. Craig would say to me, every once in a while, I remember once he said to me, kind of maybe trying to fill me out, how I was going to respond, I remember, he said, "What do you think about AIDS?" I said, "That's God's wrath and all gay men should be gathered up and put on an island and they'll die off and we won't have anymore gay people."
Millie Watts: [00:35:30] So how was he going to come to me? I can't think. There were a couple of other things that he maybe said, "What do you think about gay people?" I'd said, "Oh, they're terrible. They march in these parades." So I had a really different perspective.
Millie Watts: [00:36:00] But then, when this good kid tells me that he's gay, I'm thinking, "Whoa, wait a minute. There is something wrong and we've got to tell people that gay people don't choose to be gay and that they're good kids."
Mason Funk: I imagine you must have had to go through like a journey.
Gary Watts: [00:36:30] Oh yeah, you do. Sure. But what Millie says about Craig, people talk about sometimes will say how their dads or their parents have influenced them in some ways. Craig, our relationship was good. I think he maybe was a little fearful of me I guess in some ways. But we had a good relationship and I kind of respected Craig as an individual because of the way he conducted his life.
Gary Watts: [00:37:00] I remember one of the things that most impressed me was that he would never kill a fly. He had this immense respect for life. If we had a fly in the house, he would get a cup and capture it and let the fly go outside and that was inherent in him. That had nothing to do with anything in the way of-
Millie Watts: He became a vegetarian.
Gary Watts: [00:37:30] Yeah. I mean, he did these things that ... And I just respected that immensely. I thought, "Where does that come from?" I sensed there was something special about him but it was only at a good sense.
Gary Watts: When he came out, maybe that helped answer some of the questions that I wondered, "What makes this kid so great?" for me. I mean, because and it was the way he conducted his life. He always looked out for, part of the reason that people liked him so much, he always took time to talk to the underprivileged and the ones that might not be the most popular.
Gary Watts: [00:38:00] So he just had this kind of sixth sense, empathy and anti-discrimination and part of it was what was going on his own persona, I think. But so I had an immense respect for him and I didn't for one second think any less of him as a person when he said he was gay.
Gary Watts: It was just a matter of, "Whoa, this is going to change the dynamics and what do we do and how do we go about figuring out how we're going to deal with this as a family."
Gary Watts: [00:38:30] I think it was a pretty practical kind of approach that we had and fortunately we got off on a good start with this Dr. Stout that I mentioned.
Millie Watts: Well, but I went on the mama kick. Thinking I had made him gay. Back then, the myths were an absentee father and overbearing mother or overprotective mother.
Millie Watts: [00:39:00] When Craig was little, Gary was gone so much with his training and so I thought, "Gary was an absentee father." Then I think I was an overprotective mother. So to me, I had to process all of those things. I thought about, "Oh, you just go through everything." Like when Craig was a little boy, he used to fall and he had like a goose egg on his head for two years, bumping into doors and I'm thinking,
Millie Watts: [00:39:30] "Maybe that's why he's gay," or just not letting him camp out with his friends when they were really young. There's a nice canyon up here and I said, "Craig, I just think you're too young. I don't want ..." so all these little things, the interactions with your kids when they're little.
Millie Watts: [00:40:00] So I had a time to process, was I the reason? I had to think that through. Then finally started comparing my mothering with other mothers and especially with the mothers that were in training, their husbands were in training. I thought, "Well, I'm as good a mother as they are and their dads were absent."
Millie Watts: [00:40:30] So I did come around to feeling better about my mothering. But it was hard for a while.
Mason Funk: How did you guys deal with each other during this time period? I'm sure Craig kind of drops this bombshell.
Mason Funk: But then you're left to process and you've got each other. I'm wondering, did it ... How did it affect your relationship with each other?
Millie Watts: [00:41:00] I think it brought us much closer together. I think, I don't remember arguing about it. I mean, we talked a lot about it and Gary got the hospital librarian to pull out as many articles that she could from the hospital library. We studied a lot. Gary studied more than I did. He passed it on to me.
Gary Watts: [00:41:30] But honestly, it was an immediate call to action to figure out what is the basis and where is this. We sort of got on that journey together and it was a time for search and discovery and research. We felt like we, it was obvious, we didn't know very much. The more I read, the more quickly I came to realize not only did we know very much but what we knew was based on myth and misinformation.
Gary Watts: [00:42:00] It was then that we sort of gradually got into a mode, we've got to do something to get people up to speed on this issue so that as it ... I mean, you do it to protect your kids and you feel like we got to get people up to speed.
Millie Watts: Well, and when Craig was seeing a psychiatrist, he wanted us to come up one day after he'd seen Craig several times. One of my big things was, "Well, you don't see gay animals. End of discussion. No gay animals."
Mason Funk: [00:42:30] What did that mean? You don't see gay animals?
Millie Watts: Yeah, why would-
Gary Watts: It had to be a human condition.
Millie Watts: So it's got to be a, maybe a mental thing.
Gary Watts: It wasn't a normal biological condition or you'd see it in animals.
Millie Watts: [00:43:00] Yeah. So I thought that was a good point, no gay animals. So we go out to see the psychiatrist and boy, did he lay it on the line for us. He's, "Craig's gay. He'll probably move to a big city. Gay people fall in love just like heterosexual people. They send flowers to each other, cards to each other," and on I'm sitting there. So I say, "Well, there aren't any gay animals," and he said, "Yes, there are gay animals." So my final argument about gay people was killed.
Millie Watts: [00:43:30] Then I remember at the end of our meeting with him, he said, "Would you like to meet other parents who have gay kids?" He says, "I'm meeting with a lot of those people. It might be good for you to meet other parents." I remember saying, "No." As we walked out of the office, I said to Gary, "Why on earth would we want to meet other parents that have gay children? It just ..."
Millie Watts: [00:44:00] Then later, my gosh, we ended up beating the bushes to find other parents. So I mean, the talk with the psychiatrist really changed things for me a lot. But I just think it, having gay children, we also have a gay daughter who came out about eight years after Craig but having great gay children has been one of the biggest blessings in our lives and it's brought our family so close together.
Millie Watts: [00:44:30] I never dreamed how close our family was and the support that our kids have given, they just moved in and they'd been ... They knew all the myths too and they just moved in and everybody loved each other more. It was really true. They've all been good allies.
Gary Watts: [00:45:00] Well, it's been a blessing because we've seen so many families where that dynamic did not take place. But in our family, it just worked out that the kids and the family, we all got on the page, same page, we got on it very early and so it just worked and it has to this point.
Millie Watts: [00:45:30] But it was a shock for all our kids. Even when Laurie came out, it was a shock. I mean, it was a shock for me, that I had two gay kids growing up in my basement of my house. I mean, what could be worse than that? But it's ended up being the best things that ever happened.
Mason Funk: [00:46:00] I read about, I think I read an interview with you two where you talked about Laurie coming out and this new part of your journey that was about, "Oh my God, now I have two gay kids. What next? Five gay kids?" But I think, what it brought home to me was that you both experienced at some level the same, some of the same journeys and steps that the gay people experience, the shame of coming out.
Millie Watts: Oh yes.
Mason Funk: You had your own journeys with shame, I would imagine.
Mason Funk: I think that's such a long complicated journey for gay people but I think it's perhaps inspiring for people to hear how you processed your own feelings of shame, being less than, having done something wrong.
Gary Watts: [00:46:30] Being in a minority for the first in our lives.
Millie Watts: Yes. In an out group, outside group.
Gary Watts: Now Mason, you said we're going to be two hours. I need a break. I'm sorry. I should had a potty break for-
Mason Funk: It's a perfect, perfect time. Most people don't call for it so thank you for doing that.
Millie Watts: Now, we're going to look-
Mason Funk: [00:47:00] When we come back, we're going to- Well, I have to say, he also just, honestly, in reality to me, he looks like he could be just any clean cut church kid.
Millie Watts: Oh, he was.
Gary Watts: Oh, he was. That he was but he's just-
Millie Watts: Yeah, he was. Yeah.
Mason Funk: So you see a lot of crossover, like I have a theory that really, the communities of faith I think was really ... I was very involved in high school because in a lot of ways, they meet a lot of needs for gay kids. You could sing. You can be emotive. It's a very safe place in a way to be gay. The problem is you can't be gay.
Gary Watts: [00:47:30] Yeah, yeah.
Mason Funk: But it's a great place for gay kids because they encourage self expression. They encourage ... It's a good fit for gay people, for gay kids.
Gary Watts: But-
Mason Funk: The only problem is you can't actually be gay.
Millie Watts: Right.
Gary Watts: Knowing you for what, 45 minutes or an hour, whatever it is, you are not stereotypically gay. You could have passed as a straight guy without any problem and Craig's the same.
Millie Watts: [00:48:00] Craig, except for that picture.
Gary Watts: Well, I mean, he could have passed as if he ... So many of the Mormons do and so many of these kids from Christian faith. They don't want to admit they're gay and so they end up getting married and anyway.
Mason Funk: So that's actually a question. While we're there, let's just ... Are we rolling, are we speeding?
Mason Funk: Because, I have to imagine, that is really one of the reasons we're here in some ways, is because there is this wedge that gets driven.
Mason Funk: [00:48:30] I guess I would call it the souls of gay people because on one hand, they might grow up in a community of faith and love that community of faith, they're deeply faithful and devout but then they've got their sexuality and they're told, "These two things can't be together."
Gary Watts: Can't be.
Mason Funk: But I imagine, there must be stories within the Mormon faith of many people who have had gay kids, many men who have got married and then much later in life come out. I'm sure you've witnessed and heard some of these stories or had friends who've gotten through these stories.
Mason Funk: [00:49:00] Are there some that come to mind for you of that kind of struggle that's going on within the Mormon church around this issue and how people have tried to come to terms with it and succeeded and failed?
Gary Watts: Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is about the issue of gay people trying to figure out how to live their lives, comes because of Craig's return. Craig's been living with us now for two and a half years after being in Asia for 20 some odd years.
Gary Watts: [00:49:30] As he's come back to Utah Valley, he has interacted with the gay community, what gay community there is here. So many of his friends that he has now become acquainted with here have been men who have grown up Mormon, who have done the Mormon thing, been married, have kids and then come out later life as with failed marriages.
Gary Watts: [00:50:00] So a lot of the friends that he has now are gay people who have been married and have children and have all of the resulting problems that come with a broken marriage and these sorts of things, particularly in a Mormon home where sometimes the unsuspecting wife becomes full of animosity towards her husband for misleading and not telling.
Gary Watts: [00:50:30] Others that had been married knowing that their husband was gay and chose to get into the marriage anyway, feeling like they could make it work. We'd become acquainted with some of these people coming to our home for dinner and want to meet us and meet Craig and we hear their stories.
Gary Watts: [00:51:00] It is so disheartening to see what the culture has done to these people that have been trapped by virtue of their desire to comply and be in conformity with cultural norms that don't really work for them and how painful it is. It's particularly painful in Utah Valley. Craig has made a comment that virtually all of those friends that he has now have been damaged in some way, primarily by their attempt to conform to the cultural norm and I see it and I feel so sorry and I'm so grateful that Craig didn't choose to go that path and stayed true to himself.
Gary Watts: [00:51:30] I don't fault these guys that have made these other decisions. I understand it totally because I'm kind of a guy who likes conformity and wants to be in the in group and so I can understand it so I don't ... But I'm glad that Craig didn't take that path because I think it would have been more painful. It is painful enough without having to go through all that.
Gary Watts: [00:52:00] Then you sometimes wonder if some of these gay guys that's getting married and have families, is there a time where you reach a point of no return where maybe you're better off to stay in the closet and finish what you've done out of ... And I don't know the answer to that because it so varies with each individual to how deep is the process, how bad is the hurt and what is the best outcome that you can have.
Gary Watts: [00:52:30] Is it coming out at age 52 with a wife and four children or is it sort of staying the course? I will never try or think, I don't ever feel knowledgeable enough to give anybody any kind of advice because I think it's so individual. So that's first the thing that comes to my mind when you talk [crosstalk].
Millie Watts: [00:53:00] I think those mixed orientation marriages are about some of the saddest things we see because they usually have children and I think a lot of times, they really love each other.
Gary Watts: For sure.
Millie Watts: That husband and wife, there's a lot of love there and a lot of bonding that's gone. I think of this one couple early on that we met, that they were in a mixed orientation marriage and she kind of found out.
Millie Watts: [00:53:30] She found a book that he'd been reading and he'd been underlining and saying this is me and that's how she found out he was gay. She had been thinking, "Maybe if I lost some weight, my husband would love me more."
Millie Watts: [00:54:00] Or she'd see couples walking down the street where maybe the wife didn't look all that good and she'd think, "Why does her husband love him? Why doesn't my husband, why isn't he more intimate with me?" and she blamed herself and it was so hard. Then when she found out he was gay, she thought, "Well, maybe it isn't me. Maybe it wasn't how I look."
Millie Watts: [00:54:30] Actually, she was very attractive, very intelligent woman but she was so hard on herself because she couldn't understand why her husband wasn't more intimate. It's interesting how some couples can work it out so well and the wife really understands and is really supportive and others, just doesn't work for them.
Mason Funk: [00:55:00] So these mixed orientation marriages, I don't think I fully understand. Is this a kind of a category of couples where the husband and one, I assume it's mostly husbands or all husbands has come out but they've decided to stay together and or is that a stage on the way to-
Millie Watts: Well, we just say mixed orientation if it's a gay or lesbian person that's married a straight person. So some of them are still in their marriages, some are not. Yeah.
Gary Watts: [00:55:30] I think some live that way their entire life and have a modicum of success in trying to achieve it. There's been a support group, traditionally in the Mormonism, it was originally called Evergreen. Now it's become kind of North Star, it's kind of a group that kind of has church sanction that sort of helps people stay in mixed orientation marriage and stay the course so to speak. Perhaps, there is some role for an organization like that in those situations.
Gary Watts: [00:56:00] I don't like the idea of anyone encouraging people to get involved in a marriage with a straight person because I think they tend to be disastrous. So I think you have to really be careful about who you listen to and where you are and what stage of life you're in.
Millie Watts: But it's really our culture. You go on a mission. You come home. You get married. It's just hard to not do that.
Millie Watts: [00:56:30] Years and years ago, the church encouraged gay men to marry and said their feelings would go away. That's kind of the age group of Craig, I think but then it they stopped.
Gary Watts: Yeah, and it's changed.
Millie Watts: They stopped saying that. So there aren't as many mixed orientation marriages but there are still a lot.
Gary Watts: [00:57:00] I want to interject one quick thought about the culture that I learned when I was in Asia because it isn't just the Mormon culture and it isn't just the Christian culture. When we were in Beijing visiting Craig a number of years ago now, he had a gay friend who was a doctor in Beijing who was a cook and he came over and cooked dinner for us one night. He didn't speak English but Craig's fluent in both and so after the dinner, we were visiting and I was talking with him at some length about ...
Gary Watts: [00:57:30] And I had said to him, "Now that you know he'd been married. He was a gay guy who had been married and had a child and was in the process of divorcing," and I said to him, "Now that you've been through this and had this experience, what advise would you have for a young gay Chinese male or female who discovered they were gay?"
Gary Watts: [00:58:00] He said without any hesitation, he said, "I would tell them to get married and have a child as quickly as they could." I said, "You're kidding." I said, "What about the woman?" He said-
Millie Watts: The wife.
Gary Watts: He said, the wife, and he said, "Much better to disappoint your wife than your mother." That was his answer. In other words, the tradition in Chinese culture was such that you honor your mother and your father and they have first priority and they expect you to give them a child, a grand child and continue their name so you better get married, have a kid and then you can get divorced after and do what ...
Gary Watts: [00:58:30] Because for that reasons. So cultures are complicated. I kind of thought China might have same sex marriage before the US because of the Christian element but it's dragged along and it still hasn't and I don't know when it will happen there. I thought they would be much more progressive than us because all the government's got to do is say it's okay but they still haven't done it and it's kind of an interesting corollary.
Kate Kunath: Can you kind of shift this way a little bit because [inaudible]?
Millie Watts: We've shifted.
Gary Watts: Am I okay here?
Millie Watts: Is that better?
Kate Kunath: Yeah, that's good.
Gary Watts: Okay, sorry.
Okay, so I have a few topics lined up like jets trying to come in for a landing so I want to make sure I touch on them. One is, I wanted to go back to before we did the break, we were talking about kind of processing your own internalized feelings of having failed, shame.
Mason Funk: [00:59:30] Within the church, I'm sure there was a process of like, "Oh my God, do we come out within our church family? How do we let other parents and friends that we have a gay child?" I'm just imagining but I wonder if you could talk about that.
Gary Watts: Well, maybe-
Mason Funk: Tell me any stories that come to mind of that.
Gary Watts: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that for the first three years after Craig came out, it wasn't a major issue. He was away at school. He was at the University of Chicago and then at Columbia during that first three-year timeframe.
Gary Watts: [01:00:00] So even we could not be out just out of respect for him and we're not the ones that should be outing him. So we had kind of a three-year hiatus if you will while we were researching and figuring things out. Then after Craig had finished his studies at Columbia, he went to Japan and was doing a Ph.D. at the University of Osaka and was going to church and that Mormon church in-
Millie Watts: [01:00:30] A Japanese speaking word.
Gary Watts: Yeah. But it was sort of his social network because he had just gotten there to learn Japanese basically. He got acquainted with the local bishop there who was Japanese and they became friends. At one time, the bishop just asked him why he hadn't gone to the temple, why he didn't go to the temple and Craig was feeling enough confidence in the relationship that he decided to tell him that he was gay.
Gary Watts: [01:01:00] Well, the bishop seemed fine and when he came out to him and told him he was gay but about a week later, he got a call from the bishop saying there was going to be an area authority that was going to be in Osaka and he wanted to visit with Craig. Well, so Craig goes to the meeting wondering what's all this about. Well, it turns out to be what is called a Mormon vernacular, a disciplinary council. So the bishop and this area authority and I think two or three other-
Millie Watts: [01:01:30] He said there were five men.
Gary Watts: Five men that were sitting sort of in a judgment about his being gay and homosexual. So he's kind of feeling good about being able to be open and whatnot but now he goes to this meeting and after about a two-hour kind of interrogation, they excommunicate him from the Mormon church and-
Gary Watts: [01:02:00] Excommunicate him from the Mormon church. And it was a devastating time for Craig. I mean, the church, it was still important to him. It was the social network that he had in Japan, and all of the sudden, he's kicked out. And it happened-
Millie Watts: Well, and it was here too.
Gary Watts: Well, it was here, but Millie and I were in Hawaii at the time, and you got no cell phones, he couldn't get hold of us. And so, a day or two, maybe two days went by before we got the word. He talked to his sisters, and told them what had happened.
Gary Watts: [01:02:30] And they called, and then we came back from Hawaii, and I can remember that we got everybody together here at the house on a Sunday night.
Millie Watts: Except Craig. Because he was in Japan.
Gary Watts: Well, we called, we talked to Craig on the phone.
Gary Watts: And talked to him about it, and he told us the whole story, and at the end of that conversation, I remember I said to Craig, I said "Well, what can we do?" And he said "Just tell my story. Don't let this happen to anyone else."
Gary Watts: [01:03:00] And that was kind of how the story, how it ended. And it was then we kinda had this family, we had everybody here.
Millie Watts: Everybody was living in the area then, so.
Gary Watts: And we just had this conversation, and we decided as a family at this point in time that we were not gonna go be quiet anymore. That from that point on we were gonna do what we could to be out and proud. And that's really, that excommunication was really the catalyst that got us going in terms of becoming active in support.
Millie Watts: [01:03:30] Because it was so hurtful.
Gary Watts: It was very painful. Craig was suicidal, we were so devastated by it all, and felt so, for the want of a better term: stabbed in the back by the very church to which wed given our entire lives to.
Millie Watts: We've often said when we needed the church the most, it wasn't there for us, you know?
Gary Watts: [01:04:00] And so we got involved, and we started, and there was a group in Salt Lake that had formed, that had organized a conference in April of 1993, and we saw the announcement in the newspaper, and we decided to go to this conference, which we did. And we met some people there.
Mason Funk: So what was the conference about?
Gary Watts: It was called the Intermountain Conference on Homosexuality, and it was actually motivated by Jan Stout, and other people in Salt Lake, Ron Scow , Evelyn Christenson, and-
Millie Watts: Stephensons.
Gary Watts: [01:04:30] And Stephensons. And they were kind of parents of gays, or knowledgeable, and just felt like the gays were getting discriminated against, basically, and so this was a conference. And so we signed up with it, and went to the conference. I remember I went into the conference, and about the first person I ran into was a cousin of mine from Bountiful, who was a social worker and had come to get some information. And I sat down to her, and I said" Ann, what are you doing here?" And she says "Gary, what are you doing here?"
Gary Watts: [01:05:00] And of course so we ... So I came out to her, obviously, and she told me she was a social worker, and then we met other people. We met ... And that was really the-
Millie Watts: We started to meet parents.
Gary Watts: That was really the genesis.
Millie Watts: And gay people, I found out, they were good kids too. You know? I found out there was a whole world of wonderful gay people that I hadn't known about before.
Gary Watts: [01:05:30] But that was kind of the genesis of this group Family Fellowship, that's kind of where it got its start, from that conference, and there was a lady from Iowa Falls who was kind of ... Had asked to be the chairman of the thing. We went up to her house for a retreat up in Southern Idaho. And it wasn't very long. She was having some health issues, and the organization got formed, and within three months I think, they asked Millie and I if we'd be willing to chair the organization. And we said we would, and so then we became the co-chairs of Family Fellowship, which really started in 1993, 1994, and we were the co-chairs for 13 years, of that organization.
Millie Watts: [01:06:00] It was kind of a Mormon PFLAG.
Millie Watts: Because we felt like we had a different set of rules or things that we-
Gary Watts: Well, circumstances that were unique to Mormon [crosstalk]
Millie Watts: Yeah, that we had in common. I mean, we welcomed anyone else to the meetings too, but-
Gary Watts: [01:06:30] But we also continued this Intermountain Conference on Homosexuality, they had like 400 people that came to it, just out of the blue. And we decided that we'd build on that, and so every other year we continued this. And Millie and I basically co-chaired that for four, five, six conferences, I don't know how many we had. And they were successful, and they were fine, and they got us acquainted with a lot of people, and we brought in guest speakers that were really knowledgeable and had a national presence, and got a lot of information in the newspapers about this conference, and about Family Fellowship, and this movement. And that's kinda how it all [crosstalk]
Millie Watts: [01:07:00] And you know, there were a lot of parents still in the closet. We had one friend that ... She came to one of the conferences, and she had a coat on, and a hat, and dark glasses, because she didn't want to be recognized by anyone, you know? And then at the end of the conference, her coat was off, her glasses were off, her hat, and you know, she was proud, proud to have a gay child.
Mason Funk: [01:07:30] When did the ... You mentioned I think when we were taking a break, Millie, that you folks no longer participate, no longer go to church. So, how did that happen? When did that happen? I know you told me the story of Craig's excommunication, which was a huge moment for you, but how did your relationship with the church evolve from that point? I mean, because what I keep thinking about is ... because this is a story that a lot of gay Christians or parents of gay Christians go through is "But this is my faith. I can't change my faith."
Millie Watts: [01:08:00] My people.
Mason Funk: I don't change what I believe or my cultural or heritage just because the church does something that has deeply hurt me. So I'm just curious about that change.
Gary Watts: I would like her to really delve into that question a little bit, but-
Millie Watts: Well, you know, oh, go ahead.
Gary Watts: But I just wanted to say that one of the things that happened after the excommunication, we would go to church, and Millie could not last through the meeting without crying.
Gary Watts: [01:08:30] There would be a song sung, a prayer said, something over the podium, and she would have to get up and leave. And I remember one time specifically when one of my all time favorite guys, she was in the meeting, we're sitting together, something said, she gets up to leave, and as she's leaving, she runs right into the arms of Tom Brown, who's one of our good friends, who's the most sympathetic, kind hearted guy, and he just throws his arms around her, and just gives her a hug.
Gary Watts: [01:09:00] And it was pretty meaningful. But that was sort of what was going on emotionally, it was ... Now maybe I've said more than I should have.
Millie Watts: Yeah, you've got me teary.
Gary Watts: But it was a hard time.
Millie Watts: Well, you know, I thought I'm not ashamed of Craig, I'm gonna go to church, and I'm gonna hold my head up high. And I tried to do that, but it was so emotional.
Millie Watts: [01:09:30] Just going in the building. I think I was spoiled, I had never felt rejection before. And this was my life. I loved the church, and so it was emotionally hard. I think I cried every night in Gary's arms for about three months.
Gary Watts: That might be a little embellished.
Millie Watts: [01:10:00] I don't think so, because I couldn't put things together. And people saw me leaving church, and I thought they're thinking I'm leaving church and crying because I'm ashamed of my gay son, or something like that. And I thought, I mean, I just couldn't stop crying.
Millie Watts: [01:10:30] And then one of our friends who was a psychology professor at BWU, a really close friend of mine, he says "I wanna talk to you." And he just said "You know, you just can't put these two together." And he said, he didn't really say. Well, he kinda did say, "You've gotta either go with Craig, or go with the church, because it's just too hard on you." And he was right.
Millie Watts: [01:11:00] And then soon after that, I had to give a lesson that'd probably had been written a few years before, but it was about like the ten worst sins, murder was the first, and then I think homosexuality was the second. And I thought man, I can't give this lesson, I don't believe that. And then I'm flipping through the lesson book to find other lessons, and nothing resonated with me.
Millie Watts: [01:11:30] And so, I did decide I just can't go to church anymore. And you know, we do go on occasion lately, we've been going to a lot of Mormon funerals, because we're losing some of our friends, but it's still hard for me to walk in the building. And I don't know why.
Mason Funk: [01:12:00] Let me get you a tissue.
Gary Watts: Well there's just a certain amount of-
Millie Watts: I've got one here.
Mason Funk: [inaudible] let me get-
Millie Watts: Right there.
Sorry, I wish I cried pretty, then I don't mind.
Mason Funk: You might want to wipe your glasses, they're a little foggy.
Millie Watts: They are! You saw that.
Mason Funk: It's okay.
Millie Watts: Now, I thought that. You tell your side of it.
Gary Watts: [01:12:30] Well, so we just gradually quit going, and people would say "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." That was kind of one of the things. And my standard answer for it became ... I would say "Look, the LDS church worked great for us for 49 years. It met our needs, it fulfilled our purposes, we had a good time, but the LDS church doesn't meet our needs anymore. We got two gay kids in our family, and they church just doesn't welcome, they are not treated as full class citizens. And so we're looking for organizations that support our kids."
Gary Watts: [01:13:00] We've switched from the republican party to the democratic party. Why? Because democrats tend to be more gay inclusive than the republicans. And you can cite all kinds of things, sometimes you change friends because you want to be around people that are gay inclusive. So, at age 49 it becomes sort of a watershed moment in our lives, because all of a sudden thing that worked, and worked great, didn't work anymore, and what do you do?
Gary Watts: [01:13:30] I've talked to gay people a lot who come to seek advice and so forth, and one of the things that we likened it to for gay people when they're trying to come out, they discovered they're gay, they're trying to figure out what to do with their lives, and they're initial thought if they're Mormon, is well, I'll be celibate, which is one of the things the church has encouraged, celibacy and just be faithful, and then in the next life everything will be right. You won't be gay in the next life, or something like that. And so they sort of encouraged that.
Gary Watts: [01:14:00] And so these gay kids that we see, they discovered they're gay, they sort of make a resolution that they're gonna be celibate, and they stay faithful and everything. And then they meet somebody, and then they fall in love, and then they have to face what I've termed a veritable Sophie's choice. Do I take the church, or do I take the partner?
Gary Watts: [01:14:30] And invariably, they choose the partner. And I say in their defense, if I had to choose between the church and Millie, I would take Millie. And I think that's what almost everyone would do that's in a relationship that they value. And so it becomes an easy thing for me, and an easy thing in a way to counsel people what you do. I have these students that come and talk to ... They're not coming to me as much as they used to, but students at BWU, who come to BWU, discover they're gay, and they try to figure out what to do.
Gary Watts: [01:15:00] Now I'm here, I'm enrolled at BWU, do I stay and tough it out? What do I do? And some do, and some don't. I tend to say "Look, don't make a big issue of it while you're there, but if you have an opportunity, I'd transfer to a school that's gay inclusive at your first opportunity." Because I feel like that's the healthy choice for them.
Gary Watts: [01:15:30] I think it's so hard to be in an environment where you're always the other, or you're always the exception, or where people are trying to be extra nice to you because you're a project, which is what happens so often down there. And so, anyway.
Mason Funk: Alright.
Millie Watts: But they can ... We know kids that have been kicked out of BYU, and then they lose a lot of their credits.
Gary Watts: [01:16:00] If you are in foul of the honor's code, you get kicked out, and sometimes they don't even give you credits. That's changed. They BYU, to their credit, they're getting more progressive, and they're being more understanding, and I think they're following the cultural shift. It's just, it's sad for me to think that the church that I was born to in a random fashion, could be the last one to answer the call on civil rights, the last to answer the call ... I mean, you think about the blacks in the church history, what the blacks, now they got the same thing going on with the gays.
Gary Watts: [01:16:30] You would hope that a Christian church, founded on truth and principle, would be the first to lead in that direction, instead of having to be dragged by the culture into the modern day, but that's what's happening. In my view.
Mason Funk: I have one more question that I wanna ask. I wanna let Kate ask questions. But you know, I recently watched a documentary called Ballot Measure Nine, which is from the 90s, which was an Oregon ballot measure that would have basically classified gay people as second class citizens in many different way.
Mason Funk: [01:17:00] And so they made a documentary about that battle. But in watching that documentary I was reminded of the kind of ... A lot of the language from that era that there's a gay agenda.
Millie Watts: Oh, yeah.
Mason Funk: That this whole thing is about wearing down people's moral codes, normalizing, it just brought back all that language was there again.
Mason Funk: And this is what people said, and still believe I'm sure in the Mormon church, that there's this dilution happening that what used to be a clear set of principles is now being used ... A phrase I think it was "shifting". You used it in a positive sense, but for some people that's a very negative thing. How have you reconciled that. Once upon a time you would have said, like you said, that's God's wrath.
Mason Funk: And everything was clear. It was clear.
Millie Watts: Yeah, it was.
Mason Funk: And now it's much muddier.
Millie Watts: Very black and white.
Mason Funk: How have you made that shift from that kind of clear, black and white world to this much grayer, muddier world?
Gary Watts: You know, Billy Joel wrote a song a number of years ago that has always been one of my favorites entitled Shades of Gray. It used to be, he says, black and white is the way it should, but I've learned as I get older basically that that's not the way it really is.
Gary Watts: [01:18:30] That there are shades of gray, and that the older you get the more you recognize that you don't have all the answers, and that there are ... Nothing is cast in stone so to speak. And that's kind of how I feel, and then we.
Millie Watts: And we just me so many wonderful gay people. And they've been so appreciative of anything that Garry and I have done.
Millie Watts: [01:19:00] And I think it's knowing people, and loving people, and letting them be themselves.
Gary Watts: One other thought that came to me, and that was this. One of our former church presidents Gordon B. Hinckley, I think actually wrote a book entitled Stand for Something, and I think it was kind of the illusion that you're talking about where people see there's an erosion of morality, and this sort of thing. And so the title of the book Stand for
Gary Watts: [01:19:30] Something, was you got to draw lines, you gotta be able to stand for something. And I've used that before when I've been talking to people about standing for something. What are you gonna stand for? Are you gonna stand for discrimination? Let's draw the line on discrimination. Let's stand for love, let's stand on unconditional love. Let's not worry about these little dogmatic things.
Millie Watts: But that was not the book.
Gary Watts: [01:20:00] No, that's not what the book said, but that's ... I paraphrase it to say "What are you really gonna stand for? Are you gonna put up with this stuff, or are you gonna stand and take a stand and defend" ... I've also talked to people about this idea of a decent society. I read a book by a Jewish philosopher entitled the Decent Society. It always resonated with me for some reason, but in the book, this writer, this philosopher says that a decent society, one of the characteristics of a decent society, is a society that does not humiliate its citizens.
Gary Watts: [01:20:30] When we treat gay people or black people, or other minorities separate, as separate individuals, we don't treat them with dignity and respect, we're not a decent society. A decent society respects its citizens. And that's what should be number one. If you're gonna stand for something, stand for a decent society. That's my philosophy, that's the way I feel.
Millie Watts: [01:21:00] I was so into the church, it was my life. And when I decided not to go anymore, because it was so hurtful, I actually found that I still have a good life. I still have a good life, I still have my friends, I have new friends that think like I do, and I love my Sundays, I love to put on my Sunday clothes, my Levis and T-shirt.
Millie Watts: [01:21:30] Very different for, you know, we used to ... Well, there still is a three hour block of church meetings on Sunday, and then you know, the mom is expected to have dinner cooking in the oven, and all ready when you come home to have dinner, and you're also teaching lessons. Sundays were very, very busy. I loved them, but now I love the change.
Gary Watts: [01:22:00] Your new Sundays.
Mason Funk: What do yo do Sundays right now?
Millie Watts: Well, now that we have Craig and our three boys, it's a little different, but T-shirt, Levis, watch George Stephanopoulos. Family gatherings, not so much pressure.
Millie Watts: [01:22:30] But we still have a lot of the same Mormon philosophy, and people still think I'm very active in the church, people that don't know me, because I look Mormon. There's a Mormon mother, grandmother look, which I have.
Gary Watts: Quintessential.
Mason Funk: So they just look at you, and assume that.
Millie Watts: [01:23:00] They'll say like, you know, I went to a doctor's office once, and there was a pill you were supposed to take once a month, and I'd go to the nurse like "Oh, I don't know if I'm gonna remember to do that." And she says "Well, just take it on Fast Sunday." You know, the Mormon church has Fast Sunday once a month, and she's "just remember when it's Fast Sunday to take he pill." And there's always those things, and then Mormons have special underwear, so if you go in the doctor's office to be checked, they're talking to you about that.
Millie Watts: [01:23:30] And just assuming that ... So it's kind of interesting, but I am better off emotionally to be away from the church.
Mason Funk: Kate, do you have any questions?
Kate Kunath: [01:24:00] I wonder how you guys feel now? Do you guys feel like outsiders in your community, or do you feel like black sheep now. I just wonder how ... If you guys are feeling othered now that you're ...
Kate Kunath: [01:24:30] You know that you're in Craig's camp, Craig has three kids that came from a science miracle in Asia.
Mason Funk: And when you answer, pretend that I asked the question.
Millie Watts: Oh okay.
Mason Funk: To keep everything consistent.
Millie Watts: Well, I don't feel like an outsider now. I still have the same friends in the neighborhood. I'm in a bunco group, in a social club, and I still have I think the friends I had. But then I have a whole world of new friends too.
Mason Funk: [01:25:00] Do your friends ... Tell me about your friends that you still have from back in the day. What has that process been like? For them to still be your friends, but you've parted ways I would imagine on some levels.
Millie Watts: Well, it used to be that ... I mean, everybody asked everybody about their children, and so I might be at a luncheon or something, and everybody's asking me about my other kids, and no one asks me about Craig or Laury, so I started just saying "Well, Craig's in China, Laury's doing this."
Millie Watts: [01:25:30] And I think that they were actually grateful that I would bring that into the conversation. I think they did not know ... A lot of them didn't know how to go there. And a recent church policy ... I had a couple of friends call me who really felt badly about the church policy.
Millie Watts: [01:26:00] And I think there are a lot of members of the church that are more accepting of gay people and gay people being married, and having children and thinking it's a normal thing. And so, they feel bad about the church policies, but they still go. Every Sunday, they're always still there. And maybe some of them might speak up a little bit, but not all of them.
Millie Watts: [01:26:30] So, we've had conversations, and I feel ... I don't know, maybe I'm nave, but I feel like our friendships are still really good. [crosstalk] cry. Am I crying too much?
Mason Funk: [crosstalk] who's gonna cry first?
Gary Watts: Everybody loves Millie. Are we ready to go now?
Kate Kunath: [01:27:00] We're back.
Gary Watts: So I was just gonna tell an anecdote related to how.
Mason Funk: Just talk to me.
Gary Watts: How people relate to us, and what it's like. We just had one of the great stories, for me personally, I have a very good friend, I'm getting emotional. Who happens to be a judge, a state judge. And unbeknownst to me, he was hearing a case from a transgender person who had requested a name change, or a birth certificate, the person wanted the gender changed on the birth certificate, and a name change.
Gary Watts: [01:27:30] And it happened to go to my neighbor who lives across the street, judge [inaudible], to get this approved. I didn't know anything about it, but my daughter, who lives in Seattle is a good friend of this person's mother, and asked if they'd have any trouble.
Millie Watts: [01:28:00] They'd posted a photo on Facebook of them with the judge.
Gary Watts: And it turned out to be my friend judge [inaudible] who is a very devout, missionary kind of guy for the LDS church, and very faithful as a Mormon. However, the report came to us through my daughter was, when they asked ... She was worried, she said "How did he do?" And they just gave glowing reports, they said he was so personable and so kind, and handled everything so judiciously, and got it all approved, and it couldn't have been better with the report. Well.
Millie Watts: [01:28:30] That's 'cause Garry talked to him a lot.
Gary Watts: But you know, you kind of burst your bubbles when you feel like you've had an impact, because I'm not sure that Jerry, maybe he would have been anyway, but I do feel like that the effect that he knows us and that we're neighbors and friends, made him extra kind and judicious.
Gary Watts: [01:29:00] And well he did. And I feel that way about everybody up here. They know us, I think they respect what we do, they think well, they've got a-
Millie Watts: They do respect what we do.
Gary Watts: That we've got an issue that has some relevance. And people are getting to see more and more that it's a fairness matter. And people basically wanna be fair. And even if the church leaders say this is the way it is, if it smacks of unfairness, there's always a little resistance, and a little "Are you sure?" Well, we'll put that on the shelf."
Gary Watts: [01:29:30] Or something. And so, personally, in our own community, I think the people have been great. And I think we feel connected. I don't ever feel ostracized or like an outsider, other than the fact we don't go to church anymore. But I think in a way we're respected for that, for standing for something that may not be what Hinckley had in mind, but which is important to us.
Mason Funk: [01:30:00] Kate, do you have another question? That was a good one.
Millie Watts: It was.
Kate Kunath: We didn't touch in the interview yet too much about being a grandparent to Craig's kids. And I wanna know how that feels any different from being a grandparent to your full biological grandkids.
Mason Funk: And again, talk to me.
Gary Watts: [01:30:30] You do that.
Millie Watts: Well, we love all our grandchildren.
Mason Funk: But so that ... Since no one knows the back story, let's set up that Craig, in a kind of a short fashion, that he has these three kids, and then kind of go into Kate's [crosstalk]
Millie Watts: Okay, well, can I put Laury in there too?
Millie Watts: Okay, so when our gay kids came out to us, the first thought was oh, we're not gonna have grandchildren from them, because I love kids so much, but our gay daughter and her wife were able to do ... I just say thanks to modern medicine.
Millie Watts: [01:31:00] We have five grandkids from our two gay kids. So our daughter and her wife had artificial insemination, they have a boy and a girl. And then our son was living in China, and he really hasn't had a partner, our gay son, but he's always wanted to have children.
Millie Watts: [01:31:30] And I don't know if that's a Mormon thing, but often when we talked to him, he said he wanted to have children. And then Gary was retiring, and so Gary said "Hey, I'm retiring, we can maybe help you a little bit when the baby is first born." And so go for it. So Craig had to go to a clinic in Thailand, in Bangkok, because China doesn't want any more kids, they don't want IVF babies.
Millie Watts: [01:32:00] And so he went to this clinic in Bangkok ... Well, he had other attempts too, he had tried other ways, but he went to this clinic, got some embryos, so he's the biological father, and the boys all have the same egg donor. So they're full brothers. And they're very close. So, there's only 17 months between the oldest boy, and then twins that arrived.
Millie Watts: [01:32:30] So we've been over to Thailand when the boys have been born, and helped him, and then on to China, and it was just getting too much for Craig, he had to have two nannies, and you do need two nannies with that group of little boys. And he was working full-time, and-
Millie Watts: [01:33:00] He was working full-time and I think he was tired of living with women. They were taking over. Every time we talked to him, I'd always say, "Craig, please come home. Please come home." He finally did. It was a major thing. Gary went over with our daughter and her husband. You think of taking these three little boys on an airplane, flying from China. Layover and getting through customs and then into Salt Lake City. It was so exciting for us.
Millie Watts: [01:33:30] When the boys came, they didn't speak any English because they'd had these Chinese nannies that didn't speak English. They're here in the house and we're trying to help Craig with them. At that point, Craig wasn't working very much. Was he?
Gary Watts: [01:34:00] Not for the first month.
Millie Watts: Yeah, because it was full-time for all three of us.
Gary Watts: Too chaotic.
Millie Watts: Then just changing where they were sleeping and all of that. It's been a different relationship with Craig's boys since they're living right with us. I don't feel like I can be the Disneyland grandma or something. We try to respect Craig as the father and how he wants the boys to be raised. It turns out he's really wise and smart and I didn't need to give him a lot of advice.
Millie Watts: [01:34:30] It's just been a great situation. My mother was raised in a three generational home and the Chinese people do it all the time. In a way, I think it's really pretty good because we can offer those boys love and ... What? Education.
Millie Watts: [01:35:00] Help them in a senior citizen fashion. They know that we just really love them and they have the security, I guess. Craig. We have had the boys for two and a half years now, but Craig is number one. He is number one with those boys and we wouldn't change it for anything. You better say so.
Gary Watts: [01:35:30] I would just say I don't know when I've been any happier than the last two and a half years. Having these boys has just been a treat for us.
Millie Watts: And Craig.
Gary Watts: It's just worked out beautifully. I don't know how long we're going to live, but if there's ever an end to a beautiful story ... I don't know how it could be any better. It's just great.
Gary Watts: [01:36:00] They're just great. I'm a three generational guy. If any gays are thinking about having kids, I say go for it. Get your parents involved. Three generational things are the in thing right now. It's just a great arrangement for us. It just worked out beautifully.
Millie Watts: [01:36:30] I don't know if Craig at age 52 really loves living with his parents, but he has to right now. It just can't be done. The end to the story would be if Craig could find a husband.
Gary Watts: [01:37:00] Somebody to share life with, like we've enjoyed.
Millie Watts: Yeah, because he would really like to find someone. That's our hope.
Gary Watts: You divide your life up. I guess you do your childhood. You get your married years, you start your family, you do your career. Then you do your gay thing. That's what's happened with us. The gay thing turns out to be so critical to everything.
Millie Watts: [01:37:30] Well actually, Gary has probably spent more time with these boys than he did with our kids because he's retired.
Gary Watts: 24/7.
Gary Watts: It's so much fun. I love it. I just really enjoy them. They're just so good. They're great kids.
Millie Watts: They're very good kids.
Gary Watts: They're handsome.
Millie Watts: They're like their dad.
Gary Watts: They are.
Mason Funk: I thought you were going to say a minute ago when you said, "If any guys out there are thinking about having kids ..." I thought you were going to say, "Send them over. We'll raise them."
Millie Watts: Well, they might not be as cute.
Gary Watts: [01:38:00] Honestly, there's something about the biology that speaks. I think the fact that Craig is their biological father and that they're ... Oh, I'm sorry.
Millie Watts: You're good.
Gary Watts: There's something about that DNA connection that's meaningful, I guess.
Millie Watts: They're miracle babies. We didn't know they were going to happen. Actually, the clinic that Craig went to won't let foreigners have babies. Do the IVF process. There was only a three-year ...
Gary Watts: [01:38:30] Five-year window where it could happen, but it happened.
Millie Watts: They're miracle babies. We have other miracle babies in our family.
Gary Watts: We do.
Millie Watts: Our one daughter has two IVF kids and then our gay daughter has the artificial insemination. You know what? We're all for modern medicine. It turns out great.
Mason Funk: [01:39:00] Let's see where we are for time. I'm going to look real quick at my list of questions. Kate, you can be thinking also.
Kate Kunath: You still have the classics to do.
Mason Funk: I do have the classics. We have four quick little questions we ended up with. Yeah. I think just in the course of conversation ... Oh, I have one question. In one of the pieces, articles I read about you both, you used the phrase "to be Christlike." I wonder now today what that means to you, "to be Christlike." Taking it back to the person who started all this religious stuff.
Gary Watts: [01:39:30] Well as a physician, part of the physician's oath has been termed, "First, do no harm." That's where I am in my own life is to try not to hurt anyone.
Gary Watts: [01:40:00] I think that's basically the message that Jesus brought I think was to be kind, love your neighbor as yourself, do unto others as you would have them do. I think it's pretty simple stuff. I think sometimes we get caught up. Sometimes we hurt people unknowingly because we're not sensitive or we're not tuned in to what's going on in their lives. I think this whole experience has extended my antennae a little higher so that I may be more aware and may be more sensitive.
Gary Watts: [01:40:30] Can I say maybe more like Craig? That's all, I think hes been Christlike. He is a great example.
Millie Watts: [01:41:00] Well, I always thought I was Christlike, but I know now that I was very judgmental. If I thought people were sinful or drinking alcohol ... You know, just simple things. Drinking coffee. I would judge them, even though I thought I was a very loving person.
Millie Watts: [01:41:30] Then when I knew people were judging me, I guess ... I don't know when it happened to me, but I realized I had been very judgmental. I think it's harder to be judgmental. For me now, it's just so much easier for me to just love everybody and accept them how they are. To me, that's really more Christlike. I don't think Christ judged people so much.
Millie Watts: [01:42:00] I think in a lot of our religions, we're taught to be judgmental. Anyway, I love just being carefree and not judging people. You know what? We've often said we are better people because we've had gay children. We're just more empathetic. We understand people that are on the outside and left out.
Gary Watts: [01:42:30] In defense of Millie, she's a little self-
Kate Kunath: Millie, grab a tissue.
Gary Watts: She's a little self-denigrating.
Millie Watts: Oh, I'm not.
Gary Watts: She's always been a wonderful, non-judgmental ... She can point out little things, but everybody loves Millie. It's because she's kind and sensitive and caring.
Millie Watts: [01:43:00] So is Gary.
Gary Watts: What more can you ask from a human being than that? If we had Millies throughout the world, we wouldn't be having all this stuff going on that's making life so miserable for so many. I think about those poor Syrian people and other places, but Syria just is so graphic in my mind and what's going on in that country for the last seven years. You just think, "How can that actually take place? What is the genesis of that? Why can't we solve it as a species? Why can't we get together and figure out a way to make life better for people that really are hurting?"
Gary Watts: [01:43:30] That's maybe the tip of the iceberg. It's just so hard to figure out. We're better than that. We're better as a species, I hope. I think sometimes we're on the verge of blowing ourselves up, too. There's got to be a better way.
Gary Watts: [01:44:00] My daughter. It was my birthday a few days ago and she gave me a T-shirt. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." I love that because I am. I think we can be better. I think we will and I think we're gradually getting there, but then you have these little one step forward ... Two steps forward, one step back. I don't know.
Millie Watts: That's Gary's mantra. The Beatles song.
Gary Watts: [01:44:30] Oh, yeah. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."
Millie Watts: Then also Blowin' in the Wind. Once, our gay daughter came here with a bunch of friends. One of them had a bumper sticker that said, "Speak up even if your voice shakes." I thought, "Man, that is me and I'm going to live by that." You've seen my voice shake, but I've learned to speak up because I just think that gay people need other parents to defend them a little bit.
Millie Watts: [01:45:00] We've done a lot of that and it's been fun. When I mention that not going to church anymore, my life has been filled ... You go to a gay gala. It's wonderful. You walk in the door and it's wonderful. Our lives have just ... I don't know. They've just been filled. They really have.
Gary Watts: [01:45:30] You've got so many stories. We could sit here for hours and talk about stories of change. I think about our good friend. Oh, man. Our gay friend who started out. He was a hospital employee, Curt. Anyway, he was a hospital employee and he was gay. He was telling his parents how he was dating these girls and tightly closeted.
Gary Watts: [01:46:00] He came to a meeting that Millie and I were speaking at and we became good friends. I was a doctor and he said, "I almost didn't come because I was afraid that I'd get outed," and so forth. Anyway, we followed his story from that time, which is now going on 23 or 24 years. Started where he was a gay guy, closeted. Deeply closeted. One of the nicest guys in the world.
Gary Watts: [01:46:30] Ends up meeting another guy, falling in love and watching their romance. Watching them come together. They moved to Alaska together and they're still together after 23 years. I can still remember when they got their invite from their parents to come for Thanksgiving.
Millie Watts: Finally.
Gary Watts: Finally, after three or four years of being together. They come down to little Fountain Green in Utah, which is about as conservative a community as you've ever had. Their parents, Curt's parents, meet him at the door, take him down and there's the bedroom with a king size bed for the two of them.
Gary Watts: [01:47:00] You just think, "Wow." So many great stories.
Millie Watts: Oh, here's Craig. Mr. Wonderful.
Mason Funk: Wow.
Millie Watts: Come in and say hi.
Mason Funk: Have you been just feeling this glow and love surrounding you?
Craig Watts: [01:47:30] You mean like permanently or in the last two minutes when I walked in?
Mason Funk: Well, I'm Mason.
Craig Watts: No, that's cool.
Mason Funk: Nice to meet you.
Craig Watts: Nice to meet you. God, you moved furniture and everything.
Millie Watts: I know. Well, they've got the gay touch that you don't have.
Mason Funk: That's our job. Well, we always joke that in film school, they teach you how to move furniture.
Craig Watts: I'm just surprised that you guys are hanging out with homosexuals.
Millie Watts: Well, I don't know if we are.
Kate Kunath: [01:48:00] Viewers are going to be really disappointed if Craig didn't sit in the middle of them.
Craig Watts: In the middle?
Mason Funk: Set your stuff down for a second.
Craig Watts: Sure. Yeah. I'm not sure how I look. I'm not trying to let everybody down.
Millie Watts: I hate that he has the spotlight and Laurie doesn't, but he's here because Laurie is a great person too.
Mason Funk: Are you ready for a video appearance?
Craig Watts: Am I supposed to get between you or is that breaking the rules?
Millie Watts: This is the loveseat. No. Are you okay?
Craig Watts: I'm good. Yeah.
Millie Watts: You want a tissue?
Craig Watts: [01:48:30] Do I look like a 14-year-old? Have I been infantilized into moving home? There we go.
Gary Watts: The picture.
Mason Funk: Gosh. Kate, you get first question. We'll just ask you a couple questions. I know you didn't expect this, but your parents ... They've been telling all kinds of stories. Well, can you tell the story of coming out to your folks?
Craig Watts: It happened right here in this room. I don't know. We all have different versions because it was a long time ago, but I can remember it like yesterday. I'm not sure if I'm right or not, but ...
Mason Funk: What do you remember?
Craig Watts: [01:49:00] Well I remember it was Sunday dinner. I remember I had been thinking about telling my dad specifically because he was putting a lot of pressure on me to marry a woman, which is what you typically do when you come back from a mission and you're at BYU. There were a couple of neighbors that he knew and that he liked. He would say, "Oh, she's a looker." At that point, I had pretty well decided that I wasn't going to be able to marry a woman.
Craig Watts: [01:49:30] Before that, I thought I would maybe do it, that I would marry a woman. My plan was to let her know on the honeymoon. Seriously. To apologize and just say, "I didn't know what else to do." I didn't know how I could live a life if I didn't follow the pattern that everyone around me, everyone that I knew ... If I didn't have that same wife and kids and family. I didn't know if there was a future. I really didn't believe it.
Craig Watts: [01:50:00] At the time when I came out, I had pretty much given up on that. Decided that I wasn't going to marry a woman and that I needed to let them know so they wouldn't put pressure on me kind of. We had Sunday dinner right here at the table. Then after dinner, everyone went their separate ways. It was quiet and I said to dad, I said, "I've got something I need to tell you." We sat right here by the fireplace.
Gary Watts: We were sitting actually right here.
Craig Watts: [01:50:30] I remember I had planned it, but the words that came out were I think was ... Let's see. "I don't fall in love with women." I didn't say that I'm gay. I just said, "I'm not falling in love with women." Then I can't remember if he said, "Do you think you're gay?" Then I said, "Yes." There was a long pause. Then he laughed. He thought it was a joke. He said, "You're kidding." I said, "No, I'm not kidding." I was really serious. To me, this was ground zero of the universe.
Craig Watts: [01:51:00] For this secret to come out was the scariest thing I could have ever imagined because I thought the world would explode and that I would too and that shrapnel might go all over them and all over the family and that it would just be devastating of everybody.
Craig Watts: [01:51:30] I think dad sensed how serious this was. We had a little conversation and that was the beginning of me getting on my feet to see that I could talk to someone and then also to really feel like that they were with me on this. They weren't going to abandon me, that he was as worried as I was and that maybe there was a way we were going to get through this. I think that I had glimmers of that in that first conversation.
Craig Watts: [01:52:00] Hey, you're on the right path to share this with people who are on your side. Up until then, nobody was on my side. It was me against the universe. It was like the neighbors, the church, the Mormons, God, everything. It was just me because I didn't have any gay friends. There were no books that I could read about this. There was no internet. It was just frightening. That's how it happened right here in this room. Here we are ... What? 28 years later.
Millie Watts: You're still in this room.
Craig Watts: [01:52:30] Yeah. What I'd say is life is still really complicated and there's a lot of hard things every day, but that that's not one of them anymore. It's just nice to feel like ... We talk about being post-gay. I think the family was one of the first post-gay families. Around here, for sure. At the time I thought, "Five or 10 years and everybody's going to have parents like mine and it's going to be a non-issue."
Craig Watts: [01:53:00] I went away for 23 years and I came back and the Utah suicide rate was up, the church was doubling down on gay people. Kids don't dare come out to their parents. They're still getting married. I was just like, "What is going on here? Why is this the case? Why is it almost as bad as it was when I went through this and why aren't more parents on the side of their kids?" It just blew me away to come back and to see that. It breaks my heart more than anything.
Mason Funk: [01:53:30] Kate, do you have a question for Craig? You'll answer me as if I asked it.
Kate Kunath: Gosh. I'm speechless. In awe of this family and how much they all cry.
Craig Watts: It comes from mom, but now that dad is getting older, I think he's got a little bit of it too. He's maybe softer than any of us, which is crazy.
Gary Watts: [01:54:00] I'm pretty soft.
Mason Funk: He's the one with the John Lennon T-shirt.
Mason Funk: Well I have another one if you want.
Kate Kunath: Okay, go ahead.
Mason Funk: This is just another one of the ones that I think made both your parents ... It made me cry a little bit. It was the story of you getting excommunicated. It just sounds brutal, so I don't even know if you want to tell that story.
Millie Watts: [01:54:30] You should tell it.
Craig Watts: It's about feeling like you get stabbed in the back by your community and that's what made it so hard. I didn't think it was going to be hard because I thought ... On a belief level, I thought I'd move beyond the church and it wasn't on my mind. I thought that I could look at it as a social organization and just take it or leave it.
Craig Watts: [01:55:00] Then because it happened in Japan, I thought, "Well this is an isolated incident. It's not the heart of the church. These are not the Mormon fourth generation coming across the plains people. They don't know what they're doing." The implications of having ... Kicking me out were a lot worse than I would have expected. It's partly because I didn't think it was going to happen. I guess I just trusted my community. I didn't think they'd kick me out.
Craig Watts: [01:55:30] I thought I'd get my hands slapped and they'd say, "Oh, this isn't okay, but you're still welcome. Come have the sacrament. Join us. We're all brothers and sisters," because that's what you call each other in the Mormon church. Instead, they kicked me out. They basically threw me on the curb and I felt wronged. I felt like the people that I'd grown up with and that I trusted to take care of me abandoned me and that it was ... I felt like it was so ungodlike.
Craig Watts: [01:56:00] I still remember when they told me, "We've prayed about this. God's told us that you need a new starting line and we hope someday you'll come back and be baptized." It was so clear to me that God did not say that. That was not God or it was not a God that I ever knew. Here I am, born and raised Mormon, grew up here in Utah and you'd think that I was on the same page with the Mormon God. It was not the Mormon God who spoke there.
Craig Watts: [01:56:30] In the Mormon church, we're encouraged to speak our truth and to be honest and to share what's in our hearts. In my heart at that moment, it was so clear to me that what they were doing to me and other gay Mormons was just wrong and that it didn't have to be that way.
Craig Watts: [01:57:00] But that it was choices that they were making as an organization that had implications they couldn't see for a person like me and more than that for our families because our families are all in that church. I talk to people and I say, "It felt like getting punched in the face."
Millie Watts: [01:57:30] Worse.
Craig Watts: I didn't expect it. That's part of the reason. When you get punched in the face from someone who you trust or who you like, you don't see it coming. That's the way it felt. You don't recover from that. I'm still angry and hurt. It was hard for me to move back here. I wanted to be back with my family. I've got my kids and I want to share that. I want my kids to know their grandparents and their aunts and uncles and their cousins.
Craig Watts: [01:58:00] I felt totally confident that that was the right thing to do, but I didn't want to drop into Provo, Utah. Still, I don't want to get close to these people. It's a new neighborhood. There's a lot of younger couples and millennials who have moved in and they're fine with me being gay. I know that. They're younger and they feel bad about the way the church has treated us and I think they're trying to show me that that's not the case anymore, but I still can't open up and trust these people. It's about not trusting the organization.
Craig Watts: [01:58:30] I told the bishop here, I said, "The neighbors, they're nice people and they've treated me really well, but the institution continues to let us down and continues to set it up in a way that they stab people in the back or they punch them in the face. That's not okay." That's why I still don't want to be here.
Millie Watts: [01:59:00] You can see the hurt. This happened in 1992 and the hurt is still there for all of us.
Craig Watts: There's an anger that wants me to just get away. What I see is the people who get away and try to just minimalize ... Try to pretend like the Mormon church doesn't exist. We do better when we're like that. When we're here and we try to ... You say "fight" or try to just get the basic respect a person needs to have to live a life. You can't get it here. People are trying.
Craig Watts: [01:59:30] The community, they're doing better, but they just don't know how to see me as someone who deserves love. I think part of it is my perception of them. Maybe I'm not giving them the benefit of the doubt, but I just don't have the capacity to trust them because of what happened.
Craig Watts: [02:00:00] When I see other gay people, I want to say, "Get away. Get out. Leave the Mormon church and hope that your family follows you," because if they stay in the church, those conflicts are still going to be there and it's going to be bad for you. I want to be nicer and I want to say, "Hey, we can work this out. Things have changed and you can be Mormon and you can be gay," but I've been back for two years and I don't believe that.
Mason Funk: Especially your mom was just referencing this new policy or edict they made about not allowing the baptism of-
Millie Watts: [02:00:30] Do you want to use tissue?
Mason Funk: There's fresh tissues over there if you want any.
Craig Watts: Yeah. You always want to give people more chances. You always want to forgive and move on, but I just feel like I haven't had the strength to do that. When I look around at other people and see how they've done things, I haven't seen other people who have been able to make this work.
Craig Watts: [02:01:00] The ones who make it work are like my sister Laurie, who has moved up to Boise. It's six hours drive away. It's not a Mormon-dominated community. She tells me, "You just have to get out of it. You just have to try to find a place where it's not dominated by the Mormons because it's going to bring you down. You're not strong enough." She's in social work and understands mental health. The approach there is that you find a way to forgive and to move on or that you face your fears and confront them.
Craig Watts: [02:01:30] Not that you run away from them. She's telling me to run away and that just tells me something is really wrong here. It just kills me that I'm not able to do it, that I'm not able to get out of here. I thought maybe it'd be six months. Maybe it would be a year. It hasn't worked out for me. I'm just not quite brave enough and I'm not rich enough to be able to move to a place that's post-gay.
Craig Watts: [02:02:00] You know what? I'd like to think that I don't have to do that, but you really do. If I want to try to be healthy and happy and show my kids what it means to live life as an affirming person with self-respect who is gay ... Happens to be gay. I just don't feel like I can do that here and it makes me sad. It makes it hard for me to be here because I don't want to be friends with the neighbors and I don't want to share things. I want my kids to be friends with people that I can feel like are going to respect me and that I can trust.
Gary Watts: [02:02:30] Respect them. Respect the kids.
Craig Watts: To tell you the truth, in some ways, I don't respect Mormons who buy the Mormon party line on gay people. I think they're not thinking. I think they're not principled. I think they want to have their cake and eat it too. I think you have to walk away and make a stand. You don't say, "Well I'm going to stay and try to make things better for the people who were there."
Craig Watts: [02:03:00] No. We do not participate in homophobic organizations. We just don't do it. We have principle. I would like to see more people who make a stand like that. It's hard. I got thrown out, so there wasn't a choice. Other people, they have to make that choice and it's a hard thing.
Mason Funk: Wow. Anything you want to ask?
Kate Kunath: [02:03:30] Is there any way you guys would all leave?
Millie Watts: That's what Craig has asked.
Craig Watts: I would talk about this a little bit. I think it's a lot about mom. I think the way she feels connected here and all the years that we've spent here. When people in the neighborhood pass on, it would be really hard for me to leave that. I wouldn't want to leave that. No one should ever ...
Craig Watts: [02:04:00] ... for me to leave that and I wouldn't want to leave that. And no one should ever have to ask someone to leave that. But the community is set up here in a way that makes gay people have to ask that. So, we are at an impasse because I think mom would do anything for me. But I think the fact that she's rooted here and that she belongs here, and that she wants to be here through the end is totally reasonable.
Millie Watts: Well, this is home. This is home for all six of our children and we've been here for what? 42-
Gary Watts: [02:04:30] 42 years in this house.
Millie Watts: 42 years.
Mason Funk: I can see why it really in an impasse.
Millie Watts: But I do think Craig, I don't want to say misjudges the neighbors, but everybody loves Craig and the three little boys. When he's out walking in the neighborhood, it is the cutest scene in the world with those little boys.
Millie Watts: [02:05:00] People want him to feel welcome here, they do. But it's really hard with the church policies on gay people. Just recently, the church is wanting to put more effort into the suicides because the suicides are going up. They are offering money to different gay organizations that have Mormon background to study and see if they can help the suicides.
Millie Watts: [02:05:30] I thought, "Well, that's really a good idea." And then we were talking to a gay man and he said, "The easiest thing to stop the suicides would be to change the policies. You can give all the money you want, but it is the policies that need to be changed."
Mason Funk: [02:06:00] Retell the cost of time.
Craig Watts: I have a friend, he's made the suggestion, he says the Mormons should spend their money and their time to figure out how to stop gay babies from being born. They don't want gay people in this community.
Millie Watts: Now what? I didn't know this.
Craig Watts: He's joking about it but he saying, "Look, they keep having gay babies here, and they don't want them in the community. So, the best way to use their resources would be; let's figure out how to stop gay babies from being born in our community because we don't want them."
Craig Watts: [02:06:30] It's extreme but that's really the way it is. It makes everybody uncomfortable. It ruins that perfect picture that everybody wants to have. You're the off note in this symphony, so let's figure out how we can adjust the instrument so that off note doesn't get hit. But I think that it's the opposite, I think we're really important part of a beautiful sound, and people are just hearing it wrong. They're hearing it wrong.
Craig Watts: [02:07:00] So, you want to go somewhere where it sounds good to people, and you want to feel like you're contributing to something, a piece of art instead of like ruining it. One friend, we grew up five houses from me. He said his mom told him that he had ruined their forever family. Because the goal is that the family all goes to heaven together, but if someone comes out as gay, then that family member's not going to make it to heaven. And not only is it bad for the family member, but now the family's not going to be together in heaven, he's ruined it for everybody.
Craig Watts: [02:07:30] It's like a double whammy on the gay people. And instead, I think that maybe you don't get heaven without a gay person, can't we think that way? I need people to think that way for me to survive as a human in the community, and it's the opposite right.
Millie Watts: [02:08:00] Well, I do feel sorry for our church that they don't have gay people. You think of all the gifts gay people have; music, art, everything. We know gay men that are wonderful organists that are being kicked out, and they go to another church, and so we got to the other church to hear them, and I think, "Oh my gosh, why aren't they playing in my church?"
Millie Watts: [02:08:30] I just think the church is missing out on so many things that gay kids could contribute. But we're not missing out on them, we're in the gay world.
Craig Watts: Part of the problem; practicalities.
Kate Kunath: Millie, grab that tissue.
Craig Watts: [02:09:00] If you live in the neighborhood, then the whole social life is organized around the church. People meet there every Sunday, and there's three hours they spend together, and the kids are together, and they're teaching the kids. It's all a lay clergy.
Craig Watts: [02:09:30] So, everybody's very involved and that kind of is the dose of neighborliness that everybody needs for the week, and if you're not there, you miss it. I'll drive by with my kids in the minivan and we'll see all the cars parked at the church just down the street on our way to the park, and we're not in that building and we don't know what's going on. People are not cutting us out, they're not purposely not including us, but we're not there when they see each other and say, "Hey, the kids are going to do soccer this week," or "Let's do a play date," And you just get left out.
Craig Watts: [02:10:00] That's why it's hard for me to see how mom and dad are fine living here when you're it's like you're not a member of what's going on, and you're always wondering what's going on and how people are talking. But they found a peace with that. But for me, it's hard to be the odd man out here in a neighborhood like this. I think it's nice if you live in a neighborhood and everything
It's like dad said, if I hadn't been kicked out, if I weren't gay, we'd probably still be Mormon mainstream and love in the social aspects of the church and feeling really included and feeling like, "Hey, this is a good thing." But when you get kicked out, then you're put on the other side and you don't fit in, and you get left out, and I just think, "God, this is a hard place to live," but they don't feel that way.
Interviewer: [02:10:30] Well. It breaks my heart but you guys are wonderful, and you guys are wonderful and it breaks my heart. I wish there were an easy solution for you all right now because, I see how much you love each other and I see how much your mom and dad just talked about, your dad in particular crying about having the kids here, having the chance to raise your boys. I see what a difficult situation this is.
Craig Watts: [02:11:00] For me, I hate to always want to blame someone or something because you want to get lemons and make lemonade, you want to bloom where you're planted, that's what I want to do. So, I hate to say, "Look, it's the Mormons who are messing up our picture," because in some ways, it's maybe too simplistic or maybe we're bigger than that or there's ... But that's the way it feels.
Craig Watts: [02:11:30] I just feel like I need a community that can support me. I'm a single parent and I'm a gay guy and I'm later in my years, these kids are young and I love community and I want to reach out, I want to know my neighbors, I want to know their kids, I want my kids playing at their house, and the village. I just don't love this village and maybe it's my problem, maybe I should just get over it and just say, "Hey, this is it, bloom where you're planted."
Craig Watts: [02:12:00] It's something that I think about, but I just think from what I've seen and what I've heard that I just can't do this. For my kids, they're going to be coming up to eight when the other neighbor kids are getting baptized when they're eight, and my kids are not going to get baptized, and how do you be the odd one out?
Millie Watts: We've got to change that right they're eight.
Craig Watts: [02:12:30] I don't think anyone should get baptized at eight, I think you've got to be an adult and really know what you're doing. I really think my plan is to move and to try to get these guys to come and visit a lot and figure out a way that I can afford that. That's what keeps me going. It's what my plan is and I don't know how they're going to deal with it, but I cannot stay here.
Gary Watts: Let me just give it another example that I'm thinking about right here and your comments have brought it to the fore I guess.
Gary Watts: [02:13:00] I, in our family have the BRCA1 gene, the breast cancer gene which I'm a carrier of and Craig's sister is a victim of. She had breast cancer at age 34. Well, the technology is now available that in one generation you can eliminate that. If all the kids were to have their kids in vitro, you can identify the ones that have the mutant gene, and not implant that and only implant the ones ... And in one generation, it can be gone.
Gary Watts: [02:13:30] If I thought there was a possibility that we could in one generation get rid of Mormonism as it now stands, I would be a big advocate for it. But I can't see that happening in one generation, and I don't know how to beat it.
Gary Watts: [02:14:00] Look, we're victims too. Our birth right is totally random where you end up Mormon in Logan Utah, and were raised in a cocoon, and it takes us so many years to break out of a cocoon, and find out what truth really is as far as for us, but I don't see any possibility of having that cocoon broken for everybody in one generation, it just doesn't happen. We've got a couple of granddaughters who are active Mormons, who love the church and are having the same life we did basically until we were age 49, and I don't know how to-
Millie Watts: [02:14:30] But, they're allies.
Gary Watts: They're allies, but still there are still active Mormons and enjoying the Mormon experience and feel that the good outweighs the bad, and who am I to make that judgment about what's right for somebody else? I know what's right for me, and maybe picking up and going to California with Craig's the right decision, maybe it isn't. I don't know.
Gary Watts: [02:15:00] We're more at peace with the neighborhood than Craig is, and with the community, but we're not affected by the gay thing other than through Craig and Lorrie. I don't know, I don't know what the best answer is. I know that what I said earlier stands. I hope to live my life without hurting anyone. That's what I'd like, and I know that's what Craig wants.
Millie Watts: [02:15:30] I do think the Mormon church, sometimes I say we're still DMA Mormons. The Mormon church taught us a lot of good things and always, it was family first. I think we have really benefited from that. Our family's just been so close.
Millie Watts: [02:16:00] When Craig and Lorrie came out, I just was shocked about how close our family was and how the siblings just lined up and were supportive immediately. It's hard for them but they were there. The ex-communication's been hard for all our children.
Craig Watts: I just remember when I got ex-communicate, I called and they weren't home. I tried to call home and mom and dad weren't here, they were in Hawaii on a trip. This is before cell phones, and my sister picked up who's now lesbian, and she must have been, what would she be? 12 or 14?
Gary Watts: [02:16:30] Yeah. That must be about right.
Craig Watts: I'm just crying and she's, "What's wrong?" And I said they kicked me out. And she says, "Who kicked you out? What?" And I said, "The Mormons, they kicked me out of the church for being gay." And she said, "Why don't they just leave you alone?" Here she is 14, so wise because you feel like you've been kicked by yourself, by everybody, and then it's like the last blow, they kick you out.
Craig Watts: [02:17:00] We're like the weakest, the most pathetic segment of the population. Why don't they just leave us alone? Why are they picking on us, we're already in such bad shape? Like mom say and my siblings, somehow they got that, they got that you got to choose. You got to choose your gay sibling or the church, because you can't have both.
Craig Watts: [02:17:30] If you're really going to support me and respect me and say that I'm okay as a human being, then you've got to leave that church that doesn't say that.
Millie Watts: But Craig never asked them to leave, you never asked them to leave.
Craig Watts: I didn't know at the time that you really have to make that choice, but now I really believe that. Dad says that I've got two nieces that go to the church, everyone else has left, and those two nieces that still go, there's a little bit of tension.
Craig Watts: [02:18:00] I feel like they support me and they love me and they're okay with me being gay and that they can have their cake and eat it too, but it's so much easier for me with all the siblings who are not in church because it's not even an issue, it's like, "Yeah, of course we've chosen you over the church." I don't want to make it a contest to choose me or give up something that's really important to you. I don't want to ask that of anybody, but that's the question that has to be asked. I think if you're going to make your gay family member feel safe and loved, you've got to give up participating in a church that's homophobic and excludes those gay people.
Craig Watts: [02:18:30] There are so few of my gay friends who have that kind of luxury. Almost all of their family chooses the church over them. Then so, they're on their heels trying to say, "Look, I'm here too and I need some love and support, and I wish you wouldn't go to church but ..."
Gary Watts: When even the judicial system is rigged against them as gay fathers in terms of having custody with their kids, and having the kind of interaction that would normally be available to anybody who is straight.
Gary Watts: [02:19:00] It's a bad system, but it's getting better I think. Craig's not seeing a lot of improvement, but I think there's improvement.
Millie Watts: And we're actually happy. We've been crying a lot, but we're actually happy.
Craig Watts: I think we're living in a cocoon in the cocoon.
Millie Watts: That's right. We are.
Craig Watts: I really feel like there's a bubble over our house, and we're not real close to the neighbors, and we're really close with each other and that's how we get through.
Craig Watts: [02:19:30] But that's not the life I want, I want to just have the walls permeable. We can have people come and go when we don't feel like we have to shut them out, or we have to worry that they think that a gay guy is a problem. I want you Utopia, I want it all, I need it all. So that's, yeah.
Mason Funk: I'm going to have to stop us. And you've got to do some really practical things. So, while you're still sitting there, let's do singles. Same shots?
Kate Kunath: [02:20:00] With everybody? Because, we're going to need to do the same with just the two of them.
Mason Funk: We'll do it with the three of them and with the two of them. So, this is because if we edit your interview, and we need to edit what somebody's saying, one of the easy ways to do that is to show a listening shot of a different person. So, we're going to shoot listening shots of each of you individually that we can use as cutaways, we call them cutaways.
Kate Kunath: So, we should tell Millie talk first.
Mason Funk: What I need you to do is, Millie, you and I are going to talk about something inconsequential, and Craig and-
Millie Watts: Okay. So, Craig.
Mason Funk: [02:20:30] Just in a second here and you guys are just going to listen, look at me, you can look at her, you can nod, and we're going to be capturing shots of you just listening. Okay. But don't interject, that's what sometimes happens, is people start interjecting. The whole idea is for you not to talk. So, Millie, I'm going to ask you, do you like to cook?
Millie Watts: [02:21:00] Well, I used to really the cook a lot, but I'm getting older. But Craig's set up a schedule and so, Gary cooks two nights a week, I cook two nights a week, Craig cooks three nights a week. We eat all our meals here at home. I do love having family dinners and having all the family here. Like last Sunday, we had 15 people here for Sunday dinner. That's a Mormon tradition, the Sunday dinner.
Mason Funk: [02:21:30] What's your favorite thing to make for family dinner?
Millie Watts: Well, it's called funeral potatoes. Have you heard of funeral potatoes?
Millie Watts: That's a Mormon thing. It's shredded potatoes in a casserole with sour cream and cheese and onions, and that's really good. It's really comfort food, so everyone likes that.
Mason Funk: [02:22:00] Okay. How is that?
Kate Kunath: Good.
Mason Funk: You got the two gents?
Mason Funk: Okay. So, now Craig, I'm going to ask you to talk, we'll talk about something inconsequential. Actually, we've already got out Gary listening shots, right? Should we get a few more?
Kate Kunath: We're good, I got [crosstalk].
Mason Funk: Okay. So, ...
Craig Watts: Food is not inconsequential if that's something we're going to talk about.
Millie Watts: Craig is a good cook.
Mason Funk: Your parents mentioned you're a good cook. What is your favorite thing to cook for family dinner?
Craig Watts: [02:22:30] I'm really into vegetables and even though it's a side dish, but I like to focus on that. We've always got a pretty full vegetable drawer, and then just pull things out, and then experiment a little bit. We have a little bit of meat from something, I try to throw it in at the right time. I always want some garlic and maybe onions in there to get it started, cook it in some oil. Then sometimes I'll use some chicken bullion or something to flavor it a little bit. There's a lot of different ways to add some nice flavor, and then throw in things like cauliflower, snap peas which grandpa likes a lot, carrots, things like that make it colorful.
Craig Watts: [02:23:00] Kind of Asian but not totally Asian, like the side dish is what gets me excited.
Mason Funk: Do you ever throw a regular-
Kate Kunath: [crosstalk] a more serious topic.
Mason Funk: Okay. We might get more serious topic. Okay.
Kate Kunath: Just because everyone's smiling.
Mason Funk: Everyone's smiling. So, we need more serious.
Millie Watts: Okay. We need to not smile.
Mason Funk: [02:23:30] Let's see. What's a semi ... Just tell me about what took you to China in the first place.
Craig Watts: Well, again I was just running away from here. I really felt like I didn't want to cause pain for people, and I thought the only way to do that was to just get minimalized in their lives. Like I want to go away now. But the point was to just disappear rather than to go away and bring them with me, to think that I had a life or something. Just go as far away and just be minimized in everyone's life so that the tragedy would be minimized.
Craig Watts: [02:24:00] It really felt like I was this walking Italian opera that was a disaster for everybody, and if I were far away, then the tragedy could be minimized. Because, I just fade away in their minds and then they could go on and live their lives. I really didn't think I could ask them to leave the church and be on my side.
Craig Watts: [02:24:30] I always felt like a blot or an embarrassment, and when you're that, you want to minimize your presence so that the blot and the embarrassment is minimized, and the family can go on in the community. But as it turned out, they rallied around the blot and we ended up being a family and despite the community, and despite still living here. I don't hear very many people who actually move because of the gay thing. On the one hand, I think it's not asking too much to say let's move somewhere but on the other, I don't hear of people going to those extreme measures. It doesn't feel extreme to me, but I don't see it happening. So, that was the long answer.
Mason Funk: [02:25:00] How did we do?
Mason Funk: So, now we need Gary to talk and you guys, we'll just have you listening for a minute. By the way that was a really [crosstalk] answer but we weren't focusing on these listening shots. But, rallying around the blot, that's a great phrase. Gary, tell me about your practice, your radiology practice. What drew you to radiology?
Gary Watts: [02:25:30] I'm sorry.
Mason Funk: What drew you to radiology in the first place?
Gary Watts: Interesting thing. When I went to medical school, I played basketball at Utah State, and so I was always into sports and I thought when I went to medical school that I'd go to medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon and be a team physician, is kind of what I thought. When I got to medical school, I spent some time with a very famous orthopedic surgeon in Salt Lake that I loved and respected, but I found I hated the practice.
Gary Watts: [02:26:00] I didn't like orthopedics, I didn't like the fact that it just seemed like glorified carpentry work to me. So, I just didn't have a lot of appeal. So, I started looking at other aspects of medicine, and I found that I was attracted to the diagnostic part of health. I was interested in figuring out what was the way on in patients. I did some work during the summer with a urologist who was doing some research on what's called Vesicoureteral reflux, which is a condition where urine will come.
Gary Watts: [02:26:30] When you urinate, urine will back up sometimes in the ureter because of an incompetent valve and cause infections. So, I was doing this research during the summer and involved a lot of Radiology, because we'd inject dye and take pictures as they were urinating, and you could see the reflex, and it intrigued me, and I loved that part.
Gary Watts: [02:27:00] I was always interested in physics and so, it just had a nice feel and I gravitated to radiology. I made the decision I think in between my second and third year that that's really what I wanted to do, and started on that portion. That's what I've done and I loved what I did. I was a terrific practice, always stimulating. When I went into practice, was 1975 when I started here in Provo, ultrasound and CT and MRI didn't actually exist at that point in time.
Gary Watts: [02:27:30] So, during my practice, I saw the advent of CT first, well, ultrasound and CT conjointly, and then later MRI, and they were stimulating subjects and so revealing in terms of their diagnostic potential that it just added to armamentarium, and just made practice a lot of fun. So, looking back, I don't know how I could've picked a more pleasing work for me.
Gary Watts: [02:28:00] I found it stimulating and invigorating, and always enjoyable. You interact more with doctors sometimes as a radiologist when you do patients because the doctors are sending patients to you to try to understand what's going on, but at the same time, I've had a lot of good family and patients that come for interventional purposes and what not. It was a nice plan, a nice mix for me personally.
Mason Funk: [02:28:30] Okay. That was great. Now, we have to do one more thing which is, Craig, we need you to step out and we're going to do listening shots of Boise, and the one whom I met in the hallway is in Texas and of course Craig is right here. Where are the other three?
Millie Watts: [02:29:00] Okay. Well, I have to go oldest to youngest. So, Nancy is our oldest, and she has a home here in Provo, not very far from us. Then, Craig lives here with us. He was far away for a long time and we missed him a lot. Then Becky is our daughter that's here from Fort Worth, she lives in Fort Worth. Wendy who has our other two IVF babies lives in Seattle. Lorrie is in Boise and our youngest son Brian is in Salt Lake. And he's a Utah, University of Utah guy. He's in the general counsel's office.
Mason Funk: [02:29:30] So, he's a lawyer.
Mason Funk: Okay. Do you secretly hope that any of your grandkids are going to be gay or lesbian or transgender?
Millie Watts: I haven't really thought about that. I don't know.
Mason Funk: [02:30:00] Time will tell.
Millie Watts: We may have one.
Mason Funk: You haven't picked out? Okay. Was that good?
Mason Funk: Okay. So, now I'm going to ask you and Millie will just be listening. Gary, when you cook, what's your favorite thing to cook?
Gary Watts: [02:30:30] Well, when it's my time to cook, I like to take everybody out to get a bite to eat, that's probably number one. I end up doing breakfast almost every morning, and I'm feeling like I'm pretty good at breakfast, but I don't know that anybody can screw up breakfast, can they? It's bacon and ... We don't eat bacon, Craig doesn't like bacon. But we have eggs and we have toast and we have yogurt, and then we'll do hot cereal and cold cereal and pancakes or waffles as the usual thing, and I like to do that.
Gary Watts: [02:31:00] If I were to come up with something that I like to do in the evening when I'm cooking and when I'm actually cooking at home, I like to do sandwiches where you put them in the panini, and you get some good meat and cheese, and grill them and serve them up with some chips or some veggie fries, which is what we do here more than regular fries or chips, because Craig is really down on sugar and processed foods. So, I've had to revaluate some of my eating patterns and I'm doing that-
Mason Funk: [02:31:30] It's probably good for you.
Gary Watts: ... and he's making me a healthier guy, I think. So, that's what I do for cooking.
Mason Funk: Great. Kate, I think I'm going to have to skip the final four just because we're on a tight schedule. These final four questions we're going to have to just go on to-
Millie Watts: We talk too much.
Mason Funk: Well, Craig will make his star entrance and say [crosstalk] we went for a little longer. Now what I'd like to do, I think we can cut.
Kate Kunath: Let's do some room tone first.
Mason Funk: [02:32:00] Okay. We're going to do room tone which is just the sound of this room with actually nobody talking for about 30 seconds.
Kate Kunath: [02:32:30] Okay, good.
Millie Watts: Nice work. And hear something. Could you hear-

Interviewed by: Mason Funk
Camera: Kate Kunath
Date: April 19, 2018
Location: Home of Millie and Gary Watts