The Scotts: The Challenge in a Shameless Promotion

The Hartzel-Russell Family

The Hartzel-Russell Family

So my friend, Jordan, asked me this week if I’d be willing to plug his fundraiser for the pilot of the reality docu-series The Scotts.  In short, the show is about two boisterous gay dads (Scott Hartzel & Scott Russell) raising their family while starting a horse boarding business in the middle of nowhere.  He’s had a few meetings with some well-known studios and the promotional footage and trailer have been met with warmth and intrigue—and now that he’s got some traction, the next logical step to help market the show to producers and networks is to film a presentation pilot!  I obviously agreed, not just because he was my friend but because I truly believe in the project!  Obviously, I wish my friend great success but that wasn’t really the reason.  So what does this have to do with Mompson?  I felt that I owed it you and him to not just shamelessly plug it and drop it like a bad habit.  There had to be something deeper to accompany it.  Since I don’t just support any old cause, I figured I should start by examining why it was so important to me that this show get made.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the world that Baby T is going to be growing up in. and to be honest there are some hot topic issues that are highly controversial that I feel like we will need to address with him sooner rather than later.  We’ve been looking for a new church home–closer to new place and aren’t really married to a “denomination”. We’ve live in a town with a TON of churches in the town center–a few of which we’ve stayed away from for one reason (I am actually ashamed to write it)–because they are “open and affirming.”  For those who are not up to speed on this theological speak–this means that they allow homosexuality in their church and affirm that it is a good and right thing.  So what, you’re asking.  What’s your hang-up, Kayla?  Are you a bigot? Well, no, not exactly.  I guess I really hadn’t given it much thought before deciding how we wanted to raise Baby T.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a raving lunatic with a sign that says “God Hates Gays” outside any courthouse or rally.  Honestly, it was just easier to believe what our families believed–being gay was wrong, “against our religion”, a sin, etc. And it didn’t seem to matter all that much before because we kept our social life and church life separate.  Except it wasn’t really separate.

When I was sixteen, my best friend (who’s project I just happen to be plugging) threw a monkey wrench into this whole “concept” of ignorant bliss.  He came out in high school.  There was a LOT of crying–on his part and my part.   The ideal we both held in some sick-weird-co-dependent-best-friend way shattered into a million pieces with a simple admission.  Everyone, including ourselves, imagined us being married (to each other) in 10 years with the picket fence, dog and a couple of kids.   I tried to escape our new reality (for much longer than I should have)–chalking it up to him experimenting–and maybe, just maybe, going a little over-the-top with his “new” identity.  I was a douche.  To his face, I still supported his decisions and choices while I rolled my eyes and wondered what next extravagant crazy thing was going to happen next, and when this charade would end.  I justified our relationship as an “agree-to-disagree” type thing and we drifted apart.

He challenged me.  Long story short: almost 10 years after coming out–he’s still challenging me.  Why?  Because I love him.  Why?  Because I think he deserves to love whoever he wants.  Why? Because I think he should be allowed to get married (in a church if he wants), adopt children and have the same legal rights as anyone else.  Why?  Because I love him so hard that I hurt that the world is making it about the word “marriage” and the “sanctity” it holds.  Why? Because my initial reaction to taking my child to a church that supports and approves of the gay lifestyle was HESITATION.

It’s a struggle because the Bible has a clear stance on homosexuality (yes, I know it depends on how you interpret it)–and I don’t LOVE the concept that some churches use saying the Bible was written by men and they didn’t understand biology at the time.  (Evidently, they believed babies lived in sperm or some such nonsense—thus being gay was morally wrong because either you wasted babies or could get a man pregnant?  I’m not really sure, I remember hearing this as a teenager.)  Whaaaaaa? I am so confused by this explanation.  It leads to so many follow-up questions such as 1.) So you’re telling me God gave these guys poetic license over The Bible?  And didn’t correct their ignorance?  Because God sure knew how babies are made. And 2.) Then, does this justify lesbianism?  This just doesn’t seem to satisfy my doubts.  After a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s something that needs to be overruled with LOVE–much like many Christians do with the eye-for-an-eye passage.  (Please hold comments, I’m not interested in debating theology–I’m still trying to figure out myself!)  I feel like Jesus’ message of LOVE should trump all—I mean, have you read the Old Testament—there is some crazy shiz said and done in there that we overlook and gloss over—so why not this?

It’s only been within the past 6 months of church shopping that I’ve really wrestled with this concept–almost like I have been blind to it up until now.  I could verbalize that I wasn’t interested in going to an open and affirming church but I couldn’t really tell you why.  It was like I was inherently hardwired to be a bigot and couldn’t articulate why.  And then, I felt like I got hit by a mac-truck.  WTF was I doing?  I thought about how I want my son to treat people.  I want him to love fearlessly—whoever he wants—romantically, platonically, whatever makes him happy.  I don’t want him to “disapprove” of anyone’s lifestyle unless they are harming themselves or someone else.  I want him to see value in all people and all relationships.  I don’t want him to miss out on knowing someone like Jordan, who is compassionate, loyal, hilariously funny, witty beyond all belief and who is unabashedly unashamed of who he is just because it was “against our religion”.

That is why it’s so important to me that this show be made.

We hook on to shows about hillbillies, swamp people and bounty hunters because they are unlike ourselves.  We come to love reality families like our own because we can identify times that they are “just like us” or things that we admire or that inspire us.  Yes, even good can be found in Honey Boo Boo.  I think it would be amazing to learn and grow with The Hartzel-Russell family, a family that is considered “highly controversial” (but more prevalent than one might think) in most parts of the country today.  I think it would help open people’s eyes like mine have been opened and remind people that there is value in everyone and in all relationships.  What’s not to love about following two dads on their adventure with four children in the desert while opening their Horse Hotel?  It even has a sweet back story—Dr. Russell adopted two boys and needs help raising them after the unexpected loss of his partner—enter Hartzel—cue the music—they fall in love, get married and add mischievous twins via surrogate to their brood.  The series picks up when they leave their luxe home in La Quinta behind and move to less than fabulous pre-fab home on a farm in the boonies to start their new business and begin the process of building a custom home.  It sounds like a delicious sit-com but even better it’s REALITY!!! This concept is very The New Normal meets Jon & Kate Plus 8, or Modern Family meets Green Acres.  I saw the promo reel in June during the first set of studio pitches and have been waiting to DVR it ever since. Check out the The Scotts promo page and the sizzle reel below–honestly, words cannot really do it justice—and please consider donating to help this show become a reality!

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2 thoughts on “The Scotts: The Challenge in a Shameless Promotion

  1. Upon reading this I learned things about your perspective and thought that I never knew about you when we were going through this so many years ago. I know it wasn’t easy for me to speak my voice and be who it was that I really was but I never actually took the time to think about the way it affected those around me. True it wasn’t a “life choice” to be gay, but it was something that regardless, affected the lives of people I loved in one way or another. Perhaps it was our silence that tore us apart during that last year of high school, but it was the love we still had for one another that eventually brought us back to each other. We’ve gone through so much together, you’re my oldest and dearest friend and I’m so thankful to have you in my life, along with Andrew and Baby T. Thank you for believing in me and THE SCOTTS.

    • Thanks for being fearless and honest to who you are despite the uphill battle you faced. I’m so proud to know you and have Baby T grow up knowing you. ❤

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