Cheynne Jackson

“My dad actually had a lot in common with the really butch lesbians onboard”

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SOUNDBITES — “I’ve been asked every year to do the cruise, but I’ve never been able to make it work because of scheduling. When they asked me this year, I was free, and I thought it would be fun to take my mom. She’s grown and expanded her horizons enough, so I thought she could bring one of her forward-thinking friends. When I asked her, she said, “Well, what if I brought dad?” I was like, “Yeah, if you think he would go.” And they were both into it. I thought, This could be really great or a total disaster, but either way it’ll be a nice time to spend some forced family quality time. But they were great. I got a lot of attention because I was performing, so my mom liked that wherever she went people would say, “Oh, you’re Cheyenne’s mom!” But they’ve never really been around anybody gay besides me, [my boyfriend] Monte, and a few other people here and there, so to be trapped on that boat was really good for them. My dad actually had a lot in common with the really butch lesbians onboard. We went on a whale-watching excursion in Alaska and my dad got into a deep philosophical conversation with a big lesbian about fishing and other stuff that I couldn’t relate to. So the cruise showed them a little more of my world and brought us closer together.” —Cheyenne Jackson, recounting taking his conservative parents on a R Family Cruise