Susan Olsen, A.K.A. Cindy Brady: My Gay TV Dad Robert Reed “Would Have Been The Best Husband Ever”

Arobert reeds a child, I was BLESSED to have another father figure in my life. He did not replace my own beloved, Norwegian version of Jed Clampett, nor would he have wanted to. He simply harmonized with all of my family values and brought his own heart to our table.

This wonderful man was a giant in my world, a true king among men. His name was, and is, Robert Reed (OK that’s his stage name).

This tempetuous actor who bottle fed puppies when he wasn’t quarreling with the heads of networks, shaped my heart as much as my biological parents did. So I really can honestly say, “My dad was Gay”

I can also say that being gay killed him. Because it was so taboo, he could never make peace with himself. He never allowed himself to have a genuine love. He was forever taunted by his own disdain for the natural inclinations that he was BORN WITH.

Bob was a family man. Had he been allowed to form a relationship with another man, he would have been the best husband ever and might still be alive. But Bob could not be at peace with this because the people surrounding him shoved their own judgement down his throat and, sadly, he bought into it. He thought he was wrong. He felt the shame that every hypocritical “God is love” fundamentalist wanted him to feel.

To me, the vilification of homosexuality is exactly like the primitive practice of people who killed babies who were born with cleft palates or birth marks. It is a worship not of God but of fear itself in the form of a God who hates.

I am eternally grateful for having a golden rule placed before me as a child. I had a gay father! I knew he was gay when I was nine years old and had the wisdom of a child. I knew it was OK and none of my business.. I knew with all certainty that this was a very good man. And so, any ideology that demonized such a good man would have to be evil itself.

Robert Reed, unwittingly, showed me the true nature of religion. And this is why I steer clear of it to this day.

God and I are good pals. We have a clear line of communication and I don’t need religion’s telephone service. It’s full of static.

I could never worship, let alone LOVE, a God who would put my beloved father into the fires of Hell because he loved men. THAT is a God who deserves disdain. THAT is a God who must be ignored. THAT is a concept of God that must go away just as surely s humans have shed their prehensile tails.

You might call it evolution. IF you believe in evolving.

I do not necessarily believe in evolution, religion, politics or even gravity. I think the flying spaghetti monster might be the real deal! All I truly know is what works right here, right now.

What works is love.

What doesn’t work is judgement.

If two people love each other enough to want their union consecrated by a mythological being – they are undoubtedly insane, but LET THEM HAVE AT IT!!”

Actress Susan Olsen (a.k.a. The Brady Bunch’s Cindy Brady) stepping forward for equality—and her “gay dad” Robert Reed—on Facebook

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  • Wilbready

    Well said, Cindy!

  • yaoming

    Cindy rocks it.

  • RSun

    “…I don’t need religion’s telephone service. It’s full of static.”


  • AEH

    I’m sure that if the afterlife exists, Robert would have been proud of her for not lisping through it at all.

  • kurt_t

    Never underestimate the power of Cindy Brady.

    Remember when she got Florence Henderson’s voice back in time for the Christmas concert?

  • yaoming

    @kurt_t: … or Mike Brady.


    I actually never knew that the actor who played Mr. Brady was gay. I’ve seen reruns many times, but never ever did it cross my mind that he was gay. I am also very proud of Susan Olsen…her logic is very sound! Relationships like this where people get to know someone who is gay or lesbian opens minds time and time again.

  • Kieran

    I’m glad Susan knew he was gay. Most of us watching had no idea. To us he represented the ideal of straight American fatherhood. Happily married to a pretty wife with a brood of kids, a maid, all living in a well-furnished home. If only we could have known as kids growing up in the 70s that “Mike Brady”, the quintessential “all-American Dad” was actually a gay man. But back then, if Robert Reed had announced he was gay it would have been a huge public scandal and he would have either been quickly replaced, or the show would’ve been canceled.

  • Bob

    Very sweet article, thanks

  • wordnrrrd

    What a fantastic post! I came out to my parents last year, and my father keeps bringing up examples of how destructive the gay “lifestyle” is (based solely on what he hears from the Southern Baptist Church, ’cause heaven forbid he look at his own gay son’s woefully boring, scandal-free existence). Each time, I counter by telling him that perhaps if the church were to instill a bit of self worth in gay people instead of constantly telling them they’re broken and need to be fixed, perhaps they would seek out healthier relationships.

  • Mother

    Reed was one of the best TV actors around in the 60’s & 70’s. How ironic that, while tortured in his private life, back in 1975, he played a married w/kids doctor, who is gay, in the two-part season 7 opener of “Medical Center”. He goes through gender reassignment surgery, and appears as a woman in the last few minutes of part 2. He was absolutely awesome, and was nominated for an Emmy for his performance.

  • jkrupiarz

    Excellent post! I’m surprised once Cindy knew that everyone didn’t know- girl could not keep a secret.

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