Meryl Streep has recounted in a recent interview how her early music education came from a gay man, and later a trans woman.
In an interview with The Advocate she said her mother was accepting of her music teacher, who lived in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey with his male partner.
‘I would go once a week to have my piano lesson.
‘My mother, who was born in 1915, never said “the boys are gay,” or that there was anything that she disapproved of. It was just that this is a different life.
‘They were not acknowledged, and not free to be themselves,’ she said. She credits her with making her daughter more accepting.
Later in her life Streep had a teacher come back after the school break, having gone from Paul to ‘Paula.’
‘My music teacher in sixth grade in Basking Ridge, N.J., was named Paul Grossman.
‘The next year he came back, and he was Paula.
‘It was very, very unusual. He had three kids and stayed married, but he was himself, and he led the chorus.’
Streep will play Florence Foster Jenkins in a new film. The film is an account of the real singer, whose awful singing did nothing to deter her legions of fans.
Ask if Jenkins would’ve minded had her accompanist been gay, Streep said she didn’t think so.
‘The arts was where people could thrive. I mean, every other part of society, I don’t think was friendly.
‘I think Florence is someone who embraced that world so thoroughly. I can’t imagine that she would have disapproved of [him] or in any way not loved him as much as she did.’
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