If you listen to the Bert Show regularly, you know Melissa Carter is gay. In fact, she was one of the first openly gay on-air personalities in Atlanta and has remained an integral part of the show since 2001.
She is also considered the level headed cast member who seldom gets emotional. But a seemingly too-nutty-to-be-true story from one of Q100’s listeners changed that.
Jeremy, in the closet, dated a dude while at Emory and they broke up after he moved to Los Angeles for a residency. Years later, he finds out the same guy is about to marry his sister in Atlanta. He decides to tell his sister. She doesn’t believe him and it gets ugly. She tells her family, who are Mormon. His dad gets so angry, he punches Jeremy. Jeremy flies back to Los Angeles, expecting his family may just cut him off forever.
Melissa went on a four-minute monologue that became deeply emotional.
“Let’s stop the cycle,” she said. “What more do we have to say? What more do we have to show? We don’t need to treat each other this way. So if you’re at church, reach out and tell people we are gay friendly and you are welcome here and your whole congregation will teach you that God is about love. If you’re straight, then you love your children.”
Then her voice breaks.
“I’m happy for Jenn [Hobby, her co-host] to be engaged and marry Grant. But I’ve been with my girlfriend nearly five years and I cannot get married because of the same crap that Jeremy is going through. It makes me sad. And gay people, we’re sad so much of the time and we’re unhappy and we’re in hiding. [Her girlfriend Katie has never come out on the radio.] When someone makes a stupid comment about gay people or a gay joke, we just laugh and smile. But it’s not funny. This is not funny. This is our life.
“Sometimes you get so tired. I’m so sorry for Jeremy and people like this. I rarely cry but I’m so tired of hearing these stories and see people hate each other. Just stop! If you’re at church, stop it! If you’re a parent who is embarrassed because your child is gay, stop it. It just makes me so mad. I’m sorry to get so emotional.
“Let me get married! Let me have a child! I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel bad for Jeremy because he doesn’t know what to do anymore. Yes, he did the right thing but he has to spend the rest of his life without his family.
“Why? Because you think you read something in the Bible that says to hate us. Then you’re the one that is going to be judged, not me. I can tell you not me. Because I have lived my life honestly and I have lived my life in love and I have loved the people I’m with honestly. It makes me so mad. When are we going to stop this?
“A grandmother ripping a child out of his arms? Every gay person listening right now crying who’s living in the closet understands this. There are times when I’m tired. People say it’s so important for you to be on the Bert Show. When we’re not on the air, what’s left? There are no other gay DJs coming on being proud of themselves. They’re all in hiding. It’s because hate them and people do this to people like Jeremy.
“Katie and I are still trying to find a church that accepts us as a family. We want to be part of a church that loves us and makes us feel self conscious. It’s so frustrating to hear these stories. I’m proud of the people in the room because they’ve always felt me feel just like them… I wish everybody could work with people I work with and are surrounded by family I’m surrounded by but they’re not. It’s up to us to make sure they can be.”
In an interview today, Bert Weiss said he recalls Melissa getting close to this emotional only twice before: talking about her kidney transplant and another gay person’s sad story. Weiss was proud of her for going as deep as she did. “It takes a lot to be that vulnerable on the air,” he said. “In the heterosexual world, you don’t understand that depth of pain. You may see it in a miniseries or movie but when it plays out with someone you know, that’s pretty shocking.”
I’m awaiting to hear back from Melissa. On her Facebook page, one fan wrote: “Thanks for being you! It takes so much courage to just wake up,love who you love and be loved by those around you. I definitely broke down crying when I heard your passion and I hope this resonated for some people that are struggling with hate in their heart.”
UPDATE: Producer Jeff Dauler said he is aware that cynics out there believe this is pure hokum, manufactured for our entertainment. But he insists this person Jeremy is 100 percent legit. He’d even willing to give me Jeremy’s email address though he is now checking with Bert to see if it’s okay.
“We have enough crazy people who listen to the show so we don’t have to manufacture them,” he said.