He is denied sponsoring his Australian-Scottish partner to the United States because of unequal immigration laws toward homosexual couples. He is denied the right to be in a legally recognized marriage in a country he calls home. He is denied the freedom to publicly convey his love without the fear of ridicule or violence. But internationally acclaimed artist Tim Miller is fighting back with words in a one-man show called “Glory Box,” which was at CSUN’s Little Theatre on Nov. 8.
In a humorous and expressive production, Miller recounts details from his daunting childhood as a sexually confused boy to his difficulties as an openly homosexual man. Miller, who performs his show throughout the country, is dedicated to bringing awareness and promoting audiences to be involved by signing petitions and voting to ensure lesbian and gay rights.
As a child, Miller was infatuated with his mother’s hope chest and incredibly disappointed to find out that it was used to store practical possessions such as linens and plates for a young heterosexual girl’s future family. Yet, Miller felt a strong connection to the hope chest as he stripped his clothes off and snuggled inside the wooden box.
“I felt safe in that box. I felt full of hope,” he said.
Although Miller knew he was attracted to boys at a young age, he was still surprised to find that the people around him were so oblivious to it. At 9-years-old, Miller rode the school bus with his best friend Scott and the two friends spent time admiring a particular house in the neighborhood. When Scott told Miller that he planned to grow-up and marry a popular girl in their class and live in that house, Miller became outraged.
“I told him, ‘But Scott, I am going to marry you and we are going to live in that house together,'” he said.
After that, Scott dealt with the situation as any young boy his age would-by squishing a Twinkie inside Miller’s eye and ending their friendship.
“People like Scott grow up to have four wives who will fear him. Don’t ask me how I know that. I just do,” joked Miller.
However, Miller grew up to explore his sexuality with different boyfriends and finally fell in love with his current partner of 13 years Alistair McCartney. After visiting McCartney’s mother’s home in Australia, something caught Miller’s eye-a hope chest or a glory box (Australian for “hope chest”). Because Miller was so drawn to the glory box, McCartney’s mother let him have it.
It is this relationship with McCartney that has motivated Miller to speak so candidly about his hardships as McCartney’s legal papers to stay in the country have and continue to be constantly questioned by the federal government. Although McCartney and Miller currently live in Venice Beach, McCartney has been denied a visa and deported from the country before.
While McCartney was not in the country, Miller discusses a lesbian and gay pride event he attended in Bozeman, Montana by himself. Miller was in town to perform his show and decided to attend a lesbian and gay marriage ceremony in a high school gymnasium.
As he walked on the street, Miller was verbally attacked by a group of armed individuals who screamed at him and threw a beer bottle that hit his hand. As Miller remembers the blood dripping off his hand, he tells the audience that these horrendous situations occur regularly for lesbian and gay people in the United States.
“It’s weird. It wasn’t enough for our country that they had already pulled Alistair’s hand from mine. It’s like they wanted to hold my empty hand to the fire. Get it cooking in a frying pan,” he said.
Miller is a representative for lesbian and gay people who are excluded and abused in a nation that is known for freedom and equality. “Glory Box,” is a journey that everyone should experience. It is about promoting love and acceptance in a country filled with hate.
In a pamphlet given to the audience, Miller encouraged people to call members of Congress and voice their support for a bill to allow lesbian and gay U.S. citizens the right to sponsor their partners and to also be active in organizations like “Immigration Equality” and “Freedom to Marry.”