My chat with Cindy Bitney, the supportive mom of Shane Bitney Crone of “Bridegroom”
If you’ve seen the documentary Bridegroom then you know who Cindy Bitney is.
She’s the mom of Shane Bitney Crone whose story is told in the film and she’s interviewed extensively along with other family members.
Cindy connects with the audience because, I think, she comes off in the movie as the supportive mom every gay kid wants to have.
At the LA premiere of the film a few months ago, Cindy was introduced by her son and she got a spontaneous standing ovation that seemed to last several minutes.
It was really something and I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget it.
I chatted with Cindy about that ovation and about her remarkable son at the Trevor Live event earlier this month.
‘Oh my God. It was just overwhelming,’ she said of the LA premiere and the audience’s reaction to her. ‘For over two minutes everybody was clapping and standing. It was just simply amazing.’
In the film, Shane talks about the time, as a teenager, he seriously considered suicide. But in the end, what stopped him was thinking of his mom and how it would devastate her.
‘He had a gun on his lap and thank God it didn’t happen,’ Cindy said. ‘I just think of all these young kids out there who it does happen to because they don’t feel like there is any hope. We just want people to know that there is hope. Life does go on, it does get easier. But it is a struggle.’
Although her son had his struggles as a kid then suffered the devastating loss of his partner, Tom Bridegroom, she has seen him transform from shy Montana boy to increasingly confident LGBT advocate.
‘I’m very, very proud of my son,’ she said. ‘It was denial for a long time. I knew he was gay but I didn’t want to admit it until he officially came out. It’s a hard road for these young kids. I stand behind him 100% and I hope I can help whoever I can help.’
‘It’s simply amazing to watch him and how he has grown through all of this,’ she added. ‘Of course we are all so very, very proud of him.’
And never more so than recently when Shane returned to their hometown to screen Bridegroom – a town where he suffered horrible treatment at school and at his church after it was discovered he was gay.
Said Cindy: ‘He was just home for a screening of the film and he got to speak there and it was an emotional night because he had been so nervous to come home. It’s different when you go out to other places but when you come home and there are the bullies that were there, the teachers that were there that weren’t aware of what was going on. (The film) made a big impact in our area.’
‘A lot of these folks, Shane didn’t speak up to at that time because there’s peer pressure so he hid it. So now people realize they do see that and they’re trying to reach out to the youth.’