In 1987, Mike told Oprah that some extended family members had told him he could not be buried in the family plot because he had AIDS. Lea thinks Mike's homosexuality was the true reason behind their reluctance. "I'm sure that played a bigger role than what anybody would ever admit to," she says. Mike's mother's casket had to be moved to another cemetery, where Mike and his father were later buried.

Mike's sister Anna was a 17-year-old high school senior in 1987. She says she too knew she was gay at the time. Anna says Mike wanted his appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to be exclusively about exposing myths about how AIDS is spread. "It didn't," she says. "It turned to him being a homosexual. And I think some people got the purpose of the show, and some people totally missed it."

Anna says Williamson today is more welcoming to gay women than it was when she was growing up but that it's still a difficult place for gay men. "Unfortunately, I think people are still geographically uneducated about anyone other than this area," she says. "I hate to say it, but it's the way I feel."

As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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