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'Real Worlder' Chet Cannon: The Mormon Church isn't anti-gay

March 31, 2009 |  6:50 am

We talked to Chet Cannon of "The Real World: Brooklyn" the other day in preparation for MTV's biopic of Pedro Zamora that airs Wednesday. We were thinking about how ''Real Worlders" use their TV platform for social messaging.

Cannon, 24, was having pork and rice down at Cafe Habana in downtown Manhattan. He is the Mormon one this season. He said he hadn't even really heard of Zamora before he went on the show. "I'd heard of Puck, though," he said. (David "Puck" Rainey, you will recall, was the rude one from "San Francisco" who got expelled from the show.) "I think someone called me Puck in the street the other day. I wasn't too thrilled with that. You think I'm a 45-year-old bike messenger?" (Puck is now just 40, according to his speaker's bureau website.)

So what was Cannon's on-show message? "I wanted to show people you can't distinguish a Mormon by his appearance," said Cannon, who is blond and blue-eyed.

You might think there would be a conflict between "the Mormon one" and a celebration of Zamora, who had a commitment ceremony with his partner, Sean Sasser, on the show. (This was, of course, in 1994, way back before the few windows when gay marriage was legal in California.)

But no, said Cannon, who says he has lots of gay friends. "A couple people take the LDS church for being anti-gay and they're not at all," Cannon said. "They're very pro-family, but they're not anti-gay."

But what about, you know, how the LDS church funded opposition to Prop. 8, the California gay marriage repeal initiative? "People want to get on the LDS church," he said. "They don't even have enough members in California that the vote could be swayed. To isolate the LDS church and attack them is unfair."

"The Real World: Brooklyn" season finale airs Wednesday night.

--Choire Sicha

(Photo courtesy MTV)