Fear kept Penny Severns’ lesbian relationship with editor hidden

SHARE Fear kept Penny Severns’ lesbian relationship with editor hidden


Terry Mutchler’s memoir about her love affair with Sen. Penny Severns is brutal in its honesty. Shining in its love. And raw in its pain.

Mutchler puts her whole heart on public view in “Under This Beautiful Dome,” the story of a relationship the two tried mightily to keep secret back in the ’90s.

The ’90s.

As near as those years seem, how far away they are.

Severns was an attractive, immensely popular Democratic lawmaker from downstate Decatur. A “single” woman, some would note quietly.

Mutchler, the Associated Press’ first woman statehouse bureau chief in Illinois, was single too.

Some suspected they were gay. But “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was an unspoken code governing far more than the military. It reached everywhere. Certainly into politics.

And so they hid in plain sight.

“The best years of our lives were written in invisible ink,” Mutchler writes.


The Latest
The team needs a replacement in the starting lineup after releasing veteran Eddie Jackson.
The watch is in effect until 10 p.m. Tuesday. Storms could bring damaging winds and up to ‘apple-size’ hail, the weather service said.
Athanasiou, who hasn’t played since Nov. 9 due to a groin- and hip-related issue, dealt with “many doubts” during his seemingly never-ending recovery period. The Hawks have missed his speed and production, too.
The Bears’ new structure on offense has coordinator Shane Waldron at the top, followed by passing game coordinator Thomas Brown and running game coordinator Chris Morgan.