“I don’t understand the experience of other minority groups. But I do understand the experience of being unsure and being scared, because you have to come out as being gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered…you never stop coming out.”
Produced by Lisa Zandy
Transcript for Let There Be Cake
I grew up in Crown Point, Indiana, born and raised. I was in a weird area of Crown Point, where I had a Crown Point address but went to the Merrillville School District. I had a group of friends that – they just range from really, really nerdy people to, like, more typically popular kids, too. I was in every group, and I got along with different people because I was kind of the class clown as well and was talkative in that way, so, people liked me for that. But it was also being a bigger kid, you know, at the time, not really knowing about being a different kid, like being a gay kid.
I didn’t actually come out as a homosexual until college. When people would ask, it’s like, “Well, you know, I’m bi,” or something like that. I think that was more socially acceptable. But in high school, I think it was definitely something you just don’t talk about it. I will say that, you know, Merrillville is a little bit more of a liberal school. But there were people that were targeted.
When first coming out, it was very frightening, especially with your parents. Because being a parent is supposed to be like unconditional love: no matter what you do, you’ll always be my child. That’s not always the case. And I grew up in a very predominantly Roman Catholic upbringing. So, coming out to them was a little bit weird, because I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was just hoping for the best but expecting the worst. But it was it was surprising to me a little bit more so my dad’s reaction to it than my mom’s. And he just kind of was like, “Well, I always thought he was in high school, but I thought he grew out of it.” And that was, that was the only statement he really made. My dad is a little bit more, I think, I hate to use the term, “worldly” than my mom. But I think she took it as more of like what did she do wrong.
In college, when I eventually came out and admitted to myself that I was gay, I went back to school to help out my theater teacher with something. Imagine that being in theater and being homosexual. That doesn’t happen very often. So, there’s these two boys holding hands, these two girls holding hands, I just like, “What’s going on here?” It’s like, “Oh, no, we’re gay, we’re this and this.” I’m like, this is literally, what 2000 just came, and all of a sudden, you guys can do whatever the hell you want? I was a little bit pissed, but also like, kind of like, okay, that’s kind of cool.
My college experience was vastly different, because I went to a private Catholic school as opposed to a public school. And I was targeted there, too. Once I came out, there was numerous times that there was stuff written on my whiteboard, there were some, like, verbal assaults on things. But I’m a bigger guy, and I look like I can handle myself. So, like, people wouldn’t necessarily say it to my face, but I would hear it. And then the brave people that would drive past and say stuff out the window. There was a couple of occasions where there was some physical things, but nothing really, too extreme that I had to, like, report it, or felt like I needed to leave. I’ve never been the kind of person to back down from confrontation. But I’m also not a confrontational person physically.
I don’t understand the experience of other minority groups. But I do understand the experience of being unsure and being scared, because you have to come out as being gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered. And even to that point is that you never stop coming out. Especially if you present more masculine. It’s so polarizing for different people that I don’t, I don’t, if you don’t understand it, that’s fine. I’m not going to talk about it, I’m gonna bring it up, even to some, some points of like, just not even bringing up at all. It’s like, if it comes out organically in a conversation or I feel comfortable, then I’ll talk to you about it. But, in the same respect, it’s none of your business. And that’s how I kind of lead my college life. And even to very recently, in my professional life, when I go to a meeting and I say, “Oh, my husband,” I always like grasp my breath to be like, okay, what’s gonna happen next, what’s their facial expression? And I’m constantly looking at them to be like, “How are you gonna take this?” because there is that that fear of this person that I’m opening up with, of them accepting it or not.
My husband is – he’s, he’s wonderful. We want children, which is very difficult when you don’t have a lot of money. It’s not unheard of, but it is difficult. We are currently foster parents, which is a mixed bag of blessings and curses. And the reason why we decided to do it is one, it’s 1000 times cheaper than adoption. And they actually want to work with us. A lot of adoption agencies see a gay couple and they won’t want to work with you. But, also, I think they make it so hard to adopt. And even in the foster care system, they put so many hurdles and things that it gives couples like me and my husband just a lot of sleepless nights and being upset about it because we have such a want to be parents, but people in this world, people in this in this neighborhood that we are living in that would prefer me not to be married to a man. Right now, we’re asked to have not the same rights as every other married couple. Or not to call it marriage. It’s, it’s like, okay, but that’s what it is.
I think as you get older, things don’t get easier. You will learn more it’s about what’s important to you and what is and what you just don’t care about anymore. Change comes from taking the time to understand the other side as well and not really forcing your opinion on someone but listening to why they don’t like what you’re doing or don’t understand what you’re doing because a lot of it comes out of not understanding, or fear, which doesn’t really make sense because why be afraid of something you don’t understand. Why don’t you discover it? It’s like, if I’ve never eaten cake before. So, would I be afraid of cake because I’ve never eaten it? It’s like, no, it’s like why not just find out what cake is. No one’s asking you to try cake. But if you want to if, then it’s available to you. So, that’s a weird analogy but, you want some cake?
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