It’s not like I try to hide it, but I don’t want to be known as a gay musician. I want to be a musician who’s gay. I don’t want my personal life to be public in that sense. I used to write about stuff I didn’t know anything about. I’m still writing the same things, but now I know about them. Like relationships. Not necessarily romantic relationships all the time. I don’t want to be like Taylor Swift. Well, maybe that success level, someday.
My parents are very supportive of music. They drive me everywhere. I come from a very open, artistic, nonreligious family. Antigonish, Nova Scotia, is also known as the Little Vatican. It’s extremely Catholic. My family members are “CFAs” — “come from aways.” My mom’s from Calgary and my dad’s from England. We moved there when I was in Grade 6 because my dad got a job running the live theater.
Even though it’s a small town, the religious stuff is the older generation. Though I was in one class and my friend’s boyfriend tried to tell me I was diseased because I was gay. I just looked him right in the eye and told him to fuck off. I told him it’s pretty shitty how many people have fought and died over the years for gay rights, and that an ignorant kid sitting in class telling me I’m diseased should shut the fuck up.
I came out at the end of Grade 8. I was dating this girl who was a lot older than me. I asked her not to tell anyone and she ended up telling the entire school, which was too bad. Coming out to the school is like coming out to the town. I ended up telling my parents. I knew they’d be supportive, but I was scared to tell them. I ended up coming out sooner than I would have liked because I didn’t want them to hear from anyone else. But once I knew my parents were completely okay with it, everything was okay.
I had a fair amount of internalized homophobia toward myself. I knew I felt really uncomfortable with guys, but I wanted to be seen with them. I didn’t want the gay label put on me. Now I don’t really care.
I identify as gay because it’s the easiest thing for me right now. I don’t identify as queer. I’m not sure I’d be able to date someone male-bodied. It’s really about the personality and physical attraction.
Dating someone who identifies as a male was hard to get used to. Mars has been super patient with me. Even before Mars told me, in a way, it wasn’t surprising to me. With other people I dated, I’d get this macho thing going on, like “you’re my girlfriend.” But I never really felt that way. It felt more equal with Mars. I didn’t think about Mars as my girlfriend, ever. It wasn’t a big stretch because I didn’t slap a gender on.
It definitely made me want to learn more about the transgender community. I was scared to explain it to other people, because I didn’t want to out Mars.
It wasn’t ever something where I considered ending the relationship. It was, “Oh, this is going to be a learning curve.” You have to unlearn a lot of things. It’s hard to do that.
As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Brooklyn, NY, 2012
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