June 3, 2013

KiRel, Age 18, Ottumwa, Iowa

How can I say it without sounding racist? I fit in more with the white people than the black. I’m a little white boy honestly. The only time my black comes out is when I’m mad. Not a lot of people see that side of me. With my family, I still kind of feel like I’m a black sheep.

The only judgement I care about is my family’s. That was one of my worries when I came out, how my family was going to react. A trillion things going through my mind at rapid speed. But after I actually did it, nothing really changed. Most of them say as long “as you’re happy, I’m happy.” I know other relatives are gay, but not openly. They’ve come up to me, say “I’m gay.” or “I’m bisexual.”  I’m like, “They don’t treat you any different. They won’t treat me different.”

My one aunt is the family reverend. I’m gay, she’s a pastor, how’s that really going to work? I know she still loves me and everything.

My family’s big on religion, and I’m still pretty big on religion, even though I haven’t been to church in years. I was going to be a pastor, and I just drifted. I don’t have a good excuse. I don’t feel comfortable in church anymore, not completely because I’m gay. I just don’t really like going by myself, and sometimes Sunday’s the only time my mom has off so we don’t go to church. She works at the pig plant, cutting up the pigs, killing the pigs. Seventeen years she’s been doing that. She’s a hard-working woman.

Me and my mom are really, really close. Only special people get to meet my mom. I’m funny like that. I have an anchor tattoo to represent her. People say, “Don’t anchors hold people down?” The way I look at it is she keeps me strong. She’s always been there for me. She’s the only woman in my life who will be there for me.

My mom doesn’t handle stupidity. My mom doesn’t have many friends. She is kind of like me, in that she doesn’t like people. I have a lot of acquaintances, which is a lot different than friends. I have two friends who will actually be there for me.

The other day some kid called me a “stupid faggot” in front of a teacher. I asked him if he knew what the definition of a faggot was. I’m the only open one in the school. I’m in a whole bunch of different cliques so everyone knows I’m gay.

I am working on starting a GSA at the school. Dana at the Iowa Pride Network was contacting me, and asked me about my story and how everything is at school. She’s been very supportive. She talked with me, my ex-boyfriend and his family about how things were, and why we feel we need this GSA. It could make a difference. It comforts me for people to have somewhere to go and have people to talk to.

As told to Diana Scholl
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Ottumwa, Iowa, 2012
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