38; vegan 3 years; hometown Omaha, NE
“I identify as male, identify as pansexual or bisexual. For a long time I identified as exclusively bisexual, but I also don’t believe in a dichotomy of gender or sex, for that matter. So while I grew up with that term—I still find myself falling back to it—I think more accurately would be pansexual, just because I’m not concerned with the body parts of the person or the gender of the person, but who they are as a person. That to me is what the turn-on is, where the connection is. I’m drawn to that quality of it, not just the aesthetic or what they have going on under their clothes.
“I was raised in a very religious, very Catholic family. Growing up, anything I did that wasn’t considered traditionally masculine, and the fact that I didn’t do a lot of things that were, was very much a hot issue. Up until high school, I went in having been really miserable, suicidal in junior high from homophobia and a bit of racism. I certainly wasn’t even open to my own self. I was in a dark place and absolutely miserable 24-7. I didn’t have any friends and didn’t think anyone loved me. I tried using religion as a crutch, to give me strength and protection. I went into high school thinking I might actually join a monastery because I thought if I spent my life dedicated to praising and worshiping God, maybe I’ll find solace and peace and love.
“It wasn’t until after I got out of college that I started identifying as bi, and that’s when I got more into doing poetry and spoken word. There’s a poem that’s not in my book, but I did a video of, that was my coming-out poem, and that was one of the big pieces I did when I was first performing way back when.
“Coming out to my folks was not the best. For a while they disowned me. I came out to them by writing a letter, which was about six pages. I tried to be very tender and open and explain to them my thoughts and feelings and what I’ve been through and reassure them that I am not doing this out of wanting to act out or hurt them. My dad and I have never been particularly close, especially growing up. Honestly, up until my mom’s passing. Since then, we’ve got a bit better. Most of my life, my mom was our intermediary. She tied the family together, and with her passing it was very difficult, but I think on both sides we’re trying to reconnect. We’ll never be best friends, but I think we both got through a lot of the hurt and we’re trying to, at the very least, honor my mother by not having so much anger and resentment and pain between us.”