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- Posted by Jessica Robertson
When did you begin to question your sexuality?
I had an inkling when I was about fourteen. I had crushes on boys and girls -- but definitely a lot of girls [laughs]. I didn't know any gay people [personally], and I didn't really know of any gay people in the media. Well, other than those who were made fun. I didn't have a single role model. And I was going to a pretty conservative Southern Christian high school.
Do you remember your first girl crush?
In retrospect, I had been crushing on girls for a long time. I definitely had crushes on teachers. I remember being in fifth grade and having a crush on a fourth grader. She was the cutest thing. She wore these enormous shoes! Skinny little thing wearing these Michael Jordan shoes -- f***ing adorable.
Who was the first person you came out to?
It was a very long process. I thought I might be bi. It wasn't like, "Hey, I'm out! This is great!" That didn't seem to be an option. But I do remember the funniest coming-out experience, which was to my aunt and uncle.
I'm very, very close with my aunt. They live in Texas and are half conservative, half liberal -- you never really know where they're going to fall. But I really felt I could tell them anything. We're sitting at dinner and I was about 16, and I said, "You know, I really think that I'm bisexual." At the time, that seemed to be easy. My aunt looked at me and said, "Oh, sweetie, you have been looking at those Calvin Klein ads, haven't you?" This was back when Calvin Klein ran those black-and-white scantily clad ads where the boys were superfeminine -- there was superandrogyny going on. I was like, "What? I've seen those ads -- I don't think that's what I'm talking about." My aunt said, "No, I knew that would happen with kids your age," and went on and on about the ads. In my head I was like, "Is this happening?"
I let her go on with the argument, but I remember looking at them thinking, "Is this what made me confused?" To this day, I can't look at those Calvin Klein ads without cracking up.
Tell me about your first girlfriend.
I didn't have my first real girlfriend until college. At that point, I had been in New York for awhile and had been dating girls, so it felt pretty normal. It was also kind of a traumatic relationship. I really liked the girl a lot more than she liked me. Everyone in New York is so cool and casual, and really unavailable, and I didn't get that at all because I came from a totally different world. But she was really hot -- I'll never forget that.
When did you tell your parents?
That was a pretty long and torturous process of "I think I'm bi." My mother kind of [blamed it on me going to] an all-girls summer camp and thought it was traumatic and awful. Then I was dating a boy, and that was also confusing. I had sweet, wonderful boyfriends. It wasn't the right thing, but it wasn't the absolute wrong thing, either. It definitely confused the hell out of my mother.
My mom is so funny -- she gets her information from printed material. She doesn't just look at the world and observe her own happenings and phenomena with her family and her daughter. If it's not in a book or the New York Times, it doesn't exist. We were having a conversation and she was like, "You are so confusing!" And I was like, "I'm the one who is confused! Why doesn't anyone have any sympathy for that? Why don't you go buy a book about gay people?" And she said, "Well, I would but I don't know what book to buy because you can't decide what you are!"
And how do they handle it now?
My dad is so coy -- the only conversation that we have ever had about it was after my mom and I got into a fight. He sat down with me and was like, "I really love you no matter what -- no matter who you are -- and I want you to know that." And that was it! Done. So easy. Why can't they all be like that? My family is fine, though. Once my mother realized she could still be a grandmother, that cooled her down. And my aunt and uncle are all about gay people now.
Are you comfortable with your sexuality at this point? Do you have any inhibitions?
I'm pretty damn comfortable. Just do what feels right. Do what feels right and don't do what feels wrong. And if you are questioning, do what you're questioning.