In this special Pride episode, two not-so-simple stories of coming out. This episode is hosted by Dame Wilburn. To see the extras from this episode, head to our website, themoth.org/extras. You can check out Michael Buonocore’s brand new podcast, The First Michael, now - wherever you listen to podcasts.
Storytellers: Sejal, Michael Buonocore
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hey MA listeners this year we are celebrating our twenty fifth anniversary- that's twenty five years of uncovering what it means to be human understanding, each other better and building community through true personal stories, in order to ensure that the moth continues to thrive for another twenty five years and beyond were raising twenty five thousand dollars during the month of March. If you can give ten dollars fifteen dollars or even twenty five dollars, we would be so grateful text Moth twenty five to four one for four four or visit them off dot org, to make your donation today, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts- welcome to them off parkers on your home with his weak, Dame Wilbur, its bride monk, who in this year. We're talking about an age old right of passage for the clear community coming out. Just like all queer thing
coming out include a multitude of experiences. It can be equal parts, thrilling, scary, joyful, casual or vice But fundamentally our folks, who have to leave the proverbial closet, are facing a world which at best sees them as in other and at the worst, is openly hostile towards them. don't look bad world in the eye and say screw you I'm here, and this is why it is no small fee. A well here too stories about that defiance and the net easy road to get. There are first story. Teller prefers to go by Her first name Sancho Sage,
this story at a story slam in Berkeley where the theme of the night was endings. Hearsay JAL live at the mall growing up in Bangalore in South India. I my only exposure to the algae BT community was an offensive. Bollywood movies, that featured clearly heterosexual actors, pretending to be gay by wearing floral trends and speaking of eminently, but then I moved to America and college. Greeted me with a group of liberal friends who would say: love is love and I would go to Lady Gaga concerts and scream baby. I was born this way and feel completely empowered, but then I would
Go home to India for the sum of the winter and people would ask me: do you have a boyfriend and have you you know, thought about your future and your partner, and I would say I just haven't, found the right man yet And I see I knew in the back of my mind that, even though I came out to all my friends, my junior year of College, that I would explore my sexuality for a few years and you don't have fun and discover the sight of myself and then eventually I would make it work with them and I was kind of bisexual ray. So I could do that C c. Coming out to my parents, my family. We never really felt like an option to me. It felt, like the end, be the death of so many things that I had imagined the end of my relationship with them, as I knew it, the death of the future that they have
always imagined for me and saw as I try to avoid this inevitable. Ending. I told myself all these things and told myself the sacrifices that they had made for me and the pain that I really did not want to cause them, but it turns out- I am not as bisexual as I thought I was, and I rapidly probably can't make it work with a man, and so two years ago now I did end up coming out to them and it There was no anger, there was no questions of whether they still love me or not, which I'm very lucky to have. But there was a lot of pain, agony, Hurley. My mom cried my dad cried, which he never does. And then my mom wrote me an email that made me cry the next day
And she said deal sage, you know I'm proud of you for being as brave as you have been in telling us about this, after keeping it a secret for I dont know how many years, but I'm begging you to think about a future with a man and think about if you can make it work, because in your twenty five years of life, you know, Papa has never asked you for anything, and I see that he is complete Lee Broken, and that makes me completely sad and if your with a woman, I don't know how I would accept it, I dont know what people would say and I can just imagine them feeling, sorry for us and us having to hang our head down in shame,
I'm. So sorry if I am not as open minded as you would have liked me to be here. I am not as liberal or I don't understand this, but I don't. I will still always love you and admire it was a very hurtful email, but it was not a hateful one. I was not a hateful one. I could tell that she was struggling, has much as I was so after weeks of feeling pretty hopeless and I started to realize, and my parents and I still door three times a week four times a week and I started to realize that a lot of their fears, a lot of their insecurities, came from them, never actually having met on openly gay women in India. The thought homosexual quality was something that happened to Americans and two men, and I was like they ve never seen. You know
happily married, successful indian lesbian sounds like I just define them happily married, successful, indian lesbian and then maybe they'll see that this is something that a future that I could they could imagine. For me, and so naturally I turn to where we all turn. In these times. Tender. I contacted actually contacted a lot of women that I had gone on like one two three dates with, and I said so. I just came out to my parents, and I explained I order very sincere message, saying basically. Thing. Do you know any indian lesbians that might be able to lead to what I'm going through? I didn't have a very big algae BT community back then, when I just moved to San France,
School, and what was funding is I got a couple of dates out of the ten no messaging, but I didn't I didn't get. I didn't really get someone that I could speak to or could speak to my parents or whatever I was engineering and saw I didn't want to give up, so I started contacting wedding photographers that had algae BT weddings on their websites. I was like With the indian women and one of the these, but all of us all of them replied. One of these photographers put me in touch with our cheetah who lives in Philadelphia. Came straight from Calcutta. India to you, pen went to business school at Wharton and now works as management consultant. Nbc jeers, like I hit the lesbian Jack five an incredibly she effortlessly he understood everything that I was going.
through even offered to meet my parents and even more incredibly, my parents agreed to meet with home and on the way to meeting harsher that this cafe in Philadelphia. When my parents, visiting the EAST coast. I was texting her worried about all the worst case scenarios I like. If they ask you about your dear, how you're going to have your baby He or she was pregnant at the time or anything I so sorry worried about if they might say something homophobic, but when they got to that cafe. My mom offered her a Box of indian sweets, Mithai and my dad hug her and congratulated her on her baby, and in that moment I realized that archer was helping. My parents understand me better She was also reminding me of their humanity and saw it was an end, but it was an end to a future that never would have worked, and I was much more excited about the one that was begun.
The procedure regionally from India. Sage is currently living between San Francisco and New York. She the product manager by day and a screen, writer and city wanderer by night sensational, had some help with her own coming out experience she loved to do the same for others going through something. Need a cool, successful indian lesbian to tell your parents about send us an email, satchels gacha. Aren't storyteller, is Michael Barnacle Michael told this story, stories Lamb in Portland Oregon, where
Theme of the night was backfired. Here's Michael live at them off. I grew up in a really small town, really small lake three taverns, two thousand people, one stop lay the stoplight was on the highway that ran through town, because that's what you did with my hometown, you, you drove through it to some place better big one time I played tennis in high school and one time I had a match against this guy who looked out through the chain link sense that surrounded the court and he was lake. Would you you can do for fun around. Here you go cow tipping. My was like no not me personally happens.
it was not the kind of town that you grow again, so I didn't. I was normal. I determined to be normal. I wanted that more than anything more than I wanted to marry my face and Dave Hartman Soft Gray, sweatshirt forever. I wanted to be normal, so I did what any confused young man would do to get my head straight. Learn how to lead a normal, healthy life. Not the priesthood the military and I gotta security clearance in the days before? Don't ask don't tell us a problem solved. My plan actually worked great. I I did well in basic training. I got my security clearance. I wear.
Sue the Presidio of Monterrey to study Russian, where I would ultimately become a russian linguist, hey Presidio and the coursework at the Presidio is really intensive, and it's the military, so they make you study. So, every evening after dinner, the new bees had to be in their uniforms at their DES books, open and studying, and they would come around to your room and check on you to make sure that you were in. The first several nights, what happened with someone would come to the door and knock and put their head in and make sure that I was sitting there at my desk. The check name, MOSS and move on to the next newbie until one night, Scott Bellew came to my door and he came inside We had seen each other around, but we never talk before and he was curious about me, so he came
and he said, hey newbie. How goes the studying And I was alone in my room: my roommates were The common area with everyone else watching a brand new show called the Simpsons
Most of the world- and I was stuck in their studying alphabet letters and simple words, so I complained about tat and he came and stood behind me and looked at my book and said yeah, that's that's the easy stuff and he put his hand on the back of my neck. He put his hand on the back of my MAC. I can't tell you how many times I had shattered my sense of identity into a million pieces over and over again. So I would never look in the mirror and see a gay boy staring back at me, but just for that moment it felt like my molecules, reassembled themselves at the touch of his hand, and just for that moment I felt hole. He.
he gave my neck a gentle squeeze. Instead, it gets tough, really fast and we should study ahead and walked over to the door and as the door was causing behind- and we said, study hard newbie, though each that followed were a blur of classes and friends. Studying and stolen moments with Scott, where we would make small talk and just kind of stare into each other's eyes. Until finally, one night. He came to my room and I was on my top bunk and a t, shirt and shorts. I had made it through mandatory study hours and just hanging out alone in my room again and he came in and walked over to my
he said hi, which was my favorite dreamy thing that he would say to me and I set high and I crawled myself closer to the edge of the bed closer to him and without hesitating he put his hand on my leg and tucked his fingers behind my knee like that's where they were meant to be. If my roommates came back and found us like that, I could have my security clearance revoked. If the army thought that I was gay, they could send me home and in shame and kick me out, but all I can.
Feel is the warmth of his touch on my skin. I can see are his blue eyes looking back into mine if the world finds out, I'm gay, I will lose everything, and all I can hear is the sound of my plans for a perfect normal life backfiring in my ears, almost ass, loud ass, the sound of my heart beat thundering in my chest and all I can do. He's kiss him he's Michael Michael, is a storyteller storytelling cancer in runner that works and affordable housing, the father of two great key. Michael lives in Portland Oregon with his partner. You can listen to his brand new storytelling podcast the first. My
available. Now, where ever you listen to pack in some aspects, Michael story almost sounds like a fairytale someone swooping to save you from yourself and show you what love really but coming is rarely that simple Michael story took place right before. Don't ask dont tell was enacted when being gay and military literally meant you were considered a security risk ears, Michael to tell more about what happened after this story and Scott graduated from the programme I said goodbye to him and I was devastated that he was leaving and immediately was over come with this feeling of shame and self loathing and feeling, like I had been
stupid. I had jeopardized everything to have this experience with him, and so, when he said, currently in it would reach out to me in. I was quite close to him and eventually he stopped calling and immediate effect for me was to almost would have pushed leaving more deeply in the closet, because I had this view of what could have happened and How- easily. I got swept up in a terrified me after his relationship with Scott Michael went back, the dating women and eventually married and had two children, so When I came home from the military, I came home with a wife and two young children amazing little family and the sweetest kids you know all the joy of parenting,
and the struggle of reconciling my identity in. We eventually got divorced. We were able to Be friends and coherent together and also lucky? I am grateful for that and it's not so simple as to say that was the wrong life for not the right thing. Because I adore MIKE Edison, I had a loving relationship with my life and that is the complexity of life. Sometimes you know that it's not. aren't these black and white decisions necessarily because they can even be a strong narrative of lake will paint gayer street and construct actually wasn t for me. I did really have to wrestle mightily with coming to learn. and accept. True, I really am diet
so much admiration for younger generations who are embracing their gender identity, their sexual identity just sort of socializing that in a way that creates space for people to to come out and whatever way is meaningful to them and then perhaps to come out and then come out again and then come out again. There was Michael Bonica were Michael, was able to reconnect with Scott years after this story took place and he gave us permission to share photo of the two of them on our website The monk dot org slash extra, that's all for this week. We hope that no matter where you are in your clear during you can show yourself some love this mouth we'll leave you with some words of advice from Michael. I want to say to anyone who was touched by I story your beautiful and perfect just the way you are and hold on
and sometimes it gets harder before it gets better. But. there is light just hold on. Into it and keep moving towards it, and there are people who are here for you until next time, from all of us here at the mouth of a story worthy weak. Wilburn is a long time host in story, teller at them off and the host of her own podcast deems eclectic brain. This episode of the moth podcast was produced by me, Julia Purcell with Sarah asked engineers and Sarah Jane Johnson recording support on this episode was
Rowan me Mister, w e t, the rest of the moths leadership team includes Catherine Burns. Sarah Haber men, Jennifer, Hickson, MEG, Bulls, Kate, tellers, Jennifer, Birmingham, Marina Cliche, Susan Rust, branding, Grant Inga Good ASCII and Aldi Kazaa. Mob stories are true as remembered and affirmed by storytellers for more about our podcast information on pitching your own story and everything else go to our website. The moth dot, org them off part gases presented by Pierre Wrecks, the public radio exchange, helping make public radio more public at Pierre erects, DOT, Org.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-14.