I’m From Chicago, IL – Video Story

by ronnie kroell

NOTE: Many of you may know that Ronnie Kroell was a contestant on Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel. He’s also been an outspoken activist for the LGBT community and continues to work with grassroots movements, schools and universities across the country to create more LGBT-friendly environments. It was a pleasure meeting him and I wish him all the best in his continued advocacy. You can keep up with him via Facebook.

Interested in being in a Video Story? Just let me know and we’ll set up a time and place to meet.

Watch all the IFD Video Stories here.

For the transcript, Continue Reading.

My name is Ronnie Kroell and I’m from Chicago, Illinois, living in New York right now.

I came out when I was 15 years old, but I was kind of found out by my mom. I didn’t really get to come out to her. I had been seeing this friend, a boyfriend of mine, and we were going out to a comedy show and my mom was okay with him spending the night because he had a long way to drive home. It was a beautiful night in Chicago, it was gorgeous, the stars were out, and I said to my boyfriend, “Why don’t we go lay out in the back, we’ll put a blanket out and we’ll have a romantic evening and just enjoy each other.” And, so, one thing led to another, we were cuddling and just kissing and gazing into each other’s eyes if you will, and the next thing I know is all I hear is my trembling mother’s voice saying, “So. You’re gay.”

At that very moment I threw him off of me, he goes flying through the air, my heart was racing at the speed of light, and I got up trying to tell my mom, no, I’m bisexual, it’s just a phase, don’t worry about it, and at this point she’s in tears and she was so upset and overwhelmed and she didn’t know what to say or do. She’s a good person and she didn’t want to hurt anyone but at the same time she’s literally breaking apart inside.

We went back into the house and my mom and I were going at it, kind of going back and forth. My grandmother was living with us at the time because she had a massive heart attack the year prior, so she was very sick. 78 years old, walking with a cane, sleeping in our spare bedroom, and of course at 3 in the morning she hears shouting and she’s trying to figure out what’s going on, but she knows what’s going on. So she comes out of the bedroom and looks at my mother and says, “Charlene, I’m gonna whip you over the head with this cane if you don’t just love your son the way he is.” This 78-year-old woman coming out and telling her own daughter, “Look, woman, you’re gonna love your son and you’re gonna appreciate him for who he is and what he’s trying to do.” She just kind of stunned my mom and stunned me. 78 years old, you know?

Sometimes I wonder what shapes people’s perceptions about diversity and being different. There are certain people who are older and set in their ways who are more discriminating, and there are others like my grandmother who just realize that with all the challenging times and difficult times she had in life, she was able to focus on the positive and say, “Look, I’m 78 and I don’t have much longer here. You guys do. You just need to value what you have and not let something like this destroy that relationship.”


  1. I remember when I met my husband’s grandmother. At the time, he and I were living in different cities (St. Louis and Indianapolis) but traveling to see each other every weekend. He wanted to introduce me to her, so we arranged to spend an afternoon at her place. We showed up bearing gifts of amaretto and cannolis, and as I was introduced, she took my face in her hands, smiled warmly, looked deeply into my eyes, and gave my cheek a couple of pats. I fell in love with her on the spot.

  2. Grandmas can be so cool. My greatest regret is that I never mustered the courage to tell mine before she passed away, but being her favorite I was always afraid of tearing out her heart.

  3. I love this story…When my grandmother found out I was gay she said, “I love you just the same. In fact, I may love you more”, I was caught off guard and didn’t ask what she meant but I imagine that she was happy that I was doing what I needed to do to be happy.

  4. Wats funny is my bf’s granny knows but plays along as if she knows nada…My Nanz doesn’t ‘know’ but wen she says to my bf and I “why don’t you take the room with the bigger bed??” But I agree gramz are cool I wish I could tell my famz.

  5. Gramas are the shiznitz. Mine had a gay couple as friends for 60+ years although no one openly discussed the fact back then of course. It just was, as it always has been and always will be. The haters want to pretend differing orientations are new but they’ve been around as long as love.

  6. My grandfather was in the hospital dying of cancer. I was struggling with coming to terms of being gay, coming out to friends, and learning my younger brother was gay too. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t gather the strength/balls/courage to open and up and tell him. He was my favorite grandparent and he’ll never know. I regret not telling him and I regret my boyfriend never having the opportunity to meet him. However it was his sudden illness that made me realize you only live once and you’re only given one chance to be who you are. I left the hospital one day and came out to my best friends.

    I did end up tell my other set of grandparents, with hesitation. My Nana leans over the dinner table, looks me in the eye, waves her arms in the air, and yells “This is 2009! I live in the present! Why wouldn’t you want to tell me!”. It went much smoother than I had imagined!

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  9. Ronnie I did read all your blog. It was amazing. I cried. You are so right! Why can’t people just see you are the same as they are. You want love and acceptance just like everyother’ human being. I knew my son was gay when he returned from a march. He was still in HS , delayed entry into the army. He came in the door after the march and there was something there that just told me yes he is gay. He always had ‘girlfriends’ in school. never run around with boys. He always wanted to dress as a women for Holloween, I just knew. But I never confronted him with my thoughts. Then he went into the army after highschool. I went to his basic training graduation, his ait graduation and I couldn’t have been proder. I love him so much. He was Army material right from the start. He went to Germany. I went over to visist him and was surprised he had made the best friends in the whole world. They were gay. God love them. I do too. So much. After Chad got out of the Army, he traveled trying to find acceptance. He ended up in Fl. I talked to him all the time. Then he got sick. He had a calasped lung and was in the hospital. I went down there to take care of him. I was there a little over a week He couldn’t work. I got him on necessary state help and helped him apply for disability. He did come home to be with me and I couldn’t be happier! I have him here with me and I enjoy him each and every day. together we have built quit a relationship. Two peas in a pod! Nothing and no one gets past me, to get to him, He is such a delight. Gay people are such caring people. Others should take lessons from them. Thanks for letting me blog here with you. I support you with all your endevers. Continue to do the good job your are and things will get better soon. Love you. xo

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