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.
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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.”