Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. We met Brian Ness in Minneapolis, MN, and he was our very first Featured Artist on IFD so it was quite an honor to meet him. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
I’m Brian Ness. I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I grew up here for the majority of my life, and grew up in a pretty typical Minnesotan home. Where I knew from a pretty early age that I was gay but knew there was a lot of tension between who I was and who I wanted to be and who my parents were hoping I would be. I knew for a good portion of my life that I shouldn’t be talking about what I wanted to be. So by the time I graduated high school, I moved to Chicago because I was looking for a place where I could really define who I was. Define what it might mean to be a gay man. And, moved to Boystown, did sort of the epitome of what I expected to discover. And then my dad grew really sick and I knew that as a son I should be coming back home. And I think it was really hard because I finally found out maybe who I wanted to become and had to move back in to a house where I knew that it wasn’t going to be appreciated, and it definitely wasn’t going to be accepted. I had come out to my family already at that point but they didn’t really want to talk about it, so moving back in to a house that so much of what I sort of became, or began to stand for wasn’t talked about, and it was tuff. But I think, it was close to the end of my dad’s life when he walked up to me one morning when I was eating breakfast and he asked me if I was gay. And it was the first time we talked about it in person. And I was kind of annoyed and frustrated at that point. And was like, yeah, you know, I’ve talked to you about this already, we discussed it when I was back in Chicago. You know I’m gay. And he just kind of said that he didn’t understand what that meant but that he hoped I would be able to show him that. And I didn’t, cause he died pretty closely thereafter. But, looking back at it I really realize that he finally was ensuring that I knew I was part of the family and that my perspective and my life was important to sort of the way our family was moving forward. I stayed here. I stayed in Minnesota. I love it now. It took some time and I missed a lot of stuff about maybe who I was but really found this new balance between sort of these new ideas or possibilities of what I could become, and sort of maybe who I grew up to become. I don’t know, it’s a good place! And finally kind of ready to establish myself here, I just bought a home, today! And ready to sort of be in here for the long haul.