I’m From Perry, IA, Part 2 – Video Story.

by sam brinton

Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure, and where you can learn a bit more about Sam. 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. You can see Part 1 of Sam’s story here.

I’m Samuel Brinton, and I’m from Perry, Iowa. My mom finds me up on the roof. Says “she will love me again, if I will just change.” Which is not the thing to say to a person standing on the edge of a building. So, I run back in to my mom’s arms saying “You know what? I’m changed! It’s done. It worked. Epiphany from God.” The pain finally stopped. Immediately nothing was ever said about it. We literally, that part of my life disappeared, it is as if nothing had ever happened for the past year. So I come to KC, I start recognizing that people here are treating me a little bit differently. There’s not nearly as much judgement. I live in a house of thirty guys. It starts getting very uncomfortable. I’m starting to recognize, oh crud, these feelings are getting really really strong and so I finally meet a lesbian couple, recognize that there’s a gay culture. And my K-State story begins. I came back out to my parents. My mom, and she didn’t really know what to say anymore cause she thought it had worked, she’s told me that she would tell my dad cause we didn’t want the same situation to happen again. I left for the afternoon, I came back and my stuff was on the front door, with it locked. I’ve tried to call them multiple times, my mom has answered the phone once or twice, for on her birthday or something, saying something, hi. My dad, has held a gun up to my head multiple times but the last time I got on the phone, I try to keep calling, I want contact, was that he would shoot me if I ever tried to walk in the door again. I have a 12 year younger baby brother who was born. I’m not supposed to contact him. I’m not supposed to contact my sister. The family, if I’m going to live as a devil child, then I’m not part of the Brinton family any longer. Everyone says, oh after a few months your parents will come around. I don’t necessarily see that happening cause of what happened last time, I think they have a lot of work they need to do. But, I do recognize that I will give them that chance. What my parents did was part of what they believed. They thought they were losing their child and they wanted to help him, so I have to forgive them, I have to move forward. But I think the reason why I was so excited to be able tell the story was that if there’s other people who have gone through conversion therapy, who are having those feelings of, “I’m the only one alone”, you need to know that there are people who have made it through and, you can’t change what I never chose.


  1. That is crazy! I can’t believe you had to endure all that. Your story is truly an amazing one, it was very moving. It’s good to see that you still have such a positive attitude and outlook on life! I wish you the best and don’t stop sharing your story, it’s truly inspirational!

  2. Sam,
    Your story is absolutely tragic and heartbreaking and I have so so so much respect and admiration that you are able to forgive and to see from their perspective and to move forward with your life. You are truly a inspiration to so many people and I am just so in awe of your positive outlook on life!

  3. Sam!

    I am filled with admiration and amazement that you have stayed so strong, positive, generous and forgiving. I literally can’t believe it. Most people in your situation would be bitter, self destructive or worse. I hope you also get moments to be absolutely outraged at the way you have been treated, because just hearing about it makes me outraged for you. I hope with all my heart that you are surrounded with a new gay family of friends and mentors. As somebody who has been in a strong queer community for about 10 years now, I can promise you that in good communities, gays stick by each other for life, and that if you form those bonds now, they will totally carry you through. Also, it totally, totally gets better. It gets great.



  4. “Everyone says, oh after a few months your parents will come around.”

    I was told the exact same things from my friends. That was six and a half years ago now, and nothing has changed as far as my parents are concerned. I have moved on, they have not.

  5. Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » It Gets Better: From Perry, IA

  6. In response to Michael, I’ve been in your shoes, and in the exact same situation for almost 12 years.

    I did move on. It was hard…it took me a few years, but with therapy and friends, I did. 4 years after coming out to my parents, I found my partner, and we’ve been together since.

    One bit of good news…I did say 12 years of alienation from my parents…until 2 months ago. My dad, who rediscovered his drinking problem after 30 years of sobriety, went into therapy himself and discovered part of what was making him miserable was not having a relationship with me.

    He’s invited my partner and I to his home together to meet. I *never* would have dreamed that day would have ever come. My family is religious, so all of this has been a shock for me.

    It actually does get better…even after you have long given up on your family, it does get better. I’m living proof of that.

    It’s good to be on your own and not let even your family members make you ashamed of who you are, but no matter how painful it is, keep trying…and yes, it does hurt to try. I continued to go home for either Thanksgiving or Xmas and maybe one other visit each year …by myself. It hurt not being there with my partner, but I did not want them to forget about me and I wanted to show them how good of a man I am…how more self-assured I am now.

    So to Michael and all those who think it only gets better for kids growing up, it actually got better for me, much better from when I came out at 25 to my parents to now that I am reconciling with my dad at age 37.

  7. Your parents are a disgrace to parenting. I am glad you are able to stand on your own. A true parent LOVES their children UNCONDITIONALLY.

  8. Very few things I read make me cry. This story was one of them.

    Samuel, I don’t know you so it feels strange saying this, but I am so proud of you for having the strength to get yourself out of that situation and to be true to who you are. My thoughts are with you x

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