My name is Kelvin, I’m from Brazil, from a small city called Pocos de Caldas and I lived there until I was about thirteen and a half years old.
I wasn’t aware of my sexuality–my non-heterosexuality–until I was probably about 14, close to 15, so I was already here. However I had already experienced sort of like what it was like to come out in Brazil because my aunt paid me to go through my cousin’s phone and take down phone numbers of her friends of people who had been calling her and texting her. So I sort of outed her. So years later when I was discovering my own sexuality, and at that time I was 14, 15, and the whole thing was MySpace. However, my brother is a computer genius and after being asked by my parents, because I guess they had started being suspicious of certain things, they asked him to hack into my computer. And he did and they go on my computer and started reading all these conversations that I’d been having with my friends and were like, “What is this, what are you doing, what are you doing to us?” And at that point I was at a very fragile state so I wasn’t really able to stand up for myself in a way that I would today. So the only way I saw out of that was to lie. So I basically made them think that I was dating my best friend who was a girl. And by doing that I had my phone again and I could use my computer again and I could do all the things that I wanted. And if I wanted to meet a boy or do something I would just tell them I was with my friend or my “girlfriend.”
Okay, so this only happened about two years ago. I had already been living by myself for about two years in New York and I was already involved with Mix which is the New York gay and lesbian film festival, out, I’d been living my life, disregarding whatever they thought about my sexuality for years. And I did this one video, a music video, with Gerry Visco. And the opening scene of the video has me in her bathtub and I’m eating a cupcake wearing these pink gloves. And my parents put my name on YouTube or Google or something and that came up. So I was at my friend’s house getting stoned, talking, I might have been making out with my friend, I don’t know what was going on at the time, and then my mom called me. She was like, “I just saw this video, what are you doing, what were you thinking, what’s going on?” And then I was like, “Well, I’m gay. I don’t know what to tell you. This is it. You can’t do anything about it. I live by myself. I’m completely independent.” So we didn’t talk for 3 weeks. Gradually she’s become much more accepting.
Culturally in Brazil it’s a shock. I grew up hearing, “Oh, I don’t care about gay people, they’re fine, but if my son was gay it’s a different story.” So I always knew it was going to be a hard time to come out. But eventually they came around it. The second time was probably much easier than the first time because I wasn’t as insecure and I wasn’t living at home and it didn’t really matter as much to me.