Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can read about the adventure we had and some of the stories we collected. 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.
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Subscribe to us on YouTube.
I’m Mark, I’m from Helena, Montana born and raised. Kinda spread all around the world, but we’re all from Helena. People get this bad concept of Montana, “You can’t be gay in Montana; you just can’t.” And I think that’s an unjustified thing because I’ve ran into so much more bigotry in larger cities than I’ve ever ran into here. I have people, “Oh, you’re from Montana, that must have been so weird…there’s only like, what three gay people in the whole state?” No, there’s a lot of gay people here. And people just see it as kind of a really dynamic thing, they’re like, “But it must have been so hard being gay there.” And no, that’s not necessarily the truth, you find that more people here have, what’s the word I’m looking for, they have more of a care about their community than worrying about what you do in your bedroom. They more or less look for you know, that you’re an overall good person, that you give back to your community, and you help out your neighbor and stuff like that—the gay thing not really an issue for us. Although we don’t necessarily have gay bars per se, I go out all the time in Helena. I don’t hide that I’m gay; people ask me, I tell ‘em, “yeah, I sure am.” I’ve never really had per se “Oh well you’re a fucking faggot, I’m going to kick…,” it’s never had that problem, you know you get the occasional drunk idiot. We went to a bar in East Helena, it was called the Eagles 4040 and we were playing pool, my ex-boyfriend and I, and this guy challenged us and said oh let’s play I don’t know what the game is but you separate the balls into three sections and whoever gets all the balls down first wins. Well we got talking and he finds out we’re gay and he had a huge problem with it, “You fucking queers, blah blah blah.” And I’m like you’ve got to be kidding me and this guy keeps going on and my mom now, my mom’s in a wheelchair, she sits about (motioning) yay tall in a wheelchair and she comes down there, “You leave my son alone you son of a bitch, I’ll kick your goddamn ass.” And I’m like oh this is great, thanks mom and the guy’s like, “You need to go back there and sit the fuck down you fat bitch.” Well, my dad heard that, he came down, there’s some things you can say but calling my mom a fat bitch is just not one of those things. My dad had a shit-fit with this guy because this guy was in my dad’s unit when my dad was in the military. And my dad’s like, “You stupid son of a bitch, you don’t even know who this kid is, his godfather happens to be the Adjutant General of the state of Montana, you’re fucking with the wrong person. And how dare you talk to my wife that way.” So then Patti the bartender comes back out and she goes, “You know what, this is done, we’re not going to have this in the bar. You need to leave.” And I’m like, I thought she was talking to me, I’m like you’ve got to be kidding me. She goes, “No not you, you” and she points to this other guy and she kicks him out the bar. She’s like, “You know what, you boys come in here all the time and I never have a problem, he’s just a drunk asshole.” And I’m like thanks daddy! I guess that’s the biggest thing is that I have a really good support system here so I know a lot of people, my family was very supportive of me and I think that makes a big difference. When you come out, your family can be, “Oh, you need to go” or they can be really supportive of you and be like, “Oh well, it’s okay you’re still the same person” and I think that’s what people need to really emphasize: they can be gay without being different people; they’re still the exact same person they were the day before they came out.