Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. 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.
My name’s Jonathan Mertz and I’m from Manhattan, Kansas. Although, I’m, as you can see, on a farm about fifteen minutes outside of town. I’m the youngest of five kids, and four boys and one girl. And I was very closeted. I didn’t actually come out until I was twenty-seven. I decided at that point that I wanted to try living somewhere else other than Kansas, and I actually ended up in Washington D.C. for seventeen years. And then my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and my family asked me if I’d come back to Kansas and help take care of mom and dad. Basically just be there. That’s sort of when the secrets of the gay community, that often times it’s the gay child who ends up being the primary care giver for elderly parents. Especially if we don’t have kids or in a relationship. We’re the ones that often end up in that role. And I told my family this – one of the conditions when I move back, I can’t go back in the closet again and you guys need to be ready for that, and they said okay. Although I don’t think they thought I’d be this far out. So, I think, that’s the one thing, when you come out, your family comes out with you and people sort of don’t think about that and often times people are upset because I’ve come out – why can’t they accept me? And I just think in my own personal case, how, it was a process. It took years and I had that time before I was willing to come out and in many ways the family is having to go through that process now. So, some its faster than others and I just hope that they work through it the way I did. And that’s the way I look at it.