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My name is Patrick Kiernan and originally, orignally, I’m from Nuremberg, Germany.
One of my first memories is actually sort of a sad, embarrassing story where I was 5 years old and my mom was concerned I was gay because I blinked too much. So she took me to the pediatrician and she asked the pediatrician if I was gay and I can’t remember the specifics because it was so long ago but he made some comment of, “I don’t know…” And as a 5-year-old, I didn’t know what “gay” was but I was at the doctor so it had to have been something bad. So I went home and I cut my eyelashes off.
So, I was the oldest child. I was a boy, my dad was–he went to State for wrestling, he was the captain of the football team, he was an all-star baseball player…and I played the bass clarinet in the marching band. I did not live up to his expectations of what a son was. He would always say, “Marching band is for girls and faggots.” And I never…it hurt me but at the same time I didn’t know, I didn’t think that it was anything wrong that I liked it so much. At the same time I never classified myself as being gay because I loved it. In a lot of ways I just wasn’t that son he wanted me to be. Stepping outside of the immediate family was the best thing emotionally for everybody involved. So I was sent away to live with my lesbian aunt in Pittsburgh.
I sort of used them as the platform to dive into the gay community and I don’t think I would be who I am today if that didn’t happen. I am so grateful for that change because it’s–that’s what I used to sort of step into me. I actually haven’t spoken to my biological parents, so it’s been about 10 years. But when I was engaged to my boyfriend or my ex-fiance, whatever he is, I got this letter out of nowhere and she just said, “You know, I’m happy for you. We’ll never be a family again but I wish you well.” It was sort of a bittersweet letter. It was one of those things where there there was almost like a sense of relief through the acceptance, but there was a little bit of heartbreak that she was never going to be my mom again.