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My name is Kyle and I’m from Scotia, in upstate New York, kind of near Schenectady. I grew up an only child up there with my parents and a dog, going camping just about every weekend in the Adirondacks, so it was kind of a very different life from living in New York City where I live now.
I went to fashion school, I went to FIT, and I think my first year there my mom called me just to check in and see how I was doing and she had said her best friend’s daughter had come out as a lesbian. And I was like, oh, that’s crazy. And mom was like, “Yeah, I guess it could happen to anybody in any family.” I was like, “Yeah, I guess so.” And she was like, “Well, if you ever have to tell me anything, just, you know, you can.” And I kind of paused and was like, okay. And she was like, “Wait, what?” I was like, “Um…nothing.” And she was like, “Wait, do you have something to tell me?” And I was like, “Maybe…kind of…” And so she started freaking out and was like, “Oh. What? Wait. Uh…” And I was like, “No, it’s okay, don’t worry, I’m not sure yet.” And she was like, “Ah, oh, God…” And then she was like, “No, it’s okay, I love you.” And I was like, “Alright, are you sure? Actually…don’t tell Grandma and don’t tell Dad” because they were really important to me and I didn’t…and not that my mother wasn’t, but I thought she would be the okay-est with it–that’s not a word–but, um, so she actually went to my grandma’s house and called my father at work, the two things I said not to do. So she told me father there was an emergency with Kyle in New York and to come right over to Grandma’s house. So he raced over, drove up to Grandma’s house, raced in, “What happened, what’s, what happened??” My mom was all upset and she said, “Kyle told me he’s gay!” My dad was like, “Wait, that…that’s the emergency? You called me for that? I’m going back to work. You didn’t know that?” And he left. So it was kind of funny.
So my mom had more of an immediacy of having a white picket fence and the family and the children and everything being perfect, which I still want, but she didn’t know how that could happen. She had this vision I think from news in the 1980s of what gay life was in New York and that just meant disease and dying and being really sad. And then I remember her being like, “I don’t want you to be sad in life or alone.” And I understood where she was coming from in a way, so that’s kind of the story.