I’m going to talk about my brother
I’m going to talk about my brother, who is gay. When I was in—let’s see—I was, I guess maybe 18 or 19 when he came out. And at that point in my life, it was not a surprise to anybody. And it was something that I think I took with stride and that he was just, you know, it was to be expected, and it was totally normal, or whatever you want to say.
But, when I was maybe 12, 13, 14—he was seven years younger. So, when I was at that age—when I was 13 years old, 12 years old, 15 years old, trying to figure out what a man was or what masculinity was or how I was supposed to act—I definitely resented at that age that I had a brother who did not fit any of that.
And I think that it’s something that—I don’t think I was a particularly mean brother, but I did mean things. And looking back on that, I think one of the reasons that I was mean was because he was gay, or because I thought he might be gay, or because the way he was acting was something that was negative or that was portrayed in the media or portrayed, you know, or that me and my friends would rag on each other for. For, you know, dancing around in drag at the age of five. It was something that, if he did that and my friends came over from middle school, it was something that I was ashamed of, unfortunately, at the time.
And so, I think something that—Luckily, I’ve changed a lot and, and I now—through just growing up, and meeting new people, and, and reflecting on who I am—I realize that, that that’s not who I am anymore.
And I just think that there are millions of other boys in America who are going through the same thing, that are trying to define their masculinity or who they are by defining who other people—you know, who else is not a man. And that is at the expense, usually, of people that are not gender conforming. That are not meeting the standard of what a man is supposed to be like: that they play sports, that they are wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and those sort of things.
And, so, I think for the rest of my life, I will use, use that knowledge when I’m working with, with 12-year-olds, with 13-year-olds and teenagers in a high school. And I think about that. I think about what’s going through their head, consciously or subconsciously, because I, when I was 12, I wasn’t thinking my brother was gay, but subconsciously, I was maybe ashamed of it. And, so, that’s something that I think about and that I try to take into account when I’m working.