Andy, Olympia, WA

I had worked with Andy for about two years while in school at The Evergreen State College. He also was my roommate for some of that time, camping out in my living room. If I came home and was spinning out from working too much, he was quick to make a spiked hot chocolate and dish it out with me. I went to his new apartment where he finally had his own room, and we talked about growing up and the importance of family. Andy identifies as a queer, mixed-race Irish, Cherokee, Lakota from near Big Fork, Montana. Here is a bit of his story. 

“I told my mom I was gay when I was in 8th grade. I was really nervous about it. I asked my youth pastor to be there with me... and I didn't actually say it, my youth pastor said it for me. My mom got really quiet. We were in a Starbucks... how Washington! Midwest gay kid, moves out to Washington with family, came out to mother in a Starbucks with a youth pastor. How fucking Washington!
    My mother just got really beat red, kind of glazed over, and didn't say anything. She continued to not say anything until I was a sophomore in college. Not that we didn't talk… I am not the most bold homosexual I guess? and I am pretty prudish when it comes to my sex and my relationships. Which doesn't mean I didn't experience things in my teenage years. Or that I wasn't active in the queer community at school and so forth." - Andy G. 

Andy, in his bedroom, in Olympia, WA

     "We knew I was gay when I was in Kindergarten in Montana. I think it was pretty hushed. There was this incident at daycare when I was in Kindergarten, with another kid… and there was play doctor. I vaguely remember what happened… but it was pretty homo-erotic... As a kindergartener, which is so weird. There was a tool and it involved the other kids butt and we got caught by the daycare lady. My parents were called, and there was a long conversation. I'm like 4 or 5, I don't remember... I do remember my step-dads response at the time… He was so pissed. My punishment was that we didn't get to go see the monster trucks and the fair that year. Which was a huge thing... So I knew they were mad at me. 
     I wouldn't say it was obvious that I was gay. What ever obvious looks like. I mean growing up in a pretty farmer cowboy community, I did what every other kid did. Which was ride bikes, play in the woods, get dirty… I don't know. We don't talk about it in my family that much." - Andy G. 
     "I have moved more times than I am old. I think I have moved about 28 times in my life. So home to me is family. That’s when I feel like I’m home. If we don't talk about place based home. I just always grew up in a house that had people in it. Now that I am kind of out on my own in the world, it’s not necessarily home, it’s just me... it’s kind of weird. I think about people that move away from their families and get careers and go on and get married, or whatever. I am just kind of like, ‘God, I'm the first person to go to college’ and I’m also kind of the first person to graduate high school really.
     I am trying to get a higher education so that I can have a career that maybe I love, but also makes enough money so that I can support myself and also my family. I think about moving on with my life and I think that looks like me buying a house for my mother.... making sure that my siblings are well cared for. Because, God... growing up sucked.” - Andy G.