American Comedian, Ever Mainard, recollects on how a reporter from her local paper outed her and the lesson of love it provided.
“But you’re that girl! That one that lives in the big city now! What do you do? What’s it like?”
It’s always the same every time I go home. People from my rural Texas town bombarding me with questions: ‘Are there lots of people? Is the food weird? I’ve been there once, what airport do you use?’
I am their Big-City Queen here to bless them merely with my presence. They greet me with a parade and throw rose petals at my feet.
I see you, Dirk Gibblin. Who’s the gay one now?! Hmmm? I ponder from the inside of my glass carriage. Well, yes, technically me. But we’re no longer in high school and you’re the one with three felons and a DUI. So let me ask you again- WHO’S THE GAY ONE NOW?! HMM?
Hope all that time in Future Farmers of America helped you figure out the best way to navigate the judicial system with a court appointed lawyer.
I stretch out my hand and look away. Usually to the right- or the left- depending on the lighting. If it’s the golden hour I’ll stoically look forward for a moment and then slightly tilt my head to the side. They will kiss my ring, curtsy, and scuttle away. Off they go!
Oh how they will delight in this story for many generations to come! What a gift I am to them.
“WHAT A GIFT I AM TO THEM.”
“Excuse me, Big-City Queen? If I kiss your ring, does that make me gay?”
The question echoes in my ear and shatters my fantasy into thousands of glass shards.
It’s a mild, Chicago winter day and I am sitting on a stoop outside of The Second City. I look at my phone not believing what I just heard. Surely I have misheard. Surely it is the phones fault, perhaps a problem with reception.
“Are you going to be gay on stage” The reporter asks again.
Even more annoyed that she had to ask this foul question twice. Her Texas drawl pronouncing stage with two syllables, stayuh-guh.
“Are you going to be gay on stage?”
The Temple Daily Telegram is interviewing me about my upcoming performance at a local bar. This was to be my first hometown show since leaving for Chicago. I am baffled by the question. Confused by her ignorance.
“Well, I’m gay, but that’s not really what my show is about…It’s about human things… Things we can all relate to” I manage to stutter.
“Oh-Kay, well just needed to check…Let the readers know.”
“I’m gay, but that’s not what the shows about. Its about human things… things we can all relate to.”
She got me on a technicality, and after an hour worth of interview, it seemed to be the only thing she cared about.
The big day arrived and my article was front-page news. I know what you’re wondering and yes, she had-in-fact, let the readers know. There it was in tiny, black print that I was gay. My gut dropped. I hadn’t been necessarily hiding my sexuality, but I wasn’t exactly screaming it from the rooftops. I was in Texas after all.
I fretted all day about what my family thought- what the town thought. If anyone would show, what would they do if they showed? Would they heckle me? Would they threaten me?
“I hadn’t been necessarily hiding my sexuality, but I wasn’t exactly screaming it from the rooftops. I was in Texas after all.”
My parents tried to calm me down. “We love you no matter what.” They repeated.
“We’re so proud of you.”
When I pulled up to the venue I was shocked. My family, old classmates, strangers, and the tiny cluster of the LGBTQ community had all shown up to my show. I was immediately embarrassed by my own thoughts. These people arrived with an out-pouring of love and I had spent the weeks following the interview vilifying them on what they might think.
It gave me hope that if my tiny, conservative, Texas town can unite over some jokes by an awkward gay girl, that maybe we all could.
4-28: Ever Mainard: Let Me Be Your Main Man, Gilded Balloon Teviot, EH8 9AJ / more info
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