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Gay Stories:
A Survivor's Account of An Unbelievable Hell Called Home


Nathan MFromdwoodontowleanske and Marquise Lee are halfway though a 3 month trip around the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We're finally ready to start catching up with some of the stories collected over the first half of the trip along with some of the insight into what they're seeing now. 

You've really got to see this one, so check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Nathan Marquiese From Nathan: "After sharing his story, Sam went on to tell me that he has a smiley face poster on the ceiling above his bed so it's the first thing he sees every day. Not to make himself feel better but because his goal in life is to make someone smile every single day.

Two weeks after our Manhattan visit, I read in the news that Kansas State passed a resolution supporting the equal rights of the LGBTQ community, being lead by none other than Samuel Brinton."

For more stories now, there's a  YouTube channel and their beautiful site at 50StateStoryTour where you can also get in touch if you want a visit. You can also just send them your stories about where you're from and growing up.



There are some great ones to come from these guys, other producers, and from you. Who are you and what's that like? Got a story about any other part of your life? Someone else's? Consider writing, recording, or shooting it in claymation. (or regular video) and sharing it with Towleroad users and the world.

Towleroad is currently the No. 1 most-visited gay news or content site, so a great place for your story, cautionary or inspirational tale or even "how to" video. What we're looking for:

- Any stage of life -- conception to death, though not likely your own in either case; 

- So-called "news" to what's news to you;

- The mundane and spectacular.

- "This American Gay Life" to "America's Funniest Gay Home Videos"

Use the contact page or send to stories@towleroad dot com (Send us a private link for video or a note asking how to get it to us.)

And keep watching.

*Yes, adult and dating sites have their own slightly bigger categories as well as slightly different stories.

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  1. I grew up in Minnesota, and my experience was not all that different from this young man's story. My deeply religious family basically threw me to the curb when I came out 30 years ago, just before I graduated from high school. I worked three jobs, put myself through college, met the man of my dreams and got legally married in California, we adopted two wonderful children who are about to start college; and through it all my family didn't want to hear a word about any of it. They never call, they never answer my calls, they return any mail or holiday cards I send them (but I keep sending them anyway), and I doubt they will ever change. What I learned most is that a family is based on the one we create for ourselves, not necessarily the one that is handed to us at birth. I have the most wonderful family anyone could hope for on this planet, and ours is filled with love and boundless joy. I can only guess that my family is not as happy, as it wasn't the a loving or demonstrative family one could really attach to on any level. My guess is that this young man's family doesn't really know what love is, how to express it, or how to enjoy this gift in life to its fullest.

    Posted by: Keith | Oct 27, 2010 5:54:41 PM

  2. Jesus, Christ, so damn many people are just plain scum. How ANY parent can do that to their child is beyond belief. There's a special place in hell for them.

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | Oct 27, 2010 7:39:43 PM

  3. For "Hollywood":

    Let's be clear about two things: (1) we don't know the dad's story; (2) whatever his past or motivations, he did and caused despicable things to be done to his son. He should be prosecuted and receive treatment, in that order.

    Sam Brinton has his own demons to deal with. So far, he seems to be living with the christian notion of forgiveness. While this posture is commendable, it's not therapeutic. He did not say, in the clip, that he realizes that his parents "done him wrong." He needs to realize this fact; then he can start to heal.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Oct 27, 2010 10:04:15 PM

  4. What happened to this guy is certainly an extreme case, and of course horrible. Is it fair to extrapolate that all religious people [or which I'm not] are like his fucked up mom and dad? No, no more than it is fair to say because some environmentalists are frauds and loons so all are, or some gays and lesbians are loons so all are.

    My mom was a fairly devout Catholic, my dad somewhat, but he didn't attend regular church services. They paid out of pocket to send me and my brothers and sisters to Catholic schools because these schools were better performing and safer than the public alternative their taxes helped fund. Both my mom and dad were totally supportive and loving of me when I told them I was gay. Never once was there hesitation. They taught me growing up to respect others and never negatively judge someone solely on their background. If I had used a negative slur growing up against anyone, such as the N word, or whatever, both my mom and dad would have killed me. And in the end they practiced what they preached. I can't conceive of a family, mom or dad disowning their child because he or she is gay. I can't conceive a mom or dad physically and mentally torturing their child because he or she is gay, or paying others to do so. Something is SERIOUSLY fucked up about any organization, religious or otherwise, that would condone the treatment this guy received at the hands of his mom and dad.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 27, 2010 10:09:06 PM

  5. This young man needs to be in some really heavy therapy before he ever sees his family again, if ever. I feel for him and am sorrowful for his totally unnecessary pain. But, I think he can (and is) come through this with a clarity that few of us can ever know thanks overcoming that horrific upbringing.

    I think it would be dangerous for him to ever see his father again, though. Unless the man is incapacitated and cannot hold a gun or pull a trigger. I think he would and could kill the boy.

    @Rowan: you are a caveman.

    Posted by: princely54 | Oct 28, 2010 12:22:38 AM

  6. Unfortunately there are still "cure the gay" therapy programs that utilize physical TORTURE. Even though I'm 30 years his senior, my parents were very conservative protestant missionaries, and I went through a similar circumstance.

    Posted by: Stephen Luartes | Oct 28, 2010 12:59:05 AM

  7. I love you Sam. I think you may be one of those people who are transcendent...you have risen above all the things that were inflicted on you. I'm a therapist so I don't badmouth the value of therapy. However I can also see when a person has the internal strength,grace and insight to transcend the harm they have endured and become something far more powerful. You are a loving human being. Maybe there would be some value in exploring the events of your life with a professional but thats totally your call. Me I think you're great and I would consider you a hero and role model. As for your parents, profesionally I think they are in need of intensive therapy but probably couldn't benefit from it. On a personal level I'd like to kick the living shit out of them for being too stupid to see the Christ-like behavior demonstrated by you in your continuing love for them. They don't deserve you.

    Posted by: el rio | Oct 29, 2010 10:57:25 AM

  8. Sam's storey is intense. While I think Sam should leave the door open, he would do best to not try and contact the parents for a while. While I never endured physical abuse, my parents kicked me out when I came out. It was sort of time for me to move out anyway. I had minimal contact with them for 8 years. Some years no contact at all. I avoided many family functions.
    Today they accept my husband and myself.

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Oct 29, 2010 11:47:50 AM

  9. Unfortunately, this story isn't unusual. Having lived in a large urban area for a long time it's easy to become complaisant about being out. Hearing this story brought it all back again. I'm so glad Sam was able to hold it together and make it to KC. Even though his parents have rejected him, he still seems able to have a positive outlook and that's great. My advice to him is you can't change your parents, but you can make your own family out in the world. Stay strong and stay proud Sam!

    Posted by: rebar | Oct 31, 2010 7:54:31 AM

  10. Your sexuality is innate. Religion is a choice. You are already divine. Why buy second-hand what you already own?

    Posted by: Jonster | Feb 3, 2011 12:24:17 PM

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