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LGBT Stories: Wasilla Teen's Coming Out Results In Slashed Tires, Shouting Parents, Supportive Sister

Wasilla TR

NATHAN MANSKE

Guestblogger Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee just finished a 4 month, 50 state tour of the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We'll be sharing some of the stories they collected along with some of the insight into what they saw. They're still encouraging people to submit their written stories via IFD.

Driftwood Heading up to Wasilla from Anchorage, I was hoping to find some stories that would provide a balance to the conservative, homophobic perception the town now had thanks to a certain politician. While we found the people everywhere we visited in Alaska were kind and welcoming--strangers really do say "hello" on the street--the stories we collected unfortunately didn't provide the rosier picture I was hoping to find.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Recently in this series...
Journalist Wants People to Remember Matthew Shepard's Life [tr]
Alan Cumming Discusses Childhood Crush on Elton John, Media's 'Coming Out' Obsession [tr]
A Repressed Memory of a Traumatic Gym Class and an Abusive Father [tr]
Mormon Church Excommunicates Young Man, Forcing Him to Come Out [tr]
Gay Love Story in Bible Leads to New Belief System [tr]

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Comments

  1. "I can't let how they think of it ruin the rest of my life."

    That's the key.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 11, 2011 6:14:27 PM


  2. Totally agree with David Ehrenstein above, and the interviewee........"Can't let how they think ruin the rest of my life"......
    That's the way it is, and he seems to have figured that out.
    Good for him. So his family won't ruin his life.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Apr 11, 2011 6:42:00 PM


  3. Wow, anyone else just get creepy Deja vu?

    Posted by: Nate | Apr 11, 2011 7:12:25 PM


  4. Too bad he can't afford the media sensation Sarah Palin(tm) to advocate for him.

    Posted by: Go Galt. Please. | Apr 11, 2011 7:38:24 PM


  5. powerful. Thank you Nathan Manske!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 11, 2011 7:39:25 PM


  6. I wish I would have had as much self-awareness when I was Nathan's age. Coming out is risky anytime, but it was much more so 30 years ago. I guess we've made some progress. To all the Nathans of the world -- be true to yourself.

    Posted by: Jeepguy | Apr 11, 2011 9:34:05 PM


  7. As much as I am sympathetic about this story, I am just surprised. There are rednecks everywhere, but I essentially came out in Fairbanks alaska, lived there for 12 years. I found it to be a relatively open place. It is a university town, with proportionately a lot of gays and lesbians. I would think that anchorage and especially wassilla would be way more unacceptable. Just seems odd.

    Posted by: Keith | Apr 11, 2011 9:46:22 PM


  8. Thanks everyone for the positive feedback and what not.

    Keith -- I know it sounds a little weird from a University town. But it was a fraternity organization mostly doing all of this.

    Posted by: Cody James | Apr 11, 2011 10:56:32 PM


  9. Good luck Cody James. And no, it doesn't sound weird. You should see the drama that goes on in allegedly gay-friendly big cities, a lot of it from WITH-IN the so-called gay 'Community'. I grew up in a very different environment from you, NYC and Boston. I experienced very little external hate, by far most non-gays were and are cool, but the real sh*t occurred from other gays, gay 'Advocates' CREATING drama where there was none, etc.

    I've lived and traveled all over, including outside the U.S. [and served in the military]. It's been my experience that places advertised as 'Progressive' are 99% of the time the most tense, unfriendly to live in on a daily basis. Places advertised as 'Backward' and reactionary even, more often than not, have cool, friendly people, easy to get along with on a daily basis, especially rural areas. So take people and places who call themselves especially 'Progressive' with a big grain of salt.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 12, 2011 4:06:13 AM


  10. Well, I'm not a political person or anything and I'm not very informed about the news (because I'm not really interested in politics) but even I know that this certain politician has like posted something to twitter somewhat in favor of the gays. didn't she write "why don't you look under the homophobes mattress or something"? anyway, i don't really look at her as homophobic. at least she didn't inspire all of our allies to cheer on the day she took office, taking the oath from a pastor who swore his alliance to proposition 8, like obama did

    Posted by: gbc | Apr 12, 2011 4:07:18 AM


  11. Also, relating to what the person above me wrote. I have to say. I live in New York City and STILL yesterday I was told that I should be killed. And people yell faggot at me sometimes in Brooklyn. I live in Greenpoint and even in Williamsburg the other week some guy was beat up and faces 100,000 dollars in medical bills. so i don't really like this geographical arrogance or whatever. even in new york, groups of teenagers yell at me. yesterday some guys yelled at me to shake my ass "batty boy" and then they told me to listen to buju batton's boom boom bye bye song about killing gay people so whatever. things are bad in the culture in general. straight people don't always like gay people. don't be hating on rural places. i guess the only difference is that it's more fun here so admittedly, i didn't really care that they were yelling at me. it didn't really bother me at all

    Posted by: gbc | Apr 12, 2011 4:17:49 AM


  12. Rat and GBC, I think, maybe it's different in the US but when people think progressive areas, they are NOT talking about a city......I could be wrong...or university towns...

    I'm planning in doing uban regeneration,possibly, as a PHD, and I hate to sound pedantic but a he'll of a lot more goes into a town being progressive then it's famous name or the fact it has a university.

    The issue with the media doing their usual marketing 'the gayest or coolest towns in the world' to the local government realizing that the gay or cool progressive dollar brings in more cash, all participate in creatng a somewat illusion of what the town actually is.

    I'm leaving in a conservative area-not willingly-and the people are nasty, racist, narrow minded and green behind the ears. Really depressing unless you want to have a child by the time you leave school, work in insurance or finance. Before I live in a progressive area. It was the opposite. People smiled in the street, you could stay in a nice cafe for hours and wouldn't be kicked out etc. There was always some mini art festival happening or art exhibition.

    You also need to look at the kind of area the place is, who is the local party, what have they done etc

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 12, 2011 5:01:38 AM


  13. GBC, no lol Palin has done a lot worst. Maybe you should read more about politics before you say anything?

    Palin is ant-gay. She's said so.

    The gay community is the ONLY thing in the frigging country. You also have rural white people, rural blacks, urban whites and urban blacks, middle class, disabled, war vets etc etc

    All these people ar a community of some sort and many are deeply religious, I.e the black community and rural white communities

    Is the president of the most religious western country supposed to only care about gay people? For real?

    Again think about the rural backward places you are talking about...look a what NOM has done.....

    Wake up and realize which country you are leaving in.

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 12, 2011 5:07:55 AM


  14. Cody:
    Good luck with things. Don't give up on your family just yet. I know it's hard, but you are on the right track. It took me much longer to get up the courage to come out to my family (way after college). My sisters were great about it, too. They went to work on the rest of the family. It may take a couple of years for everyone to reassess their ideas/beliefs and process the fact that they still love you, regardless of your sexuality.
    Meanwhile, keep getting an education and remember my motto (stolen from George Herbert): "Living well is the best revenge." Lots of hugs and good stuff from your Internet family.

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Apr 12, 2011 5:45:19 AM


  15. Rowan,

    You probably hear a lot about how bad, racist, whatever rural people in America are, especially in the south. The reality is if you travel to or even live in many of these areas, you'll discover the average person is not a monster and are more often than not cool, pleasant live and let live people. As a person who grew up in the urban north [the famous 'Progressive' region of America] I was genuinely surprised at how nice and friendly people 'Down South' are. VERY DIFFERENT from the 'Progressive' urban north, where I won't sugar coat it, MANY people [so-called Progressives included] are aholes. Now I know some of that friendliness is 2-faced and what-not, but really, mostly it';s genuine. I've visited and lived in Europe [Germany] and the UK/Ireland, and I never encountered anything comparable outside of maybe Ireland [not Dublin; I actually think Belfast is a more friendly city than Dublin. Dublin doesn't impress me]. Scottish people are pretty cool. Honestly, the average English in southern England in and around London are aholes. People in urban northeast U.S. are identical. Now people in especially London, NYC, Boston, etc., love bragging about how 'Progressive' they are, but truthfully, the reality on a daily basis is most people in 'Progressive' places like London, NYC, Boston, even southern big cities like Atlanta [which is very gay-friendly] are aholes. There's a level of daily nastiness that can wear anyone down, even someone born and raised in such an environment like me.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 12, 2011 5:50:13 AM


  16. @Ratbastard. I'm glad that you were able to find love and acceptance in rural America as a gay person, but I'm here to tell you that I've also lived and traveled all around the US and the world and I've also served in the military; and my experience was a little bit different than yours. I my loads of friendly people all over Europe. People who were complete strangers welcomed me into their homes, took me out, showed me around, and were really some of the most genuine and sincere people I have ever met. As far as people being nice in the south that is true, they truely are sweet with a live and let live attitude if you know your place, but that can quickly change though if you chose step outside of the boundries laid out for you.

    Posted by: Frank | Apr 12, 2011 5:03:59 PM


  17. so ratbastard, how was germany then?

    Posted by: yadda yadda | Apr 14, 2011 5:26:16 AM


  18. Just a note to anyone relatively new to this blog: ratbastard lives up to his alias and then some. Take whatever HE says with a HUGE grain of salt.

    @Cody James Good luck!

    Posted by: ravewulf | Apr 15, 2011 6:07:22 PM


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