I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.
I've heard Dustin Lance Black talk about Mormons, Prop 8, Milk, Oscars, the Trevor Project and all sorts of other topics involving the LGBTQ community. So when we met him to collect his I'm From Driftwood story, I thought I had a general idea of what he might talk about. When he started talking about his high school job and best friend, however, I realized I had no idea where his story might go.
I love my best friend from high school. His name is Ryan, and he was older. He ran the Toys "R" Us so he could hire the other kids. So all the cutest guys in high school, all of a sudden, were working at Toys "R" Us -- not surprisingly, he was hiring the cutest ones, and so those were all his friends. I drifted towards him because I think I saw a kindred spirit. I was like, "I think I might be part of your tribe," not that I would say that for years.
After moving to Los Angeles together for college, neither friend had come out to the other until Mr. Black helped his friend along.
Now, somewhere in that summer I finally shoved him out of the closet. I basically grilled him until he said, "Yes, I'm gay." And I remember sitting there saying, "Well, that's OK with me, I still accept you." I knew I was gay, I just wasn't saying anything about it.
Mr. Black wasn't aware what would happen after helping his friend out of the closet, and how it would ultimately lead to his own coming out.
[H]e started bringing all these gay people over. Like he was out. He was living his life. And there were a lot of cute gay people coming over, and interesting gay people coming over. And for the first time I was like, wow, these are my people. I didn't know there were all these me's out there.
Something else he didn't know was that all those me's also have a lot of fine-tuned gaydars.
But eventually one of them said to him, "You know your roommate is gay?" And I think he never thought that, and so he started poking at that and wondering about that, and I sort of saw the writing on the wall and was like, "Boy, this is coming to a head."
Maybe it was Mr. Black's own seeing the writing on the wall that led to his own comedic, appropriate and melodramatic coming-out moment.
I just remember I was in some poetry class, of course, at UCLA, that I decided to take, and instead of paying attention to the lecture, I wrote this huge manuscript, detailing every moment that he should have known I was gay and should have helped me out of the closet. You know, just like, blaming and doing all this very immature stuff, and I wrote this manuscript. I remember waking up early one morning, and I left it in the bathroom, and I just wrote with soap on the mirror, "I am gay," and I went to college and shook the whole time until I got home and finally at that point I was out.
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