Listen to Tyler talk about the pressures of growing up gay in a rural Mississippi county in a conservative family, how he became addicted to drugs as a coping mechanism for the stress, and how he came to learn about the two spirit identity:
“I actually was raised in a small town in Southwest Mississippi. Growing up, you know, as, as a homosexual, I would argue, you know, some people would say “Well you, you don’t know at five years old what you are.” And to me personally, I felt that I knew what I was at the age of five years old. I was, you know, always different. When I was little, I used to, talk to people and they would…everyone always said “Ooh,” you know, “Look at the little gay boy,” but..l I, I think I was kind of a balance, cause I still liked going out and riding four-wheelers, riding a bike, but yet there was a certain part of me that I knew that was different until I got to around seventh grade.
And then, once you hit the, the puberty phase, that’s when, you know…all the craziness happens. I received absolute hell for, for being, you know, gay. And, in high school…as any kid, my father tried to put me in football, huh. Cause…that’s just what southern people are told to do. We, we play football. And I didn’t, but I did start martial arts, and, about sophomore or junior, cause I had low self esteem, and I was overweight. And I started martial arts and I started gaining that self esteem, and I did a demonstration at school, one year, and everybody left me alone after that.”
–Tyler, 30 – Hattiesburg, MS – June 18, 2014
Interviewed at the University of Southern Mississippi on June 18, 2014. Full Transcript Coming Soon! This interview was transcribed by our wonderful volunteer Montanna Mills! Here’s a bit more about Montanna:
Montanna grew up country and currently resides in British Columbia, Canada. She has a passion for history outside of the ivory tower and is excited to be working on such an exciting project.
Categories: country queers