So, what was your own coming out like?
I was 15, and I kind of knew what was going on. I had a guy who worked at the GSA at my school give me a book called About Me, and that's why I titled my show About Me. It was just survey forms and you answered questions. And one of the questions was "What is your ultimate dream?" And I answered to be the first gay man to ever marry a gay man. (laughs)
But I was 15 and a little ridiculous. But my mom found the book, and I came home to a lot of my stuff shuffled around, and I had these plastic roses that were ripped to shreds. So, I was like 'What the hell's going on?' And on my bed, there was a letter from my mom telling me I had to fix myself or get out, so I left, and I started living with a friend of mine, in her house. And her family took care of me.
Then there was a brief period of time where I did stay back at my own house, and my parents... they were scared. They didn't know anybody that was gay, and they don't understand the culture. They still don't, but they're getting there. But at the time, they were really scared.
Mainly a religious objection?
Sort of. My mom was born and raised in Cuba, and is Catholic. And my father was raised in Philadelphia, and his mother's a Jehovah's Witness. He's not necessarily one, but the ideas get passed down. And they really just didn't understand any of it. So, they shaved my head, put me in ghetto clothes again... it was a really rough time.
But I got into college, and I started going to Pace, and that's kind of where I blossomed, like my sexuality and who I am and all that stuff. And my mom started kind of warming up to it. But, not in the sense where she was like 'Let's go meet your boyfriend!' But now, it's good. I was just at home making gay jokes. So, things are fine.
And were they at the show that night?!
No. My brother came, with his girlfriend, and he was shocked, because there's a lot of things talked about that he did not need to hear, at all.
Didn't you mime going down on a guy?
Yes... (laughs) that was the moment where I think he was "Ahhhh...."
But it was tasteful... maybe?
Ish... I told him first, and I'm one of four. I have two younger brothers and a younger sister. And when I told him, the first thing he said was "I don't care. It's not my asshole..." And I was like "Oh my God! Great..."
That's kind of supportive...
It's as supportive as he could be, and with his personality, that's what it was going to come out as, no matter what. And I told my sister like a year ago. And for some reason, I didn't feel comfortable telling my brother who's 17 now but, over Christmas, I told him and he was like "I kinda figured there was something, but I didn't want to out you or anything." And that's the person I was most scared to tell, and he was just "Ok," and we had a whole heart to heart, and I learned a lot of things about him I never needed to learn. It was like, 'Oh my God, stop it...'
And did you have any issue being out professionally?
I think that's one of the reasons my parents are uncomfortable with it, because they have such high aspirations for me. And they didn't want me to be able to not achieve the level of performance I want to achieve because of my sexuality. But now that it's become more mainstream in the culture, that's why they're getting more comfortable.
But I don't really have an issue... obviously, I'm talking about it now. I'm growing into it, still. I learned what I didn't want to be, and I didn't want to be the subject of just a gay culture. I want to be everything and anything I can be without being pigeonholed as 'Oh, that's the gay guy.'
So, with you music, you're not trying to be the gay male Lady Gaga?
My album is all about bad relationships with guys, basically. But I don't have any power ballads like "Be You!" because I'm not that person.