It's not easy being gay in America, and even harder in Nashville, due to the homophobic climate. So I've been asked by several people in Nashville, "Why would you do a show like Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys -- one where you put yourself out there like this?" I wish I could say that I did this show for shameless self-promotion of my stand-up comedy. While there may be a partial truth in that, I actually started doing comedy for the exact same reason that I did this show: to open people's minds. If I can make one homophobe laugh, if I can connect to him on some type of level where he feels like, "I know you're gay, but damn! You're funny! Maybe gay people aren't that bad!" (which is an actual quote from a redneck that has seen my stand up), if I can change people's view on homosexuality -- even one person -- then I feel like I've accomplished something.
I also wanted to present my experience as a gay parent to the television audience. My family may be unconventional, but we are real family. It's scary to put myself out there like that, to put my children out there like that, and I constantly have this fear and ask myself, "Is this the right thing to do?" But ultimately, I feel it's absolutely the right thing to do in order to make progress as a culture. Gay people won't be accepted until people are strong enough to demand that we be accepted, and if we hide in the closet, it only keeps us further from that goal. My situation is rather unique, being a gay parent, but I hope this will allow other parents to connect with me, because at the end of the day we have the same concerns and hopes for our children and share many of the same problems. Gay or straight, we still love our children and want them to be the best they can be.
I want to see the South progress to the point where someone can come out of the closet without fear, and I believe presenting positive portrayals of gay people on TV can lead to that. Honestly, coming out was the hardest thing for me to do. I didn't want to come out; I had built a family and a lie in order to avoid who I was, and it killed me every day to not be the right man for my wife. That's why I laugh when I read about gay rehabilitation. You can't change a person's lust, and if you do, they are going to be miserable. It's easier for you to accept the person for who they are. From a purely desire-based standpoint, I don't experience sexual urges for women, but I tend to have great nonsexual relationships with them.
I'm very much in love with my ex-wife, just like I'm in love with my best friend Kristin, who is featured alongside me on Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. My relationship with Kristin at times even reflects a marriage. But it's not a romantic love. It's equivalent to the love you have for your grandma. I do depend on her to give my kids the normalcy of having a nuclear family. Plus she drives me home when I've had too much to drink.
Being on Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys was honestly a remarkable experience, and it feels great to be a part of this show. Sundance Channel and the producers kept the portrayal of our lives genuine. Kristin and I constantly had to define our friendship for the cameras, and I realized that I don't think anyone does that enough with their best friend. The show actually brought Kristin and me even closer together, because we had to be able to define our friendship in context so viewers could understand. It's weird that our lives are a form of entertainment, but it also feels good to set an example for gay youth in America, by showing them how to have a functional relationship.
I used to end my sets with, "I don't care if you hate me because I'm gay, I'm filthy, I push buttons, but one of you will have a gay child, and all I ask is that you support him and love him for who he is." I stopped using that because it was a little too somber, and in stand-up you should end on a laugh, not a cry. Now I close my shows by giving out my Grindr screen name.
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys airs on Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET on the Sundance Channel. For more info, visit the show's official website.