StoryCorps: “I got in the most trouble I think I ever had in my entire life.”

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Derrick: When I was younger, I remember I was on the playground and I kissed a boy. It wasn’t like anything sexualized or anything like that, but I got in the most trouble I think I ever had in my entire life. I had no perception of what bisexuality was, but I guess that was when I would first say I explored it.

I remember writing you letters-6

My parents were very religious and kind of did bring this heavy-handed Leviticus kind of message, but at the time they didn’t know I identified as anything. LGBTQ individuals were associated, especially men with AIDS, and pedophilia, and … it was a scary thing. That was probably the first time I ever was told the law of the land: This is bad; do not be this.

I had a friend that went to my religious institution, and we would get along and stuff like that, and it was like you guys can hug, you guys don’t fight, but don’t get too close now. There was this obviously when you crossed the line.  I always found that weird because there was just this limitation given on your ability to show affection to your fellowman. The ironic thing is they sexualized actions that were not sexual in any nature. It could be as simple as we hugged. It was suddenly turned into this sick thing, and I was constantly reminded with examples from the Hebrew Bible about how God punishes the earth for this and this and this, which always struck me as funny because he never did the same thing for people that were gluttonous or cruel or wrathful.

Amy Stiftel-Sedlis

Amy Stiftel-Sedlis

Assistant Producer


StoryCorps recognizes the profound historical importance of capturing the stories of the LGBTQ community and the urgent need for this work to happen now. StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America. OutLoud will honor the stories of those who lived before the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ youth, and amplify the voices of those most often excluded from the historical record. The end result will be a diverse collection of stories that will enrich our nation’s history.

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