I’m From Dohuk, Iraq. I was born in Dohuk, which is in northern Iraq, and when I was 4 years old Saddam Husein destroyed our villages and killed many people, so my family escaped to Iran, and I grew up in Tehran. After the second Gulf War, when I was 14 years old, we came back to northern Iraq. I remember my feeling towards males was a special feeling. I liked males, but in a closed country like Iraq it is regarded as a big crime and shame in society. Sometimes I told myself, “Oh maybe I’m crazy, why would I have this feeling to males?” But as I grew up, year after year I realized that I’m gay and life for me became more difficult.
I’m From Santee, CA – Featured Artist. I’m from Santee, California. In that small, poor suburb of San Diego, I grew up in a big, Mexican family. Every Christmas was an enormous shared celebration at my grandmother’s house that involved helping my grandmother hang her decades-old Christmas decorations, coercing my cousins to practice songs to sing for adults, aunts and uncles buying games for the kids to play overnight as Christmas Eve turned to Christmas Day, and never-ending trips to the grocery stores.
Know what Christmas smells like to me? A combination of my grandmother’s homemade secret salsa, the spicy molasses of gingerbread cookies, the earthy wet-corn of steaming tamales, and the simple savoriness of roasting turkey. Christmas is the smell of my family.
I’m From Birmingham, AL. I grew up in Alabama – small towns, strong morals, Bible Belt Capital! I was (and am) extremely close to all of my family. I realized there was something “different” with me in 8th grade when we moved to a new town and the school was very “cliqueish”. Being the gay boy that I was (but didn’t yet know), I was into the best clothes, shoes, accessories, etc., so when I started my new school, the preppy crowd took me in and welcomed me. It wasn’t long, however, that they pushed me away just as quick as they accepted me.
I’m From San Francisco, CA. When I started dating C, my junior year of college, I came out to my mother to tears and screaming. It took three years before Mom would allow my partner to come to Christmas. She finally allowed C to come to the annual Boxing Day Leftovers party.
From its 1989 inception – neighbors gathering to divest themselves of extra Christmas food, the Boxing day party had developed into a blow-out in its own right. The year C would come, Mom had invited sixty people to her house.
I’m From Seabrook, TX – Video Story. My father was a military guy, he was a West Point graduate, and from West Point he was Army Air Corps and then commissioned Air Force Officer and when he retired, he retired as a Colonel. So he was a very authoritative person. He had a good sense of humor, but when he spoke you listened. And my very first interaction or even probably even first interaction with the word “gay” was whenever my sister was in 9th grade, she became friends with this guy, Chris Mason. She’s friends with him today, 25 years later. And he was out in 9th grade, just knew he was gay very early on, and he and my sister became very fast friends and my father was against it and told my sister that her choice in friendship reflected poorly on her.