Nathan Hoskins knew from an early age that he was gay. But he quickly learned to keep that a secret.
Nathan grew up in rural Kentucky, in a family that didn’t tolerate homosexuality.
At StoryCorps, he told his friend Sally Evans just how dangerous it was to be himself.
Click here for the transcript.
On the way home, I was trying to plan how I would get that letter, but when I got off the bus, Mom had already checked the mail. My mom came out and met me on the front steps. She had that envelope, and I could tell what it was 'cause it had little hearts on it, and you know, it was all cute and everything--and she'd asked me if I had read it. And I said, "No." And she made me read it, and I did everything I could to lie and convince my mother I did not solicit that. And she took me into the house and pulled her shotgun out of the closet. She loaded it in front of me and put it in my hands and told me to hold on to that. She led me outside and she put me in the back of the car. And she drove out into the country--now, when I say "country," it's no man's land.
She stopped on the side of the road--and I'd been holding the shotgun in my hands the entire time. And she led me out into the woods. She stood me up against a tree. She took the shotgun out of my hands and she put it to my head. And she said, "This is the tree that I'd take my son to and blow his head off if he ever decided to be a faggot." And at that moment, I knew I had to do whatever it took to not be gay. And I tried very hard, and I was a great liar for many years.
Probably two years ago, I asked her about that. I said, "Mom, remember this?" And she would laugh. I said, "Mom, I just want to hear one time that what you did was wrong." And she couldn't say it.
Sally Evans (SE): So did she acknowledge that it happened?
NH: Oh yes, oh yes. You know, I guess she really did think that she was doing the right thing then. I was always trying very hard to please others as a child, but as an adult, I look back and I say, I am who I'm supposed to be. There was never another alternative.