Tom Kurthy (TK) and Robert Madden (RM)
RM: When I was ten, I told my parents I was going to marry a man when I grew up.
RM: And um, mother, you know, growing up in a farming community, she was like, ”ask the priest honey, I don’t know.” [Laughs] And when I decided to start living openly, I came out to them again because my mother had always told me, ”we can handle anything as a family as long as you tell us first. I don’t want to hear about it from friends and strangers.” So I told them. And my father was very cool with it right away. He said, ”It doesn’t matter to me if you spend your life with a man or with a woman as long as you make it something you can hold your head up about.” My mother took some time because she thought it was her fault and she felt guilty about it. My grandma said to her, ”You’re missing out on a beautiful relationship because you can’t accept this about him. He’s still the same person you raised and that we all grew up with.” And I went home to visit my mom and this particular night she asked me if I would stay up with her and I did. And then she just started asking me all these questions. What it was like between two men and what could we possibly do and all that kind of stuff. And she’s like, ”If you’re embarrassed you don’t need to answer.” And I said, ”Well, I’m not embarrassed. I’m just shocked you would ask me.” And she’s like, ”I want to know.” So I explained to her and she sat there with a straight face and afterwards she just went, ”Huh, just curious.” In October, of 2006, when my mother was passing she put her hand on my face and she said, ”You are so precious.” She said, ”I love you.” And I said, ”I love you too, mom.” And she goes, ”No, I mean unconditionally.” And I was astounded. It was just such open beautiful acceptance. It was just the greatest gift she could have given me.