Interview with Matthew Vant
|Note: While the responses to the interview below are, in fact, factual, the interview with Betty Klipsch and the Betty Klipsch character are not. Any similarity to persons, dead or living, is purely coincidential.
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Betty Klipsch, a married woman in my department recently interviewed me. She knew that I had had a rough week at work and wanted to get the “inside scoop.” I’m publishing the transcript here.
BETTY: So, you’ve effectively come out to all the people in the office here; how does that feel?
MATT: It feels good! It’s basically the last group of people in my life that I needed to come out to. Even so, this was a stressful, rough week. It’s not a comfortable thing talking about something so personal. And I’m always conscious of the fact that my sexuality is not really work related, but I’m bringing it into the workplace. I hate the thought of forcing ideas on to other people. Another stress is that you never know how people are going to react to the news of being gay.
BETTY: How did people take it?
MATT: You know the group. They were pretty good about it, for the most part. One person, who I’ll not name, went out of his way to tell me that he didn’t “understand or approve.” Even after I told him that I specifically was not looking for anyone to validate who I am. At this point in my life, I really don’t care. I really don’t.
BETTY: Well, that’s a good attitude to have.
MATT: That’s exactly what [my boss] said. Well, I didn’t think I’d ever be coming out until that CHET training.
BETTY: There have been a lot of changes for you. I also understand that in April of this year that you broke up with your partner of 6.5 years. I imagine this has been a difficult time. How are you dealing?
MATT: Well, I’m in a strange place right now. I really having a hard time understanding where I am with ex. On a certain level, I guess I still have feelings for Mark, but I also dislike him. He’s been jerky during this separation. Granted, it’s not easy for him, but he’s been outright mean.
BETTY: So, you’ve told us.
MATT: Yeah, well, I guess I kind of miss having someone around the house and someone to go out with once in a while. That would make me a bit lonely. What’s crappy is that I wish I was in a relationship but I’m definitely not ready for a relationship. Also, It’s not comfortable for me to meet people at bars. At the moment, I’m just kind of content hanging out with friends and trying not to get too tied up in my emotions.
BETTY: So, just out of curiosity, do you like women?
MATT: Although I am gay, I really can appreciate the beauty of a female body, mind and spirit. I have female friends. I love comparing notes with women and I appreciate their feelings. OK, I’m on thin ice here.
BETTY: So when did you find out that you liked guys more than women.
MATT: (Smiling) I was always a bit different as a kid and I got teased for it. For example, I remember playing with Barbie dolls with a female friend who lived a few blocks away in Reading, Mass. where I lived. As a teenager, I had bad acne and wasn’t popular. By the time I came out of my shell in my final years of high school and in college, I was still too shy to date. I dated a few women but didn’t have very deep relations. When I moved to Cincinnati, in my adult life, I dated some amazingly beautiful, intelligent women, but found that things wouldn’t work. I realized the problem was with me, not them. At 26, I admitted it to myself. The rest is just history.
BETTY: Wow. Doing the math, if you’re 33 and you were with Mark for 6.5 years…
MATT: Yeah, I dated for only a few months before meeting Mark. Mark was, in fact, the second person I’ve dated in my life. This is why I’m kind of naïve about the dating scene. I’m learning through trial and error. Thank God, I’ve got friends to help me understand what’s going on.
BETTY: So what does your family think about the break up?
MATT: Well, I think that my parents were a bit disappointed to hear about the break. Through discussion, I think that they understand that a relationship can only go so far without both people putting in an effort. My dad has been overly supportive. He told me to learn from my mistakes and look forward.
BETTY: Getting back to the work thing, do you think coming out at work will help?
MATT: Oh, I’ve seen where me making an effort to open up has already made a difference in the workplace. Things seem much more relaxed in the office. People seem more likely to approach me. There’s more camaraderie.
BETTY: So, now that you’ve come out, can I ask you, are you a health risk; do you have AIDS?
MATT: Oh my God! I can’t believe you’re asking me this. No, I am not HIV positive. I had a test very recently. Oh, my vaccinations are up to date. My cholesterol is down. Wanna see my latest doctors report? Can I see yours, Betty?
BETTY: (Clearing throat) Just one last question. Do you take a more passive or active role?
MATT: (Laughing) Betty, I’m sorry it’s going to far to ask that one. Although I’m glad you feel comfortable asking me anything, that’s just something I’m not going to divulge. Heck, the people in the group will be watching this! This interview is over.