AE: Did it all take place within one day or how long were they with you?
K: There was five days of taping.
AE: All the time?
K: Pretty much. Yeah. I think the last day was just getting some of my family pictures, just taking shots of things that they might need for editing purposes, things like that. But there were four solid days of filming where they were with me full-time.
AE: Do you think that it changed how you came out to your family and how they received it just because of the fact that there were cameras there?
K: No, not in how I came out to my mom, no. On the show youâ€™ll see I struggled with what to say, where to go, how to do it. Should I give her a gift? Should I write her a card? I struggled over every aspect of it. And thinking back now, I definitely would not have shouted out and used the words â€œgayâ€ or â€œlesbian,â€ because to old-school adults, that can have negative connotations attached. So I said that I dated women. Thatâ€™s how I phrased it. I definitely wouldnâ€™t have changed that.
I gave her a gift, a clock and I engraved it, because time was relevant for us. And I definitely would have done that again, because Iâ€™m always doing that. I love to give gifts to people. I definitely would have marked the day, because it was a big day for us. I took her to her favorite park. I was thinking, Should I bring her to the club, the bar and restaurant? I wanted her to see that weâ€™re not caged animals, weâ€™re regular people. But then I finally decided that instead of putting her out of her comfort zone and into mine, I thought about what was best for my mom. So, no, I wouldnâ€™t have done anything differently because of the cameras. Definitely not.
I feel so much better about myself since I did this, even though my mom was sick and I jeopardized that a little bit. You know, should I tell her because sheâ€™s sick? But not everybody is going to be in that situation, and Iâ€™m definitely for coming out, even if they know that their parents are homophobic. Believe me, I would not tell anybody to come out if they were not comfortable with it. My friend came out to her dad and her dad mailed her her birth certificate. I mean, a â€œhere you go, youâ€™re no longer part of our familyâ€ type of thing. What she did was, she was helping out herself. She was coming to terms with who she was by doing that. And thatâ€™s whatâ€™s important.
AE: And the same goes for coming out to your sister?
K: Yeah, I just brought her outside and started crying and said, â€œIâ€™ve held something back for so long and Iâ€™m sorry, but Iâ€™m a lesbian.â€ Yeah, I just came out. [Laughs]
AE: So, how old is your son?
K: Heâ€™s seven.
AE: What does he know? What have you been able to tell him at seven?
K: I remember in kindergarten two years ago, my son was asked to draw a picture of his family, and he drew a picture of two women holding hands with him in the middle. So he was five, maybe six, at the time. Heâ€™s fine. He doesnâ€™t know know. He doesnâ€™t know how to put it into words, but he understands the concept of whatâ€™s going on. I donâ€™t put anything in front of him, because thereâ€™s a maturity level and Iâ€™m very careful with him. Weâ€™re very, very close. Because thatâ€™s basically all we have, each other. I say heâ€™s all the man I need. [Laughs]
AE: When you decided to do the show, did you know what to expect?
K: No. Even when the camera crew came, you never know whatâ€™s going to happen. Is it really going to air? Is someone going to break their contract? With all the media stuff you donâ€™t know. But when I actually saw my commercial for the first time, then I knew, okay, this is really going to happen, and I need to start doing something.
I built a website [www.karenscomingout.com]. Itâ€™s brand new today. And then I started thinking, I canâ€™t wait to travel this country and talk to people about this. I really canâ€˜t wait. Itâ€™s what I want to do, big time. I want to help out the youths, and even adults, who havenâ€™t come out. Iâ€™m actually going to contact some of the universities in cities that have large gay populations and hopefully I can get down there and speak about coming out and the importance of it to yourself and to your family and things.