Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

"Coming out" about sexuality

Palmquist describes his "coming out" process. At the time of the high school protests described previously, Palmquist was just beginning to tell some of his friends that he was gay. Shortly thereafter he also came out to his family, which he describes as generally supportive.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Did you come out to your parents during this period of time?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Ironically, I was not out to my parents during the whole controversy.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
They just thought that you were a little liberal personߞ
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
As far as they knew I was participating as an ally. My brother was actually one of the other people suspended too and he is straight. I think that they were wondering at that point, but they did not know. I came out to them towards the end of the summer in 1994.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
How did they respond to that?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
They were very supportive. My mom went through the usual, "Oh, you are not going to have a happy life. You will be lonely forever," thing. But, we worked through that and she is really, really supportive and is involved with GLYSN now, so she is great. My dad is a much quieter type, but is also pretty cool.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
Quietly supportive. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, quietly supportive. And after that, I was out to everyone in my high school for my senior year.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
Did you openly date then?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I did, I went out with a guy over that summer between junior and senior year and we were pretty out amongst our friends. We broke up by the end of the summer though and the sort of went back into the closet. So, I kind of respected that and didn't out him at school. I went out on a couple of dates in my senior year, but I wish that I had had a boy to take to the prom, but it did not happen. [Laughter] Actually I did go to the prom with a girl and guy as a threesome, so.
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
Oh, you went as a ménage a trois.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It was not sexual. [Laughter]
CHRIS MCGINNIS:
You mean you just took your picture together. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we were just fucking with people's minds.