Joseph Andy Holmes and Michael Dane Reeves

Recorded August 27, 2006 Archived August 27, 2006 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBY001956


Michael and Joseph talk about their father/son relationship and their sexuality.

Subject Log / Time Code

Michael talks about coming out to his father via email.
Joseph notes the importance of families.
They talk about genetic origins of “gayness” - they are father and son and both gay.
Joseph talks about having HIV and when he told his son.
Joseph says what Michael’s email said and what he thought.


  • Joseph Andy Holmes
  • Michael Dane Reeves

Recording Location

MobileBooth West


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00:06 My name is Michael Dane Reeves. I am 28 years old. Today's date is August 27th 2006 and we're in Amarillo, Texas and I'm here with my Father Joseph Holmes. My name is Joseph Andy Holmes. I am 43 years old. Today's date is August 27th 2006. We are in Amarillo, Texas and I'm sitting here across the table from my son Michael Dane Reeves.

00:37 I guess in in preparation for a lot of this I guess.

00:45 Coming out story for the both of us would be a good place to start. So I did want to ask you when when did that happen as far as officially and I guess probably within yourself also. Well, that's a difficult because I've always felt it coming out with a process.

01:07 And I think I was the hardest person to come out to.

01:10 I was 20.

01:14 7th, I think when I came out to my mother and she wanted to know why I had waited so long and I said what I was so afraid that you would kick me out of the house and she started crying.

01:25 And she was crying not because I was gay but because I thought that she would kick me out of the house and

01:33 You know how she is. I mean, you know my mom she would never in a million years do that.

01:40 I remember when I told my sisters about it and one of my sisters said, you know what we just can't let Daddy know that it would just tear him up which just burn me out because he wasn't exactly there to support me in so many years of my life which they knew and yet here they were asking me something so fundamental about my life that they wanted me to hide from him. I could see their point in some respects, but it made me angry because the message was very clear. Don't be who you are don't make waves Don't Rock the Boat

02:13 I just

02:16 From their own I figured it'd me taking care of myself was more important than worrying about what other people are going to think about me or feel about me putting my family.

02:26 What about you? Well, I remember when you told me I just wasn't sure if that was the time that pretty much the same time frame as everyone else. We were is right after I met Tom, but we were driving back to Memos from Baton Rouge and I remember you when you told me

02:52 I live pretty much had already known anyway, and

03:00 I remember of

03:04 How it made me feel because I knew that I knew what I was battling with myself.

03:11 And I had the comfort that I think maybe a lot of other people in our situation has not had I knew that no matter what

03:22 I wasn't alone and I knew that I would have a parent who still love me after they found out that I was this exact same way. So it felt good whenever you told me because of what what I knew that was going on in my head. So I agree to as far as the hardest person to come out to being yourself because I fought it for years and even whenever I

03:54 Came out to you in an email.

03:58 However, many miles away we were

04:02 I was so completely nervous. I was shaking all over.

04:08 Like I was freezing cold because

04:12 It's something to do. I have an idea in your head about something especially when it's your about you yourself whenever you verbalize it because you can think it all day long. But whenever you say it it where you tell anyone else there's there's no going back and I even tried that one but

04:34 Immediate real I think it's funny that you sent it to me in an email. I printed it off and I kept it. I know I've have even gone back in and read it and laughed because it's so it's so funny that

04:50 All of that, it is just silliness as far as the de fear of.

04:57 Being found out in this is it you know, there's a basis for that fear though. I mean you and I both live in a place where it is conditioned, you know, it's very real when people are beat up even at this point.

05:15 When the president of the United States has stood in for the television and

05:21 And in a very nice way with his religious stance demonizing gay people as a threat to the American family kind of thing. The irony that if nothing else is in not in your situation, we're father and son and in a biological scheme of things and yet I could not love you any more than if I were straight and you were straight because those terms and even then even matter in terms of love and relationship.

05:52 I think one of the good things about that is.

05:55 In some respects that's what our family is worried about the fear of what we had from our families my mother and father. Your mother are grandparents siblings close friends and relatives. Whatever.

06:10 This is a close-knit way of dealing with that is before we come from in Louisiana that

06:19 For us to eventually say this is who I am and we almost you know.

06:26 I threw up a shield shielding with her arms waiting for the barrage of of in a physical blows and yet at first I remember and some of my family they were

06:38 Kind of not knowing what to say, but eventually the words were I love you. No matter what. I remember my father telling me on the phone.

06:49 Would never even discussed.

06:51 I'm gay, you know it was I was pretty much the elephant in the living room and you know my whatever condition thing and on the phone, I remember him telling me that

07:05 Tama previous party. So, you know, I just want you to know that Tom is welcome here anytime that y'all come out here and I I thought I was going to cry and

07:17 I really really want to stress that my family. Of course you my family is absolutely the most important part of my life and and I don't see how my family can be that stupid and Godless and I can be that stupid and Godless and we're going to break down the Weir and part of breaking down the fiber of the family value system that apparently is so unstable that gave me and you know, this metal that

07:47 My family is so supportive and we're so supportive of one another it boggles my mind.

07:53 Well after I sent that letter.

07:57 A night. I still had a hard time with it and

08:02 Let you know when not long after that. I introduced you to my girlfriend and let's let's just pretend that dad never even happened that I didn't send you that e-mail earlier and here's my garage rent and you know, and I guess my that the email to you I guess to you was my coming out but my real coming out story the one to the world and then eventually and ultimately to myself it was

08:40 Probably one of the most difficult times in my life because then

08:46 You know, I spent my entire life, you know Carbon these blocks out to fit together just perfectly so I could build so many walls and in front of everyone that I knew her friends family everyone and then whenever I remember whenever I told her because she was the second person that I came out to after you I was crying and I'd I felt horrible

09:15 But not only because of I am this way and I didn't like it. I had spent my entire life laying in bed every night crying and praying God, please do not let me be this way. Let this be just some phase that I'm going through and it never did go away and I had gotten to the point where I said well,

09:37 If

09:39 If I'm gay but I get married and have kids and never act on it and my really gay, you know, well, I learned that.

09:49 If I'm going to continue to live on this planet, then I've got to be myself cuz otherwise

09:57 There would have been a funeral because I was I was so unhappy there would have been no way that I could continue to live that way. So when I came out to her my entire world that I work so hard on building came tumbling down.

10:13 It was an emotional wreck as it is and at the time I hated her for it, but the very next day. She now I can say did me the favor of killing all of my friends at a party.

10:27 Say that again. Yeah, she she told everyone at a party that very next day.

10:35 About the conversation I had with that. Oh dang skate. Did you know that he's he's a fagg. He's my own. That's appropriate. I think that you know later on that night and of course I show up after work not knowing she'd already told everyone and then finally came out.

10:56 And we got this big fight and that's you know, when I ask you did for two weeks. No one knew where I was and it was finally made.

11:09 Donut bun is his sister and the name Boone goes back to apparently she used to have dark circles under eyes and they called her coon. And whenever I was little league country is a it so it's bun and it's been a boon since then they always will be but anyway, they found me and they drove out into the middle of tensas Parish where I was and she she told me we don't know what's going on, but we're not going to let you do this to yourself anymore. And I think that really just kind of shows the way our family is, you know,

11:54 I'm here for you. I don't know what it is. But I love you and I want to know what it is because we're not going to let you be self-destructive anymore. So I told her in my exact words the way I told her was I'm a little more like my dad then then I think you know she goes yeah, I know like matter of fact, so what's the problem and that was almost like getting punched in the chest because I was like, you know that I put myself through so, of course then she told me I'm on the way back and then I guess she also called my mom and told Mom about it took at this point there was there was no hiding again, you know, I can send you an email but only you and I know that happened this now the entire world knows don't you hate the word, you know in some respects. I just can't stand coming out.

12:53 Could a good place to sell my stuff the root really what that means coming out of the most like a marketing tool sometimes has as its family values is used for a marketing tool. But what it is is I've come to terms.

13:10 With a very real truth about myself and I feel that it's necessary to be honest with you my family, whoever

13:20 Because I get tired of feeling like by not telling somebody it's a lie.

13:24 And I could not live with that and I remember when.

13:30 I found this and Michael Dane. I want you to move with me. I able to move out to Amarillo Texas to be with me because come spend some time with me. Right and that's that's actually whenever I moved from from Louisiana here with the intention of staying for 2 weeks.

13:51 Gather my thoughts and find myself and then go back and face the world but then remember after that two weeks, you know moved my returning flight back. So I was here for a month and then I do go back and then there was

14:11 It was like

14:13 Texas was the west and I was moving out, you know for my my treasures in my

14:19 Acre of land and a mule so

14:24 My my my new life started here not of course because of where it was, but it was a slight right in a spiritual respect. That was a very real thing. You were handed your mule and your 40 acres of land whatever now a tough.

14:44 It was tough on me as well. I had nothing here was familiar not even the weather.

14:50 Culture with different

14:53 And I had to look at myself without a lot of distractions familiar Comfort. Otherwise

15:00 And I was able to break down in a lot of respects to.

15:05 Why I hated myself because I was gay what I was thinking. I didn't hate myself because I was gay I had myself because I felt like everybody else that I was going to be around was going to hate me persecute me send you the truth about me where I work now here in Amarillo, Texas in a lot of respect that is a way that it started out. I was scared to death here. It is 9 years later when I finally came out I felt like, you know, I just finally molted that skin that didn't even fit it never even fit and I felt free I didn't care what anybody else thought as a as a result my relationships with people got much better. Did you find that I did first of all,

15:55 I had a hard time at first with the whole labeling of myself in a

16:02 What is gay in Whitehaven have brought Universal sense? What it what is the label do it? Well, if it gives us a tag, so people know what box to put us in I got to the point where I am. Now, I don't have a problem at all with being gay. As a matter of fact if there was a magic pill that came out tomorrow and do you know this could all go away and I could live a happy hetero life. I wouldn't because it is as much of a part of who I am as

16:44 My DNA my makeup it is I am who I am. This brings me a question that I got to think about and it's

16:53 I don't know that I've ever asked you directly. Do you think that you are gay because of?

17:02 Environmental thing because we weren't raised correctly because your genetic makeup makes you that way or does it even matter?

17:10 It was something that used to be more. I wanted to know what caused this what made me gay. A lot of people I've even done School research projects. I've heard so many different theories are there people who are looking for the Gaijin are people who believe that there's either an abundant or a lack of a certain?

17:40 Chemical that the fetus is exposed to or not exposed to at certain brain developmental stages during the gestation. That could possibly cause it. I've even heard about some primordial virus that attacks the brain in some way and change the genetic makeup of some people at you know, it's

18:04 We can keep trying to find these causes and reasons for it if they even exist. I personally don't even really think about it anymore because it almost doesn't matter what causes it.

18:20 It is an to me. The bigger question is not what causes homosexuality like it's this disease. It could be a broader question. Like what determines sexuality. And not just in people. It's also in animals. It's in every culture every religion every part of the world. It's it is and as far as recorded history has been that we can go back as far as we can. Look to mosaics on the walls and grease.

18:55 It always has been do you think that?

18:59 Gif

19:01 It wasn't about even being a gay issue, but maybe it was about some other maybe maybe not genetic issue. We we think we would even be going through this trouble in the first place. I mean y x expand all this energy all this money to try to find an answer who who needs that answer and why are there a lot of people I think who want to know the cause of okay, we want to know what the Gaijin is because now that we are capable of genetic engineering to some some degree, even though in people were not supposed to be doing that yet. I think if people are looking for a cause because they want to look for it to end and I think it's kind of funny.

19:47 Because the whole concept of

19:54 Searching for something that it's what makes us gay. What makes us not gay the basis for that is really in truly.

20:01 Quote-unquote morally based and it's funny because a lot of the stuff you see in the newspapers on TV and Evangelical channels on the television. We've calls.

20:13 Human flags from wiping out the planet to Hurricane Katrina to the war in Iraq because I'm so cynical. I think well, let's say tomorrow. We find the gene we splice it out of the human genome all gay men and women are force-fed. The magic pill what's going to happen is the stock market going to plunge, you know where they're going to scream to the roof. Well, I'll tanks come to a screeching halt will suddenly everybody test HIV negative. I mean it it becomes too ludicrous with the search and it's become pointless and I can only imagine the people that may be listening to this who did not have the love of the family that we have.

21:07 And because their families may be so Pious that they said we'll know we're going to just

21:14 We're going to follow our known Dogma Doctrine religion, whatever and we're just going to get this gay person this gay daughter this gay son out of the house because if we if we remove the problem from the house, we don't have to think about it and the problem will just go away. Well, the fact the matter is all people is matter who you are. It doesn't matter if you know 90% to 100% gay or 90% or 100% heterosexual. We're all human we don't have feelings will I want the same basic needs to love and to be loved and when any person that you sweep out the door as if they were garbage it's going to perpetuate a bigger problem.

22:02 And that's one of the things that

22:04 That's one of the things that was important that you and I sit across from the table and talk like this. We are family we are blood and I could not ever think of getting rid of you and it's not because I'm gay in your gay ass because it we love one another and we're family and that's important.

22:23 Gene splicing whatever they're going to do.

22:27 Removing

22:29 If there's a Gaijin I just I just can't even get to that point. I mean, why don't we just talk about Eugenics with it with the Nazi party, you know and we might as well be Jewish and let's just wipe us off the face of the Earth as this is more than the same thing. Let's purify.

22:44 There's no such thing as Purity. No. People think that way some people do there. So many problems in there has to be a scapegoat have to point a finger at something and whether or not it's our country went to the probation because alcohol was going to lead the way to so many other so much other deviant horrible Behavior cuz somebody found in a scripture somewhere that that was what was supposed to be. Well also within our culture or our country. I mean, it hasn't been that long ago that we would look at a person and judge them completely by their sex or other color of their skin. And unless you were a white man, you basically had no power or control or say what went on.

23:37 . Matter what electrical bit more historical fine-tuned women didn't have the right to vote to the 1920s I think and

23:47 Pradamalia, those people that were against that men and women well.

23:53 God is about to die and I'm so sick sick sick of people using incredibly beautiful guidelines for personal living to be used as divisive. There's a book out. I haven't read it. But the author's name is Mark, Noe, Noe may be pronouncing, Noe for all I know.

24:14 And he has written a book about the Civil War what led up to the Civil War and the literal geographical Schism in the United States of people abolitionist who firmly believed and they were using

24:30 Biblical texts for their format slavery is evil for one person to hold another person in bondage and do what they do with them. Whatever they want was Godless will then you had other people that don't know the Bible makes it very clear that we can slave anybody that we wants to and God gives permission which led to force what we know of the Civil War which had a combined total of death as a result more than any other

24:57 War that America is it has been involved and combined including the current deaths in Iraq? How is it why this is rhetorical it would continue to use.

25:10 Text will try to limit God the Creator in what 1100 1200 pages that has been reduced to?

25:22 You know, what would have been brought her. I suppose they've been reduced to this amount of text. And and we say this is who God is exclusively. Let's go out and and be right about who we are if that means putting down destroying.

25:40 Other people were better than you are that bothers me to this day.

25:46 Ask a question. Yes. Is there is there an instance where the fact that both of you are gay.

25:55 Has created a difficulty for both of you at the same time or conversely where you've been able to come through something together and and work with each other on that help each other out.

26:10 I've always feel close to you Michael Dane.

26:13 I'm I'm trying to think of anything specific and I think the first thing that came to mind was those airplanes hitting the World Trade Center towers and all I could think about was.

26:31 But the horrific idea of some people who are so religiously driven that they want to kill other people the people that they killed were gay straight whatever and the image of those people kind of jump ahead when we were watching that the document documentary. I think it was on PBS and we were sobbing and all I could think about was

26:54 My son is experiencing. The same exact thing is I am right now.

27:01 And it makes me want to cling to that even though it was not about a political statement against gay people. It was not about

27:08 The shred of family values at the time, of course, you know later some evangelist on television and somehow made the connection that and if gay people were not trying to be legally recognized as the government then

27:24 Those hijackers the terror should not have hijacked airplanes and they would not have flown it into the World Trade Center in America would be X number thousands of New Yorkers richer to this day.

27:41 I don't know run if I answered your question correctly actually wanting you may not know is

27:49 He and my mom they were they were kids whenever when I was born 15 when they were 15 when I was born and

28:05 I'd I live with my mom and her husband. So I would visit on Summers weekends until we moved away. So.

28:20 I didn't grow up with.

28:23 It's not like you know, he took me to buy ice cream every Sunday or you know, we we spend the time together that we had but it wasn't an everyday thing. So.

28:38 It's I guess since I didn't grow up.

28:41 With you every day. I I can't think of a particular situation where we have been in a certain.

28:53 And I don't think that there's anything come up where we've had to deal with something together.

29:00 With in the gay community may be the only thing I can think about was whenever.

29:06 I told her I had HIV and I think that was a really huge moment. That was I was a scared tell you about that. As I was that I was gay. My son going to reject me. Nobody's going to want to hug me any more people are going to keep a 10-foot distance from me. Well, it's that's another thing. I'm the amount of ignorant again concerning a disease that affect so many people across the world is it it boggles my mind because I thought the same thing it was right after I moved in with you and you told me and I remember thinking great, you know, I finally live with you and now I get to watch you die because you're going to have AIDS and you're going to look like one of those Tom Hanks skeletons with skin draped across its face and in a bed, and I was terrified.

30:02 And it's unfortunate that so many people in any situation wait until they are part of a particular issue or situation before they educate themselves on it and it because it was after that that I started reading about it or doing research or just if you hear something about it pay closer attention because it now affects you, you know, so and Michael Dane, I know now that that is not true you are

30:33 Healthy now, and I know when you were working out. I thought you know you with HIV now are probably healthier now than you have ever been in your entire life. So that that I guess that would be one thing that we did kind of have to deal with together because

30:55 It's not really gay issue age. AIDS or HIV is not a gay issue. It's just another world issue.

31:05 But since it affected Us in this way, I think that that was one thing it was almost like coming out all over again, but for with a different now, this is something different. I want to how many people they would ever hear. This would still cling to

31:22 That concept a jackal gay.

31:26 Age of God's Wrath

31:29 And even

31:31 Even even if I said the truth, which is

31:35 Spiritually, I'm a much better person. I feel like this is going to sound just Twisted. But in a lot of respects HIV has given me a great opportunity. It's giving me a second chance.

31:51 And in learning with learning about myself and what kind of person that I want to be.

31:59 For somebody to say well that whole gay lifestyle. First of all, I don't know who they're talking about who I don't know. What if if lifestyle you mean I get up in the morning I brush my teeth when I go to work so I can pay my bills and I spend my life with a person who I love very dearly and I love my family if that is an alien lifestyle to you. I fail to see your point, look in the mirror.

32:30 You know, I'm I'm not I don't do anything any different from anyone else other than I love a man and you have really good taste in Furniture as well and nice shoes. Men stereotypes again is so good muscle pain is

32:52 I don't think we really pretty much giving people a greater depth of us. But in our relationship one of the things I love is our sense of humor and to be able to laugh and it's important that we haven't really touched much on our family and the ability to laugh at so many things openly we can laugh at each other.

33:17 That's very important.

33:19 I also think that it's kind of important in that we might want to touch on her Native American background a lot of respects because traditionally

33:32 Google call the American Indian people the native people in this country did not look it who we call gay lesbian people as

33:40 Degenerate subordinate quite the contrary was the other way around people like us were considered healers in medicine people than teachers and it was recognized and

33:53 Actually honored because in a lot of respects people like us were considered to have the spirit of both a male and a female which brings about the term to Spirit which is kind of a better term I think anyway and

34:09 What a lot of people probably don't even think about is. Yeah, we have gay people and lesbian people teaching and being able to be very good mentors and to have sometimes a very real strong desire to connect with other people on a spiritual level.

34:27 And yet somehow this been turn around as were trying to infiltrate the American family with demon eyes Twisted ideologies in agenda the gay agenda, which maybe I left it in a file somewhere, but I've lost mine Mega agenda is get up in the morning brush my teeth go to work and pay my bills. I don't think I got that package in the mail when I came out, but I don't know when when 10% of a population is anything all around the world and always already.

34:59 Doing things that people don't want us to be doing and don't have a problem with it because they don't know but they still would like what they're going to do at some point rent a car around a card and if you're gay or not going to accept your money at Macy's department store will let you buy gas. We won't accept your money for taxes. It's just the whole Ludacris concept of this could just go on and on and I don't want to go there my focus

35:28 More than anything but this is what I want to let you buy me one of the things I think you and I share grown up in our lives was because we come from the same family. We were instilled with family values deeply deeply rooted.

35:43 Nobody behind any Pulpit can change that they can scream it. They can try to convince people that are sitting front of their televisions. Send me money and I'll tell you why marriage is about to fall because gay people are running rampant through this country and trying to become married which you know,

36:06 My focus is being.

36:09 You and our family. We're not yet. You have a mother that I'm I still consider a friend of mine and I still love we were kids, you know when we had sex out of wedlock and you gave birth and not once not once did either of our families ever say you're not going to see each other dance going to be adopted. We're going to fight we're going to be in at let's let's bring some religious aspect to this and become divisive and exclusive. It was quite the opposite.

36:46 I get very frustrated whenever people talk about the gay lifestyle and promiscuity and being nasty and it's an Abomination if you want to talk about what God says about.

37:02 Wearing cloth of two different fibers, you know it if I if I were straight and I was going out and sleeping with a different woman every night. I do I'm so in my oats and I'm manly you have your own sake, I actually get I can get married to a woman and decide two days later. I can't stand you and get a divorce. We don't have people saying well, the reason why we're at War right now is because men are sleeping with a bunch of women in their not being married in God's eyes from what I understand. It's kind of looked upon as the same way. And that goes right back to selective judgments. We have a president that says heterosexual marriage dating site heterosexual be said true marriage is should only be between a man and a woman because it's a sacred Bond of a nose before God which of course prompt me to write a letter to the editor here in Amarillo, Texas about this whole big backlash and and Seneca response, which was a very real was for the p.

38:02 Who have up serial weddings which one of their commitments was the most sacred and and bonding? I can't stand people to talk out of both sides of their mouth. Tell me you can't you can't have the crumbs off of my plate when I can't eat what I have anyway.

38:19 Or banality bit someone I can think about.

38:23 Question. What do you remember what the email said when you read it and what you thought he said.

38:31 Every every sentence ended with an! And I'm going to send Dad I have to tell you something. I'm so scared right now. I'm shaking. I've been having all these dreams. I think I might be attracted to other males. I'm not really sure. I'm so scared to write this. I'm so scared that you will reject me that you will find that.

38:58 You like to be disappointed in who I actually really am. I cried I said that I had tears running down my face.

39:05 An important was not going I thought after all this time. I had made it very very clear. I don't care who he is. I don't care what he thinks he is. I don't care what he's done. He is my son. I love him.

39:22 And

39:24 Call me.

39:26 Call me. I love you very much.

39:33 Any last words I just

39:41 I just hope that one day 50 years from now or tomorrow it someday I can walk down the street holding my partner's hand and

39:57 Be scared that I might get a break from the back of my head for loving. I'm not doing anything wrong by loving and I want to be able.

40:11 To tell God and the state in my country. I love this person. I choose this person and I want you to recognize it because all I'm doing is loving I'm not trying to hurt anybody with this. I just want to be able to do what the rest of the world can do without the fear that I might end up dead because of my love. Well, I do that note.

40:40 I know that until the day that I die. I will have the support of my family.

40:45 And that's one of the reasons why I have the strength that I do to keep doing what I do. And I mean, I I am, you know politically active in this

40:54 Because I want to make a point because I believe literally in truly in the Constitution of the United States. I do believe that this country is set up to where we should all be safe when with who we are and I'm going to go walking down.

41:11 The middle of Amarillo, Texas and Atlanta tattoo clad tutu with leather straps and you know make out on the sidewalk. I know some of these people think but it isn't so much perms sometimes but the hatred behind it. I hate the word. I hate the word fagg queer Niger redhead kayak anything that you used to divide and make me better than you or someone else better than me. But if somebody sitting alone, I don't care who they are if they consider themselves for some reason the biggest redneck white straight in a woman banging man on the planet that they sit alone by themselves and say, you know what it is. Okay to let other people be exactly who they are and I don't have to get in their business and try to change the world that side of me so I can feel better about myself.