An interview with Hunter Valentine

AE: But I mean, even if it’s like sexy times, we always go to the bathroom for a make out session. Maybe that’s just me and my friends.

Kiyomi: I think, we should investigate the history of sexual activity in gay bars. There’s a long history behind that, not sure where it got started, probably at the Stonewall Inn. I think it’s kind of intriguing for people because it seems like you’re hiding.

Adrienne: I think if you’re in the bathroom stall making out and you think it’s a secret, it means you’re very drunk. People can see those Converse shoes and there’s more than one pair!

AE: How did you know I’m wearing Converse?

Kiyomi: Adrienne is wearing them too!

AE: See, then they won’t know which of us is which in the bathroom stall.

Kiyomi: Converse are like the lesbian disguise.

AE: Both of you are gay right? Or queer? It’s always a crapshoot when it comes to labeling. I think “queer” encompasses a lot of different groups, I just say I’m gay.

Kiyomi: Yeah, I feel like as I get older people want to use more and more labels. I love women but I would never rule out the possibility that somewhere down the line I might fall in love with a big hairy dude. Oh man, that’s going to make some of the lesbians who read this want to vomit — but you just never know, ya know?

AE: No I get it. I feel the same way. We’re all trying to teach people that love is love.

Kiyomi: Exactly!

Adrienne: Don’t we, as people who are queer, advocate open-mindedness? I think as a Canadian, it’s easy to be complacent about gay rights because we have them there. So it’s interesting now that we’re living in New York and don’t have them. There’s a lot more people fighting now over what they feel are their civil rights and that’s an interesting and exciting thing to be around. Growing up in Canada it feels a little bit different.

AE: What were your coming out stories?

Adrienne: Nothing can top this so take it away Kiyomi.

Kiyomi: So when I was 16, I had my first girlfriend. We met on the basketball team and nobody knew about us. So June rolls around and that’s when Toronto Pride is. We marched in our first Dyke March and had a great time — went out after and celebrated until the late night hours. Woke up the next morning and had about 20 voicemails and people wouldn’t stop calling me. I was like, “What is going on?!” So finally I picked up the phone when somebody called and they were like, “Dude, have you seen the newspaper yet?”

AE: [Large gasp]

Kiyomi: And I was like, “No why?” They were like, “You need to see this.” So I ran down to the corner store and got to the newspaper stand and it was on the front cover of the Toronto Star

Adrienne: Which is like the most widely distributed paper in Canada.

Kiyomi: And it was my face kissing the girl who I was dating on the front cover and it said, “A quiet moment kicks off Pride. Two young lesbians embrace,” and there’s a pride flag hanging in the background. And that’s how I came out to my parents. Actually that’s how I came out to everyone.

Adrienne: And the nice follow-up to that story is that the first show I played with them, Toronto Pride, and they, that same weekend, had reprinted that photograph. It lives on! Someone has been using an illegal shot of a minor without their permission, but it is such an iconic shot.

Kiyomi: I have a pretty accepting family and I don’t really think they were all that surprised.