National Coming Out Day is celebrated every year on October 11. To mark the occasion, we asked the New York-based rapper Cakes Da Killa—whose bold lyrics are as sexually explicit as they are raw, honest, and intelligent—to share his coming out experience. Read his story, which involves swallowing love notes and making out with straight boys before hitting puberty, below.
When I was a young kid, I was already reading books about sexuality and watching documentaries on Channel 13 about Stonewall. I was always really aware of my sexuality. I had a feeling that I was gay since kindergarten—and it wasn't like, oh, I'm artsy. I knew I wasn't just "into" things, like playing with the Barbie instead of the building blocks. It was who I was as a person.
In third grade, I had a crush on this boy and he wrote me a letter saying, I like you, do you like me? Since I'm a loser, and I like things like that, I kept it. Then, my mom looked through my book bag, found it, and was like, what is this about? I started crying—I was so embarrassed. I grabbed the note out of her hands, and she was running around the house chasing me. I even tried to swallow the note. Then she asked me, "are you gay?" And I was like, "yes."
My mom isn't a homophobic person. Her gag was that an eight-year-old could be such a sexual person at such a young age. She told me she was going to call my father, and I was like, what are you doing? Because my father never played a major role in my life.
The conversation I had with him was really short. Basically, he said, "What is this? Why are you telling your mom you're gay?" And I replied, "Because I am gay. You don't even send me birthday cards, how can you be mad that I like boys?"
My conversation with my mom was the more emotional one, because she's always been there for me. I felt like I was making her feel wrong, which made me feel wrong. I didn't want her to find out like that. Even though I was confident in my sexuality before third grade, it seemed like I could feel her being like, what the fuck is going on? A mother always knows these kinds of things, and I feel like there were always signs that I was different from the other boys. Yet, to hear it from my mouth at such a young age… my mother wasn't ready for that. To her, it was like, why are you thinking about sex or sexuality at this age? But she didn't treat me any different, which is better than other stories I've heard of other people.
What happened to that guy? Well, I still think about him once in a while! I assume he's straight from I see on his Facebook. But all because he was making out with me every day when we were kids doesn't mean he's gay! Sexuality for some people is different from the things you do. A lot of people think that once you mess with a guy, you're gay. I don't think that's true. I think sexuality is bigger than the physical act of sex.
Besides, I've always been a really good kisser.
I did have to come out again in high school. Even though I still progressed as a gay person, I felt like my family just needed me to say it again. It was like, now I'm a teenager, I really know what's going on with me, so let me reaffirm what's going on and that you might not have grandkids. It wasn't exactly a conversation. It was more like, her husband or my aunt or uncle was questioning me, and I was like, "guys, we all know I'm gay." That's how I handled it. I grew up in a household where my aunt is bisexual, and my grandma had a gay best friend. So it wasn't a huge source of tension in my house. It wasn't a Lifetime movie moment.
Actually, it was all because I didn't know how to hide a love note.
As told to Michelle Lhooq
Cakes Da Killa's #IMF—a five-track EP "chronicling a modern-day tale of star crossed lovers from inception to resolution"—__is out now. Stream it below, and download it for free here.
If you're in New York, catch Cakes with Princess Nokia, Gnucci, and other guests at Cameo Gallery on Saturday, October 17. More info here.