‘The Corrosiveness of Wanting Someone to Stay Hidden’: Carrie Brownstein on Her Father’s Coming Out at 55

So here was my father, in this white apartment with textured walls and thick carpeting, and the scant amount of furniture and paintings he’d brought from Redmond, looking like interlopers, like imposters, neither here nor there. And we’re sitting in this living room and I have no idea who he is and he says, “So I guess I’m coming out to you.” He said it like that, in a sort of meta way, as if he were along for a ride that his new self was taking him on. Which was typical, like he was just a sidekick in his own life, a shadow, though I’m assuming it was more of a linguistic fumbling, not knowing exactly how to come out or what words to use…

…When my father came out to his mom, my grandmother said, “You waited for your father to die, why couldn’t you have waited for me to die?” I knew then that I never want to contribute to the corrosiveness of wanting someone to stay hidden. Despite all my initial conflicts about trying to reconcile the father I had as a child to the one I have now, I am thankful that he is happy, that he did not waste another second.

-From The New Yorker’s excerpt of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: a Memoir, by musician, writer and “Portlandia” star Carrie Brownstein, in which her father surprises her by coming out. A few years later, Brownstein herself would be outed as bisexual, to her parents and to the world, by Spin magazine. The book is out next week.

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