David Rhodes talks about growing up gay with two Freudian psychoanalysts for parents, getting married to a woman, having a son, and staying married after coming out.
Vision statement, about OUT:
“OUT”, a gallery show put on by Carsten Fleck, consists of 18 photographic portraits (16 x 24″) and tape-recorded stories about how each individual first revealed his or her sexual preference. Visitors stand before each portrait, and hear, through their headphones, the heartfelt account of how the person in the photograph first admitted being gay to close friends and family-either last month or forty years ago.Homophobia, while on the decline, is still rampant today. In a Gallup Poll conducted in May, 2010, 43% of Americans called gay sex “morally wrong.” This social climate greatly increases the risk of suicide among young lesbian and gay teens. In 2010, at least six gay young people committed suicide because they were bullied by their classmates. The show “OUT” hopes to counter the suicide risk among gay young people by showing that coming out can lead to a more honest and satisfying life.Kelli Peterman, who manages the Trevor Project’s East Coast call center, says, “Especially for those who live in conservative communities, there’s the constant stress of, ‘Who can I come out to?’ Even before a teen gathers the courage to come out, he or she may often hear comments like, ‘If I had a gay friend, I wouldn’t hang out with him.’ When you’re 13 or 14 years old, that’s a tremendous amount of stress.” Initiatives such as OUT can offer comfort and hope to teens who have either suppressed their sexuality or been teased because of it. Young gay people and their parents-indeed all people-need to know that most scientists believe that sexual orientation is genetic: no more a matter of choice than a person’s height or skin color.All proceeds from the show will be donated to the Ali Forney Center in NYC, to support housing for LGBT homeless youth. When teenagers come out, they are sometimes banished from their homes and forced to live in the street. “I thought my show ‘OUT’ would be an ideal way of calling attention to their plight and raising money for their cause,” says photographer Carsten Fleck.In late 2010, Fleck mounted a critically acclaimed multimedia show in New York, The Shadow of War, with contemporary portraits of elderly Germans. Visitors listened to their stories on headphones and came away, often in tears, with a greater understanding of what it was like to live in Germany during World War II. Similarly, visitors to “OUT” will learn about the challenges and rewards of coming out and will be moved by the stories they hear.
About David Rhodes:
David Rhodes grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the son of two prominent New York Freudian psychoanalysts. David got his bachelors degree in theater from Wesleyan University in ’81 and spent two years in London training at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Upon his return to New York he began working in theater film and television, but it was his one man show RITES OF PRIVACY in 2006 that garnered him critical accolades in New York and London and set his career in motion. David’s latest play THE ROAD TO SKYE is in development with director Lonny Price. Both in his work and his life David is dedicated to exploring diversity, non-traditional families and celebrating all colors in the human spectrum. Rhodes is openly gay and resides with his wife and son in New York City.
For more stories, visit the OUT website.