Kingsley Russell's Twist of Hate

BY Brandon Voss

April 22 2010 5:35 PM ET

KINGSLEY 2 X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

I didn’t have
YouTube when I was your age. What would you do if you didn’t have that
as an outlet?

I don’t even know. I’d probably just yell at
friends or punch pillows. Maybe I’d be a much colder person.

When
you yell at people on the street, you’re a crazy homeless person. When
you do it on YouTube, you’re an Internet sensation. 
It’s crazy.
It
really is. 



You address some negative feedback you’ve been getting in your recent
video, “Hey YouTube Haters.” People are calling you “fag” and other
derogatory names?

Yep. It’s only on YouTube, though. I haven’t
encountered comments like that in real life. Some people are just
vicious. You can never tell if they’re serious or just trying to press
your buttons, but I decided I’d respond to them all at once and get it over
with. I told myself that I wasn’t going to address it again after that
video because I like to be positive, and I know that there are more
people who do enjoy what I’m doing than those who don’t.

Were
you prepared for that kind of negative response?

In a way. When I
told my mom I was doing these videos, she said that there were going to
be people like that, but I didn’t know what the specific responses
would be because I’d never dealt with major racial issues or teasing
like that in my life. It was weird for me.

Do you think those
comments stem from ignorance or jealousy?

Both. There are other
people on YouTube who wish they had a lot of views and probably say
things like that to discourage other people, but the bulk of it is just
ignorance.

Do those comments ever get to you?
My
feelings get hurt occasionally, but I’m more the type of person to get
hurt in real life. A bunch of strangers watching me and judging doesn’t
really get to me. I’m much more sensitive in real-life situations.  









Have you always been comfortable with your sexuality?
The first person I talked to about that was my friend Erin, who’s actually bisexual, during my sophomore year of high school in St. Louis. That was the first year I was introduced to people who were free with themselves. Erin was very active in our LGBT club and going to pride parades, so I was very comfortable getting to know her, and she helped me discover myself. She was a big part of me stepping out of my box. I’ve never flat-out said, “I’m gay” or “I’m bi,” but one day I was talking to my mom and said, “I like girls, but I like guys too.”

She was cool about it?
She just always warned me to be careful. She’s actually a lesbian and has been in a relationship with a woman for nearly 15 years, so I was raised by a lesbian couple. I believe my mom always knew she was a lesbian, but she wanted kids, so she had me with my dad. Now she’s free and the best mom ever.

What’s the gay scene like in Columbia, Mo.?
The only gay club here is called the Soco Club. I haven’t been to it yet, but I have to because this guy I work with is a drag queen who does a show there. I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and think they’re so brave. I’ve put on a wig and danced around to Britney Spears, but I could never be totally comfortable doing drag, so I really admire them for doing that. I’m not really involved in the gay community because I don’t have a lot of gay friends, but it’s definitely something I want to experience.






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