Richard Blanco, who at 44 is the
youngest poet chosen to read at a presidential inauguration, says he
knew he was gay at 3.
Speaking with Fresh
Terry Gross on Monday, President's Day, Blanco said he was
greatly influenced by his grandmother, who disapproved of “queer”
things such as cats, the Cub Scouts and Bewitched.
“My grandmother was as xenophobic as
she was homophobic, so I remember growing up so that anything that
seemed culturally odd or weird or strange was also sort of tagged as
'queer' – and I'm talking like things like Legos and Fruit Loops –
so anything she perceived as strange she also questioned in terms of
my sexuality,” Blanco said.
“I'd known since I was 3 years old
probably that I was gay. I didn't know what that meant, but I knew
it. So, it's sort of a double edged sword. Here you are not really
understanding and being chastised for something that you don't
understand but in some other level, in your subconscious, you know
you are. So really you are this bad thing.”
When coming out to his mother, Blanco
simply told her that his grandmother was right.
Looking for the Gulf Motel is
Blanco's third and most recent collection of poems.