Designer Nate Berkus says the AIDS
crisis kept him from coming out.
Berkus, who with his husband Jeremiah
Brent recently welcomed baby daughter Poppy, discussed how the
disease terrified him while growing up in the 70s and 80s in
Minnesota in an It Got Better video.
“I remember kind of equating the AIDS
crisis to not wanting to come out because … it was sort of like if
you were gay, then you were going to have AIDS,” he said in the
nearly 9-minute video. “It was really terrifying to be a kid and
to know that you're gay and know that people are dying of this gay
cancer. No one knew how to cure it. People were losing people left
and right. The creative communities were decimated.”
“I internalized that fear for a long
time,” he said.
Berkus added that growing up he felt as
if he had to monitor his speech and actions.
“There's a filter you have as a gay
child,” Berkus said. “It's a filter where before you speak,
before you move, before you act, before you walk, before you run,
before you go out for that team or admit that you don't want to go
out for that team, you think, 'I've got to put this through a sifter
and see how that will be received.'”