Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Mike Figueredo on coming out, and what the right gets wrong

Welcome back to Krystal Kyle & Friends, where we’re joined by Humanist Report host Mike Figueredo. Our conversation with Mike is wide-ranging: We talk with him about everything from his experiences as a “veteran” leftist commentator and the way his work has evolved over the years, to the invigorating prospects of the energized labor movement, to the personal story of Mike’s coming out to his family. His trademark wit, candor, and brilliant insight make this episode an essential watch:

Those familiar with Mike’s work know how skilled he is at sharing stories with both humor and deep humanity, and that’s how he tells us about his own process of discovering his sexuality and coming out to homophobic family members. He talks about how being gay was a second nature to him in his early years — but also about the hilarious, unexpected way his identity hit home to him much later. And he discusses his experiences agonizing over sharing that identity, seeking out conversion clinics, and later finding acceptance from his parents.

Our conversation reaches the big question of how human sexuality develops and takes root in our lives — whether it’s something that is shaped by environmental factors or is with us from birth, innately. Mike and Kyle side with the “born this way” theory (Mike cites an upbringing that would have made him “the straightest person on the planet”), and Mike talks about how natural and permanent his sexuality has felt to him throughout his life, since birth. We end with a discussion of the anti-trans and anti-gay legislation cropping up around the country as the right whips up a frenzy over individuals’ most basic, personal freedoms, and how it misunderstands the ways that human gender and sexuality work.

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