"...a parent worries about their child anyway, but when you have gay kids, you're always afraid..."


LOGO Image by  Moises Villada

LOGO Image by Moises Villada

Cleaning Closets is an oral history project that collects and shares true coming out stories from both sides of the closet door.  This includes the perspectives of the LGBTQ+ individuals as well as that of the family and friends to whom they come out.  It is my hope that showing both points of view can help us find common ground and make the coming out process easier for everyone involved.  

This project was inspired by a conversation I had with my mother years after I came out to her.  She confessed that at first she had blamed herself for my sexuality.  Not wanting to hurt my feelings, she kept this from me until she had grown to accept it herself.  That's when I realized that even our families have a coming out process.  

As the project grows and I continue to collect more and more stories, I find that the issues surrounding the coming out process are universal and timeless.  Although we all have our own unique stories, I keep finding that the same fears and emotions are shared across multiple cultures and generations alike.  

I started Cleaning Closets because I believe in it.  I believe that using an integration of arts and personal stories can teach us in exciting ways.  Every new story that I collect opens my mind in a new way.  It is now my responsibility to share these brave stories with integrity.  Hopefully these true stories can give you the tools needed to clean your own closet.  


Jonathan Mayo


Thank You!
No matter the contribution, every little bit is appreciated!

Family & Friends - Liz Cloud - Megan Carney - Moises Villada - Liz Thompson - Matthew Ingersoll - Quarles & Brady, LLP - Lawyers for the Creative ArtsAdolfo Santos - Bert A. Gillott - Chad Nico Hiu - Daniel Pellant - Danielle DiBianco - Ginny DiBianco - I Li Hsiao - Jodi Mayo - Jonathan Mayo - Derek Mayo - Frances Mayo - Jonell  Henry Johnson - Joshua Terrazas - Luke Deardurff - Mary Jon Girard - Roger Girard - Morgan E. Washington Araujo - Nien Wei Hsaio - Pamela J. Johnson - Shundrice Tucker - Tamiko E. Henderson - Tina Rayyan - Vic Piccolotto - Lawrence Carter - Christin Mell - Sabrina Harper - Victor Salvo - Elain O'Sullivan - Debrah Goodman - Marie Zidek - Alfredo Jimenez - Sam Garcia - Amanda Odasz - Monte Nelson - Devin Moss - Zoe Grossinger - Ben Gonzales - Seth Parker - Meg Elliott - Max Demian - Kayla Pulley - Jenny Korn - Brenden Kelly - Charli Williams - Nicolia - Kim Morris -- Scott Nadeau -- Jodi Nadeau -- Gretchen BlickensderferSarah Blickensderfer - Jeremy Owens - Laura Stempel - Katie L. - Denise Watkins - Morehead State University School of Music, Theatre & Dance - Rikki - Jordan - Urs - Pierce - Samuel - Alyssa - Renee - Rachael - Rachel - Eric - Dana - Zack - Sara - Kate - Iva - Amrit Justin Trewn - SPECTRUM at Morehead State University - Wesley Slone - Bea Cordelia - Rashaad Hall - Jayden Epps - Britney Alsot - Ray Goldberg - Rev. Shawna Bowman - Nat Duran - Luis Moreno - PC Gooden-Smiley & the Adlerman's Office of the 46th Ward in Chicago - Illinois Safe Schools Alliance - Anonymous Chicago Youth