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In “It Got Better” video, Nate Berkus tells how terrifying it was to be gay kid during height of AIDS crisis

The It Got Better video series is first-rate and this week’s installment features Nate Berkus.

His is such a rich and at times harrowing story – especially when he lost his boyfriend in 2004 when the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka where they were vacationing: “We woke up drowning.”

Nate has found happiness again and is now married and the father of a new baby.

He recalls his own childhood in the video and what it was like for him growing up as a closeted gay kid in Minnesota: ‘There’s a filter you have as a gay child. 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 how will that be received.?”‘

This resulted in secrets and shame, lying and not liking himself growing up in the 70s and 80s where being gay ‘just wasn’t spoken about.’

And then there was AIDS.

‘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. 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.’



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