Editor's Note: You've seen Steven Colbert's "Better Know a Lobbyist," but our version is so much gayer! Each weekend, we spotlight a different TBP contributor. In case you've missed any of our previous interviews, I've got links at the end of the post.
It's Father's Day today. So I thought it would be appropriate to honor one of the site's founders, Jerame Davis, with today's Better Know a Contributor. Jerame isn't just the tech guy who makes all the important things happen around here. (Jerame built the TBP website from scratch.) He's also the proud father of a teenage daughter named Paige and a menagerie of pets.
Follow me after the jump to find out why Jerame and Bil founded TBP, how he likes to pamper himself, and what he thinks is the best part about being a dad.
1. How did you and Bil get the idea to start TBP?
When I met Bil, he had a website. It was the cheesiest thing I'd ever seen - it had embedded music that played when you loaded the page! When he decided he didn't like the site anymore, it sat there with one of those "Under Construction" messages for a couple years. About 5 years ago, I said he should start one of these blog things - they were new and I was reading a few, but this was when nobody had heard of blogs. He created a Blogger blog that published on our domain. He was too lazy to update it regularly, so we decided it would be a good idea to invite some other people to blog too.
That turned into such a great idea, we moved away from Blogger to our own server and built up the most read blog (not just LGBT blog) in Indiana. Bil brought Alex on board during this time. Alex wasn't interested in blogging about Indiana. I agreed with Alex that Indiana was rather limited in the audience we could attract. We had noticed that some of our nationally focused posts were doing well around the web, so we decided we needed to revamp the blog and change the scope. At first, Bil wanted to focus on the Midwest. Alex and I thought this was a terrible idea, so we ganged up on Bil and what is now The Bilerico Project was born.
2. What was your coming out experience like?
Most of that story isn't fit for public consumption! I'll sum it up by saying I bleached my hair blonde, moved to Bloomington, IN (liberal, gay-friendly college town - Go IU!) and completely changed my life. Before coming out, I was trying to be a typical southern Indiana white guy. I even had a mullet (but if Bil ever publishes those pictures, I'll file for divorce.) I always felt out of place in that world and now it is obvious why.
Most of my friends were not surprised. A few of my ex-girlfriends were, but even my daughter's mother suspected I was gay. The worst reaction came from my parents. My mother cried and wondered who was to blame and my father disowned me completely. I wasn't allowed in my parent's house again until about 3 years ago. My dad has finally accepted me and seems to be coming around to a positive view on gays. He really likes Bil and there has never been an uncomfortable moment since we've started visiting them. I'd be curious to know what is the average time for parents to come around when a child comes out. 7 years feels like a long time.
3. How did you first get involved with computer stuff?
In elementary school, we had a TRS-80 computer in the classroom. It was so cool. It had a black and white screen and it could load games via a cassette player hooked up to it. I learned BASIC programming and figured out how to write simple programs for it. Then our school got an Apple II computer lab. Those things were awesome. You could hook up a color screen and they had amazing sound capabilities. I begged my parents for an Apple computer for years, but only ever got to use them at school.
In high school, I volunteered for my Science teacher in my Junior year. She used a Mac and I was allowed to use it for games and writing papers if I needed it. I fell in love. It made so much more sense than DOS (and when it would work, Windows) which is what I had gotten used to on the PCs in our high school. I've been a Mac lover and a total computer geek ever since.
4. If you could be your favorite movie character, who would it be and why?
OK. I am going to totally out myself as a geek here. Jean-Luc Picard. When I was growing up, I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and became hooked. I saw every episode. Picard was by far my favorite character. He was an absolute genius, he was suave and debonaire, and for an old bald guy, he was kinda hot.
5. What's your favorite weekend indulgence?
I blow things up. Well, I pretend to anyway. When I'm totally stressed and need to unwind, I play Command & Conquer 3 on my computer. Simulated nukes and machine gun fire are the closest I ever want to be to war - but it makes for a fun way to de-stress.
6. Best thing about being a dad?
The best thing about being a dad is seeing your child grow, learn, and figure out how to turn everything around into your fault. LOL In all seriousness, it's a fascinating process to watch a child grow up. I remember my own experiences growing up and how I dealt with them and then I watch Paige face some of the same challenges and how she deals with them. Sometimes I see myself in her and other times I don't, which is what makes it special. Sometimes I learn a thing or two from her, but the real joy is seeing her become a young lady and knowing I had a hand in helping her get there.
A big HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there! I hope ya'll have the special day that you deserve!
Check out previous interviews with TBP Contributors