Jodi Picoult, the super international bestselling author with more than 14 million books in print, says she has been aware of her 19-year-old son’s homosexuality for the past 16 years! He only came out to her three years ago!
The American writer told how that announcement arose while researching her latest book, Sing You Home, whose central character is a lesbian.
‘My son, Kyle, who was 17 at the time, was writing his college-application essays,’ said Picoult. ‘He came to me one day with this essay and he said, “Can you read this over for me?”
‘And in his essay, he came out to my husband and myself… I was so happy that he felt secure enough to tell us that he was gay. ‘I’d known Kyle was gay from about the time he was three-years-old,’ she said. ‘Maybe it was more of a surprise to him, but it didn’t surprise my husband and I at all.’
What the declaration did do, was breathe new life into Sing You Home, a story of a divorced couple battling over frozen embryos after the wife falls in love with a woman.
‘All of a sudden, it wasn’t a theoretical journey into what it means to be gay in America. It was this mission as a mom wanting really badly to change people’s minds with my book,’ she told People magazine.
One big happy: The Picoult family (left to right): Father Tim, son Jake, 17, and daughter Sammy, 15, with Jodi and Kyle
Now the 45-year-old author, a long-time advocate of gay rights, hopes to make the process of children coming out to their families an effortless one.
That while looking forward to Kyle, a sophomore at Yale University, settling down in terms more commonly applied to heterosexual couples.
‘I want the world to be a kinder place by the time Kyle gets married and has kids,’ she said.
As for Kyle, who’s reportedly in a happy relationship with Kevin Ferreira, a 20-year-old student at Wagner College in New York City, he couldn’t be more pleased with the acceptance his parents have shown.
‘A lot of people come out to their families, and then none of them talk about it again,’ he said.
Hollywood powerhouse: Picoult at the New York premiere of 2009’s My Sister’s Keeper, based on her novel
‘It wasn’t like my family would go, “So Kyle, what gay things did you do today?” But it wasn’t not talked about.’
And as for his essay that helped him land at one of America’s top universities, Kyle himself served as an excellent role model.
In it, he told the Yale admissions board the true story of a five-year-old boy he’d worked with at a summer theatre program who was taunted for wearing dresses and sporting a purse.
A day after that ugly event, Kyle showed up in black patent leather pumps.
‘I wanted to show him it’s okay to be different,’ he said.