Sister Wives' Mariah Brown Opens Up About Coming Out in Exclusive Interview
Mariah shares her most intimate feelings about this chapter of her life.
Recently, you watched as Mariah Brown came out not only to her family, but the entire world.
With the dust of her initial announcement beginning to settle, Mariah has now been able to take some time to reflect on what was a most incredible experience for her.
For answers to the many questions that have been coming her way, read the exclusive Q&A.
When did you begin to sort through all of your feelings?
I think this is one of those things that you just always know. It just took me a really long time to figure it out. I remember being quite a bit younger and sitting in my room... thinking about how I couldn't even think about being gay because, if I did, then my biggest fears would be true. Even in high school I remember liking a girl but telling myself that I couldn't be gay. I was constantly coming up with excuses and reasons to justify my feelings. As far as when I was actually able to figure it out, that was a little over a year ago. I was finally able to accept who I am and it was really liberating.
What do you think most defines who you are?
There are a lot of things that define me. I actually just talked about this with my therapist and it was hard for me to come up with words that I felt like were defining to me because I feel like there's so much. I think my biggest "definer" is that I'm an intersectional feminist. I always say I'm a feminist first. My reason for that is that it is a pretty all-encompassing word. It's not what some people might stereotypically think of it as. To me, feminism is about being a good person and accepting all people as they are. It's not just about gender, but also about race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. It's a really important issue to me.
How did you decide when to tell your family?
I decided pretty early on that I wanted my family to know. Once I fully figured it out, I wanted my family to know. We are a very close and very open family, and I wanted to be able to be who I am when I'm with them.
How did it feel telling your parents?
It was actually harder telling my parents than I thought it would be. It felt like I was cliff-jumping--on the edge of the cliff, worrying that if I didn't jump right at that second then I might never. Once I got into the room and everyone was settled, I had to literally just blurt it out. If I waited, I know I would have gotten too scared and not been able to say it. They all reacted how I thought they would. I know my sexual orientation doesn't have any weight on how they feel about me or how much they love me. I feel very privileged to know that I can be who I am and open with my family-- I know they will accept me.
How did it feel telling your siblings?
I thought my siblings reactions were pretty funny. A few of them were all "Yeah I know," and a few were pretty nonchalant about it. It was pretty low key. I think that my generation just doesn't care as much about things like this. To us, it's more normalized and I really appreciate that.
What advice would you offer to someone else who might be struggling to share their sexual orientation?
This is tough. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that celebrates each and every aspect. Thanks to that, coming out to them was easy for me. That's not the same for all families with queer children. I think my biggest advice would be to make sure to keep yourself safe. That's so important. If you feel safe telling someone, tell them. If you feel that you would be safer by keeping it to yourself, then that may be the best thing for you to do for the time being. Eventually, finding a place to be yourself is everyone's end goal. But, in my opinion, staying safe is what matters in the present. I've never been happier than when I have been fully and unapologetically myself. If you have the option, I suggest seeing a therapist. For me, it's been a huge help to have someone to talk to that really gets me. I also encourage you to find other queer friends, and find friends that are allies. Being with people that are like you and like-minded is such a great feeling. Most of all though, I say to be safe and do what is going to make you most happy.
Who was the first person you told?
The first person I told was my best friend, Kaela. I never really "came out" to her though, she was just kind of along for the ride. I told her when I was first figuring it out for myself, so she knew pretty much everything I was thinking.
What do you want people to know about you that they might not already know?
Wow, there are a lot of things about me that people don't know. I have a hard time thinking of just one particular thing. I love politics, though. It's something that I don't really get to talk about on the show, but it's something that I'm really passionate about. Also, as much as I have loved my college experience, if I were to change anything, I would have probably double majored in psychology & political science.
How are you using your experience to help others?
Almost my whole college experience has been about activism. I have so many professors, peers, and faculty at my school that are heavily involved in activism. Activism not only for the LGBTQ+ community, but for all marginalized groups. It's something that I'm really passionate about, and I love what I'm doing with my school and in my community.