Mark, in his own words: “Being gay has meant different things to me at different times of my life. In the early years it was a burden. Being raised in the south and in a Christian home, my family had very strict beliefs. And being gay did not fit at all. I mean you can’t blame them for that, Mama and Daddy taught us what they “thought” was correct and to them, being gay was a sin. You teach what you know I guess. So I struggled for a long time with that. At this point in my life I could never imagine not being gay, it’s normal. I have a fantastic life with a great man and a loving family. I’m truly blessed. I suppose I have been lucky, I have not had many challenges in my life as far as being gay goes.
Wayne and I stay so busy with work that we don’t have much of a social life. We have a handful of wonderful friends. A good night out for us is getting together with them for great food and drinks and just to catch up. I really don’t feel connected with the gay community here in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville maybe because most people drift through the area and tend not to settle here, so the scene changes every few years.
If I could go back many years and give my younger self advice there would be two things: I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to entertain people that much I knew for a fact. But as far as college went I was just not that into it because nothing at all interested me at the time. So first I would tell myself to go to culinary school. I would love to have been able to go fresh out of high school. I still would. Second I would simply say this “Days are long and masturbation is fun. Go for it!! You won’t go to Hell for playing with it!” Do you know how much I suffered over that? Too much!”
Wayne, in his own words: “I have been very fortunate and blessed to have had a 35 year career as a professional dancer/singer/actor/choreographer. This life has allowed me to travel the world in ballet and jazz companies, revues, television, movies, the cruise industry, cabaret and theme parks. I have loved every minute of it. I am glad I decided to put down roots in east Tennessee which is where I met my best friend and partner Mark. We have endured it all for the last 19 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love grocery shopping and couponing, which helps with our addiction to the kitchen. We spend most of our time planning and creating food. Most of the time it is worth the happy dance…food should make you happy and worthy of a dance!
Other than the love for our four legged children and the love of crafting, which I take much pride in, I have a simple and complicated life like everyone else. Life is way too short to not enjoy each day that is given to us. Make the best of each of them. Happiness is not a goal, it is a journey.
As far as coming out…I don’t think I ever did. By that I mean that I always knew even as a young child. And I was fine with that. I didn’t feel that it was wrong and I never lied about it. I didn’t flaunt it but if someone would ask I would tell them the truth. My senior year of high school I was working with and then dating a man that was 20 years older than myself. I never thought of the age difference and I was the one that chased him till he gave in. My parents kept on and on about the time we were spending together, so I asked them what they wanted to know. Dad finally cornered me while I was cleaning out my closet (I know…how perfect) and asked me “Are you seeing ***** because he is gay?” To which I replied “No I am seeing him because I think I am in love with him”. They had some issues to deal with of their own but I was never disowned or kicked out of the house. I have wonderful parents, brothers, nieces and nephews and in laws that love and support us both. I wish the same for everyone else.”