By Johnny Trlica
Mykey Whitney: A unicorn goes from childhood darkness to adult happiness
This week, the HRH Report breaks from its usual format of presenting some of the top LGBTQ stories of the past couple of weeks. With Pride month here, we want to bring you our interview with Miguel Hernandez, a man with an important story to tell.
Life’ s experiences, both the good and the bad, shape who we are, for it’ s not where you’ ve been but where you are going. If one believes that then Miguel Hernandez, the reigning Mr. Gay Pride Houston 2016, has a story to tell and is going places.
Hernandez, A.K.A. Mykey Whitney won the title last year.
“ It has been a blessing and it has giving me opportunities to see people come together and stand together to help each other out. I’ m truly thankful for being selected,” Whitney told HoustonRainbowHerald.com.
Whitney, who presents as a mild-mannered Clark Kent type, comes from humble beginnings. He was born in McAllen, Texas into a family that often struggled to make ends meet. Unfortunately, financial difficulties were not the only problem a young Whitney endured.
“ My worst childhood memory? Oh boy, I could go on,” Whitney says. “ You see, I was raised with a stepfather who was abusive and cold-hearted, so there are so many memories like
watching my mother fear for her life, my siblings and I running, escaping to find help, and having my innocence taken away. But through all that darkness I hold all the beauty and good moments in my childhood close, because those are the memories that make me smile and I’ m thankful that I turned out fine.”
“ My childhood was a journey that was full of adventure, hurt and constantly trying to be normal but although there were low points, I benefited from what I went through because that helped shape me into who I am today,” Whitney continues.
outWhitney realized he was gay or “ different” at a very early age. He would stay up late with his mother, put on little disco lights and dance to disco, Selena, Michael Jackson, ABBA and Sade.
His third grade girlfriend became his fifth grade best friend and on the last day of school, he came out to her.
“ She was shocked and we pinky promised to keep it a secret,” says Whitney.
Whitney didn’ t officially come out to his family until several years later. He was supporting his family with the tips earned as a dancer.
“ At the time I was paying all the family’ s bills and I had started dancing at Tony’ s Corner Pocket and they (his mother and brother) were asking where was I getting all this money and why it was it all ones,” he says. “ I sat them down and came out. They were really shocked because, although they kind of knew, we never talked about it.”
“ They were speechless and all my brother could say is ‘ You’ re not gay! You’ re not!’” Whitney says, adding, “ Eventually they came around.”
Whitney moved from dancing at Tony’ s to bartending at TC’ s Showbar in 2014, where he has earned a large, devoted following. Describing his barista gig, he says, “ It is a blast working there. I can be my unicorn self and laugh, dance and have a great time with fabulous people that come in. It’ s a friendly neighborhood bar during the day with star-studded talent at night for our shows. We are family at TC’ s.”
Mykey became a member of the Whitney family after he began performing professionally.
“ I met Alexis Nicole Whitney at TC’ s in 2013 along with Zinnya La Rue Whitney. We talked and chatted while I was still dancing at Tony’ s and I always loved being on stage. A couple months later I became a part of the Whitney family.”
“ It felt right because I felt some type of bond with being a Whitney. I was already family—taking advice, asking questions and wanting to grow more as an entertainer,” he says. “ I was taken in under Alexis. She is my drag mother and many people understand that it’ s a family or group of entertainers who have close relationships and help each other grow. There are so many amazing entertainers in Houston and I feel that it is really blossoming as well as the families expanding.”
The happy unicorn
As Mr. Gay Pride Houston, Whitney has focused on Houston’ s gay youth, especially homeless LGBTQ teens. He has organized and performed in several benefits for Montrose Center and HATCH, organizations that work closely with gay youth age 13 to 20 years of age.
“ I am a huge supporter because growing up I was constantly battling myself. It was difficult to be myself but when I heard about what HATCH was about, I felt like I had to contribute,” Whitney says.
It won’ t be long before Whitney hands over his Mr. Gay Pride Houston 2016 crown to someone else. While reflecting on the past year, he feels honored and proud of a successful reign and most of all thankful for all the support he has received.
Moving forward, Whitney would love a full-time career as a performer. In the meantime, he says, “ I just want to be happy and continue to be myself and help others have a fun time either behind the bar or on stage.”
In closing Whitney says:“ I’ m just a regular unicorn in the world trying to help inspire others to help each other. We should understand that we are all unique but we have so many similarities that it is a waste of time and energy for hate and negativity. When you get the chance give back, give a hug or a smile.”
For the latest LGBTQ news and current events in 2017, click on HoustonRainbowHerald.com. Johnny Trlica is the editor of the HoustonRainbowHerald.com, the Bayou City’s only daily LGBT internet newspaper. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.