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Aaron Lee Smith
(Photo by Julian Vankim)
Every now and then Aaron exposes his roots with a hint of a twang or a colorful ''back-home expression.'' He used one while talking about his sometimes tumultuous relationship with his mother, who raised him alone. ''If I ever brought somebody in and said, 'This is my boyfriend,''' Aaron says, winding up the pitch, ''she would shit twice and fall back in it.''
While his mother ''has made a lot of progress'' in the decade he's been out to her, she still has hang-ups about her only child being gay. She has, however, hit it off with several of his gay friends. ''I have birthday parties back home, and I let certain gay friends come in, ones that I know will not burn the place down,'' he says. ''And they love her. They're obsessed with her.''
Aaron lived near his mother in Charleston for years after graduating from West Virginia State University there. Now he's in Annapolis living with his gay best friend from college, Anthony, after a stint for much of 2012 in rural East Tennessee. He had moved South to live with a man – a man his psychic had warned him about.