“Real World: Hawaii” cast member Ruthie Alcaide came to Virginia Tech Wednesday to speak to students about LGBTQ issues, diversity and alcohol awareness.
She was known for her excessive drinking on the show in 1999 and has since traveled to college campuses to spread awareness on issues personal to her.
Alcaide spoke with the Collegiate Times to reflect on her time on “Real World,” coming out of the closet and other past experiences.
Why did you decide to come out on the show? How did the “Real World” react to that, specifically your roommates?
I had already the year before I was on the show. I actually didn’t have a coming out party or anything. My friend called me out, and it was one of those things where I was backed into a corner and they were suspicious of me. I looked at her, and I had been hiding so long. I was watching everything I was doing, and it’s really hard because you feel like you have to pretend — talk about boys all the time, go on dates. I had covered my back for four years.
Apparently, they had had a little intervention meeting where they were going to nominate somebody to ask me if I had a girlfriend or was bi. My whole trying to hide life flashed before my eyes, and I wondered, “What mistake did I make that you would actually think that?” I had been carrying that burden for so long, and I was just tired of it. I just looked at her, and I was like, “Yeah, so?”
I can’t even tell you how free I felt after that. I thought I was going to lose all my friends and that never happened.
As a matter of fact, nobody cared. Man, I had been missing out and now I have to catch up. I never had any gay friends in college because to me none of my straight friends define themselves by their sexuality, so why should I? So, I just walked around like Ruthie, not Ruthie the gay girl.
And so, that’s how I lived my college years and that’s how I tried to live my four months on the show as well. Yeah, I got asked because everyone has to know (who it is) in the house. It’s me, but its not typical. Lets not make this an issue, that’s why a lot of people to this day forget.
You grew up in a conservative Filipino household. What was it like coming out to them?
I didn’t grow up with my dad because I grew up in a foster home. My dad was just a separate occasion because I was just getting to really know him after high school when I was in college. That was a completely separate event.
My foster family didn’t talk to me for two years after the show. My foster grandmother kind of disowned me. We’re kind of close now, but it’s been a long time coming. I think it took her years and with age, I think, to finally accept me. She actually is totally fine with meeting my girlfriend. She’s very religious, but I think she’s come to that point that she’s not judgmental — and I never thought that day would come.
Once you came out, was the public reaction mostly positive or negative?