Nurse Blake, a nurse, creator, advocate, and touring comedian, among other roles, recently sat down for a special interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos where he discusses his coming out journey and his experience of enduring gay conversion therapy in high school under the influence of “Exodus International.” Additionally, Nurse Blake shed light on his comedy tour and provided insights into the realities of the nursing profession.
Nurse Blake reveals that he had never anticipated a career in comedy when he first embarked on his nursing journey. However, he confesses that he “always liked humor and watching comics. With my patients, I would always try to make them laugh no matter how shitty they were feeling or what was going on with them. I realized that not only patients need humor but also staff and other nurses and healthcare workers. They just started doing little shows and nurses like to come out and party on party buses and drink and laugh.” However, everything changed for Nurse Blake when he received an invitation to perform at Nurse Night in the iconic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. To his astonishment, over 10,000 nurses came out in support of him on that unforgettable night.
As a result, his career in comedy blossomed, and Nurse Blake embarked on a journey of performing shows and candidly discussing his life experiences on stage. He fondly remembers the inception of his initial Facebook video that went viral, as it provided him with a secure platform to openly express his anxieties and heal from his past traumas. He shares, “There was one day I was having a really rough day. … I was driving home from work 2017, couldn’t breathe, my heart was pounding really fast. I was having a panic attack but I didn’t realize I was. So I call 911 and I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m gonna die. And I was just tired and stressed from working as a nurse and I just needed an outlet and I just started making videos on Facebook and they went viral.”
Nurse Blake was outed and forced to participate in conversion therapy by the organization known as “Exodus International.” Consequently, he came to comprehend the factors underlying his panic attacks and the compelling urge to share his story. Nurse Blake’s cousin disclosed his sexuality against his well, he tells GLAAD. “The next day I was out of my high school, my parents cleaned out my locker. I was right across the street at this counselor’s office by some religious priest or pastor in Orlando. I was sent through gay conversion therapy for about four years from 15 to 18 and it didn’t work. I was sent to multiple high schools … I don’t think it hit me until later in life, [in] my late twenties, when I had my [first] panic attack. This is years later after that, I felt all that trauma. As a comedian we love to laugh, we love to have dark humor, but a lot of times we laugh to hide things that are going on in our lives. Now I’m able to laugh about it and talk about it in my show.”
Despite facing those challenges, he persevered and emerged as a resilient champion for both himself and the LGBTQ community. He served as an advocate and held the position of President at the Florida Nursing Student Association. In 2013, Nurse Blake established Banned4Life with the aim of putting an end to the FDA’s permanent ban on gay blood donation. His efforts proved instrumental in the lifting of this lifetime ban in 2015.
In addition to his efforts in advocating for blood donor rights, he has also taken a stand as a supporter of drag queens who are under attack, particularly in his home state of Florida. As the host of Nurse Kind at Sea, a nursing conference held on a cruise ship, Nurse Blake promptly arranged for the inclusion of drag queens in the event’s lineup. “I do have to say it’s, it’s hard and challenging, but it’s hopeful to see the amount of activism that comes out of Florida, it’s really inspiring and it inspires me to keep going. …So whenever I can stick it back to Florida, you know, I love to do that, but it’s where I’m born and raised. It’s where my family is, my chosen family is. So I won’t give up on Florida”
Nurse Blake is undeniably exceptional and has devoted his life to raising awareness for the LGBTQ community. He intends to continue his activism with his 100-City Shock Advised Comedy Tour. “It’s so cool to see the audiences be able to laugh and relate to the same shit. I love witty comedy. I love gay comedy. Even though a lot of people think I’m just gonna talk about nursing stuff. A lot of it is my life and being gay in Orlando as a nurse, it all comes up in my show, but it’s super high energy interactive.” The 100-ity Shock Advised Comedy tour concluded its US dates in December and is set to commence in New Zealand and Australia in February.
For more information and upcoming tour dates, check out Nurse Blake’s official website here.