Saeed Jones' mother, Carol Sweet-Jones, died in 2011—six years after he came out to her over the phone from his college dorm room in Kentucky. They were close, but when Saeed walked into her hospital room the day after she had the heart attack that would end her life, he says he barely recognized her. "My mom was always very - she was very beautiful. She was elegant, chic," he told me. "And that was not the woman I saw in that bed."
Saeed was raised by his mother in Texas, where he recognized early that he was gay, but was afraid to be open about it. He writes about the complicated and sometimes lonely sexual experiences he had with other men during his teenage years in his new memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives—and about dealing with the aftermath of his mom's death as an only child. I talked with him from Columbus, Ohio, where he recently moved, and even more recently turned on his dating apps.