This is my 3rd grade production of "Pecos Bill." I KILLED that role, but remember being a little irritated that the play ended with me marrying
Sweet Sue. What I'm twirling is a giant "snake" - take from that what you will.
|"Red bandana thankfully *not* a premonition of things to come"|
After this, I was bitten by the acting bug and kept busy in children's theater and choir in a bigger town near me, which gave me an outlet for my creative energy and flamboyance.
When I reached 7th grade, I was hit with the trio of pubescent awkwardness: fat, glasses, and braces. This, combined with my flagrant swishiness,
did me no favors growing up in a small, farming-and-mining, Bible-belt town.
I came out when I was 14 (although I'd known for years before then), and I remember my mom being terrified for me. All she could think to say at first was that I couldn't tell anyone else, that I should at least try to pretend with girls, etc.
My parents and family became extremely supportive - they're founding members of PFLAG! - and were a godsend through the dark days of junior high.
I dropped everything artsy except choir by the time I reached high school and favored academic teams. This led me to my saving grace – volunteering for the Obama campaign in Indiana, with a bunch of post-menopausal, progressive, LGBT-friendly women. Through the campaign and other kinds of Democratic, environmental, and pro-choice activism since then, I found my meaning in life.
If I hadn't been gay in my environment, I don't think I would have found it in me to care so much about politics, and how the people I can help elect can drastically change my world for the better. For that, I'm extremely grateful.
I'm finishing high school now, and am going to either Harvard or Stanford this fall to major in political science. Although show choir is about the limit of my arts activity today, I still think of the days when I could become whoever I wanted to be on stage. I think that played a big part in helping me have the courage to become the man I am today.