Alan, age 7
London, UK (1957)
Here I am on Christmas day, front and centre next to my favourite aunt, with my parents looking rather glum at the rear. My first memorable activity was what my uncle termed 'Picking apples' - my ballet dance, with my arms in the air. Then singing in a talent contest at age 4, which was a song about the Queen's Coronation. The first birthday present I remember wanting at age 4, was a tea set, and I recall making tea with it for mom.
I also enjoyed cooking with mom - much to dad's chagrin. Around 5, I wanted to see The King & I and Oklahoma. My favorite aunt had all the Rogers & Hammerstein LP's, which I knew by heart by the age of 10.
Crushes on boys began at 6, and although I wasn't aware what it was all about, I knew I wanted their closeness. I loved sharing a changing cubicle with a friend I swam with at elementary school. I was hopeless at team sports (still can't throw or catch), and was always picked last for any team. So I spent my time playing make-believe or chatting with the girls.
In the 60's in the Essex UK suburbs, I had no clue what being gay was. I just presumed (and yet somehow seriously doubted) that these crushes would eventually fade. And that all would fall into place, that I'd marry a girl and have kids etc. But I distinctly recall the moment a friend told me what "gay" was - and I was really worried.
Could this be my fate? I knew it was, but I spent the next decade trying to be like everyone else, hiding my real self and feeling totally alone.
My deliverance came with my move to Canada, ostensibly to study but really to make a complete break and find my true self. Thankfully, by 1972 Gay Liberation had already taken root there. I plucked up my courage and I went to one of the meetings on campus. Home at last!
I met my present partner in Montreal in 1973 and the rest is history.
We married in 2007 - after 34 years of living in sin!
Alan's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Cary Grant (in "An Affair To Remember") & Ty Hardin