Brett, age 7
Lima, Ohio (1970)

Here I am in my Easter finery sitting next to my beautiful Mother. Please note the scowl on my face. I am furious – FURIOUS!  I am adorned with that plain white carnation, the most blasé of the boutonnières, while Mother is wearing the most GORGEOUS violet corsage I have ever seen.

When we were all preparing to go to Mass and the flowers came out, I could not understand for the life of me why Mother got to wear that corsage and I was stuck with that plain carnation.

"Violets Stir the Green-Eyed Monster"
I really pitched a fit about it.
I am quite sure I sulked through the Easter Sunday Mass and possibly even after we got home. 

I guess I learned early on that life is not always fair. 

During this time, I enjoyed playing Barbies with my sister, and the feel of the long hair.
I would brush my best friend Molly’s hair every day after school.

And I loved being in nature.
I was not interested in sports or other “masculine” things.

I look at that picture fondly now. My mother was so beautiful and impeccably dressed; I look dapper despite the pout. 

I came out so early for my generation; I was 15 when I announced I was gay
(in 1977 - at a Catholic high school!) and it was such a wonderfully freeing experience. To be able to match a name to all those feelings that signaled I was different from the other boys. 

I recall being particularly captivated by a swim team coach about the time this picture was taken. He was blond, had washboard abs, and was rocking a tiny Speedo - as we all did on swim teams at that time.

I am happy to say that I had a very positive experience during high school and my friends all took the news quite well.