Chase, age 6Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1986)
As the youngest of 3, and the only boy, I idolized my sisters while growing up in Oklahoma. When my eldest sister was trying out for cheerleader, the routine was choreographed to "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper. When no one was watching I'd sneak into her room, give her pom poms a whirl, and do the routine. And dare I say it -- even better than my sister.
|"What happens when a six-year-old boy watches Dynasty? Attitude!"|
One of the more telling experiences occurred in pre-school when I was 5. I was at the art easel, painting away, when the teacher approached me. "Oh Chase, that's a lovely drawing," she said. "Is that your dad, you, and your sisters?"
I looked at her as if she were speaking Klingon.
"No," I replied curtly. "That's Anita, Ruth, and June - the Pointer Sisters. And that's their father, the Reverend Elton Pointer, giving them notes before their concert."
As for my picture: My aunt had visited the Hong Kong Zoo and brought me a souvenir T-shirt. While the rest of my family was consummately conservative and churchy, my aunt was a lover of the world. She vacationed in the East,
had a pen pal in France, spoke 4 languages, and dared to leave Oklahoma.
From an early age, I knew that she knew something was "different" about me, and it was something my aunt adored. Upon receiving her gift, and after almost a half hour of instructing my father as to the best background to show off this T-shirt, I decided on a small garden in my parents backyard.
The look of frustration on my face was well-earned; My father had not been living up to the expectations of my artistic vision. So I showed off my scowl in protest.
I feel quite nostalgic and even protective of the "me" in this picture. I was raised in a loving family that accepted me as I was, even as an imaginative young kid, and that foundation has carried me through today.
My parents expressed no great surprise when I came out of the closet, nor did they say anything except: "You're still our boy, and we love you no less."
Differ as we might on political and social opinions, growing up in such a loving environment - during such an enormously fabulous era for popular culture - I am proud I was born this way.
And, I'm just as grateful that my parents and entire family are proud as well.
Chase's first, famous-person same sex crush: