A photo/essay project for LGBTQ adults (of all genders) to submit childhood pictures and stories (roughly ages 2 to 12), reflecting the memories and early beginnings of their innate selves. See how nurture allows what nature endows - and it's their nature, their truth!
This photo was my childhood version of me being a cowboy, pre Brokeback Mountain.
"It got better!"
I experienced my first “crush” at about this age. His name was Joey and he lived across the street. I had no idea it was “wrong” until the other kids in the neighborhood started calling me “f*ggot.”
It’s sick that a 5 year old experiences homophobia. Obviously, I had never had sex and had never been on a date. When those opposed to our equality say it is about our deviant behavior, they are lying. At 5, I had never been “deviant.” It is about “the other” and the need to feel superior to someone else.
It is ego, it is bigotry, and it is hatred.
At this age, I neither knew what gay was nor did I feel “different” - until I was told I was “different” by the other kids in the neighborhood. Their harassment didn’t make me straight, it made me closeted and fearful.
But looking back on this pic now, it’s definitely a picture of happiness. It was at a time when I didn’t know self-expression could result in violence, intimidation, and harassment, etc.
There is great joy in naivety.
Joe's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Danny Pintauro ("Who's The Boss?")