January 16, 2011


Jay, age 5
San Antonio, Texas (1985)

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?")
Who's the Boss? - The Complete First Season The Impact of Bullying on the Mental Health of Young Gay Men: Bullying and Internalized Homophobia's Effect on Depressive and Traumatic Symptoms Brokeback Mountain (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) Unlearning Homophobia Series - Individual Purchase


Terry said...

It's heartbreaking that a child would be subjected to bigotry and hostility like that. Why do people still try to defend such behavior? It boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

I think you are totally right, is not until the others start pointing at you, until you realize something is different inside. And that something is not wrong... it is just different...

Kathryn Thomas said...

As for the picture, your [sister] is probably getting something out of her eye but it's funny because it looks like she's covering her eyes in an "I give up" gesture. It makes your awesome cowboy pose even jazzier!