|"Me and my best gal pal!"|
Benton, AR (1977)
My mom took this picture of me and Connie, my best friend from next door. My dad was a man's man and a building contractor who had been doing some repairs on our roof and left the ladder leaning up against the house.
Connie and I posed by the ladder for my mom, but I decided that I would climb up on the ladder so I could be seen in the picture better.
As you can see, I'm giving my best over the shoulder look.
Growing up, my family were Jehovah's Witnesses. So, I felt different because of that, in addition to feeling different due to my sexuality. I felt like a freak among freaks. The literature that the Witnesses put out regarding homosexuality pretty much all said that if I just prayed hard enough, God would help me overcome these "unnatural feelings."
So, I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed - and nothing happened. God never changed me into a heterosexual. I took that to be because He didn't want to, not because He couldn't. So, I stopped trying. And, I did my best to get by until I was old enough to leave.
I eventually wound up living 800 miles away from my family. When I started dating my husband 13 years ago, I was so happy and I came out to my sister over the phone. I told her not to tell my parents, but I knew she would. I figured I had a week to call them and tell them myself before she burst.
When I told my mom 3 days later, she said that she had known for a long time. I'm sure my posing for this picture was a big clue for her. My dad on the other hand, wasn't quite as prepared. He told me that day, 'I'm not sure that I really understand this. I'm not sure that I like this. But, you're my son and I love you regardless.'
From that point on, my parents and I rebuilt a great relationship. At the time of his passing in 2009, my father considered my husband to be part of the family.
Looking at this picture now, all I can say is, 'Damn, I was a cute kid!'
A cute kid who was blessed to have wonderful parents who taught me the meaning of unconditional love.
Neil Patrick Harris (as "Doogie Howser, MD")