Phoenixville, PA (1976)
He'd taken the requisite high school band trip to Disney World, and well - all I got was this AMAZING t-shirt. I wore this shirt religiously until there were holes in it that were bigger than Mickey Mouse's ears.
Uncle Ken had a huge influence on me. I guess I knew he was different at an early age. He had long hair and I recall hearing about Jesus Christ Superstar a lot.
While Ken wasn't Jesus to me, he was rad and rebellious.
I used to put a dish towel on my head and squint my eyes and pretend to be him. I was 6, and while I wasn't out smoking weed just yet (I waited til high school for that) or wearing shoulder-length hair (which I did in college),
I definitely identified with him.
Ken was a 'rock' in my eyes. I was only 7 when my parents separated, and he had a successful, 22-year gay relationship - that I watched with awe as my parents' marriage fell apart. I thought how he and his partner outlasted the 'normal' couplings around me.
My Mom eventually went to live with my him, his partner, and their lesbian friend. I would visit with my brother and sister, and it was a whole other world.
I now still have a great relationship with my Uncle Ken, who has since married a new man in their home state of Vermont. I was at the ceremony, with MY gay brother, and my Mom's other gay brother.
Yes, that's 4 men in two generations - all gay.
And I don't think it was caused by the nightshirt...
Mark's first, famous-person same sex crush: