Matt, age 6Virginia Beach, Virginia (1975)
I spent a lot of time in my youth climbing trees and running around in the woods. I used to run around the house with my arms up and my wrists out like Wonder Woman while wearing my mom's long white nightgowns, which must have been a very funny sight. I remember this period in my life as incredibly free and happy with abundant potential and creativity. I felt very loved and safe, and was only aware of the difference in myself from other boys as something of a gift, or something special that made me well, me!
|"I believe in Magic, Rainbows, and Unicorns"|
The contrast in the smiling welcoming faces that wore this gore was such a contradiction, and it really scared the sh*t out of me.
One Cub Scout meeting was at a Baptist Church. 15 or 20 other kids my age and older were sitting in a circle, talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up: firemen, astronauts, bee farmers, or the Incredible Hulk.
When it came to me I honestly told the room: 'My husband is going to be a policeman, and I'll be living in a 3-bedroom house, with flowers and a beagle - and I'll make the best ice cream in the world.'
My suspicion about not fitting in was solidified at that moment.
Everyone got upset, and the Scout Master started yelling at me - 'You can't do that! You're an abomination, a monster!' - and my personal favorite - 'Devil Child!' (you know the drill).
The Scout Master then made me sit outside on the front steps of the church by myself, while they finished their meeting. As night crept in, I remember feeling so lonely and afraid. I must have been out there for a couple hours by the time the meeting ended.
When all the laughing kids came spilling out of the church and into their parents' cars, I asked the Scout Master about calling my mom to let her know the meeting had ended. And he loudly declared 'Oh, I KNOW whoever put you up to this is coming to get you!' Then he left me alone, at night, sitting in front of this locked church, in the dark. I had to get the janitor that came later, to call my mom.
When she got there she couldn't believe my story (I guess it was really all too fabulous?) and she insisted I must have done something wrong.
'Nobody would leave a child your age by himself! I know you're lying!'
When we got home and she called the Sadist in Question, she was told that he wanted nothing to do with her, and finally after she had spoken to someone in charge, we just never talked about it. However, I also remember my mom hugging me later and letting me know we didn't need those people. She was actually more supportive than I sometimes give her credit for.
When I look at this picture now, I feel so much love and respect for this child who was just so, beautiful, innocent, brave, and so deeply in touch with himself at such an early age.
I had no idea what sex was then, but I knew love.
Matt's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Gary Burghoff (Radar on "M*A*S*H")He was so lovable and cute, I just wanted to hug him and fall asleep
with my head on his shoulder, while he held me in his arms.