Penny (aka Pen), age 10
Rotorua, New Zealand (1984)
This photo was shot on Christmas day, with my new t-shirt on. This look was pretty much par for the course. I always hated wearing skirts and never wore pink. By the time I was 7 or 8 my mother accepted I would never wear another skirt, and she also let me cut my hair short for evermore.
|“How you doin’?’|
On the first day of winter at my primary school, the principal stood up in assembly and said: 'It's now winter weather, so the boys and Pen can now wear trousers'. I was also the only girl on the "boys" soccer team.
I guess I was always different.
Luckily, my family never made me feel odd. It was just taken for granted that I was a tomboy and there was nothing wrong with that. Growing up, my mother had lots of lesbian friends, so I had positive gay role models around me.
I knew I was attracted to girls right around age 10, and I had a huge crush on my cousin. So I decided when I was 13 that I must be bisexual.
Soon after I decided I had no interest in boys, so I must be a lesbian. I told my mum when I was 15 and she just said 'Yeah, I know'. The rest of the family pretty much reacted the same way.
Looking at this picture now, I realize how lucky I was that I was always allowed to be myself as a kid and no one in my family or school ever said 'Hey, that’s not right'. I also think, 'Man I was a cocky little thing back then!'
Pen's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Nancy McKeon (Jo on "The Facts Of Life")
Partly, I think I wanted to be her. She was so cool