As you can see, I loved wearing all white. I still do. I look at this photo and see a very happy boy loving the camera. My mother wondered years later why it took me forever to get ready for school every morning. She used to say:
With gusto and full vigor, I did an acapella rendition of Marcie Blane's "Bobby's Girl".
My cousins were mortified as I belted out,
"I wannbe... Bobby's Girl. That's the most important thing to me!" I finished the song and bowed to a very confused audience.
High school was not as difficult, since I went to the Fashion Illustration & Design school in Manhattan. The kids in the arts tended to be a little more accepting with gay people. However, my home life wasn't as rosy.
I came out to my parents at 17, and in 1982, news of the AIDS epidemic was everywhere.
I was exiled to the basement, and only allowed to use the bathroom down there.
I had my own set of dishes and utensils, and couldn't even wash my clothes along with the rest of the family. I was basically an outcast in my own home, so I left at 19 and moved in with my 20-year old boyfriend.
It took years of therapy and soul searching, but my family and I are very close now. We all had to grow and accept each other for who we truly are. Now, we can fully love and care for one another.
My grandmother once said to me in 1983: "It doesn't matter that you have the heart of a woman, as long as you're happy and make something of yourself...
My advice to young kids who are having trouble with their family, is to give it time. Don't give up on each other. Learn from and teach one another, but always come from love and truth.