May 30, 2011

Brent

Brent, age 4
Hanover Park, IL (1964)

As a kid I fancied long hair, and loved my mom's hat and dish towel for the full effect.

And this is a YouTube video
of me at this age, where I fashioned a dress out of a dish towel and have that "off the shoulder dress look" going on.

Earlier reports from my family have said I was prone to carrying mum's purse around at family gatherings.


I am happy I was born this way. My friends tell me I laugh in my sleep, actually.

Through all my perils of addictions, cancer, and losing my mate of 19 years to AIDS related ALS, I'm still full of hope and laughter.

May 29, 2011

Carlos

Carlos, age 7
RS, Brazil (1998)

I live in Brazil, and somehow I always knew that I was gay.


I had many years of discovering myself, and I'm finally happy with who I am!
Now, I'm so lucky with all that I have: my friends, my family, and my boyfriend.

And to all who might feel sad now, there 
is a happy ending!

James

James, age 7
Bear Valley, WI (1957)

When I look back at this picture now, it brings back the great memories of staying with my grandparents.

I always knew I liked boys from the age of 5. My cousin and I would have sleepovers, and we would hug and kiss each other all the time. What great times they were.

My grandparents always told me it was OK to like boys, or even love them, as long as I was happy. My parents were a different story.

While my mom was very supportive, my dad hauled me off to a priest to confess my "sin" for loving boys.

I sat there and told the priest I loved boys, and that's how it was. And, that I didn't care what he or my old man said.

I can remember the priest saying, "That's alright, but you can't come to church anymore." I just laughed and said, "Good."

As far as the rest of the family went, they never cared one way or the other.

During school, I never had a real problem with me liking boys. And some of the older boys protected me if anyone started anything, like calling me names.

My advice to kids now is:
Just be yourself and don't hide your feelings. If someone yells names at you,
just walk away. Believe me, it does get better as you grow older.

And one more thing:
Leave the drugs and booze alone. They don't get you anywhere.

James' first, famous-person same sex crush:
Donnie Osmond
He was so cute, I dreamed about him. I also had a crush on Michael Jackson
- Check out My First Gay Crush Blog -
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Donnie Osmond - Photo Print (8 x 10 Inches - 21cm x 26cm) 1978 Concert (Photographer: Larry Kaplan)The Best of Donny and Marie: Volume 1Michael Jackson: Before He Was KingLGBT Matters and Religion

May 28, 2011

Igor

Igor, age 2
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1989)

I have only but flashes of my childhood. I grew up in a new neighborhood, and there were only a few people living nearby. There were no other kids around, and being the chubby kid in school didn't exactly make me the most popular student.

I was being called names since forever, and my only friends were my teachers and the school staff.

I always felt different, and I could tell since the age of 5 that I had a "thing" for boys.

All my friends were girls, and I'd spend most of my time wondering how it would be when I became one. Because I was sure that being a boy wasn't for me.

My father was utterly against my demonstrations of femininity, and he did everything he could to change my ways: soccer, skating, and trying to buy me a motorcycle when I got older.

I remember this one special Christmas when I was around 7-years old, and my uncle gave me a complete set of GI Joe figures, and I couldn't care less about it! All my devotion went to my cousin's new Barbie doll, and I was so jealous of her!
Why couldn't I get the cute gifts?

This picture might seem like nothing special, but it shows how carefree I could be back when I was a baby. The fabulous shoes I had, catwalking in diapers.

When I came out at age 18, I asked my father how could he not be impressed with his gay son, who could sing all the lyrics to "I Will Survive"? Eventually,
my parents came around, and now they're with me every step of the way!

That same energy kept me going until I decided to come out of the closet.
And if there's a "gay energy" that marks us as being happy, no matter what,
then I'm sure I've had it since birth.

To those who, like my boyfriend, still haven't come out, or are struggling hard while doing it, hang on! Be free to do what you like with whoever you like!

That feeling of no shame or guilt or the need to hide, is the best reward you can get in life. It gets better!

Igor's first, famous-person same sex crush:
John Stamos (on "Full House")
- My First Gay Crush Blog -
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Full House: The Complete Seventh SeasonJOHN STAMOS 20X24 COLOR PHOTOQueering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil: Sexual Rights Movements in Emerging DemocraciesBeneath the Equator: Cultures of Desire, Male Homosexuality, and Emerging Gay Communities in Brazil

May 27, 2011

Malu

Malu, age 10
São Paulo, Brazil (1999)

This is me and a cousin. I remember feeling so smooth in this hat! Hahahaha

I was always more interested in 'boys' stuff. I remember playing "house" in kindergarten, and I was always  the father and my friend played the mother.

I always liked male characters and identified with them.

Most importantly, I felt attracted to the female characters in cartoons and movies, etc. The oldest memory I have of this is of Saory, from the "Saint Seya" anime.
I think she was my first crush =)

Growing up, I never talked about it with anyone, and it deeply saddened me.

If I could give any advice for those who are still in the closet, it is to open up and talk with someone. It will make you feel loads better!

My parents only discovered about me when I was already in college.
Thinking back, I figure they always knew deep within.

All is well now. I have a girlfriend that I can have at home, and I can visit her home. Surely people are getting more open minded!
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Saint Seiya: Collection 1Queering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil: Sexual Rights Movements in Emerging DemocraciesBeneath the Equator: Cultures of Desire, Male Homosexuality, and Emerging Gay Communities in Brazil

May 25, 2011

Christian

Christian, age 7
Toronto, Canada (1994)

This is me on vacation in Cuba. I picked it for the homoerotic undertones -
I am literally straddling a cannon - and because I was probably encouraged by my parents to climb up and do what I wanted to do. Something not all kids have.


I can truly say that I was born gay. The first time I remember having this idea was when I was in 1st grade. There was a cute girl in my class, and I remember saying to myself, "I like boys the way other boys like girls."

As a kid I was creative and loved art, pretty much only had female friends, hated sports, had effeminate mannerisms, and stuttered, a lot.

I remember my friends were the one Asian guy in my class, the bigger girl, and the tall, lanky girl who got teased a lot. Looking back, all of this didn't lend itself to an easy childhood, but it did help me sympathize with fellow outcasts.

My parents were pretty cool with me doing my own thing. But they were also too busy working to really monitor me, and I ended up watching a lot of TV.

I never wondered whether or not I was gay, though I was briefly enamored with Sporty Spice. I have wondered whether or not it would be easier to conform and hide - or to be "loud and proud" with the things that made me stand out.

The route I choose was clearly the latter, because no matter how hard I tried,
I couldn't hide who I was.

That would be my one suggestion to kids out there: Do what you want to do,
and do it better than anyone else. Gay or straight, you should be happy in life.

Christian's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
John Travolta (in "Grease")
Zachary Ty Bryan (on "Home Improvement")
Ryder Strong (on "Boy Meets World")
Mario Lopez (on "Saved By The Bell")
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Grease Art No Text John Travolta Movie Poster 11x17 Master PrintSporty Spice: In My Pocket (Unofficial Spice Girls, in My Pocket Series)Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada: Social Movements and Equality-Seeking, 1971-1995Outcast

May 23, 2011

Jay

Jay, age 6
Sterling, Virginia (1984)

Childhood was a great time and a rough time for me. My parents allowed me to be who I was. But the world wasn't always so great with the concept.


I don't think of my story as all that special, but it floors most people who hear it for the first time.

If Disney made a movie about me, it may be closest to "Pinocchio" - but without the weird kids-taking-that-donkey-acid-trip scene.


Simply put (and here's the big reveal), I dreamed every night of waking up as a real boy. 

But I was not born a wooden puppet.

I was born a little girl.


I was a very loved child, but I was also wildly misunderstood by many, myself included. It took about 23 years for me to figure it all out.


I had unbelievable support from my family and the friends I kept close. And especially from my spouse, sister, mom and dad. But I kept a lot of people at a distance along the way. I still struggle with finding the right way to tell people.

Being who I am means being a Dad, a husband, a brother and a son. But i
t's tough to figure out why or how to divulge this layer of my past without it consuming perceptions and shifting realities.

But the truth is, kids out there are going through the same things I went through. And they - or their friends and family - are reading this blog.


So for those young ones going through the things I went through, know this:


Your night-time wish can be your future, too. And your mom and dad may one day call you their son with the same pride they had back then. Maybe even more now, since you've given them grandkids.
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Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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May 20, 2011

Dhanny

Dhanny, age 3
Caracas, Venezuela (1980)

When I was a child, I was like "the toy" in the house, because I'm the youngest of 4 children. I was a bit spoiled, and my one sister even walked the whole city, just to buy me an E.T. doll with lights on the finger and heart.


My childhood was as nice as possible, but I knew I was "different" as early as kindergarten. My teacher called my mom to tell her that I always held hands with another boy, and said it was "abnormal behavior." So the teacher put us in different classrooms. And I think this was the first time that I was "punished" because of my "natural selection" - haha!

I loved playing baseball, swimming, and riding my bike like most kids. But there was always something inside me that made me more soft. I excelled in art, drawing and acting. But when it came to baseball or football, I was the worst!

In high school, I even had a girlfriend! But with pressure about having sex, we had no choice but to break up and just be friends. She was actually a lesbian, and 10 years later we kissed, just to piss off our old friends.

I chose this picture, because it shows me trying to steal some grapes. And my family thought, "How cute! Click the camera!" But when it came to my sexuality, that was a subject not talked about in my house.

But now, I think they feel so natural in my life. My nephew and niece come to my home, and they love my partner. I have been blessed with my family, and I don't feel shame about anything.

I worry about today's kids, who still suffer hardship because of their sexuality.
But we are not aliens. And there is nothing wrong with us, or you.

As long as you respect yourself, you can be respected back. There is a bright future ahead, and it gets better every day. But the most important person we need to love, is ourselves.

Dhanny's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris on "Saved By The Bell")
I watched just to see 'the cute blond guy,' desperate to be his Kelly! 

Fernando

Fernando, age 4
Mexico City, Mexico (1979)

Ever since I can remember, I knew I was different from other kids. I liked things other boys didn't like, such as playing with my cousin's dolls, and wearing my mom's sunglasses, heels or makeup. The other boys liked the things I hated, like playing soccer or getting G.I. Joe dolls for Christmas.

I pretty much grew up that way, realized I was gay at age 13, and came out quite late, at age 23.

Looking back to my childhood, I feel very proud of the courage it took for me to stand up for what I believed in, and to dare to come out.

Especially considering the environment where I grew up: conservative and Catholic in upper-class Mexico city.

At the beginning, the process of coming out seemed hard and painful. Very close to impossible, actually. I felt as if I'd be the only homosexual my friends and family would ever have to deal with.

Pretty soon after I started the coming out process, I realized that wasn't the case. I had my friends' and family's support, but it took a little time.

And to my huge surprise, my three closest childhood friends turned out to be gay as well. No wonder we remained friends all those years!

May 17, 2011

Chris

Chris, age 2
E. Grand Forks, MN (1977)


I always felt like a fabulous fish out of water in my hometown in northern Minnesota. This picture perhaps does "scream gay" from my earliest days, one of three in a series of some of my favorite toddler pictures.
 

This was taken in the days of disco, when I enjoyed playing with dolls, banging the piano, and looking like a young, gay version of Hugh Hefner.
 

It was only the next year that I had my first kiddie crush on a boy. He was 8 and rode a dirt bike in my neighborhood.

Despite my eagerness to be with him, he and his friends brushed me off as any 8-year old would, to a 3-year old.

I had many boy crushes from TV: Jason Bateman on "Little House on the Prairie" and "Valerie," Mackenzie Astin on "Facts of Life," Todd Bridges on "Diff'rent Strokes," and Scott Baio on "Happy Days."

But I didn't know I was gay until much later, and didn't admit it to myself until I was 19. Nor to anyone else until I was 21.

If I'd known when this was taken (and many subsequent pictures that spoke the thousand words I could only hint at in my young imaginings), I would have told myself that everything would be OK. At least once I grew up and moved!

There was a lot of the world out there to see. And after I saw some of it, I got to appreciate where I came from, as well who I am and have always been.


Chris' first, famous-person same sex crush:

Jason Bateman
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Teen Wolf TooThe Last Days of DiscoCasanova Smoking RobeSmall-Town Gay