October 28, 2011

Nic

Nic, age 6
Quincy, CA (1965)

I'm the cutie in the blue and white striped shirt and belt. My grandmother made that for me. I guess she's the one who got me started with accessorizing. She also made clothes for my Troll dolls, and was very protective of me.


I grew up in a redneck town where boys were taught to hunt and fish and all that stuff. My friends were always girls. I recall playing house with one of my friends and I told her I wanted to be the Mommy, and she sternly told me "No!" It turns out, she's now a lesbian.

Much of my internalized guilt and fear of exposure made me a very bitter and angry kid. I also suspect it played a huge part in me having cancer at age 22.

I remember my grandmother telling my mom that she saw two men walking down the street in San Francisco, acting like they were a married couple. Even at age 6, something clicked in my head and I blurted out to her, 'I want to marry a man when I grow up!'

Of course she was horrified and aghast, and said, "But you can't." That moment I revealed myself to her was the first time I was told that being gay was a bad thing.

But today, I know being gay is a very good thing.
And indeed, I married my husband on 6/18/2008.
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Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 22, 2011

Thomas

Thomas, age 2
Toledo, OH (1992)

I should ask Tyra Banks for my check, as I was clearly smiling with my eyes first! I was the boy that wanted to be the mom when playing house. I was the boy in your daughter's room playing with her Barbies, who turned your bed comforter into a Haute couture gown, and who performed "Proud Mary" for a talent show.

I argued why I wasn't supposed to do these things, because I was born this way.

Growing up, I got a lot of complaints about my "girly interest" from family and friends.

I just didn't care for sports or G.I. Joe dolls. Well, if G.I. Joe was cute, then I cared.

I didn't believe I was gay until the day I hugged one of my kindergarten classmates naked, while we were changing at the pool. I remember my first kiss was with a boy while playing with Hot Wheels.

But as I got older, I started to experience plenty of bullying. It wasn't any better going to an all-boy high school. I was teased, beaten up, pranked, and even had Facebook hate pages in my honor.

It all took its toll on me, and I showed the hate I had for my sexuality through eating.

At a heavy 286lbs, I started to see that I couldn't please anyone but myself.
But now at 21, I've lost over 130lbs. And I am back to being that same little boy who doesn't care about the person everyone else wants me to be.

To the many gays out there reading this who are struggling with acceptance, trust - it always gets better. People will respect you for who you are no matter what.

But, you've got to fight for yourself.

Thomas' first, famous-person same sex crush:
Lil Bow Wow
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Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 17, 2011

JC

JC, age 17
Sierra Nevada, California (1979)

"I Was a Teenage Drag King"

Once, I wanted to "be a boy," but had mostly made peace with my female gender. But puberty was AGONY! When I discovered my dad's Army uniforms in storage, I was fascinated by men's formal clothing. While children's clothing had become more unisex, I was interested (as kids are) in the gendered male clothing of adults.

At a costume event, how I could not dandy up as a turn-of-the-Century drag king when I looked so good at it!

I was particularly proud of how I tucked my long hair up in the hat, for a nice profile. Alhough the handlebar mustache may be a bit over-the-top.

My interest only grew, as I was supposed to be differentiating into a "woman." Back then, I kept getting crushes on dead movie idols, like Tyrone Power. My delayed libido couldn't comprehend that I didn't want to do them, I wanted to be them.



At this age, I worked as a summer camp counselor. I'd been bullied in camp before: some girls read me, calling me "lezzie" and "lesbo" there. As a counselor,
I helped (as best I could) a boy struggling with his own orientation, though I was still in deep denial about my own! I'm "gynesexual" - attracted to women, whether I'm considered a lesbian female, or a straight dude.

What's most important about this photo, is how genuinely happy I am here. I look like me. That didn't happen again for too many years. Now, I'm content with my genderqueer self. I don't have to be either/or - I can be BOTH! And that's great!

So for the kids today, I say don't be forced into those "M or F, Pick One" boxes.
You're fine the way you are. Make the question and the forms change!
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Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 11, 2011

Robeij

Robeij, age 4 months
Louisville, KY (1987)

When I look at this picture, it brings tears to my eyes. The huge smile on my face, the dimples, and the innocence that was not yet ready for the MANY years of torment and suicide attempts that would occur later on in my life.

As a young boy, I did everything a boy "should" do. I played sports, I camped, I hiked, and I got dirty. Growing up was challenging, as I felt that I wasn't like the rest of the boys.

I was more emotionally driven, and after years of complaining about playing sports, my dad allowed me to pursue some band things and other musical endeavors.

Unfortunately, by the 8th grade,
I hated being alive.

And all the terrible things you hear about now? I experienced them.



I was taunted in the school hallways in between classes, and a bully actually tried to shove me in my 4 ft by 2 ft locker. My hair was pulled, my shins were kicked, and these bullies would even spit in my face.

I was called a f*ggot, a queer, a fudge packer and an anal jockey. At that time,
I felt as though these horrible boys took away my innocence. I tried to look to God for answers or some kind of help. But blinded by all the hate that surrounded me, I didn't see any kind of improvement. At 13, I attempted to kill myself, to get rid of what I felt like was a waste of God-given flesh. What was I even worth?

After a grueling year of the torment and the failed suicide, I turned against everybody. I was an angry boy with a shattered heart and no real outlook on life.

Years afterwards, I changed as a person. I found refuge in music and made tons of friends. But by college, I slipped down the steep slopes of depression and anxiety. I still was not happy with who I was, thinking 'If I'm a f*ggot, I'll burn in the fiery pits of hell. God won't love me and neither will my family.'

Can you believe that? I did.

My second suicide attempt took place in my dorm room at college. Fortunately, it was another failed attempt. God had a plan for me. I sought help and moved back home to FIND MYSELF. And there, I found that boy in my baby picture. I smiled again, my dimples showed, and my outlook on life had gotten better. I knew and admitted that I was gay and proud, despite some insecurities I had at the time.

I am now a recent college graduate. I overcame battles of depression and anxiety. I have a wonderful family who loves me for me, and appreciates my journey in finding myself. I have the most amazing set of friends who have been there for all my happy, sad, and angry moments.

But to this day, I still get harassed and discriminated against. And it still bugs me. However, I look at them and smile - because I am who I am, and I will NOT change for anybody. I'm an advocate to those who feel they don't have a voice.

I am there for those who need the help and guidance to see that being LGBTQ isn't a bad thing. It's a rebirth when you finally realize that this is the real you.

The old me died and became ash; the new me was reborn from those ashes and is now a successful young gay male in today's society. I recently got a tattoo of the word EQUALITY on my arm, because I believe that equality should be given to all persons - no matter what race, age, gender, sexuality, etc.

I apologize for such a long post, but lastly I must mention my mother. She is my heart. Because of her, I'm the person I am today. She was the first person I told and she will always love me no matter what choices I make in my life. She doesn't see sin nor distaste in my community. She sees only love, integrity, and respect.

To all those who feel like they have no voice - you do! There are so many people around that will love you for you. If you are bullied in school, contact the highest person you can. If nothing is done, go to someone higher than them. If you have to go all the way to the top, then do so. Make a difference in your community

Because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
We all matter and we all will make a difference in the world.
Mother Monster said it best, "... 'Cause baby, you were BORN this way."

Remember that. I LOVE YOU.
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Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 10, 2011

Taylor

Taylor, age 4
Denton, Texas (1991)

When I was a young girl, I always wanted to have short hair and wear boys' clothes. I hated girl clothes, because they were too bright and sparkly. I didn't want to be sparkly, I wanted to play with cars, trucks, G.I. Joe, and Nintendo.

But when Christmas and birthdays rolled around, I
was always bought dolls and Barbies - because I was a girl, and those were "girl" toys.

I soon got my revenge by cutting off the dolls' hair, so it was short like mine. And I would have my girl Barbies marry each other.

High school was tough because of ignorant idiots, and my raging hormones going nuts around every woman.

But after years of depression and self hatred and a couple of suicide attempts, I've learned that I am a wonderful, loving, caring person. When I came out at age 20, it was more like, "Yeah we knew. We were just waiting for you to tell us."
My mom had a tougher time accepting it, but she loves me because I'm her baby and she wants me to be happy.

And I know that life gets better! I've met so many wonderful people who have become friends, family, and lovers. They all support and accept me for who I am, and I know that I will continue to meet those wonderful people to my dying day.

Today, my hair is still short, and I simply write off the people who are ignorant and hateful towards me. And a lot has changed since I posted my story here: I have come out as a transgender man and I'm in the process of starting the physical change.

I don't regret identifying as lesbian because it helped me be strong in coming out as trans. And to all the LGBTQ kids reading this:

Know that you are loved and wanted.

Taylor's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Alicia Silverstone & Jessica Rabbit
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Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"



Patrick

Patrick, age 7
Paris, France (1971)

Growing up, I remember photographers going around with wild animals on the Italian beaches, to get people to have their picture taken with them.


They then gave you a card and you'd go to pick up the picture. I found this one in my grandmother's treasure chest last summer, after she died.

Although I had forgotten everything about it, the picture brought back memories:
It was my first encounter with a hairy creature trying to kiss me!

I was thrilled and afraid. But in the end, I let him kiss me.

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

Alexa

Alexa, age 10
Los Angeles, California (1991)

I always was the biggest tomboy growing up. Whether it was a skateboard in hand or basketball, I spent most of my childhood heavily involved in sports or things considered "boys" hobbies. The thing I remember most was that I always had guy friends, and only ONE girl friend. But this girl was the ultimate girl. She had long blonde hair, played with Barbies, and was everything I was not. This was always interesting to my parents, as I never really changed as I got older.


I ended up at an all-girls school, with even less male friends. But I would always have that one really girlie best friend who meant the world to me, even if she just watched me play all my "boy" games. I now realize that maybe it was more than a friendship for me, even if I didn't understand what it all meant. Fortunately, I was never bullied or teased growing up, which I guess makes me blessed.

Years later, my "coming out" to my parents as a junior in college proved to be the hardest time in my life. It's been almost 7 years since then, and my parents have done a 180 and they could not be more supportive. That hard time somehow brought us closer, and my mother is now helping plan my upcoming wedding.

I now work as a creative music video producer for Interscope Records. And I'll be marrying Sam - my partner and best "girlie" friend of 3 years - this December. And we hope to have a beautiful family filled with love and freedom one day.

The message I would give to any LGBTQ kid is:
Always believe in yourself and be who you are. I honestly believe the main reason I was never bullied as a kid, is because I was never scared of who I was, or felt that I was different. I just projected how I felt and did what I wanted to do - without caring about what other people thought about me!

The memories I have of my tomboy ways will forever remain true.
And note the "Transformer" on the skateboard. It was cool then and still is now!:)

Alexa's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Sally Field (as "Gidget")
I thought she was the coolest chick on the beach, and I wanted to be her!

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 05, 2011

Tommy

Tommy, age 7
San Dimas, California (1981)

This was my favorite shirt in the 2nd grade. I called it my "Lando Calrissian shirt" because it was flowy. But the best part was that only the top had a button, and the rest were snaps that could easily "rip open." You'll see why this was important.

Back then, my best friend and I would play "Dukes of Hazzard" at recess. I was always Bo Duke, and my friend would have to rip my shirt open during fight scenes, because that's what happens to Bo.

When I got my butt kicked, I would make him play Daisy Duke to nurse me back to health.

Some boys came up one day and said we couldn't play like that, because Daisy was a girl. My friend decided we'd play with them, instead. I forgot what we were doing, but one boy who didn't know how to properly "rip open" a snap-up shirt actually ripped my shirt.

He said he was sorry, but it was one of those fake apologies you say so you don't get in trouble. I had to sit in class the rest of the day in that ripped shirt, while other kids giggled and called me Daisy - despite the fact that I was clearly Bo.

When I told my mom how my shirt got ripped, she gave me one of those looks where I knew something had changed between us. Needless to say, she refused to get me another snap-up shirt.

Funny, though:
About 10 years later for Christmas, mom sent me and my first boyfriend matching shirts. That was my 2nd snap-up shirt. And I think he ended up ripping it, too...
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Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"