December 28, 2012

Mark

Mark, age 7
Crawfordsville, Indiana (1971)

That's me pictured on the left.
Need I say more???

I'm here with my little sister, as we had just returned from a Halloween celebration at the local mall.

And check it out:
I won a transistor radio for "Best Costume!"

Am I convinced this positive reinforcement is responsible for my gayness? Yes! :)

Though it was not my mom's intention at the time, I lovingly refer to this picture as "Lady and The Tramp."
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"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


December 22, 2012

Melanie

Melanie, age 6
Downey, California (1970)

This was me at Christmas, the first year I discovered Santa Claus was basically a hoax perpetrated by generations of traditional family propagandists and greedy department stores. You can tell by my expression how excited I was about that inflatable reindeer and pink nightgown...

Every year I'd receive typical "girly" gifts when what I really wanted was the Hot Wheels® Mongoose & Snake Race Set.

I wore boys' clothes and shoes, so of course I wanted boys' TOYS! But noooo - Barbie dolls and plush toys were all I got.

But Stephen the neighbor boy had the Hot Wheels® sets, and he often let me play with them.

Stephen also eventually gave me my first kiss, which was quite thrilling. But wait, you say - that means I must be straight!

Well, not purely. See, I hated (and still despise) most things feminine.

I never wanted to get married, have kids, or become domesticated. That all sounded like absolute misery to me. I never wanted to be associated with "the weaker sex" - so I basically consider myself a gay male trapped in a female body.

The message I would impart to LGBTQ youth is that it is vital to live your life being true to yourself first. That is a truth that spans all human conditions.

Be true to who you are and what you desire in life, regardless of who objects to it. It takes a lot of courage to do, but you will develop that strength each time you exercise your right to be yourself.

Staying to true to you is the only way you will find the true joy in life.
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"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


December 19, 2012

Sarah

Sarah, age 3
Nampa, Idaho (1973)

I remember this Christmas well. I sat on Santa's lap at the mall and asked for a chainsaw. He looked pretty confused according to my mom, but it must have made an impression - because it's what I got! My eyes are a little red in the photo from crying, because I had to wear a dress.

Growing up in Idaho, I didn't know I was gay. But I knew "gay" was a derogatory term.

I knew I liked girls since I can remember and needed to hide it. I also remember my my first celebrity crush was Samantha on "Bewitched."

Right around the time of this photo I got a boy's style haircut and had the kids convinced I was a boy.

I had little girlfriends who would make me the husband when they played house.

I even had a girlfriend in kindergarten and we'd kiss on the bus.

When I started 1st grade I was outed by the bus driver as a girl. He told everyone, "Sarah is a girl's name! You are a girl!" I was mortified. I eventually gave up the charade, but school was tough. I always felt like a freak who didn't fit in.

I moved to Los Angeles once I graduated school and finally felt at home for the first time in my life. I'm very happy and comfortable with myself now as I don't have to pretend anymore. And I've been with my wife for almost 17 years now.
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"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


December 15, 2012

Jason

Jason, age 7
Brush Valley, Pennsylvania (1976)

Back in the 70's, we always got the necessities for Christmas: clothes, school supplies, and shoes. AND, one special thing from our Santa wish list. All I wanted for Christmas that year was the Lynda Carter "Wonder Woman" doll. And you have never seen a child so happy as the Christmas Day when I opened my "special" present, and there she was - WONDER WOMAN!!!


As for school, it was not easy for me. Throughout grade school and high school I was picked on and bullied and called names I would really rather not say. But I SURVIVED! I graduated high school in 1987 with a graduating class of 167 seniors. And I thought I would never want to see any of them again.

I immediately moved to Tampa, FL and to no one's surprise, I "came out." I went back to college and moved into the business field. Now, a quarter century later I work for a multi-billion dollar healthcare firm.

On Facebook in 2009, I started seeing people I went to high school with, and we began talking. I found out that those who picked on me the worst had a story of their own (abusive homes, sexual assault, drug problems). In November, we had our 25th HS Reunion. The people I thought I would never want to see again gave me such a wonderful evening, that we didn't stop talking until 5:00am!

My message for LGBTQ kids today is:

Right now you are on but one path. This path may seem insurmountable, but if you push through, there will be thousands and millions of paths to choose. And if none of those paths are for you, then pave your own!

You can do anything you set your mind to. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done, or there is no hope. I am just one of millions, and I found my path.

I am surrounded by a wonderful family (not all necessarily blood family), incredible friends, and the satisfaction of know that I SURVIVED, I have LIVED, and that I have no regrets.

Be exactly who you are and be PROUD!
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"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


December 13, 2012

Mark

Mark, age 3
St. Paul, Minnesota (1965)

In this picture I had just asked this Santa for "Chatty Cathy's Brother". He was a doll that taught you how to dress and tie your shoes.

Talk about the perfect doll for a little gay boy!

My father was dying and pleaded with my mom not to buy me that doll.

Luckily for me, my uncle had overheard my request and he wrapped it and hid it under the tree for me.

I was so excited on Christmas when I unwrapped the "Brudder" doll - I couldn't pronounce brother - and it was the best Christmas ever!
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"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


December 10, 2012

Greg

Greg, age 2
Plano, Illinois (1974)

This photo was taken at my grandma's house, where I remember listening to
Judy Garland's "Send My Baby Back to Me" on a 78-rpm record in her basement. On the left I have my Ken doll as I'm coveting my sister's Barbie Dream House that she got for Christmas. I couldn't even take my eyes off of it posing for a picture! And as you can see, she's trying to get me to face the camera.


I first realized I was "different" in 7th grade. I prayed that it wasn't true and that I would change, but I just didn't find girls attractive. I didn't really know what gay meant though, so I thought maybe I was supposed to have been born a girl. I was pretty tormented emotionally, and I felt depressed.

My celebrity same-sex crush were the boys on "Eight Is Enough" - all of them.
My mom tells me I was in love with Chastity Bono, so go figure. Closeted through high school, I don’t remember being picked on for being gay. But, I'd been bullied and teased because of my size and lack of athletic interest and ability.

When I turned 25, I was given the greatest gift: self-acceptance. And I remember feeling as though a huge weight had been lifted. Upon reflection, I realized that I had always been gay and soon began coming out to friends and family, and I finally came out to my mom 3 years ago.

Today, I live as an openly gay man. I've been told by straight men that they respect me for being who I am, and that makes me feel great. I feel that I should use my position to educate others, to pave the way for future LGBTQ kids so they don't have the fear of being "found out" that they're gay.

I was born this way, and I love it!
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 "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


December 07, 2012

"The 12 Gays Of Christmas" Book Giveaway!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

As a special gift for all your support, we present
"The 12 Gays Of Christmas" book giveaway!


Here, watch the video for more information:


So here's what we need you to do:

1) Click HERE for more intructions on how to submit to the blog
2) Find a childhood photo of you related to the holiday season
3) Write up your story or memories related to the photo or holidays
4) Send your photo and story to us ASAP to be posted here!

Did you ask for a special toy you wanted as a gay kid that you never got?
Did your siblings get a gift that YOU really wanted but couldn't ask for?
Did your parents discourage you from asking for the "wrong" kind of gift?
Did your parents surprise you with a gift that you never thought they'd buy?
Did you choose Christmas or the holidays to come out? If so, how did it go?
Do you have an especially memorable story related to Santa Claus?

Those are all things we want to hear about! Of course, this isn't only limited to those who celebrate Christmas. Tell us your Hanukkah stories too - and/or anything related to how YOU celebrated the holiday season as an LGBTQ kid.
But don't delay - the deadline for submissions is Thurs., December 20th!

We'll pick our favorite submissions and those people will WIN a copy of the
"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book,
courtesy of Quirk Books!

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!
AND HAVE A VERY MERRY 'N GAY HOLIDAY!
"Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"