December 25, 2011

:: Happy Holidays To All! ::

For all the readers and supporters of the blog, I just want to wish everyone the happiest of holiday seasons, however you may celebrate it!

And love, health, happiness and full equality for all in 2012! It's hard to believe, but the blog will celebrate its first birthday on January 9th, 2012!

And what an amazing year it has been!

Thank you for believing in yourself, and supporting and celebrating all the people who were kind enough to share their stories and photos here.

YOU are all the stars on the top of the Christmas tree!

Click here to see the Facebook page gallery of your holiday photos.

Much love,
Your blogmaster, Paul V.


PS - This is the Christmas gift I got for myself: A new rescue doggie!

This is Miss Pucci Cocopuffs, and she is just the most beautiful, sweet, happy and silly 'lil lovebubble!

I highly recommend going to a local shelter where you live, and giving a deserving pet a loving and forever new home.

December 23, 2011

Tracy

Tracy, age 12
Salem, Oregon (1972)

This was me on Christmas day, 1972. My poor mom went shopping for an outfit she thought I would like, and bought a shirt with a man's necktie attached as part of the shirt! I was devastated. My mom saw my face when I opened the gift.

I looked up at her, and with tears streaming down my face, and I said:

"You think I'm a boy????"

So my mom took that shirt, got her seam ripper out, and removed the necktie.

My life was unusual already, having deaf parents. I have deaf relatives on both sides of the family. It is hereditary. However, I do not have any hearing loss.

My mom taught me how to do everything.
I knew how to cook, clean, sew my own clothes and iron.

But as my dad didn't have a son at that time,
I learned his trade as well. He was a car painter, a body and fender man. I learned to mask, sand, and apply primer.

I knew I liked women at the age of five. I liked the way my first grade teacher smelled, and she was very affectionate and kind to all of us.

But I didn't know what being a lesbian meant. I had only one boy I talked to, but we never dated, and my first experience with a woman didn't happen until college.

As for the outfit, I wore it over and over, until I grew taller. I felt so cool!
And I still looked like a little dyke, even without a necktie!!!
___________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

December 18, 2011

Kyle

Kyle, age 3
Rammestein, Germany (1989)

I was always told by my parents that they knew that I would be different and special. I would walk around the house singing at the top of my lungs, and I loved talking to people. I was always so happy, loved bright colors, and loved to laugh. As you can see in my photo, I was doing both by age 3!


My parents always told me that they would love me no matter what happened.
I first knew I was different in the 4th grade, when I saw all the boys and girls holding hands with each other. I wanted to hold hands with a boy named Jesse, because he was nice to me.

When I was a pre-teen I had an antisocial phase, and I decided to come out of the closet at 14 for my own sanity. I mainly felt that being gay was my own business, and people didn't need to know. However, I couldn't open myself up to people in other ways, without being wholly honest about who I was.

So I came out and started making friends by being the funny guy. Since I was making everyone laugh, they didn't care who I was dating. As time went on, being gay was just something that was. I learned to surround myself with people who enjoyed me for me. I dated and learned lessons just like everyone else.

Since coming out, I have rarely felt "different" for being who I am. I have always been a big advocate of not letting my homosexuality define me. That's always the first thing I tell people who are curious about why I came out so early, and it's the advice that I give younger LGBT people now.

I'm not just a gay man, I am so much more than that.
_____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

December 12, 2011

Remiel

Remiel, age 8
Otago, New Zealand (1997)

I love this photo, because it was a victory for me. It meant I was going to attend the Cub Scouts with the other boys, instead of the Brownies with the girls. Yup, back then this cheeky chappie was a girl.

My parents kept my hair short, and I wore hand me downs from the older boys in my family. My family accepted my gender presentation, and still do. My dad used to boast about how strong I was.

When I was young, I assumed I was a boy. So puberty came as a depressing realization. I didn't grow my hair until I was 14, and only relented to dresses at 16.

It took me a long time to realize I was different. And I only figured it out when every time I imagined myself, I imagined myself as male.

As a kid, I ran around in a pack of boys playing sport and making messes. The other kids called me boy-girl. Seems they knew a dozen or so years before I would!

Now I'm genderqueer, gay, and coming to accept my place in the world.
I still like "guy things," but I'm a pretty femme gay guy.

One thing that never changes though: I still get asked, "Are you a boy or a girl?"
My answer: Yes!

Remiel's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Christian Cullen (All Blacks' rugby player)

_____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

December 05, 2011

Michael

Michael, age 7
Barstow, CA (1964)

I'm the boy in front with the hat, posing with my mom, sisters, and my cousin.

I always knew I was different.

While you would not know it by the photo, I never really tried to attract attention to myself.

My junior high and high school years were complete torture for me.
But thankfully, I have a loving family that has helped me survive.

I've been with my partner for 35 years now, and I would like everyone to know:
It does get better.
______________________________________________________

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

November 26, 2011

Ray

Ray, age 6
St. Louis, Missouri (1980)

By the time of this photo, I already knew I was not the same as the other boys.
As you can see, I have on my Superman suspenders. Though I didn't really understand it then, I was attracted to Superman. I also wanted to be around construction workers, because I found them attractive, too.

Other kids used to call me "Gay Ray." I was not particularly feminine as a child, but the other kids still knew there was something very different about me. This was because of the things I would say, and not being shy about the fact that I enjoyed lots of things typically reserved for girls.

My twin sister used to love to dress me up in her clothes, and we'd run around the neighborhood together. She would introduce me as her "cousin Becky."

While my mother was always very encouraging of me expressing myself, my father was not pleased.

I had a rough childhood. I cried almost every day and was so confused about what was going on with me. This only contributed to the way that I was treated by the other kids and some family members. I used to pray every night, hoping that God would "fix" me. But every morning I woke up the same.

It wasn't until I got into high school that I started making friends with the other outcast kids and punkers. Though life got harder for me in many ways, it always got easier for me to accept myself and to become comfortable with who I am.

Today, I'm still not like the other boys. I'm an artist and musician.
And maybe one day I'll open a little place that I can proudly call "Gay Ray's"
as an homage to my troubled path.
____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

November 22, 2011

Jose

Jose, age 3
Oaxaca, Mexico (1973)

I have very nice memories from this period in my life.
I was living with my grandparents, and they spoiled me rotten.


And there was a neighbor boy my age, who would pose with me in the same positions as in my uncle's adult magazines. We had no idea what we were doing, but all I know is that I wanted to!

I'm now in a 10-year relationship with three kitties, and I work as a nurse.

All LGBTQ kids should have happy memories. If not, make up for it later!

P.S. - I remember eating the head off that sugar doll as soon as we got home :)
____________________________________________________

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

November 18, 2011

Chris

Chris, age 8
Grayling, Michigan (1998)

This picture really demonstrates what kind of kid I was - lively, goofy, and obviously gay.

I don't really crossdress at all now, but I remember when my family did this as a joke, I felt some part of it seemed right.

It was around this age that I first realized I was different. I was, at the very least, aware that I also liked guys.

Especially Tony, the cute boy in my 3rd grade music class.

However, I didn't come out until I moved out of my home and started college, a process which was well received by all.

Although, it took my parents a bit of time to come around.

Today, I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wonderful partner of nearly two years, and study Art History at E. Michigan University.

For the kids out there reading this, I say:
Be yourselves, and when you are ready, make the leap.
___________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

November 12, 2011

Bobby & Leticia

Bobby & Leticia (cousins), age 3
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1993)


Bobby:
Growing up in a family that was all women, I quickly latched on to the one that was closest to me in age. I think I first realized I was gay around 3 or 4, but I didn't know it was called being gay. I always thought I was, then the dreams started. In my head I remember thinking, "Yep I'm gay." All I knew is that guys were what I liked. Girls were just my friends.

Leticia and I being born in the same family is no accident. I believe God knew that we would need each other. She was the first person I told I was gay, and the first to understand my fear. She has helped me through life and all its struggles.
When I told my mom I was gay this year, I was scared. But she still loves me.

Leticia:
I first realized I was different when I was 6, and a game of pretend house that lead to me kissing a girl. I think I knew something was going on with me, considering I was playing the husband. I have always just been one of the guys.

I told my mother when I was 14 and my dad when I was 20. It's been a long journey, but I feel that I'm lucky because I have had my cousin Bobby this whole time. We are now 22 and 21, and we talk every day with no boundaries.

I lucked out being raised with him, and I know that he feels the same for me.
My family loves me no matter what. I am accepted and that's all I ask for.

Both:
We are lucky to have each other, and a family that never stopped loving us.
_____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow this blog with Bloglovin'

November 09, 2011

Noah

Noah, age 4
Portland, Maine (1992)

Even though I didn't realize it until I was in my first year of college, my parents knew I was gay when I was 3-years old.

On Christmas Day of 1991, my parents got my sister a dress and got me a tuxedo.

I burst out crying when both gifts were opened, because I wanted a dress like my sister's.

They returned the tux and bought me a dress instead. And I wore that thing, and my pink jelly sandals, until they both were worn out.

As you can see, I was still wearing them both during summer 1992, as seen in my photo.

So after all the Barbie dolls, putting on my sister's clothing, and dressing up as a bride in a wedding, I finally realized I was gay 15 years later.
_____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

November 02, 2011

Kurt & Matt

Kurt & Matt, age 5
Springfield, Oregon (1990)

I'm here on the left with my twin brother, Matt. I guess my experience has been different from most others, in that I didn't really realize that I was gay until probably middle school. Even then, I wasn't ready to admit it to myself or anyone else until I was a senior in high school.


When I stumbled upon this picture at my dad's house, my first thought was,
"How did you all NOT know we were gay?" Especially when we spent so much time playing Cinderella - and need I even mention my purple My Little Pony?

My brother and I have been really lucky to have a supportive family and friends. And thankfully, we haven't experienced any of the nightmare scenarios you too often hear about, when people begin the process of coming out.

Maybe if we'd stayed in the Mormon church, things would be different. But we stopped attending when around 8-years old, and we haven't looked back.

Growing up, I never thought that if I came out as gay, that my mom would soon be saying to me, "You should go talk to that cute gay guy at Starbucks."

But she did. And kids, it really does get better - so hang in there!
_________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

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.
_________________________________________________

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 22, 2011

Thomas

Thomas, age 2
Toledo, Ohio (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.
The self-hate I had for my sexuality manifested through over-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
____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

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!
____________________________________________________

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

October 11, 2011

Robeij

Robeij, age 4 months
Louisville, Kentucky (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 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.

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.
_____________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

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
_____________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

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. The best part was 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. 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...
___________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"

September 27, 2011

Patrick

Patrick, age 4
Sydney, NSW Australia (1988)

Many people here say how "different" they felt. At a very early age, I always had a pretty strong concept of my own ego. When I was around 7, I wondered if I was the only real person, and that everyone around me was there kind of robotically, for my benefit. So in my mind, it was everyone else that was different.

This type of thinking allowed me to be whoever I felt I was for my entire childhood. This included loving Rainbow Brite, having a Cabbage Patch doll named Vernon, learning how to do hair on My Little Pony dolls, and dancing with my friend Bree to Cher's "Shoop Shoop" song.

I was a kind of girly and hung out with my girlfriend in dance class.
We had blatant conversations about sex from an early age, and we were both fairly inquisitive.

She was a tomboy and the most popular girl in school. I spoke to her a while back, and she confirmed that she's a lesbian.

My parents moved me away during high school from a place where someone would get bashed for picking on me, to a school in the country where bigotry was standard. I wasn't popular anymore and didn't know a soul. But the person I loved the most was my best friend Michael. To get around being able to talk to Michael about my feelings for him, I described my super crush in question form.

I also treated Michael like sh*t. I did this because I loved him so much, but I knew deep down I could never have him. No matter how many times we slept in the same bed. I used to cry myself to sleep every night because it was heartbreaking to me that gender meant so much to the world, when it meant nothing to me.

My coming out story was so much simpler. Rather than sit people down to give them some 'big news,' I just started being honest. If I thought a guy was hot, I would say so. Same as with a girl. I was the first person to come out at my country high school, and I only got called a f*ggot once.

I'm a bit of an outcast in the gay community though, as I'm more physically attracted to men, more emotionally attracted to women, and don't particularly like to have sex with either. I think that was due to my gender nonchalance, and being the go-to guy in college when the straight guys wanted to experiment.

Even though it wasn't something I particularly loved, I was helping someone out with their own sexuality. And, getting my own little piece of Michael every time.

PS: I was so fashion forward, I knew Hawaiian shirts would be in a decade early.

Patrick's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Macaulay Culkin (in "Home Alone")
_____________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

September 19, 2011

David

David, age 3
Fresno, California (1977)

I think I knew I was "different" around age 4. I liked being around the girls in school more than the boys. As I got older, I would be teased and called "f*g" and "sissy." I didn't know what that meant, but I knew it didn't make me feel good.

When I finally did discover the meaning of those words, I tried to deny it. But my love of Chinese jump rope and my Smurfs lunch box gave me away. Also, I had a strange fascination with Tom Selleck and Lee Horsley, and their hairy chests.

As I got older, I'd spend my free time in my bedroom with a t-shirt on my head and lip-synch in my mirror to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna songs.

Occasionally, I'd throw on a pair of my mom's pantyhose and strut around the house.

My mom would laugh and say, 
"You sure would make a good girl!"

Now as an adult, I'm almost 37-years old. I've been with my husband Richard for 18 years, and we have a good life. Mom lives with us now, and I ran across this picture while digging around in her closet. My grandmother was the one who took me to this photo session. In fact, she's the one who styled me and picked out the "Mary Had A Little Lamb" book I'm holding.

I look at this picture now, and I can see the beginnings of the man I am today.
I live my life openly and freely and I am blessed to have family and friends that accept all of me. Especially the "little girl" that still exists in this photo.
_______________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

September 12, 2011

Aiden

Aiden, age 11
Springfield, Illinois (1997)

It's hard to believe that the child in this picture was born a girl named Annie.
Because even as a child, I was rather androgynous looking. It wasn't until I hit puberty and began to grow breasts, that I began to look a bit more feminine.

Now I am 25, and I consider myself an FTM transgender. Sometimes I wonder if I am
Bi-gender, though. I look back and I'm surprised I didn't realize it earlier.

There are a few memories that speak out to me as I look back.

First was in middle school when I cut my hair really short. And all the kids called me Andy. I didn't mind it, and I didn't even bother correcting them. But they began to call me "G.I. Jane," and that's when I got mad.

I once read an article about transgenderism, when I was 14. I remember thinking for a split second "Hmm, that sounds familiar." But I didn't really give it a second thought until many years later. At the time, I wrote my feelings off as just being a masculine girl. But now, I know that was incorrect.

I never really felt quite right as a girl, and I was very tomboyish growing up. I still had my Barbie dolls, but I preferred the male ones. And I loved my Hot Wheels, Model Cars, and Micro Machines more. Somehow even through my love of fishing, camping, and the outdoors, my mom still never got the idea.

When I finally came out as trans, my family didn't seem surprised. But they still refuse to call me the right pronouns or name. I fear that - in their eyes - I'll always be their precious little girl. The only one in my family that seems to remotely get it, is my older brother. He calls me Andy and his "Brosis," which is better than nothing.

As if being trans wasn't enough though, I am also gay/pansexual. I had crushes on lots of guys growing up. I remember my mom always called me "boy-crazy" and I'm still that way to some extent now.

Today, I live in Phoenix, AZ with a dog, a cat, and my girlfriend/roommate.
I have recently connected with a few other trans people in my area, and we try to get together as much as possible. All in all, things are looking up.

My advice to LGBTQ kids now? Never stop believing in yourself!
I know things are scary right now. But remember, they can only get better.

Aiden's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (in "Tom & Huck")
____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

September 08, 2011

John

John, age 6
Duncan, OK (1977)

I always knew I was "different" and my family could sense it too. Especially my big sister. She was constantly making fun of me, picking on me, and occasionally beating the crap out of me! I finally decided I'd had enough - of her and everyone else - and I learned some stealth moves. Just check my photo!


After standing up for myself, my sister and I became best friends.
And to this day, we are fiercely protective of one another.

Being a confident and self-assured gay kid went a long way in keeping the
rednecks of Oklahoma off my back. And shaped me into the proud and strong gay man I am today.

I also still enjoy breaking out this special move - but in a slightly more private environment. :)

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

August 30, 2011

Steve

Steve, age 3
Waterford, Maine (1969)

I'm sitting here at our campsite on Papoose Pond, wearing my Indian headband with the pink feather in front like a showgirl. Toes gleefully pointed. Smiling.
It's possible this photo was taken at the very moment Judy Garland died.


I was always dressed in red, my towheaded older brother in blue. Later that got switched. Maybe my mother thought I'd attract less attention in blue.

I was a good student with plenty of friends, until my town merged with another in junior high. Kids I hadn't grown up with tormented me. The dreaded F word. Some old friends jumped ship and unfriended me. I tried fitting in for about a minute, but this was classic rock country, and I liked Blondie and The B-52's.

I told my girlfriend I was gay. She told me she was a lesbian. Other friends I told were cool with it. In high school the artsy upperclassmen protected me, and the worst was over by about 16. I didn't come out to my parents until after college. Mom wasn't surprised, but Dad laughed and said he never would've known.

When I moved to Hollywood there were gay people everywhere. I became a noted drag performer (the original Sharon Needles) and made fabulous friends. I wore red unless I'd bleached my hair, in which case I'd wear blue.

And I loved my big gay demimonde.

After I moved back east to be near my dying father, there were some unhappy years. The bar and the after party are the wrong place to grieve. Happily,
I bounced back, and I'm grateful for my life today.

Being gay doesn't define me. I'm much more than just that.
But looking at this picture now, I absolutely love it. That's the real me.

And I want to keep that kid smiling, and maybe give him another feather.

Steve's first, famous person same-sex crush:
Ralph Carter (Michael on "Good Times")
_____________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

August 26, 2011

Saxon

Saxon, age 6
Tulsa, Oklahoma (1995)

Going through my fathers' pictures for his 50th birthday, I came across this one. It was taken at my grandmother's house in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I had the best memories there, hanging out at the lake with my dad, and just being a crazy kid.

I'm 22 now, and a working performance artist. As this picture shows, I had a flair for the dramatic at an early age!

Looking back, I don't consider myself overly flamboyant.

I just had an amazing support system, so I didn't care about the perceptions of others.

And I must say, I couldn't have asked for a better childhood.

AND IT JUST GETS BETTER!
______________________________________________________

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

August 21, 2011

Gérard

Gérard, age 8
New Orleans, LA (1974)

The birthday teddy bear is Pierre and that's my beautiful mother, Judith. I hadn't seen her in about a year, so this day was special, as she had come home. My parents had a tumultuous marriage, and she often ran away from her problems.

As I saw her arriving from afar, I didn't recognize her at first. But I remembered the wind blowing through her hair and playfully ruffling her skirt. Her vision was beautiful, statuesque, and breathtaking.

My parents had 10 kids, and I was the youngest and gayest. By 8 I knew I was different than my 4 older brothers and father. I had more fun with my 5 sisters than any young male child should have.

The fact that I had a huge teddy bear in my hands, at that age, was proof enough. My love for musicals hinted also.

I was called "sissy" and "girl" etc. by my siblings and others. And unfortunately, my parents were Jehovah's Witnesses for a time. I joined when I was much older.

I was trying to escape my gayness, and was "disfellowshipped" at age 21, because
I kissed a guy. By that time, my mother had passed on when I was 17, so I was dealing with a lot. I tried suicide many times and, thankfully, never succeeded.

Now, I'm almost 45 and I'm very happy that I'm still here.
Presently, I'm single, but I know there's love out there for me.

As for you, just be who you are! LOVE yourself, and don't waste time trying to live the life others hope for you. It's not worth it. Remember that you were born this way, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Gérard's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Michael Gray (Billy Baxton on "Shazam")
_______________________________________________
Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam: Mr. Mind over MatterI'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness UpbringingLouisiana Off the Beaten Path, 9th: A Guide to Unique Places (Off the Beaten Path Series)Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"