January 31, 2011


Jonathan, age 5
Jackson Heights, NYC (1989)

I don't remember this photo being taken, but I do know it was just before kindergarten. There's a lot of my childhood I don’t remember. Unfortunately, what I do remember is viewed very differently by my birth father, who in the subsequent years would badger me on why I couldn’t defend myself at school.
Or why I had so many girls as friends, my affinity for female pop-stars, or why
I had no interest in sports. The truth is: Homie always knew.

"Step...and repeat."
There's a stigma to being gay and Hispanic. For many of the adults around me, gay men and women play a secondary role to the lives they surround. The flamboyant ones are expected to entertain, susceptible to becoming the butt of the joke. While our humanity is talked about as little as possible.

It's only more recently that young gay Hispanics are able to see transcendent figures who are not only gay, but fulfilled.

I grew up resisting what I thought would be my fate, if I "admitted" to myself what I was. Even though I already was, always had been, and always would be - gay.

I became fully aware of my sexuality at age 13 - when kissing a girl only did it for me when I was thinking about a boy. I came out at age 17 - when I fell in love with my best friend. And I began to accept it at age 21 - when I realized enough was enough.

At 25, I found this photo again, and my first reaction was one of aversion.
I immediately saw a boy that would eventually get picked on, feel like he would never belong, and have to go the extra mile to come to terms with who he was born to be. So I simply put the photo away.

After turning 26, I rummaged for this photo to look at it one more time. Now, I see an incredibly intuitive boy, a boy who loved music videos, Michael Jackson, and penny loafers. A boy blessed with friends who would become family, and support me when coming out. And a resilient little boy who wouldn’t give himself the appropriate credit later on for being a survivor - but eventually would.

I'm realizing that by resisting my "fate" I created an inner turmoil I wish on no one. But, it prompted me to define what being gay was on my own terms, by being myself. Being gay isn’t about fulfilling any preconceived notions or fitting into a mold. It’s about loving yourself with the added bonus of falling in love with the world around you.

Me back then?
Boys behind me staring, with my head tilted, hands on hips, left-foot in front of the right-foot, goofy smile in place - while wearing neon pants.

And me now?
Christ, I can learn a lot from that little boy.

Jonathan's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Ricky Martin
You’re telling me you didn’t see that coming?


Eamonn, age 4
Brighton, Michigan (1991)

It was an epic Christmas morning, and I had just turned 4 a few months prior.
In 1989, the 50th Anniversary Edition "The Wizard of Oz" VHS came out, and I became obsessed with 1) being a friend of Dorothy and 2) actually becoming her.

"Dorothy & Toto with their loyal steeds!"
Still in my yellow dress shirt from a Christmas Eve party at my grandparents, I eagerly transformed myself into a hybrid of Judy Garland and Glinda the Good Witch.

Note the fabulous pink wand. And those ruby slippers stayed on my feet for at least a week!

I honestly recall that I've always had a preference for men. To me, girls always made such fabulous friends, that I couldn't conceive of being with them romantically!

As a little boy, I wanted to be every Disney princess, and had regular breakdowns over Leonardo DiCaprio after seeing "Romeo & Juliet" in 3rd grade. I was about that age when I first learned what "gay" meant.

By age 12, I decided that gay was the way I planned to live the rest of my life - and with someone tall, dark, strong, and handsome! Inspired by a trip to Toronto with my mother - where we unknowingly reserved a room at a bed & breakfast hotel in Gay Village - I came out to her on the train ride home.

Thanks to amazing parenting, I continued to dress flamboyantly, play with Barbies, and hold my torch for actors and boy bands. In a small town known for ousting businesses donning rainbow stickers, I certainly couldn't let my true identity be known. But I never attempted to conceal my personality in public.

Even at my small Catholic school I found warm acceptance and many allies among my loving teachers. Regrets? Not sticking with those ballet lessons long enough to be a mouse in "The Nutcracker"! I lived to wear to those pink tights.

Looking at this picture today gives me nothing but pride. I wish I could I meet this little boy, just so we could sit on the floor with those ponies and Barbies and make some magic again. He was a happy little Prince, full of wonder and love.

And even if things might have been worse, they would soon get much better.
Being who you are is one of the bravest and most rewarding experiences. So start immediately - as you can't imagine how much fun you'll have, until you do.

Eamonn's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Disney's "Aladdin" & Leonardo DiCaprio

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

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

January 30, 2011


Bailey, age 10
Carlsbad, California (1997)

This photo was shot at a dance recital. I was inspired by Fred Astaire and my grandmother to start dancing. I used to LOVE wearing costumes, putting on makeup, and wearing my grandmother's heels and stockings. It was an innocent moment for me, because I wasn't aware that people were judging me. I just knew what I liked and I was proud to express that.

"One! Singular sensation, every little step you take"
I think I first felt "different" at 6, when I first started dancing. It opened me up to a whole world of expression and gave me the freedom to be myself.

I'd watch old musicals, inspired by the fashion my favorite characters wore, and I'd try to emulate their style.

I loved musicals like Chicago, Barkleys Of Broadway, Gypsy, Singing In The Rain, Fosse, Cabaret, All That Jazz, Anything Goes, Grease (1 and 2), Hairspray, Puttin On The Ritz, & Rocky Horror Picture Show.

One example of very eccentric clothing I'd wear to school was an outfit that was a cross between Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease:

Red velvet shoes or black leather disco boots, velvet bell-bottoms, tight-fitting white shirt, and black leather jacket.

I'd get teased and made fun of in school and kids never really understood why I dressed that way. It was a moment I realized I would just continue to pour my heart and energy all into my dancing and artwork. That helped me focus on being who I wanted to be.

Later in the early 2K's, I loved music like Spice Girls, Britney Spears, No Doubt, The Cranberries, The Pixies etc. I remember standing in line for the Spice Girls dolls when they came out - I had to have all of them!

Seeing this pic now reminds me of who I am and who I will always be. To this day, I like the color red and I'm completely enthralled with clothing and costumes. I work as a fashion stylist, and my passion and taste for those things has really never changed. It's great to see that I was truly born this way!

My family was always really supportive of me being a dancer. I was raised by my grandparents and my Grandmother was just as enthralled by dancing and the fashion. She'd spend hours at the dance studio watching me dance, and would give up her whole life to see me happy. I owe a lot to her and her support.

I would like to say to the youth to keep on doing what you want to do. Never let anyone suppress your freedom to express who you are. You never know what sort of creative outlet you can explore, unless you're honest with yourself, and who you are as a person.

You can't ever let society tell you what is right and what is wrong - you have to find that out for yourself. There are others out there just like you, so embrace the fact that you are special, and own it. It's not every day a kid like you is born, and soon the world will understand and cherish you. It's not your fault that people don't understand what they soon will learn to love.

Bailey's first, same sex crush:
A boy who lived next door. We'd explore each others bodies, but neither of us knew what being gay meant. But, the connection felt so right and strong.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"


Johnny, age 10
St. Clair Shores, Michigan (1989)

That's me on the left, as if you had to guess. For sure, my favorite memories from childhood are the times I spent at my Grandma's house. She was the most loving woman. She'd watch her soaps, read her Star Magazines, play cards with us, and let us run free and be kids. She had the softest flabby skin hanging under her biceps. You know, that amazing chubby grandma skin. So cozy.

"Taken in Grandma's kitchen"
While the other grandkids were in the basement rummaging through our Grandpa's tools and war stuff, I was upstairs drooling over nightgowns and jewelry. The phrase "in the closet" has real meaning to me and my gay discovery.

For you see, inside Grandma's closet, hung the threads to my sexuality.

I remember how her clothes smelled, and how the fabrics felt so soft and feminine. Her bras, slips, and perfume were heaven and happiness to me.
The first thing I'd do when dressing up was the old towel-head-wrap trick, as evidenced in the pic. I think I might even be wearing some lipstick and blush.

It'd give me instant long girl hair. It would constantly fall down as I was getting dressed, but I loved the hassle of putting it back up, and throwing it over my shoulders. I'd then pick out a nightgown as a dress, and sometimes belt it, or just let it flow. Then earrings, necklace, rings, and a handbag. And I loved going through her purses and finding candies, coupons, and Bingo blotters.

I'd even rock Grandma's chunky, sensible-heel slippers, so I could manage my way up and down the long hallway - aka my catwalk. There was a huge painting of the Blessed Mary at the end of the hallway. She was so bitchy and holy looking in the painting, so I'd use that as my motivation for my runway walk.

My Grandma was cool as hell. She'd just smile, kiss me on the cheek, and tell me how beautiful I looked, as she continued making me a sandwich: peanut butter, jelly, ham, and Miracle Whip on white bread. MY FAVORITE! She'd cut it in triangles for me. Small bites, like a lady should.

My Grandpa was cool about all this too, but I mostly avoided him while all dragged out in Grandma's pajamas. I LOVED those times I spent playing dress up. It was for sure my first taste of GAY, but definitely NOT my last.

I still love wrapping a towel around my head and pretending I have long hair, and realize the irony that my job in life now as an adult, is to play dress up with pop stars and actresses. Sort of perfect, actually.

I have an amazing family, amazing friends, and coming out was easier then I could have ever imagined. Not one person turned their back on me. Only open arms, and open closets. Ha ha!

And there ain't no shame in the gay game, y'all - we are all human. How boring would life be if we were all the same? So thanks Grandma, for letting me explore my sexuality in your closet. For it was there that I discovered a part of me that I could be proud enough to let the world see.

In your nightgown and heels, of course.

Johnny's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Mark-Paul Gosselaar ("Saved By The Bell")
I'd dream of sleepovers and BJ's under that 80's, pop-art print comforter that graced my twin bed.

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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January 29, 2011


JC, age 5
Manila, Philippines (1986)

"Put a ring on THIS, Beyonce!"
Here I am, fierce at age 5!

It was a big family gathering here in the Philippines. The kids were prodded by the grown ups to perform something, and guess who stepped up?

I always knew I was different from other boys, even at an early age. And this photo definitely proves it.

Looking at it now as a 31 year old, it only reaffirms what I’ve always believed - that my being gay was not a choice.

I didn’t wake up one day and say, 'Hey I think I’m going to be gay starting today.'

Because the truth of the matter is, I was born this way.

So to all the young ones who are still coming to terms with their homosexuality,
I dare say: don’t hate your selves.

There’s nothing wrong with you, my sweet child.

Embrace your truth and celebrate it.
The sooner you do, the sooner you'll enjoy life. And there's so much to enjoy.

JC's first, famous-person same sex crush:
David Mendenhall (actor, "Over The Top")

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'


Ron, age 7
Gemert, Holland (1967)

I'm on the right in the pic, and the other boy is Johnny. I remember that we were very good friends, but one of the few things we disagreed on was the fact that Johnny always wanted to be 'the mother' when we "played house" back then.
And here, Johnny's playing with my sister's doll.

You see, I also wanted to play the 'mother' too,  but Johnny was very clear and dominant about it. Well, Johnny is now Joyce  - a transgendered woman.
He had his sex-change over 20 years ago, is now 51, and happy being a woman.

I always knew that I was gay, and I used to stare at the male body for as long as I can remember. I was so fascinated by men back then - and still am - that it was never a shock to me that I'm gay. It shocked some people around me though, but that is their problem.

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

Kelly Jo, age 10
Seabrook, TX (1975)

On the day this pic was shot, I didn't tell my Mom it was school-photo day, and I dressed myself! Everything was great until 3 months later, when the large package of photos came in the mail. But it was worth it!!

 I always had a bad reaction with dresses. The thought of being made to get into one gave me the cold sweats.

I'm 45 now, and still don't own one...

When you're young, you're told a lot of things: How to act, what to do, what to believe, how to feel. Then with time you find out what really matters to YOU.

Yes, it was hard growing up gay.
But looking back now, I wouldn't change a thing.

It made me who I am today:
Strong, Creative, Caring.

Kelly Jo's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Pam Dawber (Mindy on "Mork & Mindy")
1979 Mork & Mindy Robin Williams & Pam Dawber Dynamite Magazine Sissies and Tomboys: Gender Nonconformity and Homosexual Childhood 


Jason, age 9
Glendale, Arizona (1984)

On the day of this pic, I remember being extremely annoyed that I had left the Michael Jackson button on. My brother found my zeal for pop stars and dancing 'really girly.' He warned me before I left the house not to 'leave that faggy looking button on' for my school photo. 'Like I would forget to take it off!' is probably what I fired back at him. Of course I left it on, and now my childhood love of MJ is forever immortalized in my 4th-grade class photo.

I always felt different as a child, but I didn't have a name for it. Everyone else sure did, though!

Starting in 4th grade, all the kids had many names for my difference: fag, gay, homo, and any other pejorative term they came up with.

It was until I graduated high school that I allowed myself to explore my sexuality for myself, and then eureka! - those kids were correct all along!

Looking back, I wish I'd been more aware of my sexuality sooner, so I could have taken the teasing in stride, or felt I could have fought back.

As it was, I found the teasing and bullying unfair and spent years trying to act more masculine. Naturally, it didn't work and I'm just as much a limp-wristed, fashion-loving homo as ever! See the proof HERE.

Jason's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Mackenzie Astin (Andy on "The Facts Of Life")
This was my absolute favorite show while growing up.


Jorge, age 3
Tamaulipas, México (1985)

Here I am at a small festival where I was selected as the "Little King Of Spring". I remember I was so happy back then, as I got to do some kind of catwalk, and at one point I had to use a tricycle in the shape of a butterfly surrounded by flowers. I had a great time and my mom was so proud.

I knew I was different at the age of 11, because I disliked most of the boys' activities, such as sports or trying to get the attention of girls. That's when I started to paint, became withdrawn into myself, and turned into a lonely boy.

When I came out to my mom she wasn't shocked at all. But, she doesn't understand why, as a gay man, I don't like to 'wear pink or talk in a funny way' as she says some gay men talk.

I was a little offended and I had to explain to her that gays are humans, too.
We are all different. There are still people (at least in Mexico) who think all gays are the same. But if we don't teach them, who will?

Now in my life, I have many new friends, who accept me the way I am.

So to all young gay people out there:
Don't close your heart and always be who you want to be, no matter what!

Jorge's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Ralph Macchio (in "Karate Kid")


Lenny, age 10
Chicago, Illinois (1965)

This was shot in our backyard pool on Chicago's South side. My dad was an ex-marine and made me get my hair completely buzzed. I remember feeling inadequate because I was skinny, hairless, and blond. I wanted to be dark and thick - more masculine. My dad must've known I was 'different' because he used to glare at me and bully me all of the time.

All I knew was I wanted to disappear, hide and just 'go away', fearful I'd never develop into a 'man'. This pic makes me a bit sad, because it was the beginning of a long period of self-loathing and shame. But it also makes me proud, because even at 10, I managed to make a little oasis for myself in a horrible spot.

I used to drag our 12-inch black & white TV into the garage late at night and watch dance shows and old movies, fantasizing that I lived alone in my own apt.
I loved watching Shindig, Hullabaloo and anything with Bette Davis.

It was around this time that I caught myself staring at older boy's arms, their eyebrows, and getting excited seeing even a glimpse of leg hair over their socks in Catholic School. I clearly remember doing my best to mask these feelings, paralyzed with fear at the thought of someone finding me out.

Around this time, we had a carpenter (who was a deaf mute) working on our house. I was used to getting the 'suspicious sissy accusatory look' from people, but this guy was different. He was buff and friendly and smiled at me all of the time. He'd work with his shirt off, completely ripped and damp with sweat. I'd offer him lemonade and hand him wood and nails. One time, I came into the kitchen and my mom gave me 'the look', and said, 'Why do you stare at that deaf guy all of the time?' I had been clocked. 

My first memory of gay shame was age 4. While changing into my swim suit at a lake, I walked into the men's changing room and saw rows of naked men for the first time. I ducked into a stall and hid. By age 10, I was fascinated with Anne Francis as TV's Honey West. I tried to get the neighborhood kids to act out the scripts. I remember saying, 'Let's play Honey West. You guys are the spies in the scene, and you tie Honey to a tree. Here's the rope. And I'm Honey.'

Well, they tied me to a tree - then got confused, bored and left. As I was tied up,
I was trying to be like Honey, wiggling and resisting from the restraining rope, and imagined I had huge tits. In the middle of all this writhing, I looked up and saw my mom and my sister watching all of this unfold from our living-room window - with complete looks of revulsion and disgust.

As for my first crushes: James MacArthur, shirtless in Swiss Family Robinson.
I wanted to be trapped on that island with him. Then I saw Rod Taylor in The Time Machine, and I was thunderstruck. But I was confused at the same time, as I was not comfortable watching Paul Lynde or Charles Nelson-Reilly. All of my fantasies involved older, alpha males taking me away.

To young gay kids now? You are ALRIGHT! It's NOT YOU that is wrong or screwed up. Live and enjoy your life, and never think that you have to alter yourself. You are great just the way you are.

Lenny's first, famous-person same sex crush:
James MacArthur (in "Swiss Family Robinson")


Teresa, age 8
Bloomington, CA (1984)

I remember as a kid, I was always a tomboy. I always hung around boys - or girls that were tomboys. I spent the most time with my uncle who's only 5 years older than me. He was always more like my brother than my uncle. I loved playing all sports with him, including tackle football.

"I was never a girlie girl"
I guess I always knew I was different from the girlie girls, and my favorite past times were catching lizards, climbing trees (I climbed ones that even the boys wouldn't, because they were afraid of spiders!), and I loved going fishing with my grandpa.

When I was about 4 years old I asked my mom, 'Are you sure I'm not a boy?' My mom tried very hard to make me a girlie girl, but it never worked. Although, once she entered me in a local beauty pageant when I was 10, and I won 2nd runner-up Queen.

Coming out to my parents was a very negative experience for me. I've learned over the years to just not bring up the fact that I'm a lesbian to them.

But I now have a wonderful life partner. We just celebrated our 13th anniversary together, and we have a 7-year old daughter that we adopted together.

Fortunately, my partner's family is very supportive of our relationship, and our daughter is able to grow up having a typical grandparent relationship with them.

I've found in my life that I have been very fortunate to have wonderful supportive friends that I consider my family. My partner, daughter and I are very involved in our Unitarian Universalist church, and we have many wonderful close friends in our congregation that we consider family as well.

My advise for young people struggling with coming out is: Be yourself, you're beautiful just the way you are, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If coming out is a negative experience for you, I can understand what you're going through. I've learned in my life to just surround myself with those that accept me as I am, and not who they want me to be.

I know things may be hard right now, but trust me that as you get older and surround yourself with those that love you and accept you as you are, you'll discover that the ones that didn't accept you are the ones with the problem.

You are beautiful just the way you are.

Teresa's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Nancy McKeon (Jo on "Facts Of Life")
I remember how much I loved that show because of her. She didn't care that she was different from the other girls, and wasn't afraid to just be herself.


Helio, age 4
Nova Iguaçu, Brazil (1987)

I was born in Rio de Janeiro and lived in Nova Iguaçu. Here, I'm dressed like an indian during a Carnival ball with my parents.

A year later my dad died, and I was raised by mum, who never married again.

My family was very conservative and catholic, and mum was the most homophobic person I'd ever met until then.

I grew up in conflict, because by age 8, I wanted to know what it felt like for those "queer, freak, or abnormal people" my mother always secretly insulted at home.

I came out at 15 and suffered a lot. I was judged, humiliated, and even attacked many times - and my mother was the most aggressive person doing this to me.

It was a great battle to change my family's mind, and it took me about 8 years. Today I’m 27, and my story helped other relatives of mine in the same situation. I have 2 lesbian cousins that came out, and my youngest brother also came out last year, much to my mom's frustration!

I became an arts manager and produced a documentary about the gay life in my city. The film was titled "Nova iGAYçu" and here's the craziest part: My mom was the executive producer! That was quite a change of heart, wasn't it?

But just like my mother, my country needs many more minds changed.

In Brazil, every 3 days a member of gay community is killed, and if we include transsexuals, the statistics get higher. Besides the murders, many teenagers are kicked out by their parents just for being gay or lesbian. And in politics, although many advances have been achieved, we still see politicians getting support from the religious mass to make our lives harder than they already are.

But I see homosexuality as a normal way of life, freer than the hetero way.
And, much happier.

Helio's first, famous-person same sex crush:
George Michael


Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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January 28, 2011


Edward, age 5
Fontana, CA (1991)

I was so happy to bring this picture home and show my mom. This wasn't "picture day," this was for star students known as SUPER STARS! I was always a teacher's pet and was so happy I was being rewarded for it. It was great!


I always felt different, even at this age. I always liked to wear bright flashy colors, and every night I would pick out and lay out my clothes for the next day.

A new school year was the best time of year, even better then Christmas, because we would go clothes shopping. And I loved the first couple of weeks to show off my new clothes.

My favorite jacket was this bright, shiny red Members Only jacket that I'd wear off my shoulders. And I remember my older brother always trying to pull it back up, and telling me to stop wearing it like that.

Growing up in a Mexican household, I watched a lot of telenovelas (soap operas), so I got to see a lot of hot half-naked Latin men - and that's really when I knew I like boys instead of girls.

The biggest telenovela I remember is "Mari Mar" and I fell in love with Eduardo Capetillo. He was the perfect tall, dark, and handsome type. And now looking at pictures of him, I think that's where I get my fixation for a hairy chest. 

Thanks for the blog - it's GREAT!!!!!

Edward's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Eduardo Capetillo (Mexican actor)

Mari Mar (3-dvd boxset) [NTSC/REGION 1 & 4 DVD. Import-Latin America] Thalia Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and Other Trials from My Queer Life YOU ROCK! How To Be A STAR Student & Still Have FUN Gay Hegemony/ Latino Homsexualites (Latino Communities: Emerging Voices - Political, Social, Cultural and Legal Issues)


Kevin, age 3
Granby, Connecticut (1964)

This is a picture of me with my sister and her life sized doll. She used to love to dress me in that dolls' clothes when we played together! I remember when I was a little older, I'd sneak up into the attic to play with this doll and her Barbie dolls. I just loved dressing them and spent every minute I could with them.

"With Paula... and The Future Bride Of Chucky!"
I remember trying to “come out” to my Mother when I was about 10, but I just couldn't find the words to clearly say what I was feeling. I could only explain that I liked to do things that girls liked to do, like play house and play with dolls. She assured me it was OK for boys to like those things, and not to worry about it.

The deeper secret that I could not bring myself to tell her was my fascination with grown mens' hairy forearms and arm pits. We had a roofer one Summer working on the house, and I'd climb the ladder every day to watch him work shirtless - without really understanding why he was so fascinating.

Looking at this pic today, I remember how happy I was in that innocent time before beginning school and becoming a total misfit. I always stood out as the effeminate one, constantly picked on all through grade school into high school.

My Father and brother did their best trying to “butch” me up, but I was just too sensitive to enjoy our frequent hunting and fishing trips, and always preferred doing something creative instead. I was always much more comfortable spending time with the women in my family.

My way of rationalizing all of this, was that I was learning how to do everything a man and a woman could do, so I'd always be able to take care of myself.

I never lost faith that there would be a "happily ever after" for me and I finally found it! I have been with my husband 15 years this year. We retired earlier this year (both before age 50) and we're living a permanent vacation in Florida now.

We had a wonderful Civil Union in Connecticut when they became legal, and also married there when that law passed.

I wouldn't change one thing about my past struggles, because those challenges have made me the self-confident person that I am today!

So remember, kids: school years are hard for everyone. Even the most popular and highest achievers have their crosses to bear. I learned later in life that most bullies, when challenged, back right down.

Bullies attack because of their own insecurities. The most beautiful don't think they are good looking, and the brightest don't believe they're smart enough.

So just be strong and be confident - even when you are scared to death!

Kevin's first famous person same sex crushes:
Robert Conrad ("The Wild, Wild West")
Robert's tight pants made me crazy!
Oh, and Wally from 'Leave It To Beaver' sure looked great in a T-shirt!

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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Kenny, age 11
Detroit, Michigan (1985)

Every Halloween costume from my childhood was female. Over the years, I'd dressed as a witch, a bag lady, a gypsy, a girl vampire, and a girl clown. This one is a particular favorite, since most of my costume clothing here was loaned by my mom. Tonight I would tell people I was "a girl punker".

I wore my mom's shoes, skirt, and jewelry. I think we bought the neon shirt at the mall, and it doubled as part of an outfit for an upcoming dance recital where, I did a routine to Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop." Midway through the number, the stage went to black light, so fluorescents were a necessity.

My mom did my hair and make-up, and she said, 'Rod Stewart hangs his head upside down and blow dries his hair to give it height.'

And so, that's what we did.

I'm guessing this photo was taken by one of my parents. I'm biting my lips in order to conceal a giant smile I was holding in, because I couldn't wait to get out trick or treating that night.

Oh, and my mom still hangs that cardboard skeleton in our house to this day.

Kenny's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Scott Baio

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


Mike, age 6
Orlando, FL (1987)

On my birthday here, I was told we were going to a family member's house for my birthday, and I picked out this outfit that morning, because I wanted to stand out from everyone else at the party. It was going to be a long drive from our place in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and I napped on the way. Little did I know when I woke up, that the first thing I'd see was the Disney World road sign, and I was so surprised and excited! We spent the whole day doing Disney, and it was one of the greatest birthdays of my life. I got to see all my favorite characters that day!

"Snapshot. Take my picture. Snapshot!!!"
I didn’t know I was gay until I was 12, when I first knew there was a word to describe how I felt. I ALWAYS liked boys, but I thought all boys liked boys, so I never felt “different” and didn’t know there was anything else to feel.

I really miss that spirit I had as a kid.

I wore whatever made me feel good, and didn’t care what anyone else thought about it. Now, there is so much pressure to wear the right brands or the right styles, and that takes the fun out of life.

My message for the gay kids of today is:

Don't lose the wonderful spirit that you have. The only thing you have to hold on to as you grow, is your spirit!

Mike's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
New Kids On The Block
The entire band! I had the lunchbox, the pillow people, the posters,
the action figures - EVERYTHING!


Eric, age 13
Council Bluffs, Iowa (1988)

Being born and raised in a small town in Iowa, it's probably no surprise that I didn't really fit in with the other kids at school. Luckily, my father is a musician, and I've been singing since I learned how to talk. So I spent most of my childhood performing with my father all over the country!

In my pic, I'd just won a national talent competition. I was probably re-enacting the pageant in my living room, when my mom snapped me in my preferred choice of clothing. I guess some things never change.

I'm very fortunate to have very liberal & accepting parents who encouraged me to be who I am, and do what I love!

I'm 35 now, and I've been making a living by doing just that: I've traveled all over the world singing and dancing!

If I had to do it all over again, I would have come out the moment I first had a crush on a boy in the 3rd grade. People were already making fun of me, and I should have just been my authentic self.

But, I've learned that things definitely do get better. I have a great family, a close support group of friends, and I'm grateful for that every day!

I think the little boy in the picture would be pretty proud of how far he's come!

Eric's first, famous-person same sex crush:
John Ritter (in "Three's Company")

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Aaron, age 8
Southwest, IN (2001)

This is my 3rd grade production of "Pecos Bill." I KILLED that role, but remember being a little irritated that the play ended with me marrying
Sweet Sue. What I'm twirling is a giant "snake" - take from that what you will.

"Red bandana thankfully *not* a premonition of things to come"

After this, I was bitten by the acting bug and kept busy in children's theater and choir in a bigger town near me, which gave me an outlet for my creative energy and flamboyance.

When I reached 7th grade, I was hit with the trio of pubescent awkwardness: fat, glasses, and braces. This, combined with my flagrant swishiness,
did me no favors growing up in a small, farming-and-mining, Bible-belt town.

I came out when I was 14 (although I'd known for years before then), and I remember my mom being terrified for me. All she could think to say at first was that I couldn't tell anyone else, that I should at least try to pretend with girls, etc.

My parents and family became extremely supportive - they're founding members of PFLAG! - and were a godsend through the dark days of junior high.

I dropped everything artsy except choir by the time I reached high school and favored academic teams. This led me to my saving grace – volunteering for the Obama campaign in Indiana, with a bunch of post-menopausal, progressive, LGBT-friendly women. Through the campaign and other kinds of Democratic, environmental, and pro-choice activism since then, I found my meaning in life.

If I hadn't been gay in my environment, I don't think I would have found it in me to care so much about politics, and how the people I can help elect can drastically change my world for the better. For that, I'm extremely grateful.

I'm finishing high school now, and am going to either Harvard or Stanford this fall to major in political science. Although show choir is about the limit of my arts activity today, I still think of the days when I could become whoever I wanted to be on stage. I think that played a big part in helping me have the courage to become the man I am today.

Aaron's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker in "Attack Of The Clones")
He seemed so sweet and cute then, although I cringe if I see the movie now

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January 27, 2011


Ryan, age 9
Anaheim, CA (1988)

Here I am, playing dress up at my Grandma Ginger's house. She was an amazing 'actress' type who had closets full of shoes and fur coats that I salivated over.

"I wasn't allowed to actually put her clothes on, but..."
When I wasn't playing with the Hollywood Legends paper dolls she bought me, I was using her sheets to create wrap dresses or long flowing skirts.

And I knew that her Roberto Cavali gowns were off limits.

Looking back on this photo, I find it funny that she cared about the Cavalis and not the shoes my dirty, little feet would slip so delicately into?

After all, aren't a woman's shoes her pride and joy??
Go figure!

My grandma passed away before I came out, but in my heart I know she not only knew, but loved me all the more for it. I think she was also kind of excited for me, and quietly sad that she wouldn't be around to go out and hit the town with me.

When we, as a society, speak about generations and how they're programmed to react to the unfamiliar, the example of my grandma always comes to mind.
I find it a hard sell to say 'generations' just exist like that.

We are ALL individuals - in our gayness, in our straightness, in our open-mindedness. And in our ability to love and accept others. That is the only thing that will set us free!!!
Roberto Cavalli Black By Roberto Cavalli For Men Eau De Toilette Spray, 3.4-Ounces  Hollywood Legends Collection Barbie As Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady(Embassy Ball Gown) I Love My Grandma! (First Blessings Flap Books)