January 23, 2011


Andrew, age 5
Toronto, Canada (1973)

I don’t seem to have any photos that, through behavior, reveal my gay nature, which I believe to be reflective of the somewhat oppressive era I grew up in. But that does not mean I didn’t know it.  My sexual identity has always been there, even present in my earliest memories - where I was far too young for it to have been learned.

"Monty on the left, me on the right"
This is my first and favorite class picture. I had an innocent little crush on Monty, the boy on the left.  He was so hip and had a cool name and awesome hair, while I had some uneven home haircut job and a boring name. It seemed like every other kid was named Andy. I remember being so excited that I got to stand beside him, and hold his hand for the class photo.

At this time I felt exactly as I was supposed to feel - happy and silly and carefree. I just happened to think boys were kinda groovy. But I was aware enough to know that it was not OK to feel that way, so I never talked about it. And I made sure I didn’t act it, and even had a girlfriend in the class. 'Cuz that’s what I thought boys were expected to do. And apparently, overcompensate. Honestly, I was 5 – I don’t think any other kid was quite so fussed about their gender role.

I just assumed that I'd ignore my feelings, grow up, and get married like everybody else. I maintained that facade for many years until I fully understood the magnitude and emptiness of that choice. I accepted that I could choose my words and actions, but could not change how I felt – how I was BORN to feel.

I look at this photo with awe that such an innocent, distant memory can remain so vivid and intimate in my mind. And that the subsequent years of suppression are elusive and forgotten.

I am far closer to this little guy than to the stoic silhouette who stood in for me while I learned that we should not have to deny who we are to fulfill someone else’s agenda.

Andrew's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Robert Fuller (on "Emergency!")
He was ruggedly handsome, had fabulous sideburns, a gruff exterior and sexy voice. I didn’t particularly like the show. I think I was too young, but I watched it frequently for some reason. I can’t imagine why.

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