January 13, 2011


David, age 5
Sacramento, Kentucky (1981)

I don't remember the pic being taken, but I remember that baby blue dress and pink scarf vividly.  In my kindergarten class, there was a "dress up" area. One side of the closet contained "boy" clothes, and the other side had "girl" clothes.

As recess time would get closer, I anticipated grabbing that baby blue dress, and asking a friend to 'Zip me up!'  LOL. Of course, growing up in a VERY small Kentucky town, when a kindergarten boy wants to put on the dress instead of the business suit, it raises an eyebrow or two.

However, I loved going to school just so I could put on that dress and have tea time with my friends. I don't remember any of the other kids having a problem with me putting it on. It was the adults that told me it was wrong, saying:
"Boys don’t wear dresses."

I remember that the teasing started around 4th grade, and a boy told me that his mom said I was 'girly.' He gave me the nickname of 'Tinkerbell.'  He sat right behind me in class, so I got called that a lot. But I wore that nick name proudly!

This is my favorite picture from my childhood - the baby blue really brought out my eyes. LOL. Looking at it just reminds me to have a personal sense of strength. If I can throw on a dress in kindergarten, why should I feel that I have to hide who I am today?!

I think this was the same year I dressed as a girl for Halloween. My dad took us Trick-or-Treating. I wore my sister's skirt and top and one neighbor answered the door, and said: "Who is this pretty little girl!"  My dad said, "That’s my son!" and the neighbor said, "He makes a much prettier little girl than he does a boy!"

Trick-or-Treating officially ended for the night after that comment...
But it sure makes for a great story!

David's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Aqua Man and John Schneider & Tom Wopat
(Bo & Luke Duke, "Dukes Of Hazzard")
I had the sheets too, and every time I watch a re-run, I am reminded why!

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


E.l.M. said...

I love that you, "wore that nick name proudly!"
Your strength is inspiring.
I would have liked to have you as a friend at that same age!

Bonnie said...

Hey, those kids have band-aids on their eyes! I often wonder what life would be like if adults didn't hammer into children what belongs to whom, etc. Gender roles are really just a bunch of make-believe anyway. What's real is what's in the heart. Rock on, David!

Shane said...

From one Western KY boy to another... Great story and it could have been mine too. I was from Marshall County and eegads. Nice photo and story!