January 25, 2011


Edgar, age 6
Bellwood, IL (1993)

I've always wondered if my parents ever thought I could've been gay when I was a kid. I mean, look at this pose! I guess they had little to no Gaydar, thanks to all those books on the shelf behind me. My parents were (and still are) devout Jehovah's Witnesses.

"The son of a preacher man"
I first felt different around the time this pic was taken, but I didn't have a word for it till I was 13. Strangely enough, seeing this again kind of makes me want to have kids of my own.

Probably because I want to make-up for my parents raising me in a pretty homophobic religion.

I was a bit of a nerd growing up and I got caught up in the Power Rangers and Pokémon. I loved Disney movies, but only during the late 80's/early 90's Disney Renaissance! As I hit puberty, I was a die-hard N*Sync and Britney Spears fan.

My message to young LGBTQ kids, is that they're the vanguard in a long movement where we've all fought for a long time, to just be ourselves.

All that fighting has won them the right to feel perfectly comfortable in their skin. However, if anyone gets in the way of that, they can be sure there are plenty of people who will  back them up and support them.

Edgar's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Val Kilmer & Chris O'Donnell (in "Batman Forever")
Ooh - all that rubber, and especially those abs and pecs...


tall penguin said...

I was raised in the Jehovah's Witnesses and my parents are still in as well. Seeing that bookcase behind you brings back memories. Not many of them good ones. ;)

Glad to see you've made it out and are living life on your terms, as you are. All the best to you in your life's journey.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that you were able to accept yourself :) If I may ask, how do you deal with your parents, or better: how do they deal with you being still active JW's?


Anonymous said...

Wow! That bookcase is total proof of the JW life. And your parents probably knew, but denied with all their hearts. I was raised in that "religion" (more like cult) as well. I have a brother who I suspect is gay but cannot and will not come out. As a result, he's severely depressed.

I'm not sure how to help him, but I'm so happy for you to be out and proud.

Anonymous said...

My cousin Lee was raised in a JW household. What I remember about Lee in our early years was just that we (all the cousins) knew he was just a little different. We were little kids and didn't know why he was different, just that he was. He liked being in the house and playing dolls with the younger little girl cousins while we all ran wild all over our grandparents farm. He was a brilliant writer and had a fantastic imagination. When Lee came out at age 19 in college, our grandmother asked my dad "how long he'd known" and my dad said, "oh, about 18 years". She laughed and said " you're right". However, his own parents
and sister completely cut him off, all in the name of their religion. He and his friends spent holidays with my family
until his death from AIDS at 26 and my family did his funeral which his parents did not acknowledge or attend. Lee often tried to call his family in his last days and they would hang up on him immediately. I will never forgive
them for how they treated him so cruelly. He would have done anything for their love. I am a straight, female, 46-
year old wife and mom to three adolescents. I tripped across this blog today and have been so moved by the stories/pictures. Hopefully you are helping beautiful, hurting kids out there to love themselves despite the obstacles and hatred out there. My God loves them so much.

C.W.Henson said...

I was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness as well. It's a difficult situation. Especially if you get babtized because everyone you know, friends, family, everyone, is a Witness, and when you do come out you find that none of them will try to communicate with you for fear of getting in trouble or that you'll be a "bad influence" you're completely alone. It feels good to see others who learned to make a new life.

C.W.Henson said...

Also, I totally used my field service bookbag as a purse! lol

Michael said...

I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and also happen to be gay, myself.

There are many Witnesses who are heterosexual, single, and who choose not to have sex outside of marriage. There are also many Witnesses who grew up with addictive personalities, born with anger management issues, and a host of other things that are common to being human.

I am single, have talked openly about my feelings with others in the congregation, and would not trade my life as a Witness for anything. I also do not look down on anyone else because they may be dealing with any number of issues, as does anyone who is truly interested in imitating Christ's love of others. Those who are truly footstep followers of Christ would never bully or even look at anyone any less for being gay.

It's true I believe that being gay and being one of Jehovah's Witnesses is probably the most difficult combinations for anyone to have to cope with, because being gay keeps me from enjoying close romantic relationships. But every single one of Jehovah's Witnesses makes some sort of sacrifice in order to try to be pleasing to God. It's still worth it.

Is it less wrong to bully others for beliefs that may differ from your own? I say nope! :)