John, age 5
Argyle, NY (1993)
This photo was taken in the living room of our house in Argyle, a small village of about 300 people.
To give you an idea of what life was like, the biggest conflict to strike the town was a debate over how many farm animals a person could have, per acre, within the village limits.
Shortly after this picture was taken we moved to a larger city. And then I moved to New York City for college, where I came out and really came into my own.
Looking back, I don't remember feeling different or special in any way. I was lucky to grow up in a family where eccentricity was encouraged, and being "normal" was boring. I was allowed to be myself without my parents judging me.
And looking at this photo, I don't see a flaming little boy ready to burst out of the closet.
I see myself, being what I continue to be to this day: unnapologetically me.