January 17, 2011


Josh, age 5
Winchester, Virginia (1979)

This is a photo of me dressed as a witch at age 5 or so, on the sun deck at the house I grew up in. I'd like to say it was Halloween, or at least October. Typical, since I spent much of my childhood in some kind of costume or drag.

"My pretty!"
I have a vague recollection of this outfit. What I remember most is that my mother helped me make it.

I remember that blue fabric was used in many costumes by folding and draping it in different ways.

We obviously made the hat and the broom. The black gloves were hers.

My parents loved me and nurtured my creativity and never tried to dissuade my interests.

My mother once helped me make a hoop skirt. Her friends would bring me dresses that they bought at the Union Rescue Mission for cheap (loved that yellow tulle ball gown!).

Looking at this pic now, it looks like a stereotype. But at the time I remember being loved for being exactly who I was. And I am so grateful for that.

I always felt different. From 4 or 5 on, I really became aware of myself as different from others, especially from other boys (except for a few, but I won't name names).

I loved the Wizard of Oz and especially the Wicked Witch of the West (shocker). I remember being captivated and a little repelled by Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares, seeing something of myself in him, and being a little afraid of it.

Thinking back, there was code like that all over. It's fun to decipher in retrospect. I finally found words that described me to myself by about middle school. I started coming out to friends in high school, exploded out of the closet in college, and I haven't looked back ever since.

Josh's first famous person, same-sex crushes:
C-3PO ("Star Wars") & Michael J. Fox
("Family Ties")
C-3PO was so sensitive! I had a cardboard wine suitcase full of
Michael J. Fox pictures I cut out of teen magazines

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome, Josh! Thanks for telling your story. I'm sorry it has to be like this for kids but you're helping to change that:-)
Love, Linda