January 23, 2011


Patrick, age 11
Niagara Falls, NY (1968)

I loved school photo day and the opportunity that it brought to break out of the uniform white or blue shirt with navy tie. Looking back, this year seemed to be a turning point - in all the school pix previous to this, my hair was full of cowlicks. During high school, I used to go to the men's salon for a wash and blow-dry before all the big events, like semi-formals & proms. How gay is that?

"God, I wish I still had that hair"

Growing up, many of my friends were girls. At a birthday party - Ooh, another chance to dress up! - where the boys and girls were expected to sit at same-sex tables for cake. The hostess suggested several times that I sit at the boys' table. It didn't happen.

How gay is that?

I recently played the When/What Was Your First Concert? game with some colleagues.

Mine? Liza Minnelli, 9th grade. OMG! How gay is that? I also saw Bette Midler in 10th grade, but Elton John had to wait ‘til I was a freshman in college.

It wasn't until I moved to a large East Coast city after college that I started my coming out. And you know what? It turns out that just about everyone knew I was gay! Why didn't someone say something sooner?

I always felt different from the rest and muddled through as best I could. While I learned that self-imposed isolation could protect me from some types of harassment, I don't recommend it as an effective tool for the long haul, especially these days.

Talk about it.  Somebody will listen. 

Patrick's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Luke Halpin (Sandy on “Flipper”)
Race Bannon (on "Jonny Quest")
I guess I had a thing for blonds. But crushing on a male cartoon character? OMG! How gay is THAT?


William D said...

Thanks for your story Patrick and for sharing a love for Luke Halpin from "Flipper".

It's difficult now, looking back at that handsome 20 yr old with the full head of hair who thought he never quite measured up to anyone, when in fact he could have had the world on a string if only he'd loved himself and believed in himself more.

Still a closet case at 59, but much more in tune with my true self and out to a very small circle of friends.

Sarah Hoffman said...

I love this Patrick!! Can you imagine how life would have been different had you been celebrated for your differences??

Unknown said...

@WD - try to open that door a little more. You'll be amazed at all the light it lets in.
@SD - Yes. A lot, I think. I'm glad, though, to bear witness to (much of) society's evolution, thanks in part, to parents like you.

American Toycoon said...

Wonderful story, Patrick! And what a little heart breaker you must have been. I had a big thing for Race Bannon, too. I think a lot of boys were into "Jonny Quest" because it represented the 'alternative lifestyle' that we all wanted even before anyone knew what that meant! I hope you still have and can still fit into that snazzy suit. It's totally back in style!