January 25, 2011


Shannon, age 6
Gardiner, Maine (1984)

This is me in costume before my very first dance recital, and I was THRILLED. Honestly, I've been gay for as long as I can remember, or at the very least "different", and was able to put appropriate words to it later.

"I do believe in faeries!"
There was a huge sense of closeted shame back then, and when kids on the bus found out I took dance lessons, they'd sing Lionel Ritchie's "Ballerina Girl" to mock me.

But at the same time, I wanted to perform and feel the joy I felt when I was dancing on stage.

There was a time when I would beg to go to dance class, and pictures like this one would be the result. And then my parents would be too embarrassed to display them. That act only served to cement the shame I felt about my desires - be they gay, gender-different, or simply theatrical.

Now I look at this photo and am so proud of the strength I had at such a young age, to try and pursue my own personal truth.

And I can't think of a better lesson to impart to other gay kids. 

Shannon's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Patrick Swayze
'Cuz he liked to dance too!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You look so incredibly happy and carefree in that picture. Wonderful you embraced it!