January 18, 2011


Tootsie, age 5
Rochester, New York (1978)

I was way too young to know what “gay” meant, but I knew I wanted to be a boy. I was picked for the lead role in our kindergarten play, The Nutcracker, but I turned it down because I would have to be a princess and be kissed by a boy!

“Did I really need to come out to my parents?”
During recess the boys and girls would split up and I always went with the boys. I even remember a game where if you pushed the merry-go-round to the left, it was the girls’ way, and if you pushed it to the right it was the boys’ way. I always teamed up with the boys to push it their way.

More than anything, I loved playing sports with boys – and the more physical, the better.

Things like tackle football with the neighborhood kids or being on an all-boys ice hockey team.

I used to dream of becoming a professional athlete and always saw that vision as a man.

I remember that around the time that this photo was taken, in kindergarten, I started to notice the difference between boys and girls. I told my Mom I wanted to be a boy, and she said I couldn't. I couldn't understand why I was a girl, because I wanted to be a boy so badly.

I think this picture captures me at an age where I still had that dream. Where I could be happy feeling like a boy, and the reality of the world or my circumstances had not set in yet.

Tootsie's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
"Cagney & Lacey"

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


Kristin said...

Which one did you like, Cagney or Lacey? I'm guessing Cagney. Hope you're doing well. Remember, you have a standing invitation to FLARida (unless it is closed). XOXO, Krissy

Tootsie Bellittera said...

You guessed right - Cagney, absolutely. But their locker room scenes and door busting crime fighting just turned me on in general.

Enri said...

Lol, I guess hockey equals to soccer in Spain...you look a lot like me at your age!

steakboy said...

yay tootsie! you rock the casbah, thoroughly. i love this pic, and i'm delighted to see you here. very best to my fellow ayg expat. -- dave bois

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing the photo and your story. I enjoyed it. Very well written.