January 18, 2011


Zach, age 9
Cincinnati, OH (1995)

The photo was taken by my father who claims - amazingly - that he had no idea back then that his son was a homo. Here, I'm doing my best Liza hands. Like my outfit, my upper-body is completely mismatched to my lower-body, which seems to be doing a Texas two-step (cowboy boots included).

“Classic Zach”
Sadly, I was not one of those fledgling gay boys to whom fashion sense came naturally. Thus my younger sister looks on in admiration/horror.

My real revelation of being "different" came around age 16, when I insisted having a karaoke machine a family BBQ.

Why? So I could entertain all our guests with my rendition of "New York, New York," complete with high-kicks.

I also vividly remember pretending to be an Olympic figure-skater.

Me and my best girlfriend would slide around on the linoleum floor in our socks. This was just following the Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding Olympics drama. 

I was always a weird kid. I think my teachers and classmates probably recognized me as gay before I did. My kindergarten teacher wanted to hold me back for a year because I was, 'short and hung out with girls.'

Luckily, I have incredibly supportive parents who told that teacher off, supported me in all of my drama-fag interests, and more recently embraced my incredibly handsome, Maltese-born fiancé as a 2nd son. I think the hardest part of coming out was admitting that everyone was right about me all along. Being contrarian is one of my greatest joys.

We now refer to this photo as "Classic Zach," and while I have moved beyond the sweatpants and cowboy boots of my youth, I like to think that I still retain the same idiosyncratic exuberance (flaminess?) embodied in this picture.

I feel lucky that I grew up into a family that allowed me to be myself, even if being myself was not exactly accepted by suburban Cincinnati society.

Zach's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Steve Guttenberg (in "Short Circuit")

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Oh Zach I love your story...stupid kindergarten teacher...right on for your parents!