February 04, 2011


Brad, age 3
Storm Lake, Iowa (1974)

I have tons of photos like this that are indisputable proof that I was a gay zygote.

"Always have been, always will be, just a prairie girl."
In this photo, I'm on the far right, next to my cousins, Missy and Cindy, and we're all dressed as prairie girls. We loved "Little House on the Prairie" on TV, and would always re-enact our favorite episodes. As the youngest cousin, I was always cast in the crappy role of Carrie. (Seriously, all she did was fall down hills or wells. And did you ever understand a word she was saying?

What I love about this photo, is that while my cousins are all decked out in their finest costumes, I cobbled together some kind sad looking prairie drag. And still, I have a huge smile on my face. Probably because my grandmother had just given me the rag doll I'm holding.

The earliest indication that I was gay was around the age of 5 when I wanted to be able to kiss Fred from "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" But I don’t know what the attraction was. The ascot, maybe? My golden childhood is filled with many happy memories: playing with dolls, drawing and coloring, reading Trixie Belden mysteries, and roller skating around my basement to the Xanadu soundtrack.

I wanted to grow up and marry a nice Lutheran boy and either perform on "The Carol Burnett Show" or become the cruise director on "The Love Boat." I did not want to participate in any team sports. The boys were mean, loud and smelly. And I abhorred gym class. Getting changed in front of other boys terrified me. Clearly, I was not just a typical gay child. I was stereotypical.

Unlike the bullies I repeatedly suffered under throughout my entire public school career, my parents never made me feel anything less than accepted and loved. They cherished me for me, celebrating my uniqueness and were always my biggest cheerleaders.

I came out to my folks and my friends in my late teens, and no one blinked. Probably because in their minds they thought, 'Obvious. Table for one.' I received universal support from both my family and my friends. Coming out provided me with the confidence to stand up to my tormenters and confront them about their homophobia.

In the words of my parents, upon my coming out:
"Well, we always knew you were special."

And YOU are special, kids. Celebrate it and never forget that fact.

Brad’s first, famous-person sex crush:
John Schneider ("The Dukes of Hazzard")

I remember the skinny dipping episode, and I was so, um, “moved” that I wrote him a fan letter asking that similar 'unclothed' episodes be made. And John responded by sending his biggest, gay, 8 year old fan an autographed photo!
TOM WOPAT LUKE DUKE JOHN SCHNEIDER BO DUKE THE DUKES OF HAZZARD 16X20 PHOTO Little House on the Prairie - The Complete Season 1 Xanadu - Magical Musical Edition (With Complete Soundtrack CD) The Carol Burnett Show - Show Stoppers


Greg said...

Your post was like reading about my own life! I am 41, gay, a high school teacher and really loving pop culture. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

OMG I almost had tears in my eyes, what a beautiful family you have, I bet they are still your support

Marker said...

"As the youngest cousin, I was always cast in the crappy role of Carrie. Seriously, all she did was fall down hills or wells. And did you ever understand a word she was saying?"

OMG that is f-ing hilarious! Great post - Thank you!!

Kate said...

"Indisputable proof that I was a gay zygote." < - Best line ever.