Claudia, age 3
Ravenna, OH (1962)
That's me holding the stuffed animal and that's my brother sitting next to me. I'm wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, and - notice the short hair? All my life I remember wanting to wear boys clothing and shoes. I never liked girlie things.
I wanted toy guns, trucks and G.I. Joe, and I never played with Barbie.
I had a crush on my 1st grade teacher and crushes on many women growing up. I had no clue what the feeling was at that time. When I was in grade school, I had an imaginary girlfriend. I used to sit on the bus and wouldn't allow anyone to sit with me so my imaginary girlfriend could sit next to me.
The word lesbian didn't exist where I went to school. I did not come out until I was 22 and I fought it tooth and nail. I did not want to be "abnormal". One of my biggest crushes was my during senior year in high school. My best friend Robyn was the homecoming queen, and I used to walk her to classes and carry her books for her. You would have thought I had a clue then, but I didn't.
The best advice I can give young people today is be true to yourself and be who you are. I give the teens today a lot of credit for coming out so young, and realizing who they are.