February 05, 2011


John, age 2
Hermitage, PA (1979)

At the time this photo was taken, I was pretending to be my mother. I think I did that a lot. I remember loving to watch her getting ready to go out, and wanting to be like that. I don't think I ever wanted to be a girl, but I liked the idea of carrying a purse or wearing makeup and perfume. In my room today, you'll find a large collection of man purses and a dresser covered in fragrance bottles. And I will find any excuse to put on a little mascara.

As you might imagine, growing up "different" in a small town like Hermitage was a challenge. As a little guy, I think my parents made me believe that I was different just because I was a smart kid. And nothing more than that.

Once I got a little older, I knew that was not the truth. I guess I was smart enough to figure out that I was gay.

It took me many years of pretending before I finally understood: It was not just okay to be gay, but a beautiful thing to live your life as an open, honest person.

I look at this pic now, and I just chuckle. How could my parents believe I was straight? The answer is that they believed what they wanted to, and I believed it for a while, too. But, there comes a time when you just get tired of lying to yourself and everyone else.

Eventually, you find out that there are tons of people like you out in the world, and another good handful who will love you for who you are as an individual. 

Today, I live with an amazing partner who loves me unconditionally. We just spent our 5th wedding anniversary together, and our 8th year as boyfriends.
So thank you Massachusetts, and let's go Illinois!

His wonderful family has accepted me into their lives with the warmest of hearts, in spite of what you might expect from a big Catholic clan from Indiana. I now have the greatest possible friendship with my mum. I cherish her as one of the greatest blessings in my life. And if that wasn't enough, I have a family of friends from childhood, college, and beyond who know me and love me for who I am.

No, this is not the life I imagined for myself as a two-year-old...
It is SO much better.

John's first, famous-person same sex crush:
He-Man & Prince Adam

I loved both characters for different reasons: He-Man's brute physical strength (not to mention bare chest), and Prince Adam's quiet, supportive nature - and his ability to pull off wearing pink.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - Season One, Vol. 1 Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America The Hangover Alan Man Purse Satchel Bag Small-Town Gay

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cute pic. My 3 year old boy does this sort of thing a lot - he likes to put my make up on and brush my hair, sometimes he plays with his baby sister's toy jewelry box or purse. But he also loves to rough-house, play with trucks, and engage in other "boy" activities. In fact both of my children engage in this type of "cross-gender" play, and if one or both of them turns out to be gay I suppose will we look back at these behaviors and say, oh yes, we saw it coming. I do believe that individuals are born gay and that it's not a choice, but I also think that it's natural for most children - gay or straight - to engage in "cross gender behavior" if given the freedom to do so.