Jon, age 10
Leawood, KS (1990)
I got my love of reading from my mother, pictured with me enjoying our mutual hobby. Here, I'm reading a Babysitter's Club book. Reading books "meant for girls" caused teasing by my sister and bullies at school, but I didn’t care.
I read all of those books, as well as Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret." I found myself re-reading the sections in it where Margaret and her girl friends talked about their budding attractions to boys. In hind sight, I was drawn to those sections, because I was experiencing the same feelings as Margaret and her friends.
I knew what "gay" was by the time I was 11 or so, but since boys used it to insult one another, I refused to even consider that I might be that word.
I always felt different, because I hated sports and never understood why other boys were obsessed with them. My interests were indoor activities such as board games. I was fortunate that I was able to use this interest to socialize with other boys after school.
My mother and I became close during my teenage years when my sister moved away for college, and it was just she and I at home. Regrettably, I never had the chance to come out to her. She passed away of cancer when I was 19. I spent the next year both grieving her loss and accepting that being gay was okay.
I often find myself imagining the conversation my mother and I never had, trying to imagine what her response would've been. My best guess is she would have had some sleepless nights thinking how this would affect my life, as well as hers. But, I am 100% sure that she would have loved and accepted me without hesitation! I can even envision her marching with PFLAG in a pride parade!
Today, I'm 31, happy, and have been with my partner for 7 years.
And I cannot imagine my life any other way!
Jon's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Burt Ward (Robin on "Batman")
Mark-Paul Gosselaar ("Saved By The Bell")______________________________________________________