Joshua, age 4
Las Vegas, NM (1988)
This is me and my sister Jay, herself a lesbian. Growing up, I was the youngest of 4 kids from a single mother. My mom was a hairstylist, who encouraged us to be ourselves. I was always the loner kid with the heart of gold, and I liked talking to her customers in her hair salon.
When I turned 4, my mom got me a brunette Barbie (the closest they had to a "Latina" doll at the time) in a red Corvette car, and I was in love. I'll mention that I'm the one who requested Barbie. Back then, I watched Jem, Rainbow Brite, and loved My Little Pony. When my sister and I went to McDonalds and got the boy and girl Happy Meal toys, we would trade them.
Growing up in a city of 15,000 people, but whose name signifies shiny objects such as Las Vegas, I was very different and didn't have many friends. I read a lot, and took pottery, gymnastics, tap-dancing, and acting classes.
I remember one birthday party when I was 9, and not one person attended it.
At that young age, I realized I was different, and that everyone knew it about me. And, I understood what it meant for the other kids to feel "guilt by association." When I got older, into middle and high school, I was bullied tremendously. I'd try to get through classes unnoticed, where a good day would mean not being picked on 5 separate times.
I have always been different, and that just was it. I don't remember questioning why I was gay then, and never pegged it as being gay - just different. Maybe if I'd grown up in a household with more masculine influences, or if my mom wasn't so accepting, I would have payed more attention to my traits.
But my family encouraged me to be myself, and do the things that made me learn, grow, and smile. My mom never tried to lean me towards masculine traits nor feminine, she just wanted me to be happy.
And I've learned that those differences just never really mattered.
Because in retrospect, I know I was truly was BORN THIS WAY! :-)
Joshua's first, famous-person same sex crush: