Juston, age 5
Pontiac, MI (1983)
This was one of my favorite chairs in our house because of the hideous brown floral design. I was the first grandchild born into a large family of 7. My mother, aunts and uncles were all in their late teens and early 20's when I was born. We lived with my grandmother at this time, and she doted on me in the best of ways. Bowl haircuts were the rage, and I wanted one of my own. Because of my longer blond hair, I was often mistaken for a girl.
My Aunt Biggie always says that when I was 3, she knew I was gay. Her proof of my gayness was that I was the smartest kid she knew, I was always polite and sensitive, and loved to sing. My first song was "Puff The Magic Dragon." She says I loved to sit and listen to Elton John records in the basement.
My aunt Michelle and I had marathon movie sessions with tubs of popcorn and movies like "The Wizard of Oz" and "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory."
I remember at this age being obsessed with Carebears, Rainbow Brite and Barbies. My obsession even got me into trouble when I ordered a Rainbow Brite jazzercise record off TV. It arrived COD (cash on delivery) and my mother almost killed me that day. I spent the rest of the day dancing in my room to my new record on my FisherPrice record player.
I also loved playing with all my girl friends and enjoyed making their Barbies have intricate sexual relationships. But I enjoyed riding bikes and playing baseball, too, so I wasn't always girly. I remember this time of my life as very carefree, and never worried about what I did or how anyone felt about it.
My first real crush at age 10 was during the 1988 Olympics. I spent the summer watching Greg Louganis diving on TV. My mom kept trying to get me to go outside, and kept asking why I suddenly wanted to watch sports. If she would have just sat down and seen Greg in those Speedos, she would have understood.
Until I was 15, I often questioned my sexuality, and began to realize I really enjoyed men much more. My "Aha!" moment came in 10th grade while watching Beauty & The Beach during MTV's Spring Break in Florida. As the men and women pranced down a runway, I looked at the girls and then the boys - and I thought in my head: 'That's it - I'm gay'.
From that day forward I never struggled with the idea again. I knew who I was and was ready for the world to deal with it. I came out in High School during Junior year and was pretty much accepted by everyone. I thankfully had some really fabulous friends who not only accepted me but helped me celebrate myself.
I look back at this picture and think" 'God, I was so gay. Look at that hand'...
But I also think how happy and oblivious I was. I never thought I was different.
Now I'm 32, a nurse, and I live with my boyfriend of 2.5 years. I still have many of those fabulous friends, and I live a very happy life. It wasn't always easy when I was younger and coming out, but it was all worth it.
Thank the goddess for making me gay!
Juston's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Greg Louganis (Olympic diver)