Lewis, age 10
Marl, Germany (1977)
I went to school in the 4th grade, dressed for what we call in Germany Fasching - our colorful and fun Carnival. I was in love with that silly, curly, big platinum white wig at the local trinket store. I used to walk by it every day after school and stare at it, and eventually bought it with my birthday money. The rest of the outfit I borrowed from mom. I remember I loved my painted nails – and look at how delicately I hold that corn on the cob.
In Germany, I was just an odd kid. There was a time they would tease me by calling me "Louise" but it faded quickly, and it didn't play much into our friendships. I always played with boys and girls, even during puberty.
But it was my own sense of worth I struggled with, more a result of our broken family dynamic than the other kids around me. Much of Europe treats sexuality as a part of life, and it's not demonized in the way America struggles with it.
Moving to the US during high school changed everything. American high school was aggressive. The kids made sure you knew there was something wrong with you, and then you try and change to fit in. Like carrying your books the right way down the hall. Until one day you wake up and realize:
'Maybe I was born this way. Maybe it is how I am meant to be.
Maybe I’m fine just the way I am.'
I read a quote recently by Dr. Mae Jemison that sums up how I feel these days:
"The best way to make dreams come true is ‘to wake up’. Don’t let others define you or limit where your imagination can take you."
So go paint your nails, little boys - because you have galaxies at your fingertips!
Lewis' first, famous-person same sex crush:
In his tight, little black underwear, combing his hair in 'Saturday Night Fever'
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"