February 14, 2011


Michael, age 4
Richland, Indiana (1981)

My mother made those Woody Woodpecker costumes for my brother and me. Halloween was my favorite time of the year, because you could completely pretend to be somebody else for the night. And bring out a different personality, while no one could see who it was. And yes, I'm the one on the right.

At times as a teenager, I'd look at a photo like this and be embarrassed by such behavior.

My favorite album as a kid was Donna Summer's "On The Radio" and my favorite sleep attire was my sister's Charlie's Angels t-shirt.

I realized somewhere around the age of 6 that I was gay.

But growing up in a very small farming area of southern Indiana, I didn't know what that meant.

Or, that someone could live a productive, healthy life being openly gay.

My parents made me join the Boy Scouts and serve in the church, but I never felt comfortable or accepted.

I suppressed being gay until I was 21 and an art student in college. I could no longer take locking myself in the bathroom, and crying for hours wishing I could change myself.

My parents didn't believe me at first, and then went through the whole 'What did we do wrong?' phase, and eventually they just didn't discuss it.

Now, as a 34-year old man with a loving partner of 7 years, I look back at a picture like this and laugh about how even at that age, I OWNED IT! My family was surprised, but they have completely accepted my partner. How they never knew is beyond me.

At one time, I thought safety and acceptance came from wearing a mask. I see my coming out as the first time I said 'I love you' to myself. And I can not look back in anger, because conquering the fear of coming out was the greatest challenge I faced.

Life does really get better when you live it with openness and honesty.

Michael's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Robert Reed ("The Brady Bunch")
Jameson Parker & Gerald McRaney ("Simon & Simon")

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"


AndrewG said...

Hey I'm a straigh male, but I have always been curious about the gay community and their perspectives.
I'm studying Family relations and development and i was wondering if there was an involved father figure in your life?

MikeB said...

My father was very involved and I find it rather insulting that you would make such a generalized assumption from a quick summary of one's life.

I understand what you're asking but i think you could use better tack and find a proper channel to ask such questions than on a stranger's blog.

DJ Paul V. said...

Gonna add my 2-cents here: No amount of a mother figure or father figure (or lack thereof) can effect someone's sexual orientation. Those things CAN effect a personality or self-image or outward mannerisms etc., but not sexual orientation. I don't think "Finding Out" meant any disrespect, Mike - but this is a common misconception in the heterosexual world: "If only he had a male figure in his life, he might have turned out differently". Ahem - NOT