February 02, 2011


Mike, age 2
Jacksonville, Florida (1949)

"Honey, get your hands off your hips.
That's how I got started."
I was a pretty happy kid, and always very artistic. I got the colored chalk in 1st grade and would draw holiday pictures.

I won the Jacksonville baby contest a little while before this was shot, so I guess I made my debut back then - complete with a little gold cardboard crown (my first tiara).

I didn't even figure out I was gay until my 20's, but I always knew I was different. I hated sports, and I loved outer-space shows and cowboy shows on TV.

Today I'm a full-time painter of the Southwest, and my work is shown in the Booth Museum.

There's something about butch men in boots really does it for me. And maybe something about Indians tying them up, too.

I love this picture, now that I love myself as a gay adult.

To young gay kids: Those other kids giving you a hard time now will soon fade into your memory. Don't let them define you, and whatever you do - try not to live in anger. That hurts you more than it hurts them. And it means they won.

I've been very comfortably out for decades now and wouldn't have it any other way. The straight folks that really count in your life, really don't care.

Be proud and make a great example.
That's what will change peoples' minds about gay people.

Mike's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Tommy Kirk (in Disney's "Hardy Boys")
He turned out to be gay too. I guess I had Gaydar even back in the 50's...

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'


ewe said...

Cute. I liked what you said about letting go of anger. The moment i do that is the moment i can see the pain inside the other.

Anonymous said...

Not surprisingly, Tommy Kirk was/is gay. Your gaydar was activated early!

katieporsche said...

Words of wisdom... You are a womderful person for telling this story. My uncle took 40 years to come out, I was actually kind of mad at him for taking so long. I always knew, I was just upset that he was worried what people would think. I told him, umh, sweetie, everyone knew. You were always wearing Daisy Dukes and cut off shorts and your mannerisms were a dead giveaway! He's so happy now, just being who he IS! I love your story and your wise words of support. You are a sweetheart!!

Greg said...

What a great essay. love it.


sassy! Yes!

Anthony Damato said...

Tommy and I are about the same age. I remember watching him on the Micky Mouse Club Sub show "The Hardy Boys" I didn't know what these feelings were but I LOVE watching him. I think he was the first idle i love watching. I was so surprised to hear that he was gay. Im glade i was able to watch his movies.
Tony der