Jacksonville, FL (1949)
|"Honey, get your hands off your hips.|
That's how I got started."
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. 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. Straight folks that count, really don't care.
Be proud and make a great example. That's what will change people's minds about gay folk.
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...