Suzie, age 2
Kalgoorlie, W. Australia (1993)
Even as a child, I always hated pink. I point blank refused to wear it. I could live with dresses, so long as they were not pink. It didn’t take mum long to realize that I liked blue much better. Because of my masculine face (so similar to my fathers), people were always saying 'what a pretty little boy he is!'. Still today, I get called Sir on a regular basis.
By the time I was age 8, I chopped off all my hair off refused to let it grow back. Although, I tried when I was 12 to let it grow a bit to try and fit in better. That lasted all of two years. My lack of hair is now the bane of my mother’s existence.
Growing up in a country mining town on the edge of the desert, the men were manly men, and the women were housewives. End of story. There was no room for a girl with short hair who refused to conform. When I started 1st grade, the kids at school would call me ‘Susan Gay’ instead of ‘Susan Day’.
I guess they knew before I did.
The library was my haven. Originally it was a place to escape the bullies and the summer heat, but as I grew older and realized that I wasn’t the same as the other girls in my class, I found a wealth of information, comfort and inclusion.
I read books like "Keeping You A Secret" by Julie Ann Peters, "Annie On My Mind" by Nancy Garden, and the amazing Rainbow Boys series and "The God Box" by Alex Sanchez, which helped me find peace between my faith and my sexuality.
All the while, I was bullied. I even tried dating a guy (one of my worst mistakes ever). It took me a long time to move on from those experiences. Eventually I attempted suicide, and thankfully, I survived.
To all young queer people out there, suicide is not the answer! I eventually got out, went to Europe and to university, got a chance to go to a gay bar, march in a parade, meet girls, and do everything I never could when I was growing up.
Just hang in there, because it WILL get better!