Ted, age 2
Branford, CT (1986)
So this is me aged 2 or so, probably taken while my family was living overseas. When we moved back to the states we settled in southern Connecticut, where I grew up.
The earliest sign that I was gay was in kindergarten. My classmates and I were taking turns picking each other up, trying to see who was strongest. When it was my turn,
I wrapped my arms around a male classmate's hips and lifted. I didn't recognize it at the time, but in retrospect - that funny feeling I got was definitely the very early manifestation of budding homosexuality.
As a child I was athletic, curious, adventurous, and perhaps a bit reckless to boot. I also wanted a Minnie Mouse lunch box, a Tinkerbell design on my blanket, and played with Barbies a lot.
I'm sure my parents noticed my ignorance of gender norms, but they never made any attempt to stifle me, nor to encourage me more towards hetero-normative activities.
And so I got the My Little Pony collection for my 6th birthday, and fake vomit for Christmas, and I was happy.
In addition to the good fortune of having such caring and nurturing parents,
I also benefited from being a 'low key' gay child by the time I hit 5th grade. I was saved the middle school torment, and in the relative shelter of sexual ambiguity, I was able begin to understand who I was. It was this same quality that went on to spare me from a potentially disastrous Catholic boy's college prep school experience.
For me - as for many gay men and women, I'd imagine - high school was trying. I felt isolated, confused, and frustrated on a near daily basis. It wasn't until long after I'd graduated, until the advent and rapid spread of Facebook, that I came to find that I was not the only gay member of my class, as I had assumed. As it turned out, there were more of us than I could have ever imagined.
And so, to the generation of gay boys and girls who are forging their way through middle school and high school now, I would like to say this: We are everywhere. Being gay is not a result of class, race, creed, or station.
So we are in every school, town, state, and political party - and always have been.
You may not always see us, but we are always nearby.
Ted's first, famous person same sex crushes:
Ryan Phillipe (in "54")
John Goodman (in "Roseanne")