André, age 4
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (1972)
I recently came across this photo as I was scanning old slides for my parents.
I remember it was Easter of 1972. I'm holding a tiny purse my grandma made from an old margarine container, combined with delicate crocheting.
but rather, was of her proud, 4-year old son - she silently turned the page.
Growing up, my sexuality was the proverbial elephant in the room:
Always present, but never discussed.
I've heard we can only see the world with the light we've been given. When it came to my being gay, my parents never had the light they both needed to understand.
In my 12 years of Catholic schooling, just about every report card included the comment, "André is a sensitive boy." That was Catholic school code for "Gay as a daisy."
It was tough growing up "sensitive" and the journey was never easy. It was worth it, though. I can now say I love who I am, and I love the life I've built for myself.
I love that I've learned to honor and protect that sensitive, little boy with the pink Easter purse and black galoshes.
As an adult, I have a terrific job as a writer. I have a wonderful partner and a cozy home with 3 cats. It's exactly the kind of life that I was told would never be an option for me. A life filled with friends, family, and an occasional pink purse.
I live openly and proudly, and try to inspire others to do the same.
And I try to be that light for those who live in darkness.
That's how things get better.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"