March 26, 2011


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.

When I shared this photo with mom, she remarked at how cute my little sister was. When I pointed out that the photo was not of her daughter,
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"


Billy V Vaughn said...

I feel your light! Thank you for a wonderful story!

ellebee said...

Andre, you rock!

Toon said...

This was Catholic code for
"Gay as a Daisy."

LOVE that!

Marcos said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story Andre. You are fabulous and I'm lucky to have you as my friend!

Allyson said...

You make my world so much more interesting. xoxo

margo tantau said...

love love love this... you're beautiful.

Ellen said...

Andre - you have brought such wonderful wisdom, compassion, laughs, and leadership to this journey. Ditto what Margo said!

Anonymous said...

Thanks everybody for the kind words and thanks to Paul V. for this wonderful website.

BeckEye said...

You are the cutest!! Great story.

Library Lynn said...

What a wonderful way to view the world. You truly do have the light to help people see more clearly. Thank you for sharing your story, Andre.

Unknown said...

Andre, I re-posted your story on my fb page... I originally shared it 4 years ago today. My original comment read, "Bless your heart, Andre, wherever you happen to be this Easter weekend... it's people like you that help people like me be our self, and learn to love our self, for who we are. I thank you for that. Hugs!"

Unknown said...

More, more! I want to see more of your writing, and I share it. Thanks for the joy you bring the world, especially to me.