Andrea, age 10
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada (1996)
Growing up, I always felt a lot different than other girls. I dressed in what I wanted, which was by no means girly. When shopping for new clothes, I went straight to the boys section. My Mom or Dad never questioned me, they just let me wear what I wanted.
I tore apart bikes and tried to put them back together again, built forts, and played baseball and road hockey.
My first crush was on a girl I had never spoken to in my life. She lived in the same neighborhood as my grandparents, and I was attracted to her long wavy hair.
Every weekend we'd visit, I'd head right to the basketball courts. Not to play basketball, but to wait for that girl to come out of her house, just across the street.
I never questioned my feeling for girls, nor did I tell anyone. But I just did not think twice about them. I knew I liked girls, and that was it. It was who I was.
I got frustrated as a child being mistaken for a boy, or questioned about what I wore, or how I cut my hair. But, I lived for the moments when girls mistook me for a boy and told me I was cute, or had a crush on me.
I feel lucky that my mom and dad always let me wear what I wanted to wear, and be who I was. There were no questions asked. Because of this, I came out at an early age. I had enough support from my family to not hide who I was in school or with friends, and to be confident with my sexuality.
I hope all young children grow up being who they want to be, and that they can feel confident and secure about who they are. Because we are born this way!
And the only choice we make is to be true to ourselves - or to hide who we are.