Clarissa, age 4
Bronx, NY (1973)
I wanted to be tough and dirty, and would go to work with my dad the mechanic. I didn't always wear coveralls, though.
My mom found a way to get me to wear dresses by making them herself, patterning them after Lucy Van Pelt of the "Peanuts" cartoon.
I acknowledged Lucy's toughness, and felt tough in those dresses, too!
I watched "The Bionic Woman," "Wonder Woman" and "That Girl" on TV,
all for the lead characters. Marlo Thomas' voice gave me butterflies.
I didn't know I was different until junior high. I just didn't get the way the other girls were obsessed about boys - mostly because I was obsessed about girls.
Being raised Catholic, I tamped my feelings down and thought of them as wrong until I was 25. It was then I found friends who helped me accept myself and come out. All this, despite having a gay older brother who was accepted and loved by my family. Somehow I thought it would be different for me, since I was a girl.
Over the years, I'd tried to be more conventionally female. But there was nothing more freeing than cutting all my hair off, and returning to my tomboy roots!
To gay kids today: Love and accept yourself.
Stick with those who accept you, and live your truth.
Clarissa's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Marlo Thomas (in "That Girl")_____________________________________________________