Tonny, age 4
Seattle, WA (1988)
This was my 4th birthday, and it's the first birthday I remember. I grew up quite poor, so for birthdays, we typically only received one gift from our immediate family. And usually it was something we needed, like a pair of shoes.
I wanted a My Little Pony SO bad, I cried for it - and I wasn't the type of kid to ask for anything. So for my birthday, my parents got it for me knowing how bad I wanted it. Then, there are the two plastic pink elephants on my cake. I don't remember picking those out, but I must have. I mean, who else would!
I first felt different when I was in the 1st grade. I remember I had two friends:
"J" and "C", and they were best friends with each other. At lunch time, we all had to go use the restroom and wash up, so there would always be a line.
These two friends would always share a stall and pee together. I use to think,
"I wish 'J' ould ask me to pee with him." Now I realize he was my first crush.
An early memory I have that screams "gay" was watching my concert VHS tapes. They were with Debbie Gibson, Paula Abdul, or Janet Jackson. I'd put all my toys on the floor around the bed, and I would pretend that I was the star. My toys were the audience, and the TV was my big screen projector. And I would think:
"This show is going to be big, and everyone will remember it."
My family has been more supportive than I can imagine. Since coming out, I am even closer with them, more than I have been my entire life.
For those of you who are in a rough spot in your life, I just want you to know that you matter, and you can make a difference in the world.
Your race, sexual orientation, gender, age, height, weight, shoe size or any of that, does not define you. What you do with your life does.
So put on your own show for everyone to remember.