Matt, age 8
Oxnard, CA (1993)
I can tell you the moment when I knew something was "different" about me.
It was around the time of this photo, and I was with a group of boys the same age and slightly older. One of the older boys took his shirt off, and I couldn't stop staring. The exact thought that ran through my head was, 'What is happening? Why can't I take my eyes off of him?'
In high school, I had a crush on the head cheerleader, but secretly longed for the football captain. It was, give or take, around this moment that I knew I was not different.
I was gay.
I didn't come out until I was 20-years old. And my foot was completely out of the closet door when I told my parents at 21.
Telling my parents was the hardest part, but with the reassurance of my amazing sister and two older cousins, I knew everything would be OK.
I can only hope they know how important their support was during this time. Looking back on those years, I cringe just thinking about how alone and isolated I made myself.
I was so wrapped up in my own head, I failed to realize all the people around me that loved me, for me. If I could do it all over again, I would never forget that.
So to those of you now:
Please enjoy Tiger Beat, watching "Steel Magnolias," and remember that people love you, for you. And you were indeed born this way, and it's a beautiful thing!
Now, if only I had the other picture of me, wearing a bra with two baseballs in each cup!