Raymond, age 7
Madison, KS (1988)
When I first came across this picture looking through the old family album with my mother, the only thing I could say was: "Mother, you can't tell me you didn't know. I mean really: a pink tank top and short shorts?" She looked at me and laughed, and said that she had always known.
I wasn't interested in getting girlfriends like my brothers did. I was too busy watching sappy love stories on TV, and playing Barbies with my sister and her best friend.
In junior high, I really started to hide who
I was, because that's when the name-calling started. It wasn't really said to my face, but
I heard people talking behind my back.
I do feel that I had a pretty good childhood.
I had friends and loved my family. I'm 1 of 4 kids, with an older brother and sister, and a younger brother.
At 18, I decided it was finally time to come out of the closet and let the world know exactly who I was. And I was scared out of my mind!
One night, I went to my parents' house around 2:00 in the morning. I went in their bedroom, woke them up, blurted out that I was gay, and out the door I ran!
By the time I got back home, the phone was ringing. I reluctantly answered it, and it was my mother. The first thing she said was she loved me, and that they had always known. And my response was, "Then why didn't you tell me, so I didn't have to tell you?"
My entire family has been great with the whole thing, and never once looked down on me because of who I am. I know they love me and my partner, just as much as they love my other siblings and their significant others.
Raymond's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (on "Saved By The Bell")Patrick Swayze (in "Dirty Dancing")