May 09, 2011


Martin, age 4
Orlando, Florida (1980)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think this picture is worth one word: queer. To be completely honest, I don't remember the moment this photo was taken while we were visiting Disneyworld. I do however, remember quite clearly, that as a child I was intrigued by all things glamorous.

Through the innocent eyes of a little Latino gay boy, what's more glamorous than a 6 ft 3 mouse-woman - in a red and white polka dot dress, with super luscious eyelashes, giant yellow pumps, and puffy white gloves? The answer is nothing.

Nothing is more fabulous than Minnie Mouse and her trademark blue
eye-shadow. NOTHING!

The 4-year old Martin, almost instinctively, already knew this to be true. And I think it can be safely said that Minnie Mouse was my first drag queen sighting.

When I look at this picture, I imagine time traveling back to the year 1980. Then I picture grown-up Martin standing in front of tiny Martin, and hugging him and telling him that everything will be okay. And my heart breaks for the difficulty that awaits this sensitive and creative kid.

What I see here is a little boy who is trying to figure out how a fabulous glove was stitched so perfectly. And when I look at this photo, I also wonder how my father could have been disappointed? This is a child with imagination!

He wants to make music and wonderful things and draw lovely pictures.
And so what if he punches like a girl? This boy deserves love.

If I were to show you the uncropped image, you'd also see my mother and my sister. But to me, this moment is not about my family. This moment is about Martin and Minnie. Two souls that understand each other.

This moment is about a gay boy's bliss. He is still unaware of ridicule and discrimination. He is still innocent. He is in love with the construction of a fabulous costume. He seems to know the power of artifice.

And he isn't ashamed quite yet.

Martin's first, famous-person same sex crush:
He-Man, The Most Powerful Man in the Universe

The New Adventures of He-Man, Vol. 2Sounds of AsterothGender, Sexuality, and Power in Latin America since Independence (Jaguar Books on Latin America (Rowman & Littlefield Paperback))

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"


toycoon said...

Hello there Martin,
Are you wearing a tiny little 'Alice in Wonderland' hat to the side or is that me? You are as cute as can be and I hope all of your dreams have come true. You deserve it!

Deni said...

Your father should be proud, it takes alot of courage and moxy to stand up for your self, not to mention to picture healing yourself as you did in this story (hugging your youth. If it matters I am proud of you.