June 28, 2011


Donald, age 11
Omaha, Nebraska (1981)

Only a young gay boy could strike a pose with a 5-pound carp! And this photo sums up my childhood. I enjoyed being outside playing in the dirt, climbing trees, fishing, and doing archery. No girly stuff. This, despite having two older sisters who dressed me up in pigtails and paraded me around the neighborhood once. I just consider myself an unwilling participant that day.

I always felt "different" as I was an introvert, and not into sports.

And I didn't feel comfortable around my peer group.

My mom always told me that I was just "3 steps ahead" of my friends, so I came to believe my "differentness" was simply being more advanced than my peers.

My first (and only) gay experience was with my childhood friend, when I was about 11.

I was over at his house and he "accidentally" touched me - and I "accidentally" touched him right back. It was awesome!

We did this off and on for a few years, until we drifted apart.

I held on to those memories but I never dared to repeat the experience, because of the shame and guilt. The word "gay" never entered into my vocabulary until about 7-years ago, when I actually figured out that I was gay. This, after being married for 7 years and having 2 absolutely wonderful sons.

Because I never identified as gay, I had a relatively normal childhood.
In fact, I've only been called "freak" and "offensive" to my face, by my own wife!

I'm out to both our immediate families. My family is just fine with me, though we never actually talk about it. I sometimes wonder:

Did my mom know all along?

I have a lot of sorting out to do, and I am fearful yet hopeful for my uncertain future. I look at my photo now and just wish that I could be that naïve boy again. I wasn't afraid back then.

So my advice to the youth of today is:
One of the greatest fears, is the fear of being yourself. So get over that fear!

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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June 23, 2011


Noelle, age 4
St. Charles, Missouri (1987)

I think that I realized that I was different at a fairly young age. I grew up a "tomboy" that used to melt my sisters' Barbie dolls in the microwave. I loved to play outside and was always in overalls and my saddle shoes.

One of the last times I wore a dress was at an 8th grade dance. I hated dresses and skirts back then. I still do.

Jeans, t-shirts, or a button-down with a tie is about all you'll catch me wearing as an adult.

I didn't actually come out until just a few years ago, when I was 24. Despite having a more than supportive family, for the longest time I kept telling myself that it wasn't true I was gay.

I even thought that the kind of music
I listened to, (primarily heavy rock) would prove that I couldn't be gay.

Not because of fear of not being accepted, but more so that I thought it would make my life difficult. Boy, was I wrong...

Now that I am out, I couldn't be happier about it. I'm very proud of who I am and want younger people to know that things DO GET BETTER.
I was very fortunate to have such an accepting family and amazing friends.

Not everyone is as fortunate. But I know that those people wouldn't change who they are for the world. And if their families don't accept them, then they create their own with the loving people around them. "Family" doesn't necessarily mean blood-related.

The world is changing and people are slowly evolving.
Hang in there and ALWAYS be yourself. Besides, everyone else is taken!

Noelle's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Jamie Lee Curtis (in "True Lies")
Joyce Hyser (in "Just One of the Guys")

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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June 21, 2011


Kellie, age 4
Ector, TX (1973)

When I was little, I often wondered how long it would be until I was big enough to drive that tractor. That day I was obviously too little, so I played on it and sang "Delta Dawn" by Helen Reddy. I don't remember doing it, but I know that is the song, because my lovely mother noted it on the back of the picture.

When I was in 2nd grade my teacher called my parents in and told them she thought I was gay. I suppose I was posturing in a way that was too masculine for her liking. I never knew of this accusation, or even what "gay" was at that time. But when I came out in my mid 20's, my mother told me about it.

I had frequent crushes on girls - sometimes my best friend, but not always - mainly starting in high school. I had 3 different boyfriends then and into college, but they just served the purpose of someone to go to events and dances with.

I kept my sexuality under tight wraps until I was in graduate school. The only hard part about coming out was watching my parents cry. And cry, they did.
But they came around a few months later.

Today, I am a completely out gay in a smallish town in Texas. I've been called a dyke on a few dozen occasions. "That's Dr. Dyke to you," I respond, with a smile. I love being gay, and I can't begin to imagine being any other way.

When I look at this photo now, I think about how big that tractor seemed to me back then. As a grown-up, on occasion, I drive much bigger tractors than this.

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

June 20, 2011


Drew, age 6
Pleasant, PA (1970)

I clearly remember when I was very young, I saw a TV toothpaste commercial, showing a mom, dad, and kids who had no cavities by brushing with Crest. Watching that commercial, I knew in my heart my life would be nothing like that. In other words, a life with no wife, and no kids.

It was scary, because I had no idea what was waiting for me instead. That, in essence, was the story of my childhood. I couldn't imagine what
I was going to grow up to become.

So I read every book I could get my hands on, hoping to find any possible way for me to become a man.

Our mom died just before I turned 4.
But lucky for me, I had a sister, 13-years my senior. She was a gorgeous hippie chick in her mid-20's, with tons of men chasing her.

Every Friday night, she took me out roller skating or to the movies. She was the first person who I came out to at age 17, even though I didn't mean to do that.

She made a point of introducing me to friends of hers who were gay and lesbian. And they were balanced, happy, loved, and loving adults. Slowly, I came to understand that there was, or there would be, a place for me in the adult world.

Today, I live in the California desert with the man I love and our two dogs.
I've had an amazing and wonderful life, and I'm sure that there is more to come.

Alas, though: Despite all the brushing and flossing I do, I have never once in my life gone to the dentist and been free of a cavity.

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

June 19, 2011


Gordon, age 5
Caneadea, New York (1959)

Looking at this photo, I have more questions than answers. Who is that man? He looks exactly like my father. And, he looks like a loving dad spending quality time with my sister and me. But, I certainly don't remember him ever doing anything like that. Notice the grumpy look on my face, testifying to the fact that I was coerced into posing for this, when all I wanted to do was to get away.

My mother abandoned us when I was about 10-years old. My father was a spoiled only child who, as an adult, was never around kids until he married late in life, and then we came along. He was never mean or strict, but he was never close or affectionate, either. And he never taught me anything.

But, I can't blame him. He simply didn't know what to do with kids.

Did he know that I was gay? Probably.
But he never said anything, and I never felt the need to say anything myself.

I went to a very small school where I don't remember ever hearing the word, "gay." So, I can look back and be thankful that I was never bullied. In class,
I always sat among the girls, where I felt like I fit in.

I wasn't interested in anything that the boys were talking about.
Not surprisingly, I was terrible at sports and hated gym class.

It's hard to say when it was that I first knew that I was gay. I can remember,
as a young teenager, my attraction to an underwear model whose picture I saw in a catalog. But, I didn't know that my feelings meant anything unusual.

Gordon's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Richard Egan (in "A Summer Place")

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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Eduardo, age 5
Queens, NY (1995)

My childhood was a humble one. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with my mom, dad, and sister. My elementary school was about 5 blocks from home, and that's where this picture was taken. I can't find the uncropped photo, but my sister's stroller is what I'm leaning on for this diva pose.

I chose this pic because, in addition to the pose, it was around this age I noticed how "different" I was.

In the 3rd grade, I was some sort of Hawaiian character in our class play. I, of course, put on my outfit (complete with a grass skirt) and decided to swing my hips for my parents. You know, just like the women on TV.

Their reaction? My dad said "girls dance like that" while my mom just laughed it off.

I would always play with girls on the playground, while I tried to become "best friends" with the cutest guy in my grade.

At this age, I was obsessed with the Power Rangers, specifically the Red one. When he left the series,
I was devastated and never watched the show again.

Looking at this picture is refreshing. I've grown a lot and I've had my fair share of experiences – some of them bad. Bad enough to make me wonder if I've lost a bit of who I used to be.

But this photo also reassures me that I am the same person today that I was when I was 5: All smiles, carefree, excited, and with a bit of 'tude.

Also now, I'm a part of BornLikeThis.org, which is a safe space created for youth, by youth. We exist for those who, like ourselves, openly identify as members of the LGBTQ community, and who realize they were born like this, too – whatever their personal "this" might be.

My advice to others is to be yourself.
And to know that there will always be someone there for you.

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

June 18, 2011


Jamie, age 8
Coolum Beach, NSW, Australia (2004)

I know I'm a fair bit younger than most of the people here, but I figure that you're never too young to be proud. This is me and my friend Amber, hanging out after a theater production I was in. While I don't wear makeup in general, this photo shows who I am: A fun, proud, and slightly flamboyant person.

I kind of always knew I was gay, I just never knew the word for it.
Through grade school and even in high school, I had multiple girlfriends,
and I didn't think anything of it. I came out in 10th grade to most of my friends and family, and they weren't surprised at all.

All of my friends are fine with me being gay, and so is most of my family.
There is of course the expected bantering at school, but it's nothing really.

Looking back at this picture, as a wise beyond my years young man,
I can see I was happy then. Which even now, makes me happy.

My message to everyone who is gay, straight or another genre not mentioned:
Don't worry about who you are. At the end of the day, life's too short to care about whether or not people like you.

Thanks for your time. I really love your blog!

Jamie's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Neil Patrick Harris
How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Sixth SeasonFree Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth and Their AlliesQueer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for TeensThe Rough Guide to Gay & Lesbian Australia (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

June 17, 2011


Brooke, age 12
Cottonwood, CA (1994)

I grew up in a small town in N. California. I first knew I was different at age 6, when I told someone on the school bus that I wished I was a boy. I also vaguely remember having a moment then, when I learned what being gay meant. And I wondered if I was, despite not having feelings of attraction towards either gender.

Wait, I think I take that back...

In hindsight, I'm pretty sure buying my 2nd grade teacher's aide a massive cubic zirconium ring was an attempt to woo her.

It didn't work, but she was outta my league anyway. And I did have other crushes, too: My 4th grade teacher - *swoon* - and a summer camp counselor.

I've always been a major "tomboy" and I've always prided myself on my athleticism.

I started playing basketball at the age of 8, and was the only girl on the team. Although, my coach thought he had an all boy team.

I have very early memories of people always confusing my gender with male, even before I cut my hair. While on the inside I felt that my short hair was what I wanted, I was still uncomfortable with people's reactions to my appearance.

Thankfully, I've finally grown into my skin. I feel comfortable with who I am, despite others being confused by my masculine appearance.

Today, I'm grateful for a loving family that only cares about my happiness, and who have been very supportive throughout my coming out process. I couldn't be happier with where I am in life, including marrying my fiance' this fall.

Brooke's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Helen Hunt (on "Highway To Heaven")
Susan Sarandon (in "The Client")
I envied that boy, and I wanted her to be my lawyer

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


Matthew, age 3
Virginia Beach, VA (1992)

As a kid, I fondly remember the memories I have of playing with my Barbies.
I loved girly things, and I was always carrying my dolls around with me in my big pink Barbie suitcase. And my first love was the Black Power Ranger.

I didnt realize I was different until 4th grade, when a boy called me gay. And he stole my innocence that day.

I didn't like myself from then on, well until I was around age 16.

If there is one thing I could tell myself back then, and other young gay kids now, it is this:

Love yourself, and be who ever you want to be. Because until you love yourself, how can you expect anyone to love you back? It's hard, but dry those tears - it does get better.

One day you to will find someone who loves you exactly as you are.

Looking back on this photo, I'm proud. I'm proud I wasn't afraid to express my love for beautiful things, just as I'm not afraid to express it now.

I am me, myself, and I - and I was born this way after all.

Now, I'm in my 20's and I'm engaged to marry my partner.
And he's my personal Power Ranger now! :)

Matthew's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Walter Jones (the first "Black Power Ranger")
Power Ranger Colors Black Ranger [VHS]Power Rangers - Lost Galaxy - Return of Magna Defender [VHS]The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on UsLesbian and Gay Richmond (Images of America: Virginia)

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

June 15, 2011


* Blogmaster's Note *
Robert is the guy who wowed us all with his Madonna "Vogue" video.
And I am thrilled to present you his "Born This Way" story. Enjoy!


Robert, age 10
Boston, Massachusetts (1992)

This is a photo of me, my sister Jennifer, and our dogs Frisky and Chloe.
It's especially significant to me as they were born the summer I did my "Vogue" video, and their birth truly completed "our family."

Not long before I discovered Bette Davis, Diana Ross, and Madonna, I spent hours adoring Donna Summer, Laura Branigan, and the "Solid Gold" dancers.

My lone male idol as a toddler made me feel different from how I felt watching my many beloved female idols. It was Michael Jackson, who was not only my idol, he was my Prince Charming.

What I consider my "defining homosexual moment" occurred around age 4, while watching a TV special hosted by Shari Lewis. During a musical number, one of the male performers onstage happened to be gorgeous, muscular, and clad only in a loin cloth and fez. And my body tingled in a way I couldn't understand.

I had no idea why the sight gave me a feeling so utterly lovely, but the awareness was palpable enough that I have never forgotten it.

I barely knew what homosexuality was when I performed to "Vogue" at age 9.
Back then, I was precocious, but innocent: carefree, unaware, and having a blast.

People ask if my parents knew I was gay then, but they didn't know for years.
Their love for my sister and I was unconditional and overflowing. Physical safety and emotional well-being was their only concern for "how we would turn out" when we moved from childhood to adulthood.

My mother put her emphasis on honesty, while my father relentlessly instilled tolerance. Self-expression was never stifled. Whether I mimicked male or female idols was never an issue: they loved me, my uniqueness, and my ability to not try to fit an image.

I had no idea how lucky I was. I thought my upbringing was "normal."
And I hope that society is moving towards proving my inner child right.

My message to youth now is:
FEEL the power of being yourself!

Your REAL family will love YOU for who YOU are. If your biological family does not, then your REAL family has yet to be discovered.

There IS a world of love that awaits beyond the pain of growing up in a heterosexist society, so allow yourself to be excited for what lay ahead.
So please - don't give up!

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
Click to follow my blog with Bloglovin'

June 14, 2011


Steven, age 4
Carlsbad, California (1969)

I was born in Oklahoma. My mom was 2nd generation Sicilian and my dad was from Missouri. My sister remembers this as her baton-twirling costume. I don't remember wearing it, but I'm sure my mom thought it was harmless and funny.

I remember as early as this age, that
I loved feminine things, art, and playing "doctor" with my cute neighbors. I guess I was very curious and cute myself, because I remember older boys flirting with me.

I was in chorus and the band, like many of us back then. But I also remember being the only boy to choose
"disco class" over football in Jr. High.

And, my mother said my father "always knew."

As a young teen, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" played at the local theater. I went done up as Frank N. Furter and dethroned the person playing him. I realized that if I was performing, I was more powerful.
I was always misstaken for older, because my makeup was so fabulous.

Then the 80's arrived, and I soon discovered Hollywood and other out-of-the-closet gay teens. The Odyssey club in West Hollywood was an under-18 disco,
and I had my first gay kiss there. My look was compared to Marc Almond from
Soft Cell. We all loved Boy George and the freedom to cross gender barriers.
In 1985 I moved to New York City and quickly became part of the night life.
Drag culture had taken over Manhattan night clubs, so I added tits to my new romantic looks, and eventually morphed into a drag queen.

Within a year, I was hired by Patricia Field as a stylist. I also won a drag contest at The Boy Bar club, as Miss Perfidia 1986. I lived with established drag performers who trained me well, and I took my show all over the world .

My crowning achievement as a drag performer is seen in "Wigstock: The Movie," which really showcased NYC as it was back then. My Perfidia's Wig World shop is featured in the movie, as well as my performance.

My interest and talent with wigs eventually lead to Broadway. My designs were seen in "The Pee Wee Herman" show on Broadway for HBO and I was also responsible for the wigs seen in the cult TV classic, "Strangers With Candy."

Most currently, I am styling for "Hedwig On Broadway."

Good times!
xo Steven / Miss Perfidia

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

June 13, 2011


Beverly, age 9
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1970)

That's me on the left with my niece Denise, playing our favorite game of "house," which we called “Billy." Of course, I was ALWAYS Billy - the protector and the adventurer. As long as I can remember, I enjoyed dressing up, and pretending to be someone other than myself.

I was equally comfortable pretending to be a rock 'n roll singer in a band, or donning a costume as a bit part in a dinner-theater type show.

I was raised as an only child and was very involved in theater. I felt most comfortable and happy around actors, although my parents were very leery, referring to many of them as "queer."

Although I knew perfectly well what they meant, I never let on, as I was afraid they wouldn't let me associate with them.

As a heavy child, I was called a "lezzy" well before I even knew what it meant. While I suppose I always knew I was attracted to women at some level, I felt I had to act or dress up like a boy (and PRETEND to be a boy) to get away with it.

While I look fairly butch here, I later preferred being rather androgynous. And I ended up being a very late bloomer, not coming out until I was in grad school.

I refer to that realization as my Technicolor moment, like when Dorothy opens up the door to Oz to find her drab black and white world has become full of color.

Today, my partner and I have 6 adopted children.

And our kids have no problems having two "mommies." As a matter of fact, my youngest asked me to accompany her to a father-daughter dance recently, and I even got to wear a dress!

Beverly's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Jennifer Beals (in "Flashdance")
FlashdanceBetween Mom and JoMom, Mama, and MeLate Bloomers: Awakening to Lesbianism After Forty
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"


Joshua, age 12
Los Angeles, California (1995)

My childhood was a bumpy one. I was raised in Los Angeles by a single mother, who it turned out was suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. Sadly, it was not as entertaining as "United States of Tara" is each week.

I knew I was different at the age of 10. Back then, I had intense crushes on all of my best friends growing up.

I bounced around between foster homes and group homes from age 10 to 15. I came out at 15, and it was the best decision I have ever made.

My best friend then knew I was in love with him, and was OK with that as long as I didn't 'try anything funny'.

And actually, after coming out, everyone was so kind and loving.

I'm now a professional ballet dancer, and I've been partnered with my husband and best friend for 7 years.

I'm going to grad school in the fall, and I'm making a documentary following a group LGBT kids in their early teens, to give voice to a younger demographic of kids experienceing this. If you'd like to participate, you can contact me HERE.

I love being gay, and I wouldn't want to be any other way. I hope my film helps kids come to that place in life a lot sooner than I did.

Things do GET better, but they'll also be better NOW if we do something about it. Someday, being young and gay will be as taboo as being young and short, or having freckles. And I want to make that day come soon.

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

June 12, 2011


Greetings, everyone!


In the same 24-hour period this week, two gay-related stories exploded and went viral on the internet. The first was comedian(?) Tracy Jordan from "30 Rock," and his vile, ignorant, and disgusting tirade against gay people at his show in Tennessee. He "joked" about how he would "stab his son" to man him up, if he "acted gay." He soon issued the standard 'I hope this saves my ass' apology.

Tina Fey's official statement was brilliant:

‎"I hope for his sake that Tracy Morgan's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at '30 Rock' - without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with,
or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket. The other producers and I pride ourselves on '30 Rock' being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace." - Tina Fey

Sadly, if Jordan's (or any comedian's) tirade included this level of violent racism or anti-semitism, he would probably be instantly fired. Which might still happen, we'll see. Or maybe, Tina Fey will find a genius way to write this in to the show, and make Jordan suffer for his deeds, on camera.

My brief opinion of this is:

What Tracy Morgan said on stage was spoken from his heart.
What Tracy Morgan said in his apology was spoken from his publicist.
Words like that have direct, negative consequences against gay people, period.

Actress Nia Vardarlos spoke some amazing truth to power about this
HERE, on The Huffington Post. We need more voices like this, NOW!

So that was the BAD news. The GOOD news, was the other story:

This video of a 9-year old Robert Jeffrey, who posted it on his Vimeo account on June 6th - which now has 712,000+ views! Robert's video embodies everything this blog is about, and everything gay pride SHOULD be about:

Self-pride, self-love, and self-acceptance...
And a fearless determination to simply be himself.

I've contacted Robert, and will feature his "Born This Way" story sometime next week. In the meantime, enjoy Robert's infectious energy, and remember back to the little gay boy or girl inside of YOU!

And I wish you all a very HAPPY GAY PRIDE MONTH!
xo - Paul V., Blogmaster

June 11, 2011


Daniel, age 5
Quincy, IL (1959)

When I was small, my family fished every weekend on the Mississippi river.
We'd use bamboo poles and earthworms and fish off my dad's home made boat.
We would fry the fish we caught for Saturday night supper.

I don't remember much from back then.
I know the facts, but they don't seem like they happened to me. I do remember not feeling different, I just always liked boys.

But I didn't like a lot of things boys did - sports, rough and tumble, competition. Fishing, yes. But I was also a bookworm, and liked growing flowers. I loved "Davey Crockett" on TV, and I had a coon-skin cap.

My parents loved me, but they didn't want me to be gay. I was bullied a lot, and I had a secret route that I walked home from school, to avoid the bullies. Growing up, the only thing I wanted to do was to leave town.

And I did.

My message to LGBTQ kids now is:
If people mistreat you, it means there's something wrong with them, not you.
It really does get better and better.

Daniel's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Greg Morris (on "Mission Impossible")
I think I became a tech geek partly because of him.
Signed Morris, Greg 8x10 B&W (P) PhotoMission: Impossible - The Third TV SeasonDavy Crockett -Two Movie SetA Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"