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"
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Randuwa2 said...

As I watched in amazement and red your story I realized that it was getting harder and harder to see the screen...tears will do that for you! What pure joy. Thanks so much for sharing.

Adele said...

Rob - it's Adele. I love your story and your voice - beautifully written and extremely moving. xo.

JOY JUNKET said...

What an amazing story of what LOVE can foster...because that video has touched so many people on a very deep level- there is something ineffable and wonderful about RObert Dancing with such focus and JOY. I love the point that if your bio or adoptive family doesn't get you- don't give up and don't stop looking for the one that does. Everybody needs a tribe, a family.

Foreveryoungfreddy said...

How sweet and touching. When I was that age I was doing it to the Supremes so every generation does it. How sad to see the Twin Towers in the back ground.

Anonymous said...

Great story! I love it! I love how you were so comfortable with who you are, even at a young age :) (coming from a female with no idea about her sexual orientation)

Anonymous said...

Also...(the video just finished loading...lol) AWESOME video! I love it! :)

Anonymous said...

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.


love it

Allan said...

I think that innocent unaware bravery like you enjoy here matures readily into the honest bravery of a person such as you, who seems acutely aware that for [it] to happen, [I] must do [it]. Practice if that's fun, and perform despite whatever, if that's fun too.... I'd never seen this video before. Because you could describe what was happening in your life and relationships, I can see your overflowing peace of heart and joy in being as huge motivators behind your uninhibited playing. Your story & vid made that possible for me to see and understand a bit, because there are only about five minutes back there very early on in my life -- where vids, pics, memories and even stories are rare -- that I cling to as proof I don't believe that my life was ever desired or valued. Many broken parts, altered perceptions leading to incorrect conclusions, etc., at 59. 99.9% of 24/7 in 1 room as my own safest choice; phys. & psych medicated. Celibate as my healthy choice since 1986. 2 cats, 1 roommate, and an appreciation for coffee & mota which gets me through. Family's in upstate NY, I'm in San Diego since '76, a disabled leech living on $900/month Social Security Disability Insurance and $114/month "food stamps".

Bio family didn't work out then, logistics keeping it that way now. Got a real sobriety family beginning Nov131985, dove in. It worked to keep me squeaky clean for 20 years! Moved on.

Unable to "fall in love", never have, never will. Done with psych therapies which produce temporary results after months of unpleasant work, processing, talk-throughs, walk-throughs, rehearsals, role-playing, theorizing preparations. Quit repeating that pattern. Stopped masochistic ineffective attempts to fix my head. It doesn't work, it never has, and now I'm too old so it never will. Just a reality check in case you were feeling happy or something awful like that! I am!