Clovis, New Mexico (1961)
Both my parents thought I was adorable, though not as much as I did. That's my dog Queenie is in this photo with me. I was in 2nd grade when I knew I was attracted to boys. His name was Butch and he had a sweet blonde flat top haircut, and was a little stocky. And I thought singer Bobby Sherman was dreamy!
Not only was I gay, I was fat - the double curse.
I was horribly beaten in Physical Education class. Even the PE teacher called me a pansy! I had to pay them to stop, and I relentlessly tried getting out of going to the class.
My middle school years really beat me down.
At age 21, after 3 years at a fundamentalist Christian college, I came out. At age 22 I came out to my mother when I was in the hospital and on narcotics.
She had no idea and said:
'We mustn't tell your father. And who did this to you?'
She was sure that my being gay was her "fault."
I adore this photo and the sheer luxury I had to express myself. But that freedom was soon taken away and not rediscovered until many years later. Today, I am a very well respected psychiatric nurse practitioner and my life's work is to comfort people with challenging lives. Part of that includes supporting all kinds of people to be exactly who they are meant to be.
My message to young LGBTQ kids is to be patient.
Do all you can do to be your genuine self. The more truth you tell, the happier you will be. Who you are matters, and tell yourself that truth first.
No matter how trapped you may feel, it will get better. No man, woman, religious leader, politician, or teacher can define who you are. ONLY YOU define who you are. Be YOU and be proud, and keep a sense of humor.
Click - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"