March 18, 2013


Tami, age 9
Staten Island, New York (1995)

I remember the day this photo was taken. It was a rainy weekend and my little brother and I were having fun trying on my uncle's old work clothes. I know I was both embarrassed and proud when my mother pulled out the camera.
And the two emotions read simultaneously on my face.

It was right around this age when I was first called out as gay. I was in the 5th grade and a female friend and I were playing during a break between classes.

I turned around to find a pack of four boys behind me, with one of the more popular kids in the front. "You're a lesbian!" he said, as the other boys snickered.

I had no idea what he was talking about. Was that an insult?
Had I done something wrong?

I never looked quite like the other girls: I was heavy then and wore thick glasses, baggy t-shirts, and high-top sneakers to school.

Maybe that's what a lesbian was?

Trying not to look foolish, I shot back, 'Well... so are you!' The boys laughed and I realized that, once again, I had missed something in the social code.

I asked my mother what they had meant when I got home.
But I didn't get much help there either.

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

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