Cleveland, Ohio (1993)
As a kid I was always lusting after my brother's LEGO blocks. But as he was almost six years older, he was not keen on sharing them with me. So imagine my delight when I unwrapped my very own LEGO set for Christmas! I do remember being mildly upset that my box was pink instead of red. I liked red as a bold color.
But I also loved getting dolled up in dresses for special occasions, and I didn't mind that my Christmas pajamas were frilly.
Or that my mother refused to let me paint my room dark blue.
The first time I noticed my sexuality was in the 6th grade, when I was simultaneously in love with my best friend (a girl) and a boy in my homeroom.
I knew then that I was "different" and that I should pick which gender I would like for the rest of my life. But I didn't want to. I knew about gay people, but I didn't know there were other options besides just "gay" and "straight".
I had and still have massive crushes on Ryan Reynolds (and Ryan Gosling), Eliza Dushku, and Alison Hannigan. As far as Alison is concerned, her role on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is all I need to say!
Unfortunately, my biggest bully is my own brother. He took out his own anger on me and soon found that mocking my tomboy behavior was a sour spot for me.
One time he nonchalantly said, "I bet you're a lesbian." I asked him what he meant, but he wouldn't answer. I thought a lot about it though. We aren't on speaking terms and because of this and other family factors, I spent my first Christmas with just my partner, despite my family living 5 minutes away.
I pledged a sorority in college and got kicked out for being who I am. But I don't regret coming out. I do regret dropping out because of the resulting severe depression and lack of motivation causing confusion and turmoil in my head.
I eventually made a great group of friends and met my wonderful partner. I have always maintained that I like both genders, and though I do not deny that there should not be distinction between the genders, I'll admit that I like my men manly and my women at least mildly feminine.
I have to constantly remind myself and my lovely wife that things do get better, and even now things are better than they were a year ago, or the year before that.
So my message for LGBTQ kids today is: Just keep your head up.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"