White Settlement, Texas (1943)
This was snapped on my first day of school, in a place called "Liberator Village." "Liberators" were bomber war planes made in a factory there, and my tiny Mama crawled inside their wings and welded things.
Because I read well, I was quickly promoted to 2nd grade. Although lonely among older kids, I wasn't afraid of school.
One summer, I had lured neighbor boys into the schoolhouse's deeply-recessed doorways to play "You show me yours, I’ll show you mine."
I never had problems about my gayness. Because homosexuality was so feared,
no one ever talked about it or warned me against it. So I wasn't indoctrinated.
Also, I read Sappho, Catullus, Isherwood, and Auden early, and it was actually harder being smart than it was being gay.
I was beat up through high-school for "carrying too many books." Although both straight and gay boys attended my notorious "slumber parties," they were afraid to befriend me in everyday life.
Thus, I lived vicariously through movies and books, and instead of having steady boyfriends, I secretly worshiped movie star Tab Hunter.
Later in life I was alone and maladjusted. I dropped out of college and was thrown out of the Air Force. I fortunately visited New York and wandered into the Caffe Cino, the first Off-Off Broadway Theatre - and the birthplace of gay theatre.
And it was there, at last, that I found artistic, intelligent, gay friends and lovers. Though I was openly gay, I had an international playwrighting career.
It’s somewhat easier being gay today, but things can change in an instant.
Or worse, they can change with an election. So be wise and be wary, kids.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"