June 13, 2013


Robert, age 5
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.

Back then, kids couldn't start school till after their 6th birthday. But because Mama didn't want me to wait till I was nearly 7 to start, she falsified my birth date so I could start when I was still age 5.

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"


Sunny said...

Bob, you are awesome! Thank you for sharing your story! I'd love if you shared more, including photos!

Anonymous said...

I remember you show me yours I'll show you mind days :-)

Anonymous said...

You just casually mention that little ol' international playwrighting career in passing. Then your Wikipedia page shows you hobnobbing with Tennessee! That made me chuckle.

SFHandyman said...

I went to Junior High and High School in White Settlement. And you attended that first Caffe Cino show on my birthday. Not just the Month & Day. Literally the day I was born in 1961. :)

Robert Patrick said...

Thank you all for sharing. There are images from a hundred of my shows here: https://www.facebook.com/robert.playwright/media_set?set=a.10151567831194355.1073741931.614794354&type=3
"My Life In Pictures" at
and a PBS video on the birth of gay theatre at the Caffe Cino at:

Robert Patrick