August 12, 2013


Ross, age 4 
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania (1974)

The outfit I'm wearing here is a credit to my mom. She had panache with a sewing machine and would dress my sister and me in coordinated outfits.

Even as a toddler, I had a penchant for flashy clothes (and occasionally, dresses), dolls, and crying during broadcasts of “The Wizard of Oz.”

I also pantomimed selections from my favorite Rosemary Clooney children’s album. These were habits my mom was more tolerant of than my dad.

I didn’t exactly get free reign, but my parents rarely scolded me for my gender non-conformity. And I never felt “different” from the other kids until I was much older.

I mostly taught myself to conform to what boys were supposed to be like and, later in middle school, to suppress my feelings in an attempt to fit in.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20's that I began to accept myself.
And even then, it took a lot of effort to relax and be authentic.

Today, as a 40-something, this little guy’s wide-open enthusiasm is an inspiration to me. I want to be just like him.

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