October 28, 2014


AJ, ages 5-7
Battle Creek, Michigan (1996-1998)

Growing up, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. This hasn't changed much since I was young, but now I look back on my love for the holiday in a much different light. I think it was the attraction of stepping into the skin of someone who wasn't me that spawned my interest. This lead to me dressing as multiple women during my childhood.

Having been reared on nearly every Disney movie, I was immediately drawn to the female villains. These women were not merely evil (something that I was not), but they were supremely confident in who they were (something I also was not). But above all else, they were interesting.

You can leave your princesses behind, and give me an evil queen any day!

I lived for the time of year when I felt confident enough to dress up as one of these powerful women. In hindsight, I give tremendous appreciation to my parents for allowing me to dress in this way year after year.

We live in a time when something like this can go viral on the internet if given enough traction. I can only imagine it was much more taboo in the mid 1990's.

However, my parents never batted an eye at it, and I think the pictures show that my mother had a fun time herself putting the ensembles together.

It wouldn't be until over a decade later that I managed to find the courage within myself to come out of the closet. Yet I can't help but wonder how surprised my parents must have been, if they were surprised at all.

Although it took time, I feel as if I've finally managed to grasp the confidence and power that made these women so interesting to me.

And for now, we can leave all the curses and spells behind...

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

October 06, 2014


Joshua, age 14
Paradise, California (1993)

As a child, I was generally very quiet and introverted. I always found solace and tranquility in writing rather than involving myself in social activities. But I was active in theater in my early teens and on my high school’s cross country team in my freshman year.

I first came out to my mother at the age of 15. It was pretty rewarding, and my family has always accepted me as a person regardless of differences that may exist between us. As a teenager, I was active in the local LGBT community center, and I have been fortunate that I never have been harassed or singled out for being gay.

During college though, I went back in the closet and I eventually became very religious. As a result of social pressures, I eventually married a woman.

After the birth of our first child, our marriage slowly fell apart. Around the time of our second child, I met a man whom I had brief contact with.

I soon realized I needed to confront my true identity instead of hiding behind a veil of falsehood. 

I revealed to my wife the secret that I had been hiding from her for years. She told me she always had known and was willing to accept the fact that I was gay. We came to the understanding that we would have to separate. 

I began to turn to close friends and even rabbis for moral support as I began this new phase in my life. Thankfully, I have found nothing but love and support from everybody with whom I have shared this intimate detail of my life.

As a religious Jew, I hid the secret of my sexual orientation from everybody.
But today I know that Judaism embraces the gay identity, even with certain prohibitions in regard to particular acts.

The essence of being a gay Jew, however, is acceptable in the eyes of God.

I did not know this for a long time, and had I known it, my adult life would have been much easier. 

But I am happy now and look forward to a beautiful future in which I can celebrate the internal synthesis of all the different aspects of my life.

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