Ryan, age 8,
Quezon City, Philippines (1990)
I grew up a poor, black child....oh wait. Wrong story! :) Growing up in the Philippines, being a flamboyant young boy wasn't an issue. And luckily, I grew up with not only my family's support, but also the support of my friends.
The topic of sexuality and being gay was not yet discussed at that time.
But what I know is that everyone saw that I was happy, and they let me be me.
And I do remember when I was age 11, I told my parents I was going to the neighborhood fiesta. I left the house in a white T-shirt and cut off denim shorts and my "tsinelas" - they are also known as flip flops. I joined the masses to enjoy the festival until I heard a popular song being played in a distance.
I walked over to see what was happening. A crowd had gathered to where the song was playing, and I saw a few girls dancing in formation to the beat.
The song was called “Aringkingkingking" - and I have no idea what that means! But in a quick instance, without even a thought, I tied a knot on my white
T-shirt, just above my left hip to bare my mid-drift, and I joined the dance.
I copied every step, every move, and every flare. I was happy and overjoyed, especially when the crowd erupted in cheers and applause!
This story has nothing to do with my picture here, but I thought it was a perfect memory to share. However, I DO think this picture perfectly sums up me, my fashion sense, and my ability to coordinate clothing at an early age.
I mean, only us — those who are a little different, a little or a lot gay — can put together prints serving a BATMAN look, and know the world can't tell you SHIT — because you OWN it!
Of course, when asked to pose - even as a young child - there was always a little sass and a little flirt in my pictures. This image couldn't be anymore ME, and proves that I was BORN THIS WAY!
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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