June 30, 2022


Theodore (Tedd), age 6
San Diego, California (1954)

I always felt like an only child. Even with three older brothers, I never bonded with any of them. They didn’t want to be seen with me, so I stayed home with my mom. 

I was bullied and teased growing up, mostly by one of my brothers.
Sadly, he was the one I admired the most.

I knew I was different the first day of kindergarten at age 5. The teacher taking attendance called “Theodore” and I just sat there until she called “Teddy” to which I answered: 'Here.' Then she said, “Well, don’t you even know your name?” The entire class broke out laughing when I said: 'No.' 

That was by far the most embarrassing day ever, and set the tone for the majority of my life. And it took years to rebuild confidence in who I am and always was.

Growing up mostly in the San Diego area, I had it fairly easy as a closeted gay person. And thankfully, religion was not a part of my upbringing.

My first same-gender attraction was also at age 5. I found myself strangely attracted to our neighbor daughter’s boyfriend, a sailor! As a teen, m
y first celebrity crush was actor Glenn Corbett, from the early 1960’s TV show, "Route 66."

However, it was Audrey Hepburn I was in awe of. She was the most elegant woman that ever lived. I also
 watched a lot of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly musicals as I grew up. So, I guess you could say that was somewhat of an obsession.

I would also turn to music as the refuge from the pressures of being different and not fitting in at school.
 I sat alone in my bedroom getting lost in whatever type of music I had access to, and often singing and dancing. Today, I still listen to music as a go-to, good feeling place when I feel down. And I'm still singing and dancing.

The rest of my teenage years would have been the loneliest time of my life if it weren’t for my best friend, Bill.
 He was straight, and I didn’t come out to him until I was 68 years old! His reaction was: "And I’m straight. So what?"

At age 21, I married my high school sweetheart, and I came out to my mom at age 26. End of marriage! My mom’s reaction: 
“We always knew you were different.”  The rest of the family was accepting; however, I distanced myself from them to protect them from being harassed for having a gay family member.

And my biggest regret? Not having children while I was still married.

I gr
aduated college and became a residential architect. I went into business with my first male partner, also an architect, and we were together 24/7. I really wanted to be a fashion designer or professional dancer, but thought it was too gay to do that. But 
I’ve started designing and making outfits, just for fun.

So my adult relationships lasted 17 years, then 13 years, then a different 13 years (and 
each sure have their own stories). I retired at age 67, and in my post retirement career - I became a porn star at age 70!

Now at age 74, what gives me the most pride is b
eing a role model and mentor for younger gay men. I have several friends in their 30’s that use me as a sounding board for issues they are faced with in their lives.   

And in closing, my message to LGBTQ+ kids today is this: 

Be who you are and don’t give up on your dreams. And know that the person you need to count on the most, is the one you see in the mirror every morning. 


Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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June 19, 2022


Al, age 2

North East, Pennsylvania (1972)

I am the youngest of four siblings. I have two older brothers, and you've heard about the "gay theory" right? The more older brothers you have, the more likely you could be gay.

I'm not sure exactly what age I knew I was gay, but I knew I always liked looking at male bodies at summer camp, in gym class, at swim practice, and on TV. And I just thought all guys were feeling that, too. So as long as I wasn't blatantly obvious, no one ever said anything to me.

I knew of two pretty "out" guys (well, as out as you could be back then) who were obviously gay. I don't know if they ever announced this, but they never seemed to have any problems with it in school.

I was always interested in other things besides sports. I played with Barbie dolls with my three close "girl friends" from the neighborhood. So that might have been a clue. Plus I was always taking Ken's clothes off as often as I could! 

As a pre-teen, I used to dance to my 45 records alone in our basement. It was very "Solid Gold" type dancing. And I wonder if any of my family members ever saw me? Surely, they would have known.

I was also fascinated with "celebrity" culture.
Wanting to be a celebrity, and wanting to meet one. 

Because I thought if I became famous, I would finally feel loved.

See, my parents were from the generation where verbal "I love you's" never happened. And as a gay child who already felt different and alienated from my whole family, I needed and wanted that extra assurance and care from my parents.

One family moment that stays in my memory was a New Year's Eve party at our house, and I was told that you kiss everyone at midnight. I was around age 9, and I went and kissed my brother on the lips. And I remember him reacting strongly against that. I don't remember my parents reaction exactly, but I'm sure somehow that moment seeped into my subconscious: it isn't OK to kiss another man.

Another strong memory was getting my International Male magazine subscription around age 15, the closest thing we had to male erotica at the time. I used to pretend I was one of the models, and would "hump" the bed. But I was imagining it was a woman, not a man. Certainly kind of odd, right?

I also used to rent those soft-core straight movies like "Red Shoe Diaries" in the 80's, and I knew I was only renting it for the men, because they were all usually very hot, and there was always a lot of nudity! But I never watched any gay porn until after I came out after college.

But speaking of college: I repressed my sexuality all throughout it, tried to go the whole "straight route," and I even turned my back on my closeted friend from high school when he came out to me later in college. I thought he might be trying to get me to come out, too.

So I lived in a frat house, "dated" girls, and even had sex with two women. But not very successfully. And that just turned me into a raging alcoholic. I would get super drunk at our parties, and that's how I would get out of sleeping with girls. Which is pretty sad to think about. My frat brothers even called me "Too drunk to f*ck!" But it never stopped me from getting drunk again!

Eventually I moved to Orlando, FL because I knew I couldn't come out in my small hometown. And there I started going to a straight club on Thursday nights, their "Bad Disco" -- aka gay -- night. And once I started going alone, I remember being cruised and cruising men for the first time, and it started to feel validating

When I got that attention, it was the first time I actually had another man look at me, as if they liked me. Which most straight peers get to experience in high school. So because I had no male sexual contact with anyone in high school or college, I was like a kid in a candy shop!

Then in the 90's, I remember racking up big bills on pay phone-sex lines that were big back then. I had a bit of a sexual addiction and was having phone sex with random strangers from all over the country. One of my phone sex regulars even met me in person, but I turned him down. His reality just didn't match my fantasy.

Because I was playing so much those first few years of coming out, I did some pretty reckless things. A cop even caught me making out with a guy in a car. That was scary, but thankfully he was cool about it.

After awhile, I started feeling kind of angry about being gay and coming out. I felt like I was wasting so much time trying to find sex, which was never even that great.

And I blamed all my energy trying to get laid as even more internalized homophobia. 
But, all of that did kind of inspire my creative genes as an artist.

So I took all that angst and used it for inspiration, and sculpted of some of my most powerful art pieces. Which is another story, for another day.


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