San Diego, California (1954)
Sadly, he was the one I admired the most.
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, my 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 graduated 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 being 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 - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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