Champaign, IL (1963)
I knew I wanted to be part of the Rat Pack and was doing my best tough guy look for the camera. When I started grade school, the boys and girls lined up separately and I kept getting in the boys line.
After my mom was called into a meeting with the school principal she told me to 'just get in the girls line' as that would just be simpler for everybody.
She never told me to be a girl though. High school brought me into contact with kids who weren't accepting of me, but I simply avoided them.
One of my first lesbian friends was murdered just for being a lesbian, and all my gay male friends from my youth have succumbed to AIDS.
I carry the memory of those I've lost with me, and wish they could have survived to see this project.