Clint, age 5
Bloomington, Minnesota (1987)
This photo of me at 5 is quite the foreshadowing. As a kid, I was an odd little thing. I was a goofball, comical, and very eccentric, and not much has changed since. I was an honors student who was friends with the troublemakers. I liked living a "double life" - studious but mischievous. I think this dichotomy allowed me to also separate my attraction for guys from the norms of male pubescence.
My attraction to men was asserted in high school. The school jocks were definitely my inspiration, for lack of a better word, while fantasizing. Admittedly I often stole some of my sister's Teen Beat magazines.
It was then that I starting thinking that men were the bee's knees. I also had a big crush on Kevin Richardson from the Backstreet Boys.
I'm a big homo, I know.
In my sophomore year of college, I decided it was time to "seal the deal" and live as a gay man. I started dating an older man, 15 years my senior, and needed to tell my friends and family that he wasn't just a friend. I was petrified.
I am a ballsy guy, so after I told my closest friends, I sat my entire extended family down at Thanksgiving and simply said, "I am gay." The reply from the crowd was, "So? We love you for you." Thus, my coming out was very smooth.
I feel like my picture represents a yearning to come out at an early age, but letting societal norms keep me closeted for too long. I was angry for a long time for not being able to be me.
So, my message for kids who are curious, questioning, or ready to come out is:
Coming out is like pulling off a Band-Aid. Some Band-Aids come off easily, while others hurt. However, when that Band-Aid is finally gone, the healing can really begin. And you will know when the time is right.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"