Mark, age 16
Portland, OR (1962)
It's been a great time reading the inspired and heartfelt blog posts here. Now at age 64, it has allowed me to remember that as a kid, I always sort-of knew something was different about me. But in the 1950's, in my little Oregon cow-town, in a religious home, I knew nothing about life until well into college.
This pic is my favorite, since being the piano guy at 16 kept me "in" enough at that age to be included. Although I always felt I was alone somehow.
As others experienced, I was aware of being different, but not why or what. So I could not "change" anything. I sort of had to let myself be snickered at sometimes during phys ed classes.
The most intense day I spent in high school was trying to "explain" to my "best friend" - who was unaware of the crush I had on him - that I was upset he was spending so much time with his girlfriend.
In the middle of that awkward conversation, I said out loud (while becoming aware of it), 'This sounds like a girlfriend talk, doesn’t it?' It bothered me so much, I excused myself and went home. I spent that evening trying to understand what happened. And our friendship became awkward from then on.
Lots of things happened that I should have been aware were gay-like, but there was SO little information back then. I had NO reference for those experiences at all. I simply thought if I stayed "religious" I'd outgrow those "mystery" feelings.
Luckily, my life bloomed at age 21, and has from that time on. And my partner and I are in our 23rd year together.