I'm here on the right with my BFF Cheryl, who I realized much later, was my "girlfriend". We're snuggled up together here, and we used to hug and kiss every time we met. At our age in that era, people thought it was "cute". I really loved her, and asked my folks if we could adopt her, even though she had parents.
She was my first real "crush" - and though I didn't know why, the way I loved her was "different". Several years later, my next crush in high school was recognized for what it was by the nuns. And my parents got a letter informing them that my classes had been changed, due to an "inappropriate friendship," and my dad didn't know what that meant.
But here, with Cheryl, I knew I was in love and it felt wonderful.
In the 1950's, no one used the word "gay" yet, and I didn't know what a "homosexual" was. But I usually had at least one "girl-crush" every school year. And by the time I was in 9th grade, in an all-girls Catholic school, all the girls would get together and giggle about boys - and I would be looking at them.
Today, as I look at this photo, I wish what I felt then had been recognizable and accepted. After a marriage, kids, abuse, and a nervous breakdown, I finally came out to myself and others at age 48. At that time, I had met the love of my life, and she was a transgendered woman.
Now, I am a Witch and a Unitarian Universalist. My church recognizes same-sex unions, so I married my wife 15 years ago. Today, I am happily settled with my life partner, openly gay, and Pagan. And with children (from the first, disastrous marriage) and grandkids who love and accept Mamo and Nana for who they are.
After all the angst I experienced, I would like to tell gay kids that it definitely gets better.