Guy, age 8
Here I am, ready to spring into action to deliver Easter treats! I was really channeling the Easter Bunny: note the way I'm holding my hands to simulate paws. Of course, I hopped around as much as possible when in this costume. Walking was so banal and just not the Easter Bunny way.
It's a family trait.
Proto-gay that I was, I loved the crafty and decorative aspects of Easter.
One year, I made little Easter baskets for my family. I filled them with candy and placed them outside my siblings' bedrooms very early on Easter morning. As if the Easter Bunny was some kind of springtime surrogate for Santa Claus.
I think costumes and masks have been important to a lot of gay kids, long before they knew they were gay. They provided the opportunity to take on other personalities.
Paradoxically, we were more ourselves in costumes and masks.
Dressing up, it's as though we could take on our true personalities using the pretense of those costumes, and the creative freedom they provided.
While I didn't know I was gay at this tender age, I knew I wasn't like most of my contemporaries. Despite that, I didn't have a particularly difficult childhood. I was fortunate to have 7 older siblings who came of age during the various social revolutions of the 60's and 70's.
They weren't wildly non-conformist, but they weren't conformist either. And they suggested the possibility of independent thought and becoming whoever I wanted to be. I was also lucky to grow up in a home where education was highly valued.
We were raised Catholic, but were encouraged to read and to explore a broader world of ideas. This provided so many options.
I can't remember any same sex crushes from that era. I'm sure I had them, but
I was fickle too - moving on from one to the next like, well, the Easter Bunny.