Frankfort, KY (1996)
This photo was shot a few days after I decided to butcher and cut my hair myself, because I was tired of having long blonde curls. I was always running around shirtless, fists flaring in the air, as I fought off the invisible army of bad guys with my invisible fleet of Power Ranger team mates. But running around shirtless isn't what girls did. Only boys did that, and it was very un-ladylike.
And I remember laying in bed praying to God, asking him to make me a boy, so that I could run around shirtless, roll in the mud, spit, and not have to cross my legs.
God didn't turn me into a boy even though I felt so strongly that on the inside I indeed was a boy. When I found out there were other people like me - who were once female-bodied but now lived life as men -
I was so happy.
I was glad to find out that there was a word to describe what I was feeling:
I told my mom, and after she did her own research, she knew that the missing pieces of the puzzle were now found. So at 14 I began my transition, first with my name change, then at 15 with hormones, and at 18 I had my chest surgery.
Most people are jealous because I transitioned so young. They say, "Oh life must have been so much easier for you than it is for me right now." But transitioning in High School in a small town in Kentucky is not easy.
I was bullied everyday. I was shoved into lockers, punched, pushed to the ground, called every name in the book, had my hair set on fire. I was discriminated against even by teachers, not allowed to use the Men or Women's restrooms, and even had a kid threaten to bring a gun to school and kill me.
Looking back at this picture now, it makes me a little embarrassed at how high
I wore my shorts back then. But it always makes me smile about how truly happy I looked, unlike many other photos where I was being forced to wear a dress.
Today, I am a proud man, with an even prouder mother. I'm going to College on the west coast, and holding my own as a man in the Bear community!
My message to LGBTQ youth is to report bullying as soon as it happens. If people don't listen or do anything about it, keep telling until someone does. It doesn't make you less of a person to tell someone that another person is bullying you.
Also, there is a whole other world outside of Middle School and High School.
A whole world that is yours for the taking, where you can make your mark.
But you have to be around to do it.
So my Queerlings, unite! Keep your head up and stay strong!!
Heath's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
John Stamos and singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20)
Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"