May 30, 2011

Brent

Brent, age 4
Hanover Park, IL (1964)

As a kid I fancied long hair, and loved my mom's hat and dish towel for the full effect.

And this is a YouTube video
of me at this age, where I fashioned a dress out of a dish towel and have that "off the shoulder dress look" going on.

Earlier reports from my family have said I was prone to carrying mum's purse around at family gatherings.


I am happy I was born this way. My friends tell me I laugh in my sleep, actually.

Through all my perils of addictions, cancer, and losing my mate of 19 years to AIDS related ALS, I'm still full of hope and laughter.

May 29, 2011

Carlos

Carlos, age 7
RS, Brazil (1998)

I live in Brazil, and somehow I always knew that I was gay.


I had many years of discovering myself, and I'm finally happy with who I am!
Now, I'm so lucky with all that I have: my friends, my family, and my boyfriend.

And to all who might feel sad now, there 
is a happy ending!

James

James, age 7
Bear Valley, WI (1957)

When I look back at this picture now, it brings back the great memories of staying with my grandparents.

I always knew I liked boys from the age of 5. My cousin and I would have sleepovers, and we would hug and kiss each other all the time. What great times they were.

My grandparents always told me it was OK to like boys, or even love them, as long as I was happy. My parents were a different story.

While my mom was very supportive, my dad hauled me off to a priest to confess my "sin" for loving boys.

I sat there and told the priest I loved boys, and that's how it was. And, that I didn't care what he or my old man said.

I can remember the priest saying, "That's alright, but you can't come to church anymore." I just laughed and said, "Good."

As far as the rest of the family went, they never cared one way or the other.

During school, I never had a real problem with me liking boys. And some of the older boys protected me if anyone started anything, like calling me names.

My advice to kids now is:
Just be yourself and don't hide your feelings. If someone yells names at you,
just walk away. Believe me, it does get better as you grow older.

And one more thing:
Leave the drugs and booze alone. They don't get you anywhere.

James' first, famous-person same sex crush:
Donnie Osmond
He was so cute, I dreamed about him. I also had a crush on Michael Jackson
- Check out My First Gay Crush Blog -
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Donnie Osmond - Photo Print (8 x 10 Inches - 21cm x 26cm) 1978 Concert (Photographer: Larry Kaplan)The Best of Donny and Marie: Volume 1Michael Jackson: Before He Was KingLGBT Matters and Religion

May 28, 2011

Igor

Igor, age 2
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1989)

I have only but flashes of my childhood. I grew up in a new neighborhood, and there were only a few people living nearby. There were no other kids around, and being the chubby kid in school didn't exactly make me the most popular student.

I was being called names since forever, and my only friends were my teachers and the school staff.

I always felt different, and I could tell since the age of 5 that I had a "thing" for boys.

All my friends were girls, and I'd spend most of my time wondering how it would be when I became one. Because I was sure that being a boy wasn't for me.

My father was utterly against my demonstrations of femininity, and he did everything he could to change my ways: soccer, skating, and trying to buy me a motorcycle when I got older.

I remember this one special Christmas when I was around 7-years old, and my uncle gave me a complete set of GI Joe figures, and I couldn't care less about it! All my devotion went to my cousin's new Barbie doll, and I was so jealous of her!
Why couldn't I get the cute gifts?

This picture might seem like nothing special, but it shows how carefree I could be back when I was a baby. The fabulous shoes I had, catwalking in diapers.

When I came out at age 18, I asked my father how could he not be impressed with his gay son, who could sing all the lyrics to "I Will Survive"? Eventually,
my parents came around, and now they're with me every step of the way!

That same energy kept me going until I decided to come out of the closet.
And if there's a "gay energy" that marks us as being happy, no matter what,
then I'm sure I've had it since birth.

To those who, like my boyfriend, still haven't come out, or are struggling hard while doing it, hang on! Be free to do what you like with whoever you like!

That feeling of no shame or guilt or the need to hide, is the best reward you can get in life. It gets better!

Igor's first, famous-person same sex crush:
John Stamos (on "Full House")
- My First Gay Crush Blog -
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Full House: The Complete Seventh SeasonJOHN STAMOS 20X24 COLOR PHOTOQueering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil: Sexual Rights Movements in Emerging DemocraciesBeneath the Equator: Cultures of Desire, Male Homosexuality, and Emerging Gay Communities in Brazil

May 27, 2011

Malu

Malu, age 10
São Paulo, Brazil (1999)

This is me and a cousin. I remember feeling so smooth in this hat! Hahahaha

I was always more interested in 'boys' stuff. I remember playing "house" in kindergarten, and I was always  the father and my friend played the mother.

I always liked male characters and identified with them.

Most importantly, I felt attracted to the female characters in cartoons and movies, etc. The oldest memory I have of this is of Saory, from the "Saint Seya" anime.
I think she was my first crush =)

Growing up, I never talked about it with anyone, and it deeply saddened me.

If I could give any advice for those who are still in the closet, it is to open up and talk with someone. It will make you feel loads better!

My parents only discovered about me when I was already in college.
Thinking back, I figure they always knew deep within.

All is well now. I have a girlfriend that I can have at home, and I can visit her home. Surely people are getting more open minded!
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Saint Seiya: Collection 1Queering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil: Sexual Rights Movements in Emerging DemocraciesBeneath the Equator: Cultures of Desire, Male Homosexuality, and Emerging Gay Communities in Brazil

May 25, 2011

Christian

Christian, age 7
Toronto, Canada (1994)

This is me on vacation in Cuba. I picked it for the homoerotic undertones -
I am literally straddling a cannon - and because I was probably encouraged by my parents to climb up and do what I wanted to do. Something not all kids have.


I can truly say that I was born gay. The first time I remember having this idea was when I was in 1st grade. There was a cute girl in my class, and I remember saying to myself, "I like boys the way other boys like girls."

As a kid I was creative and loved art, pretty much only had female friends, hated sports, had effeminate mannerisms, and stuttered, a lot.

I remember my friends were the one Asian guy in my class, the bigger girl, and the tall, lanky girl who got teased a lot. Looking back, all of this didn't lend itself to an easy childhood, but it did help me sympathize with fellow outcasts.

My parents were pretty cool with me doing my own thing. But they were also too busy working to really monitor me, and I ended up watching a lot of TV.

I never wondered whether or not I was gay, though I was briefly enamored with Sporty Spice. I have wondered whether or not it would be easier to conform and hide - or to be "loud and proud" with the things that made me stand out.

The route I choose was clearly the latter, because no matter how hard I tried,
I couldn't hide who I was.

That would be my one suggestion to kids out there: Do what you want to do,
and do it better than anyone else. Gay or straight, you should be happy in life.

Christian's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
John Travolta (in "Grease")
Zachary Ty Bryan (on "Home Improvement")
Ryder Strong (on "Boy Meets World")
Mario Lopez (on "Saved By The Bell")
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Grease Art No Text John Travolta Movie Poster 11x17 Master PrintSporty Spice: In My Pocket (Unofficial Spice Girls, in My Pocket Series)Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada: Social Movements and Equality-Seeking, 1971-1995Outcast

May 23, 2011

Jay

Jay, age 6
Sterling, VA (1984)

Childhood was a great time and a rough time for me. My parents allowed me to be who I was. But the world wasn't always so great with the concept.

I don't think of my story as all that special, but it floors most people who hear it for the first time.

If Disney made a movie about me, it may be closest to "Pinocchio" - but without the weird kids-taking-that-donkey-acid-trip scene.


Simply put (and here's the big reveal), I dreamed every night of waking up as a real boy. 

But I was not born a wooden puppet.

I was born a little girl.



I was a very loved child, but I was also wildly misunderstood by many, myself included. It took about 23 years for me to figure it all out.


I had unbelievable support from my family and the friends I kept close. And especially from my spouse, sister, mom and dad. But I kept a lot of people at a distance along the way. I still struggle with finding the right way to tell people.

Being who I am means being a Dad, a husband, a brother and a son. But i
t's tough to figure out why or how to divulge this layer of my past without it consuming perceptions and shifting realities.

But the truth is, kids out there are going through the same things I went through. And they - or their friends and family - are reading this blog.


So for those young ones going through the things I went through, know this:


Your night-time wish can be your future, too. And your mom and dad may one day call you their son with the same pride they had back then. Maybe even more now, since you've given them grandkids.

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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Pinocchio (Little Golden Book)Lesbian and Gay Richmond (Images of America: Virginia)Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It IsTransition: The Story of How I Became a Man