July 24, 2012

Adrian

Adrian, age 7
Alhambra, California (1994)

The saying "I've always felt different" is very familiar to me. But throughout my life, I was more made to feel different. I remember the kids just sniffing my "difference" out of me like bloodhounds at the time. Children find anything that is not normal to them, and use it against someone. Because they can.

Desperate for the kids to like me, I'd comply with their commands of "Chase them away with your gayness!" when playing with them. They made me in to a prop rather than a friend in their silly games.

I wasn't into sports. But on the sidelines I'd pick up the ball and give it to the boy I had a crush on. Yet he would be the one who made fun of me for being "different."

I soon realized that they were using the word "gay" to hurt me, and the more it made me feel like an outcast, the more I denied it. I even forced crushes on girls that I knew weren't authentic.

I felt if I expressed these feelings for girls, they would finally like me. But that never happened. This treatment manifested into anger and a negative attitude through my teen years. I'd stay home every night and not allow myself to have fun. I was depressed, and I knew it was because I was gay.

I was bullied in high school, especially by one neanderthal in particular. It was almost as if each attack deterred me further from wanting to come out.

I'd use humor as a defense mechanism, because that was the one thing that came naturally to me, and it was the one thing that hid my depression. This suited me well through college, a place where I could be accepted for who I really am.
I found a GREAT group of friends who embraced my homosexuality, and for the first time in my life, I felt free. And I found confidence and pride in myself.

Now age 24, I came out to my parents. My father couldn't have been anymore fine with my being gay. My mother took it a little harder, but she says she loves me unconditionally. I never thought I'd see the day where my parents knew I was gay, let alone be okay with it. Even if they are still adjusting to it.

To the LGBTQ youth: Life is too short to feel miserable about who you are.
I spent the majority of my life unhappy, and I don't want that for you. If your family isn't supportive, find a group of friends or organizations that will support you. Never let anyone else define who you are; that is your job and you have the right to do so in your own time.

You're beautiful and perfect just the way you are! It doesn't matter if you're a boy who likes boys, a girl who likes girls, or questioning your own gender - as long as you treat everyone with the respect and dignity every human deserves.

I might not know you, but I love you.
So stay strong, 'cause you were born this way, baby!
________________________________________________

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

July 06, 2012

Josef

Josef, age 12
KoŇ°ice, Slovakia (1992)

Growing up in Slovakia, I always knew that I was gay. I was interested in fashion, experimenting with my hair styles, and I was a big Madonna fan and collector. I always remember being interested in boys, and I had a shirtless photo of David Hasselhoff that I treasured.

I once entered a talent competition dressed as Madonna to sing "Express Yourself," and I won the final round!

I performed this many times around the city, and I really felt like a diva. I mean, just look at my photo!

But it was difficult being me in my small, eastern Slovakian town. I was a freak to my classmates, and it was hard to find any information about being gay. There was no literature, and no internet.

But I always felt that I was the normal one, and that people around me just didn't understand me.

I told my mother I was gay when I was 19, and she was surprised. Which I didn't understand, because she made this Madonna costume for my performance!

Today I live with my partner in Prague, Czech Republic. We've been together for
7 years and we are in a registered partnership. My parents love him and treat him like a member of the family. I am now finishing my photography studies in art college, and my thesis is about this part of my childhood.

My message to to LGBTQ kids is to just act naturally.
Don't be shy to show your true orientation, your feelings, or who you love.

Express yourself, don't repress yourself!
___________________________________________________

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"