San Diego, California (1980)
This picture is from one of my first dance recitals, where I began to find my true self. I even remember that the name of the dance was "Turkey In The Straw."
The teasing, embarrassment, and shame had not started when I was that age. I was just enjoying being me, and I long to be that boy again. I want to be myself without the ridicule and judgment of others.
As a teen, my walls were covered with posters of James Dean and Elvis Presley. I thought I wanted to be them, but I was actually attracted to them.
No. Fred Astaire is who I wanted to be!
At age 15 my experimenting with boys began, and although it felt right, I lied to myself for another 6 years. Coming out was hard, but it was much more freeing than living a lie.
It took time to find my footing, but now because of my honesty, I’m a better son, brother, friend, partner and uncle. It was very hard to resist the temptation of giving up my dreams because of the bullying, but it has all paid off.
Today at 41 years old, I miss that kid in the picture. He was authentic, and that is something I am striving for now. I've been in 7 Broadway shows over the years, so now I pay my mortgage wearing my tap shoes and other dance shoes.
I turned being different into a success.
I am gay and proud, but that is just a sampling of many wonderful qualities.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"