Omaha, Nebraska (1981)
Only a young gay boy could strike a pose with a 5-pound carp! And this photo sums up my childhood. I enjoyed being outside playing in the dirt, climbing trees, fishing, and doing archery. No girly stuff. This, despite having two older sisters who dressed me up in pigtails and paraded me around the neighborhood once. I just consider myself an unwilling participant that day.
And I didn't feel comfortable around my peer group.
My mom always told me that I was just "3 steps ahead" of my friends, so I came to believe my "differentness" was simply being more advanced than my peers.
My first (and only) gay experience was with my childhood friend, when I was about 11.
I was over at his house and he "accidentally" touched me - and I "accidentally" touched him right back. It was awesome!
We did this off and on for a few years, until we drifted apart.
I held on to those memories but I never dared to repeat the experience, because of the shame and guilt. The word "gay" never entered into my vocabulary until about 7-years ago, when I actually figured out that I was gay. This, after being married for 7 years and having 2 absolutely wonderful sons.
Because I never identified as gay, I had a relatively normal childhood.
In fact, I've only been called "freak" and "offensive" to my face, by my own wife!
I'm out to both our immediate families. My family is just fine with me, though we never actually talk about it. I sometimes wonder:
Did my mom know all along?
I have a lot of sorting out to do, and I am fearful yet hopeful for my uncertain future. I look at my photo now and just wish that I could be that naïve boy again. I wasn't afraid back then.
So my advice to the youth of today is:
One of the greatest fears, is the fear of being yourself. So get over that fear!
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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