May 31, 2015


Felix, age 7
Los Angeles, CA (1977)

My childhood consisted of lots of church. I was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist Christian home. My family’s circle consisted of members from our own religious affiliation. And our family vacations were just trips to attend church conventions. Television and dancing were not allowed in our home. 

As a teen my parents’ TV ban relaxed, and I was introduced to pop culture icons like “Wonder Woman,” Donna Summer, and "H.R. Puffnstuff."

TV revealed entertainment that a boy like me was naturally inclined to enjoy. My male cousins watched sports and wrestling, which I found boring and stupid. 

I attended 8 different schools because we kept moving. The changing of schools always left me with a feeling of being different, odd and left-out.

Adding to my dilemma, I was terrible at sports and was always chosen last for teams. 

Later, I came to the realization that my out-of-place feelings were not because I was the new kid or because I lacked skills for sports. But rather, because I was gay, effeminate, and everyone could see it.

Childhood was not easy, especially hearing awful insults at school. But then to also be in the house of God and hear the same messages made my life feel worthless and insignificant.

I did excel in academics and that opened a way out of my sheltered upbringing.
I was able to attend and live on-campus during my college years. During those years, I did a lot of self-discovery and learned about self-esteem. 

Today, I attend the Metropolitan Community church,  and I've met many friends with a similar upbringing. And I finally feel like I found my own tribe!

Recently, I re-visited a favorite childhood movie: “H.R. Puffnstuff” from 1969. Mama Cass Elliott sings a song called “Different.”  

And I realized she was singing about me!

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"

May 14, 2015


Ryan, age 5
Wayne, New Jersey (1994)

Overall I was a happy kid. Soccer, nature, and science intrigued me, so as a kid I would always go investigate the forest behind my house.

I always knew I liked men, I just had no idea what “being gay” actually meant. I remember around 3-years old, seeing a naked woman on TV and wondering where the naked guy was. Because that's what I wanted to see. 

The first person I saw on TV that I KNEW I HAD TO BE WITH was Zach Efron. To this day, I still think he is the sexiest man alive. 

The cute, open-minded, real looking guys of the world are who I want to hangout with as friends and as a boyfriend.

My family did not really understand the aspect of being gay, especially because of my dad's old-school European upbringing. I've been out been almost 10 years now, and things have gotten a WHOLE LOT BETTER. But it took a long time to get to this point. 

I was afraid to come out to my friends because I thought they would not like me anymore. But the truth is, they respected me a million times more after I did. 

Everyone who has come out of the closet has been teased before; it’s just a matter of how you let it affect you. If I got made fun of by someone, I decided they’re not really someone I need in my life anymore. If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, you don’t need them to bring you down. And I can guarantee you that there are hundreds of others that will love you for you

Seeing my photo now, I just wish I could go back in time and live in awe of the world again. Just run free outside chasing butterflies and wanting to see what was beyond the fence. As an adult you have to fend for yourself, so I just wish I could be that curly-haired kid again without a care in the world! 

But, I LOVE the world today. I had become addicted to drugs and alcohol at a young age, spending years trying to kill the pain inside. I felt I was “not good enough” for people to accept me. I soon realized if they hate me because of that, then I need to find those who love me. 

I have an amazing “family” in my life today, people I've chosen to be closest to and share my life with. You don’t get to pick your family, but you do get to choose who to take on the world with, and giggle and smile through it all.

The one thing I want the readers and LGBT kids to take away from this is:

Don't be afraid to let your smile show or be fearful of what people will think. 
If you let people judge you, you’re missing out on a life beyond your wildest dreams. And don’t be afraid to take chances. 

I’ve learned to accept my flaws, because they are what make me an individual.

I took the time to realize the good in me, what makes me stronger, and the things I have to offer to others. It's amazing what a little self reflection will do for you. Today, I am able to live freely, just like the little smiling kid in my picture.

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"