Christopher, age 8
Sulligent, Alabama (1979)
Clearly as displayed in my photo, I already knew how to descend a staircase with flair while holding a cocktail. Even though that’s probably just a Pepsi...
But as one might imagine, growing up in rural Alabama was challenging for me.
I certainly wasn’t like all the other kids, and because of that I was an easy target for name-calling and bullying - of which there was plenty. And, of course, I had to remain “closeted” until I left home. Even though everyone knew that I was as gay as a Christmas goose, it simply wasn’t discussed.
One particular Sunday evening when I was only about 3-years old, Miss Christine was visiting during our family's weekly "visit" gatherings, which meant lots of gossip. She was one of our town’s hairdressers who sported a bouffant so high it was in danger of being caught in our ceiling fan. She was always very smartly dressed, with impeccably polished nails and perfect hair.
I was fascinated with Miss Christine. She was like a real-life Dolly Parton - minus the huge tits and rhinestones - right there in my living room. However, even the snappiest dressers can drop the ball, and one Sunday evening I went over to Miss Christine, crawled into her lap, looked her straight in the eye and said - keep in mind, I wasn’t yet four years old:
'Miss Christine, you look real pretty...
But your purse and your shoes don’t match.'
Let's just say it was the first time I made a room fall apart!
Once I got to college in the larger city of Birmingham, I began to realize there was a great big world outside of my small hometown. And I finally was able to start becoming the person I was meant to be, in all my glitter-encrusted glory.
I launched a successful career as a professional dancer and choreographer, traveling all over the U.S. with musicals and working with some of the greatest pros in show business. I have had the good fortune to live in New York, San Francisco, and now currently Los Angeles. And I’m blessed to share a gorgeous home with my amazing husband and our two cats.
Currently, I “co-exist” with the “showgirl, chanteuse, and Southern belle” Poppy Fields and perform as one-half of the cabaret act “Mack & Poppy.”
It does indeed “get better” - but here’s the catch: You have to make it get better, and realize that there are always hardships, always tests, and always people who will hurl insults your way - even when you’re an adult.
You learn, though, to remember that the ones who take issue with you and/or your sexuality are insignificant, and those who are truly meant to be part of your life, or are important in your life, don’t give a damn who you love.
All-in-all, it’s been an amazing ride and great life, and it’s still going strong.
And I sure learned a lot from those “steel magnolias” that surrounded me as a child; and I know that wherever she is now, Miss Christine would be pleased that my purse and my shoes always match!
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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