August 28, 2013


Jenn, age 8
Saigon, Vietnam (2002)

When I was younger, I didn't know what gay or lesbian was. But I definitely knew that I was nothing like the other girls. I hated dresses, make-up, and I was scared to hell of dolls. I played with all the boys and loved wearing boys' clothes.

It wasn't until I was in 2nd grade that I learned the words "gay" and "lesbian." And when it was explained to me what it all meant, I promised myself I would never be gay.

And I knew I would never let anyone label me as something that was seen as repulsive in the eyes of the world.

Everywhere I went, being gay was associated with something bad. At home and at school, the words "fag," "gay," "lesbian," etc, were taboo.

So I was convinced very early on that liking women was a sin.

By middle school, I had grown out my hair, dressed a little more girly, and started hanging around more girls. I tucked my true self away, and somewhere down the road I lost who I was. I soon realized that eventually I had to be truthful to myself and just admit it - I am a lesbian!

I became very proud of who I am, and I told myself that if people couldn't accept me as I am, then they didn't deserve a place in my life. So I slowly started to come out to my close friends first, and only a few family members knew. In my final year of high school, I became an advocate for diversity among the students there.

I am still in the process of coming out, mainly to my family. I know now that I have always been gay, and there is no way for me to change that. I am proud to finally be true to myself.

At the end of it all, whichever path you may choose, remember that there's no path greater than just being yourself.

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

August 12, 2013


Ross, age 4 
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania (1974)

The outfit I'm wearing here is a credit to my mom. She had panache with a sewing machine and would dress my sister and me in coordinated outfits.

Even as a toddler, I had a penchant for flashy clothes (and occasionally, dresses), dolls, and crying during broadcasts of “The Wizard of Oz.”

I also pantomimed selections from my favorite Rosemary Clooney children’s album. These were habits my mom was more tolerant of than my dad.

I didn’t exactly get free reign, but my parents rarely scolded me for my gender non-conformity. And I never felt “different” from the other kids until I was much older.

I mostly taught myself to conform to what boys were supposed to be like and, later in middle school, to suppress my feelings in an attempt to fit in.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20's that I began to accept myself.
And even then, it took a lot of effort to relax and be authentic.

Today, as a 40-something, this little guy’s wide-open enthusiasm is an inspiration to me. I want to be just like him.

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

August 01, 2013


Vanessa, age 5
Chapel Hill, North Carolina (1990) 

I'm pictured in the all white dress, at my 5th birthday party. I remember being very in love with the two girls by my side. Our moms had been friends since before I was born, and I felt so happy they were there with me that day. When we took that picture, I didn't hesitate to reach up and wrap my arms around them.

I was a very quiet girl. But I could be the life of a party at the drop of a hat. 
I remember picking girls out in school in the hallway and telling my best friend, “I’m going to be her friend” and then I was. 

I usually said I had a crush on a boy, but it was always only because I thought he was nice. I used to openly flirt with girls and buy them small gifts. I loved being around females, no matter their age. 

A girl I crushed on in 6th grade was finally in my 12th grade class, and we became cool. Two years after graduation, she recognized me and we made small talk

My first celebrity crush was Meryl Streep in "Death Becomes Her." When she singes and dances in the beginning, I think that was the moment I "knew."

Then when I discovered the Spice Girls, all hell broke loose. I remember actually staring at Geri Halliwell in my posters for hours on end. I didn’t want to BE a Spice Girl, I wanted to be WITH one of the Spice Girls. 

I realized I was gay after that at age 19, but it took me until 23 to be OK with it.
Today, I feel I'm just me - and I’m going to live my life for me and no one else. 

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