I feel like most gay stories start off with a funny story or an enlightening earth-shattering story about how the author realized he or she was gay. Or the author will say something along the lines of “Hi I’m ___ and I was ___ when I realized I was gay.” Unfortunately and fortunately that’s not how my story starts off. There’s no funny story about how I kissed a boy, hated it, and then that allowed me to realize I was gay and that boys are yucky.
There was no great epiphany that led me to tears and chokingly say, “I’m gay” or “I’m lesbian.” No, nothing like that and you may wonder why. Well the thing is I’ve always known I was gay and I never quite thought anything was wrong with it.
I can’t remember exactly when I realized it. The earliest memory I have of my life is when I was three and met my baby brother for the first time. Any time before that is a bit hazy, but I do remember always knowing I liked girls. I remember being about three or four, yes that young, and having a crush on a girl. I can’t remember her name but I remember what she looks like. I remember that whenever she smiled at me I couldn’t help but smile back. I remember that whenever she chose me as her buddy or held my hand my heart would go crazy. I also remember that whenever she chose someone else to play with or hold someone else’s hand I’d get upset. This wasn’t friend jealousy I was experiencing; this was romantic jealousy I was feeling. I know me saying I was experiencing these feelings at that age may sound weird, but do remember that everyone grows up at different rates and I just grew up a bit faster when it came to feelings.
When I was about four and a half a new girl entered my life, her name was Tamra. Now Tamra was that girl who just knew too much for her own good. My mom disliked this girl for many reasons. Tamra was the one who told me where babies really came from, she was the one who tried to convince me that Santa Claus was fake, she was also the girl who stole my heart. That was something about Tamra that drew me to her, that made me do whatever she asked me to do. If Tamra wanted my juice box she got it, if she wanted me to push her on the swings I did it. This girl enticed me.
Tamra and I had played this game when we were younger. A game she creatively called, Boyfriend and Girlfriend. You see, the game was just another version of house except that instead of being husband and wife, or wife and wife for that matter, we were boyfriend and girlfriend. This game was by far my favorite game to play. I loved it more than hide-and-go-seek, or tag, or even red rover. When it was just Tamra and I, and she suggested playing Boyfriend and Girlfriend I would also immediately agree to it. I would always play the boyfriend. I never argued about playing the part. I never told her it was my turn to play the girlfriend because in all honestly I always wanted to be the boyfriend, in fact I loved being the boyfriend. Even at that age I knew that being with a girl is what I wanted and I didn’t think it was weird whatsoever.
Tamra and I played this game for a long time. We always played it behind this giant tree on the playground where no one could see us because this was our special game, our special time. However somewhere in the back of my mind I knew what we were doing was wrong, but I didn’t care. Well eventually we got caught. A counselor found us behind the tree one day playing the game but I was quick to act like we were just messing with a bag in the tree. Even at that young age I was able to BS my way out of any situation. Because we felt that we had been caught at our secret place we decided to change locations. Let’s just say the location we chose wasn’t any better and we were caught doing something we shouldn’t have been doing. They called our parents and that night my mother told me she wanted me to stay far away from Tamra. That was the end of my favorite game and that was the end of my friendship with Tamra. To this day I have no idea where she is or if she even remembers me.
Even after the incident I continued through my pre-school and most elementary school years thinking it was perfectly normal for me to like girls. I remember thinking at the age of five that even though television told me boys and girls were suppose to be together, even though the adults in my life always talked about boys and girls being together I knew, I just had this gut feeling that liking a girl was perfect for ME. That it was right for me to like a girl. This thinking eventually led me to come out for the FIRST time at the age of eight…
Images courtesy of Monet Sutton.