Tuesday, October 06, 2009

10 Gay Signs I Missed Growing Up

Me in grade schoolI’ve written before that I came out late in life. Reflecting back, however, there were signs of my gayness that I did not recognize back when I was in elementary and high school. I knew I was different but I choose to ignore it and repress it. Here is my list of 10 signs I missed:

(10) I checked-out and listened to all the Broadway Cast Albums in our local library when I was in junior high school. I made mix-tapes of my favorite Broadway songs.
(9) I didn’t start buying rock and roll records until the second half of high school (Elton John, David Bowie, etc.). Prior to that, I loved listening to the pop divas of the day on the radio (late 60’s & early 70’s): Karen Carpenter, Cher, Petula Clark, Melanie, Dionne Warwick, Cass Elliot, etc. I knew the words to all their hits.
(8) During grade school, my dad had a basement full of Playboy and Penthouse magazines. I always thought the pictures of the naked women were creepy and would flip by them quickly. However, I enjoyed reading the articles and trying to make sense and understand the sex jokes in the cartoons. I especially liked the Forum section of Penthouse which always had a letter that started "I'm straight but one day..."
(7) I thought my best Halloween costume in grade school was the year I dressed up in drag and wore my mother’s red wig.
(6) Ever since I was very small, I wanted a doll house of my own. My parents did not buy a doll house until my sister was born. Although the house was not mine, I was allowed to furnish and accessorize it.
(5) Playing sports was never an interest of mine but I always took my time changing in the locker room for PE or swim lessons. I was always secretly scoping out the other guys. If I had to try out for a sport, I always thought wrestling or swimming would be interesting.
(4) I was envious of my little sister getting to take dance lessons. But I never spoke up to my parents about it. It would be many years later before I took dance classes on my own.
(3) I always thought Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly were funny and outrageous along with the other queer-type closet TV comics, Don Knotts and Tony Randall. I would try to mimic their routines.
(2) I was a band geek all through junior high and high school. I thought half-time shows with marching bands were the best part of football games. Seeing a marching band in a parade still brings a lump to my throat.
(1) The highlight, for me, of the Key Club ski trip I went on in high school was sharing a double bed with the most handsome student body officer in our class. Nothing happened.

National Coming Out Day: Celebrate October 11... If not now, when? Whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or not, be proud of who you are and your support for LGBT equality. A simple conversation can change the lives of people you care about. Coming out information and guides are available at the HRC site.
In September the New York Times Magazine did a major feature on middle-school youth coming out. Outlet, a local teen organization that we support is mentioned in the article. Outlet supports and empowers local GLBTQQ youth by providing counseling and community, leadership training & advocacy, and outreach awareness.


Little Rainbow Comics said...

I was a band geek too! Worse still - I was drum major and National Champion back in 1988 - oh so many memories...but I would've loved to have been in flags or drill team - hah - and to this day our pep flag squad can kick some ass - this was the best routine I could find - but over 20 years later they continue the legacy:


Way back when I knew I was 'different' too...oh if I knew then what I know now!

Rob said...

I knew I was different too. My list from youth includes:

Playing flute in band because I didn't want to carry a large instrument.

Never knowing who I was suppose to throw the ball to or tackle in PE.

Feeling something down under seeing my gym teacher naked.

Wanting a Ken doll to my dad's dismay.

Broadway musicals...Yes!

And..I came out late in life too. In my 20's I started pumping iron, got married, did everything I could to walk away from how I felt about men. It didn't work.

Coming out was tough, but once I did, I felt relief and at peace with myself for the first time.

It's never too late. Be true to yourself.

Leon Koh said...

glad to surf into your blog.. a fresh perspective!

Stephen said...

On top of the huge collection of Original Cast Albums, another clue for me would have been that I used to come home from school, & while my parents were at work (I am an only child), I would rearrange the furniture & re-hang pictures & it would always be an improvment.

Thanks for stopping by my blog & for the lovely comment. I like your blog a great deal & I am looking foward to poking around & getting to know about you & the brood.

Best wishes from Portland.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. You hear this one a lot, I thought I was the only one: the singers (me2), the rearrange the furniture - it felt natural to do so (me2), wanting a girls toy - easybakeoven (me2), all the funny guys you mentioned, wait, Don Knotts - everbody loved him and never comes across as gay to me (me2). Wow. We really are not the only ones.

DJ Paul V. said...

Hey guys!

I would love you both (and any of your blog followers) to submit their growing up LGBTQ story and photo to the "Born This Way Blog".

Here's the link for the submission page:

Keep up the great work on the blog!
xo - Paul V.

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