As a gay kid in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the 1970’s, I had to find my way through adolescence alone. I did not fit in. There was nobody to talk to about how I felt and no one to lean on.
When I reached the age of 13 and girls my age became boy crazy, I began to feel like an alien. I started to worry that I might be gay. It was a thought so shameful I could not utter it for years.
As a little kid, I was a tomboy of the highest order, happiest playing with the boys. I didn’t like to play with girls – they were boring. I never met a doll I didn’t hate. I couldn’t stand sewing, and playing house was out of the question.
So I played tackle football, blew stuff up with blackjack firecrackers, shot snakes with BB guns, played battleship, baseball, basketball, and tackle football with the neighborhood boys, creating childhood memories I still cherish.
Being a tomboy was considered cute when I was young, but when I became a teenager, my existence was outside the norm in my little southern town, and I became desperately confused. I was bewildered by the gender roles that everyone was suddenly embracing like a religion. Ninth-grade girls hung out with girls, and ninth-grade boys hung out with boys. The genders separated suddenly, like Moses in the biblical parting of The Red Sea.
I ended up hanging out with the other outcasts, some gay, others wounded in ways that prevented them from being in the popular crowd, and we forged ahead, as best we could. Mostly, we got high. That led me into a world of hurt, a world that nearly got me killed.
Fast forward 40 years to today. Gay marriage is now legal and lawful in the USA. This past week was a big week for outsiders like me in America, a big week for those of us who never really expected to live to see the day when our lives would be honored and respected by the law of the land. I celebrate for the kids especially – the next generation of gay kids. I hope they never feel the kind of lonely that I felt 40 years ago. Thank you SCOTUS, you did the right thing. Love Wins!
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