when i knew #25.
by Michael King
“When I was little, I was always the boy that would want to play dress-up or play house with all of the girls. I didn’t see any problem or reason why a young boy wearing a wig of long hair would be looked down upon. I was just being me and playing with my friends.
“One Christmas, I asked for a Barbie doll because all of my friends at school had them. When Christmas morning came, there was no Barbie doll under the tree at my house. When I went to my grandparent’s house, my teenage cousin had spent her own money to buy me a Barbie doll, and I was so excited! I remember playing with that doll everyday for about a year. At that time I still didn’t know that this was not an ‘acceptable’ thing for a young boy to be doing.
“In the third grade, I got a gift card to Toys ‘R’ Us and I knew exactly what I was going to buy: a Bratz doll. Once again, all of my friends at school had them and we used to play with them at every recess. Once I bought my own, I took that Bratz doll everyday to play with at recess with all of my girl friends. I thought that this was normal because I was happy; I didn’t know why some of the adults looked at me funny.
“When my sister, who is five years younger, was old enough to have Barbie dolls, we would play together for hours. I was having fun playing with my sister, and we always had a good time. One day my mom walked into the living room where we were playing with the Barbie dolls and said Barbie dolls were not for young boys and told me that I should not be playing with them at any time.
“This was the first time that I started doubting myself and who I was. Before that day, I thought I was just a ‘normal’ young kid that liked to play with the girls and have fun. After that day I started telling myself I was different and that I needed to hide who I really was: a young gay boy.
“Throughout middle school and high school, I kept the ‘real’ me a secret and never let anyone know who I really was. I never had a girlfriend, and many people asked me if I was gay, but I denied everything and kept my secret.
“Today, I am in college, and I have finally realized that I shouldn’t care who others tell me I should be or how I should act. If I am being completely honest with myself, and to everyone else, I have always known that I was gay, but I have never fully accepted this until college because of the opinions of the ones around me. I am now starting to share my ‘secret’ with the ones I feel the most comfortable around and know will support me no matter what!
“I am a 21-year-old college student who is just now sharing my story with people, but I knew I was gay before knowing what the word gay meant. I was just being completely myself. I look forward to the day when I can be myself again with everyone.”