The Beach Boys Outed Me in 1968

I came out as gay publicly in 1990. Well, it’s not like I published a tell-all book, or gave an exclusive interview on TV. What happened was I had been married (to a woman) for nine years. We had a son who was a three-year-old at the time. And I could no longer live a lie. So I confessed to my wife, filed for divorce, and told my family (they already really knew).Then began the long journey of self-identification. A journey, I might add, that I will continue until the end of my long and illustrious life. Soon after, I met my partner, and we have been together for over 20 years. That’s the down and dirty of it.

But that is not what this is about. I came out when I was 28, but I was born gay. All of us homos are. The argument by heterosexuals is that gays choose to be gay. That’s very easy to say when you are born as a heterosexual! Ask a straight person when they decided to become that way, their reply is always, ” Well, never! I was born this way!” Thank you. Argument over.

I was thinking about when I realized, when I knew in my heart and soul, that I was gay. I was seven. It was 1968. I was a first-grader. I had never heard the word ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or for that matter, the word ‘heterosexual.’ In the coming years, I would hear plenty of words; words like sissy, faggot, homo, and queer. But in the first grade, I didn’t know squat. I had a brother who was sixteen and beginning to find his inner hippie; it was 1968 after all. Anyway, he was the only one of my brothers who had his own room. My other two brothers and I shared a bedroom for most of our childhoods. This brother had a record player, and he had a lot record albums. When he wasn’t around, I would go into his room and look at his records, and the record covers. There was one particular album that interested me. It was The Beach Boys cover showing a drawing of them on the beach, shirtless, with their arms around each other (there was a bikini-clad girl ion the cover too, but I never looked at her). Seeing this image for the first time stirred before-unknown feelings of admiration, desire, and longing. I wanted to be in that picture. I wanted to have my arms around those men. They looked so happy.They looked so masculine, and beautiful. I didn’t have a clue at the time what any of those feelings were, or what they meant. I only knew I felt something, and that feeling never went away.

It took me many years to recognize that my seven-year-old self was feeling an attraction to men. I hid it, kept it a secret, and said not a word about it to anybody. I knew having that feeling was wrong somehow, that boys were not supposed to have those feelings. But those feelings never went away. And they helped me to become the man I am today.

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