I was born in Roswell, New Mexico. Maybe that explains why I am the way I am… or maybe all LGBTQ individuals are just really aliens. Either way, Roswell had nothing to do with my upbringing. When I was six months old, my family moved to a place called Simi Valley (some of you may have heard of it, it’s been voted one of the safest cities in the US on more than one occasion) and we weren’t living there more than two years when I had my most vivid memory: my first life-altering experience.
I was two years old, sitting happily at the table eating a lunch of diced-up hot dogs and chips. All was going well until I started choking on — you guessed it — a chunk of hot dog. My dad, who had been monitoring me at the time, realized all too quickly what was happening and made the judgment call to stick his fingers down my throat and retrieve the misguided piece of meat.
My father is baffled that I remember this whole ordeal. “You were two years old at the time! That was a long time ago,” he says over dinner one recent evening. My reply was simple: “It was a traumatic experience”. I am convinced, though only minutely, that the hot dog incident had a great deal of influence my sexuality now. (That’s actually a joke. While this did happen to me, I don’t think it had nor has anything to do with my sexuality). I use(d) that story to break the ice. Simi Valley is a small town, barely numbering over 100,000 — Okay, so maybe it isn’t that small, but it’s a well-to-do city full of conservative, rich white people… and they don’t seem to like homosexuals much. I am introduced to complete strangers and I always hear it: “Is it true? Are you really a lesbian?” These days I’m always tempted to reply: “If you choked on a hot dog at two years old, wouldn’t you be?”