I had felt that I had an unusual physical attraction to my own gender (male) since I was around six years old in the early 70s. Around puberty (1977), I realized that a word I had been lobbing at others as an insult, “gay”, applied to me. This unwelcome epiphany occurred at the same time I was being made aware of adolescent peer pressure and the fact that I was not and could never be a member of the popular crowd. Luckily, my interests led me to despise the popular crowd and I made several good friends who were simpatico. Some of these friends were openly gay, others closeted; some were bi, others straight but accepting. Most of this went unspoken, though. The Dallas area I grew up in featured jocks who would go out at night looking for “fags” to beat up, sometimes resulting in hospitalizations, and I strove to cover up my attractions to avoid that outcome.
I never got in relationships with males at the time, but certain friends could tell by my eyes what moved me and would occasionally let me know that they had me figured out. I would always deny it. A female friend I had known since childhood was in a similar situation. She would deny that she was gay even though she obviously got with women. But in 1989, when I was finally comfortable enough with myself to come out to select friends, she was really moved, saying that we had yet another thing in common: “I’m gay, too!” was her response. We had had a brief physical fling as teenagers and were often told that we looked like sister and brother and should marry, so this was kind of funny.