Early Signs of Homohood

Coming out of the closet can be a difficult and traumatic time in every homosexual’s life.  Each experience is different.  Some people come out early and some never come out.  Some of us lucky enough to have supporting and accepting families, and some of us are not.

My first step out of the closet was in my early 20s to some of my close friends.  In my mid and late 20s, I came out to most of my family.  When I think about it, I’m disappointed that I waited so long to tell them.

I know such labels are sometimes frowned upon, but I’m a fairly “straight-acting” and “masculine” guy.  I’ve never really fit into the incredibly “stereotypical gay mold.”  I don’t speak with a lisp, I have an awful fashion sense, and I’m not very good at interior design (although I like to think I am).  But that’s not to say that I didn’t exhibit a few questionable signs early-on.  Here are the clues that my family should have picked up on:

My Little Ponies
I’m a child of the ’80s, and while I didn’t play with dolls, I had the next best thing.  My Little Ponies were all the rage, and I had a few of them.  I used to just sit back and let them gallop around my imagination!  My action figures would ride them all around my room.  I’d brush and cut their hair, and if she wasn’t too busy, I’d bug my mom to braid it.  At one point I probably had a dozen My Little Ponies and Trolls, all with braided hair.  It was magical!

G.I. Joes
I never had any of the old G.I. Joes that looked like actual dolls — mine were all the 5-6″ plastic action figures with lots of opposable joints, guns and accessories.  My G.I. Joes never fought each other, as intended.  Mine were all in complex relationships, love triangles, families feuds and usually ended up kissing each other in the end.  I still remember renaming Baroness to “Rebecca.”  She was a total slut.

Most kids build cars and airplanes out of their Legos.  I always built houses.  Sometimes they were multi-level, sometimes they were ranch houses, and sometimes they were even on top of a boat.  But they were always houses.  Each had bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, family room, etc.  My little Lego people would live in the house.  It was basically just a dollhouse that I could constantly redesign and expand upon.

’80s Plastic Charm Necklaces
These were all the rage in the mid to late ’80s.  And I wanted one SO badly.  Most boys my age weren’t into jewelry, but I wanted one of these necklaces more than anything!  I remember BEGGING my parents, who refused for weeks until they finally gave in.  And then I wore it everywhere.

Madonna & Cindi Lauper
My mom’s music influenced my young tastes.  She loved Madonna and Cindi Lauper the most, and so did I.  I remember pledging my love and devotion to Cindi Lauper at a young age.  My plan was (and still is) to marry her.  And Madonna music?  I still know all the lyrics to her early hits.  My mom thought it was hilarious when I’d sing along.  Her favorite was, “Come on girls. Do you believe in love? ‘Cause I got something to say about it. And it goes something like this!”

Mary Lou Retton
I wasn’t sure if I should include this in my list or not … because it probably makes me more of a lesbian than anything else.  After she gymnasticed her way through the Olympics, I became obsessed with Miss Mary Lou.  I had a poster of her on the wall of my bedroom.  (I also remember having a framed photo of Ronald Reagan too … but I’ll save that story for another time.)  And at every chance I could get, I would watch her exercise-themed TV shorts, ABC Fun Fit.  “Like a tigerrrrr… GROWL!”

Then of course, I grew older.  I became better at hiding things and passed as straight for quite a long time.  But to be honest, I’ve always been a little jealous of the “stereotypical” gay man.  It’s gotta be at least a little easier to come out of the closet when everyone already knows the truth!  If only my family had put the pieces together … my teens would have been slightly less traumatic!


17 thoughts on “Early Signs of Homohood”

  1. I had an old school GI Joe, ’cause I’m old. My cousin left her Cher doll over at our house and left her behind when my uncle got stationed in Germany, so I ended up cutting Cher’s hair short so she could make out with Joe.

  2. I think we shared a common GI Joe era. I don’t think any of my childhood play would have revealed any of my gayness. My GI Joe characters fought and killed. There may have been themes that featured deeper friendships, but ultimately they were all at war. I suppose I tended to conform to masculine gender norms. I could never imagine playing with feminine toys.

    If I hadn’t fallen in love and slept with an amazing guy when I was 16, I’m not sure I would ever have come out. Despite my early experience it took me more than a decade to even start to come out. I didn’t begin that journey until the guy I loved got married to a woman.

    I’ve been mostly out for a few years, but, in many ways, I’m still figuring out this whole being gay thing.

  3. No wonder Kristen liked you so much. You would not believe how many ponies we have in our basement. Ugh. Speaking of GI Joe’s kissing, you might like these “action figures” that an author uses to tell stories. The accessories she finds are the best, I have no clue where you buy tiny handcuffs for GI Joe but she knows.

    You might not want to click on those links if someone at work can see your computer and decides to ask why Ken is having sex with GI Joe.

  4. You lost me at “but I’m a fairly “straight-acting” and “masculine” guy.”


    I never had My Little Ponies, but I was always super jealous of my (female) cousins who did. I also never played with GI Joe. I was much too interested in Transformers and He-Man.

  5. As a gay boy in training in the 1970’s, I MUCH preferred playing with the Jaime Summers and FEmbot dolls than i did my Steve Austin one. Poor steve just kinda languished in the box that held all my ‘action figures’ with his left foot turned backwards (it NEVER stayed the way it was supposed to).

    BUt Mikey, seriously, ‘Straight-acting” and ‘Masculine’? Really? REALLY?


  6. We would have been besties as kids! I was too old for My Little Pony, but wanted one anyway. And I always made houses with my brother’s legos. And Mary Lou is the best! I don’t remember a charm necklace craze in the eighties – but as a kid I would have been all over that.

    So did you prefer the more macho matchbox cars, or the colorful, girly ones (corvettes/convertibles)?

  7. You guys are so mean. The man cut off his arm (and had it grow back) when it was stuck in a crevasse. That’s VERY manly and straight.

    @Polt. I had the Jamie Summers doll. I had a girl crush on her. Maybe I’m a lesbian and didn’t get the memo.

  8. I too had the old style GI Joe with the kung-fu grip which might explain his lack of genitalia.

    I also had many matchbox cars that pretty much just got pushed through the dirt, and I played “Batman” which meant I ran round the yard with a stick tied to a piece of rope (Batarang), this ended one day when the “Batarang” went through the bathroom window. I was not able to climb up the side of the house.

  9. Mr. Sombrero’s reference to ABBA reminded me that THIS
    was, without a doubt, the gayest thing I owned as a kid. And I knew it, too, so I had to beg my mom to buy it for me at Woolworth’s. Then I sat down on the divan with a nice bowl of ribbon candy and played it on our Victrola.

  10. I had and loved my She-Ra doll. I made my mother teach me how to braid her hair. She disappeared one day.

    I also was madly in love with Jem. I wanted to be as outrageous as she was.

    I never got into My Little Ponies and still don’t get the attraction, but one of my nieces has so many they could open a museum.

    And yes…i do think that Adam is less “straight acting” than he thinks he is. And as someone who has seen his apt, I can safely say he is much better at interior design than he gives him credit for. His evaluation of his fashion tastes….is accurate.

  11. Mikey: Shame on you. ABBA is awesome! I’m liking Mr. Sombrero more and more.

    I had GI Joes, the big action figures, not the small ones. I also had Lincoln Logs and tons of Star Wars action figures and such, including the 12 action figures including Princess Leia. Unlike Adam, I knew how to braid her hair by myself.

    Although I did have a Leia doll, that was about as feminine as it got. My favorite toys were my Tonka Toys. I had a bunch of old school metal trucks, they kicked ass.

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