Over in LJ-land, our friend goodboi talks about a book he's reading. Called When I Knew, it's a collection of anecdotes from famous queer folk describing when they first realized they were queer.
Among my favorites (of the ones goodboi posted):
"1959. When my name was Hadassah Rosenblum and my father was an Orthodox rabbi, a friend from high school took me to a gay bar in the Village. I didn't know what to expect or exactly what was behind those doors, but I knew a lot of gay bars were mafia run back then. It had red lights everywhere and was real sleazy, but pretty soon a handsome man came over and handed me a red rose with such intensity...at the same time that I was feeling thrilled and flattered, I was also feeling that this was no man; it was actually a really butch woman named Bobby Alvino. Then it hit me - that made it even better." - Harriet Zaretskyand
"I knew at seven. My favorite pastime was shutting my eyes during The Dating Game and listening to the guys' voices to see if my pick would match that of the female contestant. I couldn't wait to grow up and be on the show myself, picking my own bachelor number one, two, or three." - John BartlettThere's also a real tearjerker from Eddie Sarfaty, but it's long, so you'll have to read it there.
As for me, well ...
I was in two plays at once, and working on my senior thesis to boot, so I had no time for love; I had no time, in fact, for anything. But I found time - by ditching a tech rehearsal for Play #1 - to go to a workshop on bisexuality being held at my university. I was, of course, going because I was a great straight ally. It had nothing to do with the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about a castmate from Play #2. A female castmate.
The workshop facilitator mentioned that, when she was in first grade, she followed another little girl around school, wanted to be around her all the time, and was crushed when the other girl didn't want to be her best friend forever. She smiled, looking back on the memory, and said that now that she has adult terms for it, she'd call that girl her first crush.
And, well, it hit me. There was a girl in summer camp - her name was Cat, short for Catherine, but in my head I called her Isobel, too. Within a few days of meeting her, I was dressing like her, emulating her trademark red and black as much as my pre-packed summer-camp wardrobe would allow. But I didn't want to be her; I wanted to be with her. I picked the same activities she picked; I offered to carry her books; I couldn't stop thinking about her even when I left camp at the end of the summer. I wrote poems and stories about her: Quench readers will recognize her as "Catherine" from Issue 1, and the subject of "Snapshot," forthcoming in Issue 3.
And it wasn't just Catherine. There was Diana. And Inna. And Jen. And this castmate of mine. I knew, by the sick feeling I felt in my stomach as I thought about the end of the show, that I didn't want to lose touch with her. And I didn't want to be friends. And the girls in the show who kept looking at me funny and saying "I thought you were supposed to be the straight one" were both more wrong and more right than I had known.
I went after her. And I haven't regretted a single moment since.
Et vous, dear readers? When did you know you were whatever you are?