in love with new blogs: born this way

Okay. I don't know about you folks, but this week has really knocked me back a few paces in one way or another. Can't believe it's only Thursday. Looking forward to the weekend. But! In the meantime, what does one do to de-stress?

Well, there are lots of options, but the one I'm going to share here is my new favorite blog: Born This Way!

In its own words, Born This Way! is "A photo/essay project for gay adults (of all genders) to submit childhood pictures and stories (roughly ages 2 to 12), reflecting memories & early beginnings of their innate LGBTQ selves."

Heather, age 1
Quite simply: How could you not become addicted to a blog devoted to posting adorable pictures of queer folks when they were children, alongside stories of their early memories of growing up not-quite-straight? Sometimes the snippets of life are hard, sometimes they're heartening. I know not everyone will agree with me, but I find every single one of the photographs completely compelling -- no matter how awkward they might be, particularly when read alongside stories of childhood marginalization. I think the thing I love most about them is that, almost by default, every single child in these photographs has grown into a self-possessed adult who believes in themselves enough to submit their story to this blog. They are, by definition, all resilient survivors.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures and memories from the last couple of weeks' worth of posts.

"I first learned that openly admiring girls was 'wrong' when I was 4, and saw an episode of 'Beverly Hills 90210.' It was a beach scene, and the girls were in bikinis. Several times, I mentioned how pretty the girls were, and my aunt told my mom I was going to be gay. Oh, me and my mouth."

Clarissa, age 4 (Bronx, NY)

Clarissa, age 4 (Bronx, NY)
 "I loved being a tomboy! I wanted to be tough and dirty, and would go to work with my dad the mechanic. I didn't always wear coveralls, though. My mom found a way to get me to wear dresses by making them herself, patterning them after Lucy Van Pelt of the 'Peanuts' cartoon. I acknowledged Lucy's toughness, and felt tough in those dresses, too!"

Isaac, age 4 (Lodi, WI)

"This is a picture of me dressing up in the pre-school that I attended. It was actually published in the local paper, for a feature story about the pre-school. I loved to put on that tutu and dance around the play area, and pretend to be a princess. I loved making the other students play princess with me, especially the boys."

It's interesting to me, reading these submissions, how often gender-atypical behavior (being a girl who resists dresses, a boy who likes makeup) gets identified by the author of the post as one of their earliest signs that they were "different" ... even though gender-atypical behavior doesn't actually correlate with a non-straight sexual orientation. I wonder if these narratives of being gender-atypical are a product of adults looking back into their own childhoods in search of confirmation that they were queer from their earliest memories -- long before they would have had conscious feelings of adult sexual desire. I certainly know that since realizing (as an adult) my fluid sexuality, I've caught myself looking backwards into the past for signs of queerness in my childhood. Sometimes I question whether that's the most accurate or valid approach to self-confirmation!

But that's enough metaphysical speculation for today! If you yourself identify as queer and want to participate in the project, check out the submission guidelines page. It's definitely on my own "to do" list once I have a little space to breathe around here. If/when I end up submitting something and if/when it gets published, watch for the link to appear right here at the feminist librarian.


  1. Ha, that's me (Heather)! Thanks for the post, and the book is out now!

    1. Yes! I won a review copy, but the publisher has been slow in getting it to me -- I'm hopeful yet!