I have been gay since I was five. Playing with toy guns or miniature race cars were never my game. Instead, I fancied baby dolls and their flamboyant dresses and silky, curly locks. I considered them alive—my little friends and fairy godmothers with whom I shared my innermost desires.
But my Mama had a great distaste for watching me play with my little girly playmates and would pinch me hard to restore my male consciousness. After all, dolls are for girls and I was meant to play with less delicate things. To get back to my pink world, I decided to play with my dolls in a place where I thought we could be protected—behind the bushes in front of Mama Mary’s grotto in our backyard. Like the mists of Avalon, the bushes concealed us from the great perils of time and my mother’s disapproval. We played roles, had tea parties, and fairy dances. But our favorite musical act was Sister Act 1’s “I Will Follow Him,” in which the fake nun Whoopi Goldberg infected the world with happiness by reworking a boring church hymn into great song-and-dance number. It is the song that would best define my gay childhood. It carried me to beautiful heights of happiness and divinity.