Growing Up, “I Didn’t Know Anything About Being Different.”

Growing Up, “I Didn’t Know Anything About Being Different.”


I was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We lived on a farm and we all lived together. It was a big family. Grandmother, grandfather, my father, my aunts,
my uncles and cousins. We all stayed in this huge house. We didn’t have to lock no doors or slept
on the porch during the summertimes. My grandmother would be sitting on the porch
with me. My dad knew I was – I wasn’t strange but
I was just different from the rest of my brothers. I didn’t have no features like them. My features were with my mother, you know,
I got all of her genes in me. I was plump but stacked, they said back then. My father, he was ashamed – I believe he was
because my father just couldn’t cope with it. He didn’t know how to touch me or embrace
me because, you know, he felt that I was just too prissy and too cute. I loved my dad and I knew he loved me but
he was a little on that side of he didn’t know which way to fall with me. He wanted this strong, masculine boy and I
wasn’t that at all. I remember as a kid, as a teenager, my dad
would – he worked at the steel mill and the boys, he would get them summer jobs there. I wanted a summer job at the steel mill, too. I asked my mother, I said, “Why won’t
my father let me work at the steel mill?” My mother, she made it easy. She told me, she said, “Well, your dad don’t
want you there because you’re too effeminate and he would be afraid of the guys that you
would be working with would come on to you and he wouldn’t be able to take that.” He’d probably end up hurting somebody because
I’m sure they would talk to me or say something that my dad would be upset about. My mother explained it to me, she said “Don’t
be angry with him. He’s just protecting you.” And I took it with a grain of salt. Yeah, he’s protecting me because I knew I
wasn’t a manly type and a steel mill would have been the worst place for me. I understood eventually, I did, because I
thought my father was so ashamed of me but he wasn’t – he was protective of me. So I finally realized that, you know, but
he was a good man. Kentucky was short-lived for me but it was
the best time of my life, being there, raised up on a farm and raised up in a household
of amazing women, amazing people in general. Transgender – that term I’d never heard
of. I’d never heard of that term and my family
didn’t speak about that unless they knew about it but they just didn’t say nothing about
it. But the term “sissy” was used a lot, I
remember that. Kentucky was a good time to come up. I was so glad I was raised, born there. It was a good time for me but just like I
said, I didn’t know anything about being different. They knew it but I didn’t know anything
about it, so I enjoyed that part of life.