In the age of cyberbullying and discriminating, BornThisWayBlog is a welcome platform for the LGBT community to share analogue photos from their youth along with the stories of how they realized they were “born this gay,” in hopes that others can understand their battles with both self and social acceptance.
Lady Gaga’s hit song Born This Way has definitely inspired thousands around the world to stand up and say “Hey, this is who I am!” And yet, tormenting from bullies, racists, homophobes, and such continues. The rising number of teen suicides associated with gay hate troubled Los Angeles DJ Paul V. and he wanted to save lives from meaningless ends.
“Wouldn’t it be great if there was photographic evidence of gay kids that would show that being gay is something innate and it’s not a choice and that these things come out in us as children?” he said. “I created the Born This Way Blog because I wanted to give LGBTQ adults a safe place to share their growing up gay or ‘different’ stories.”
There are archives upon archives of adorable analogue photos of LGBTQ folk, but even more eye-opening and interesting are the anecdotes that accompany them. “Many of you may not have had the words or understanding to express those feelings as a child, so the blog offers you a space where your adult self can tell your story in the present,” the founder adds.
Check out some of them below!
Isaac, age 7, Karratha, W. Australia (1995)
Here I am with my two brother’s in the dustbowl mining town of Karratha, where the dirt is red and the people are predominantly white. Being one of the few ethnic people in town didn’t bug me much, as I just assumed I was white like everyone else. Ah, the innocence of youth. At this point in my life I lived a blissfully unaware gay lifestyle: Having all female friends, really REALLY liking Catwoman, and always trying on my friend’s fake, plastic, high-heeled shoes when I went to their house. I actually didn’t realize I was even close to being gay until my graduating year of high school. So this photo is one of those things I look at now and think to myself — ‘How did I NOT know?!’
Angela, age 3, Shelbyville, MO (1988)
My parents would always let me dress how I wanted, and in this picture I am about 90% sure I picked this outfit out myself. My sister is a very fashionable ‘80s girl, and I’m rocking the flannel shirt and overalls. How was anyone surprised when I came out?! One of my earliest memories is helping my Dad on the farm. I wanted to be a farmer just like him! I would wear my overalls and go do chores with him. While my sisters would play Barbie dolls, I would play Oregon Trail, where I was the guide boy. Looking through pictures of me in elementary school, I always have to remind myself to look for the boy! I laugh as I look through old pictures of me, because I think ‘How did I not know I was gay until I was 22?!?!’ I always knew I was different from everyone in my small community, but I didn’t fully realize I am a lesbian until I was 22! The most difficult part was picking which gay kid picture to submit!
Ultimately, Paul V.‘s desire is to strip away the homophobia that shrouds society and to show that being gay is not a choice but something innate and natural. "If my blog helps stop even just one LGBTQ person from taking their own life, or feeling bad or ashamed or unloved, then I feel I’ve achieved my goal."
Paul V. may have been born gay, but he was also born with an open mind and kind heart. Now that’s some noble (analogue) work!