I was so excited when I saw NPR's Facebook post about the new photo blog called "Born This Way!" It made me happy that it was joyously announced through major media channels and that they reminded the reader that although it may not be a representative sample of the queer community, it was just plain fun. On the blog, people submit a picture they think represents the clearest picture of them as a child and include an essay about it. The stories are touching, funny, endearing, and adorable. The best part is that they carry the same message as the Trevor Project; although some of them had difficult childhoods, they are happy to announce it gets better.
The photo blog includes a wide variety of experience with some having an a-ha! moment when they just knew they were gay and others who had hundreds of small clues throughout the way. Some pictures captured special moments that, when looked back upon later, made a lot more sense. One photo is of a boy pulling up in a boat to a hunky lifeguard who he is smiling up at with wonder and delight. Not many first crushes are captured on camera.
What is especially inspiring is that many of the storytellers had open-minded caretakers who let them explore their gender expressions freely, which is why they had no reservations about getting these special moments on record. I learned in my Human Behavior class that children are able to choose their caretakers in court (for example, in a foster care or divorce case) when they are just four years old. I was surprised but also impressed by this policy. They recognize the child's cognitive ability at a young age and respect their autonomy. It is the same respect that allowed many of these parents to let their child play with whatever toys made them happy and wear whatever clothes they saw fit.
Bravo, Paul V., for putting this blog together!