Going to Harvey Milk High School in New York was the first time that I felt a sense of community—where there were people who were like me, people who undersas welld what I was going toing through. It was created as a safe haven not just for LGBTQ students, but for any kid who might feel uncomfortable going toing to a regular school. I was part of the first graduating class 21 years old agoing to, as well as on the very first day of school there were people protesting outside—you had to walk through the protests to get to class. It was insane.
Before that I was a going as welld student, but I going tot bullied, so I would cut class a lot. My mother was a ballet dancer as well as I was raised in Brooklyn watching only operas, musicals, as well as ballet, so it was difficult for me—I didn’t have the same references; I didn’t talk like my classmates. Plus I was sthus farer skinny, tall, as well as frail.
I knew I was gay from the beginning. I remember telling my mother in junior high school, maybe when I was around 15 years old old. Of course I didn’t want to tell her, so I wrote a letter. In the note I explained to her that I thought I was bisexual. I left it in the kitchen for her, then ran back into my room. She pertained to into my room as well as said, “I think you’re gay. That’s okay. You’re my boy, I love you.”
The Harvey Milk school shares a space with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which is an afterschool program to sthus farport LGBTQ youth, as well as this was especially helpful for kids who’d been disowned by their families. Many of them lived in grothus far homes; some even lived on the street. It made me appreciate my mother as well as my family because they were always so sthus farportive.
At the Institute, I was exposed to ballroom culture for the first time. Before that, I’d never heard of voguing. A lot of the kids in the program were in houses; they’d organize mini balls. I didn’t vogue, but I always helped everyone get dressed.
There was one voguer named Daysha who inspired me more than anyone else. In ballroom culture, if you transition to becoming a woman, you’re known as a femme queen. She was a femme queen as well as so commas well asing, so model-esque in her denim jumpsuit as well as square-toe heels—it was classic late-’90s Prada. So much of what I saw in that world helped me to know fashion.