From birth, sparkle had been his raison d’etre. As a striving dancer, his eyes were set on the glitter capitol of the world: Las Vegas. He had yet to learn: all that glitters is not fairy dust.



Some babies are born with silver spoons in their mouth, some with a full head of hair. My mother insists I came into the world in full stage regalia complete with g-string and feathered headdress. Poor woman. It must have been a painful birth. I can't imagine the damage I must have caused with all those sequins and rhinestones.
My early years must have been Heaven for my mother, my godmother, and my eccentric aunts. For the rest of the world I was simply queer. My outlandish actions were far too off base for a little boy growing up in the Wild West. In a town where most boys were simulating war with plastic army men and building forts with their Lincoln Logs, I was sticking false eyelashes on Mr. Potato-Head and playing pickup jacks with my girlfriends.
Effeminate from the word go, I wasn't so much a girl trapped in a boy's body as a sissy with a penis. Blond, blue-eyed, with an award-winning smile for anyone who cared to notice. After I learned to walk, I developed a penchant for twisting a bath towel high on my head and running around the empty lot behind our house with a sheet on my back. Not fatal when you're a skinny kid of three or four, but, once you've reached six feet one and achieve the body of a gymnast, it can cause people to haul out their pitch-forks.
School was an affliction I barely survived. The taunts and jeers of my classmates intensified when I hit puberty. Whenever I found myself surrounded by other guys, I felt stranger than ever. As the other boy's voices broke into deep resonant basses, mine remained soprano with a sibilant lisp. As their wrists stabilized, my ligaments lengthened and turned to rubber. And, even if I could keep my mouth shut and arms pinned to my side, there was something in my gait that gave me away. Not so much a swish as elegant composure, it nevertheless caused people to turn and stare and then look at another with that knowing look.
It didn't help any when my family pulled up roots and moved even further west to a town with less color than a black and white movie, less action than a graveyard in Shangri-La, and more rednecks than Fort Worth, Texas. A perfect place to come of age, for Archie Bunker… not Liberace. I hoped my pretended mirth would hide the nervous breakdown that accompanied me throughout my senior year.

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