Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay

Hey everyone! I totally miss DJ Paul V.‘s weekly mashup column here on PopBytes, but since he retired the column (after bringing us three hundred tasty mashups), he has gone on to become a published author! He started this amazing blog called Born This Way, which collected childhood pictures and stories from people reflecting on memories and early beginnings of their innate LGBTQ selves! The blog took off like wildfire and now there’s a book called Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay! I seriously couldn’t be more happy for his success, he’s such a great guy, plus I know how much blood, sweat and tears he poured into this important labor of love. The book is available now, and it could definitely make the perfect present this holiday season! Below are a few photos from the book (make sure to check out Sia‘s adorable childhood photo), along with some excerpts, you can find out where to purchase the book by visiting Paul’s blog.

Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay is a collection of adorable childhood photographs accompanied by sweet, funny, and at times heartbreaking personal stories of those who grew up LGBTQ. Based on the popular blog of the same name, Born This Way is a celebration of growing up gay, childhood, and community history and awareness.

Feeling different is, for many LGBTQ people, a central part of the experience of growing up. And, as the saying goes, a picture can speak a thousand words. Born This Way features 100 photographs submitted by participants from around the world, dating from the 1940’s to today, and paired with personal narratives about the images and about each contributor’s unique perspective on growing up LGBTQ. Their warm, inclusive stories give people the courage to say, “Yes, I’m gay. And I was born this way. I’ve known it since I was very young, and this is my story.”

Among the diverse entries are contributions from the first openly gay Congress member, Barney Frank; Village Voice columnist Michael Musto; Erasure’s Andy Bell; actor/drag performers Miss Coco Peru and Jackie Beat, Grammy-nominated singer Sia Furler; acclaimed photographer Mike Ruiz, among others.

Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay

EAMONN, age 4
Brighton, Michigan (1991)
“This little cutie obsessed over The Wizard Of Oz. One Christmas morning he put on his ruby-red slippers, grabbed his Glinda wand, stuffed Toto in his basket, and assembled all his toy horses to play The Munchkins. What an imagination!”


RAE, age 5
Barstow, California (1974)
“I love Rae’s story, as she was a late-bloomer who came out after a straight marriage and having children. But the beautiful part is that all her kids and her family still love and completely accept her.”


KENT, age 8
Scottsale, Arizona (1971)
“As this project speaks to a lot of innate same-sex attractions, this photo pretty much seals the deal. And to top it off, Kent grew up to be Jackie Beat, one of the most talented drag performers and singers, ever.”


SIA, age 3
Adelaide, Australia (1978)
“This adorable little girl with the big guitar was born down under, and grew up to be none other than one of my all-time favorite performers: Grammy-nominated artist, singer and songwriter, Sia Furler.”


Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay is available in all indie and major bookstores and Urban Outfitter stores. More info on where to find it online is here.

A Note from Paul V.

We’re just starting to produce a Dragstrip 66 documentary – first to shoot the grand finale of the club on January 12th, and then assemble all the classic videos and photos etc.

We have a Kickstarter page to raise funds to film on 1/12, and anything you can help to donate is most appreciated! Check out the video and donation link – thanks! Paul V.

Michael Knudsen About Michael Knudsen

MK (Michael Knudsen) first started PopBytes back in September of 2003—while trying to make a website for his design portfolio, the site quickly turned into one of the premiere online destinations for all things pop culture! A native New Yorker, he currently resides in Los Angeles with his partner Ivan along with three dogs, three cats and two parrots. Follow him on Twitter @PopBytes.

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