My brother and I had a routine when we were kids. On the weekdays we were allowed to play outside but by 7 we had to be upstairs. Once we got home we took a shower and would eat dinner. If there was time we watched T.V and then to bed after hearing that funny commercial on channel 47 of the dog singing in Spanish- Muy Buenas Noche which was the us and parents know it was 9pm. There was a show that I always enjoyed watching. It was called Solid Gold that would play on Channel 11. Solid Gold was a family show. It was basically a countdown of the top 20 song that were trending on the pop charts at the time. In between they had dancers that would dance little excerpts of the songs and at times they would get the artists to sing some of the songs that were popular on the radio. I loved that show. The dancing was fascinating to me. How limber the women were and how beautiful the men looked with tights on. At the time there was a song that was sweeping the nation. It was called “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” and it was sung by a group overseas that went by the name Culture Club. The singer sounded like a woman to me. I remember that earlier that week they had announced that they were performing on the show and I made it my business to see the show. I had to see this singer.
When I saw Boy George on the screen I was captivated. He was the lead singer of the group. I was absolutely confused at first but mesmerized. For starters he was a man. He was a man in full make-up. He looked just like a woman. I stood staring at the screen trying to match what my ears heard and what my eyes saw. It was at that moment that I had an epiphany. It felt like the heavens opened and I heard a chorus of angels. I had a sense of identification. Right then and there looking at Boy George sing had let me know I wasn’t the only one. I wasn’t the only man that felt like a woman. That it was ok for me to want to put on make-up. That it was ok to be different. I couldn’t believe how free I felt. It was absolutely liberating! Suddenly I was not alone. The way Boy George moved and danced was me. His voice made sense as to why it was kind of deep but still pretty. It was as if all the pieces of the puzzle had been laid out and I was finally allowed to place them together and see the whole picture. Watching Boy George made it possible for me at such a young age to find a sense of identification. I still didn’t see it as gay cause that word wasn’t used against me but I knew that Boy George was different but yet accepted. The world was embracing him and he was a big star. It gave me hope. From that day on I didn’t hold back on how I expressed myself.
He created a huge scandal with how he looked but became to be a huge star. He had the talent to match the look. I was crazy about him. I became an instant fan. I devoured anything and everything Boy George. This was my first step in understanding who I was as opposed to who I’m supposed to be. I didn’t feel I had to hide even though part of me knew I had to be silent about who I was. I finally had an idol. It was the 80’s and T.V didn’t really have a lot of things gay on T.V. It wasn’t like it is now where there are gay characters and gay T.V shows on the regular.
I also grew up looking at Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman as idols. It was like the blueprint for me as to what men liked in woman. Again I wasn’t a woman but I felt like I was. I was young and I mean pre-teen. The way Jaime Sommers would fight and jump from buildings and fight to save America was what I loved. The little details like how her hair moved when she ran reminded me of a Patene commercial. The length of her hair and the volume and body of it was breathtaking and an envy to my little mind. Her outfits with the big rimmed hats, the jumper sets and the way she ran toward her assignments. Her hips swaying and the feminine gestures she displayed were to me total identification to how I felt in my skin. It was all those things I associated being a woman was about for me. As a kid I couldn’t wait for the show to come one and get my dose of my idol.
Then there was Wonder Woman. She was the ultra beautiful, well rounded woman. This took me over the top. I couldn’t get enough of her. I loved everything about her. I loved her tight outfits. The way all things hugged her. Again I associated that with the beauty of a woman, it wasn’t to me the curves and the boobs it was her mannerisms. The graceful way she carried herself. The strength she held and how she carried herself in times of trouble. Every episode I saw just helped me to emulate what a woman was all about.
What I remembered out of it all was how easy it was for me to see these femme fatales on T.V and escape my life and put myself in their shoes. It made me understand that I always escaped the realism of what my life was at this young age. How I had a love and admiration for women of power as strong as I still have it now. I am much older now and know that Hollywood made them larger than life but remember guys this was the 80’s and T.V didn’t have many if any role models for a young gay child that felt like a woman to look up to. I see these women now and they are still beautiful.
There are no regrets that for a certain time T.V raised me. The memories are great and I have a lifetime of references.