Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
My name is Will Welch. I am from Riverton and Casper, Wyoming. I am 32 years old. I’m gay. By the time I was 16 years old I was just over it. I was done with it. That was the beginning of a period of time where I use to be quite flamboyant. I use to dress in drag, and stuff like that. And I use to do it as a way of kind of screaming, right? Like I was screaming “I’m gay. I’m gay!” You know? So nobody could mistake it. Nobody could try and force me not to be gay, right? When I was 8 years old. I got in trouble. I got sent to the live with my dad because I was wearing women’s clothing, trying to wear my sister’s clothes and stuff to school. My mom didn’t know what to do and my dad confronted me about it. He was like, “I heard you were wearing women’s clothes and wearing makeup. Do you want to be a girl? Or do you think you’re supposed to be a girl or something like that because it’s not right? And if you need to we’ll have you fixed.” At that age of 8 years old i knew that completely fucked up. I told him, no I was just playing around, I don’t think I’m a girl. I just tried get him completely off the subject of being fixed, because I never thought there was never anything wrong with me. I didn’t like cars, and I didn’t like G.I. Joe’s or anything like that. So I’d always play with the girls at recess. That’s just what I did, and I was fine and the boys didn’t want me to play with them if they didn’t like me. One time we were in PE and I was living in Nebraska at this time just across the border and the gym teacher was like “Well, to play this game we have to have the same number of people on each team, so it’s going to be boys against girls but we need to move one of the boys over to the girl’s team. So Willy you have to go move over to the girl’s team.” And I was like, “No. I’m not going to do it.” And he was like, “Yeah you are, you’re going to do it.” And all the other boys started taunting me and getting in my face and jumping around and being like “Willy is a girl! Willy’s a girl.” They all started cheering in my face “Willy’s a girl.” And it fucked with my head. And the PE teacher just stood there and watched it and was just like – so, you’re a girl. And I just started crying, really hard, and I don’t really remember what happened after that. I think my dad might have kicked my ass. I just remember walking out of school, and then I remember being at home – crying in front of my dad and he was like “You are no longer aloud to play with girls. You have to play football with the boys.” That memory, that experience was evidently so traumatic that I blocked it out of my mind the next day. I didn’t actually remember that for seven or eight more years. Until I ran into somebody that happened to be in my class and the whole memory just came back. And I had completely blocked it out for years. It was almost like a flash back, like a blackout, I just started bawling. I knew I wasn’t there but it was very salient in my mind and I was sitting there bawling like a 16 year old person on the bus, and it kind of sucked all over again