Out and Proud – Aged 11!


I don’t ordinarily involve kids in this blog – except to write proudly about the exploits of my own son and his friends – but commenting on this guy, who lives right here in Oak Ridge, has now become kind of inevitable. Correspondents in several countries have asked me – why haven’t I mentioned him? So… as he is anyway a self-publicist extraordinaire…

Young Marcel has ricocheted between two local middle schools and home schooling, having been very open that he is gay and bullied as a result. On field trips, the school has insisted on rooming him separately because other boys ‘don’t want him to turn them gay’. Undaunted, he is taking on his senator, no less, over his support for the odious “Gay don’t Say” policy, strongly supported by his mother Misty and the rest of the family… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcel-neergaard/lgbtq-teen-story_b_4934806.html

Check the link. He writes eloquently – so eloquently for an 11yo that my first thought was ‘is this really him drafting this?’ Local media is ‘using’ him, I think, in a subtle but definitely anti-gay way.

Can he be sure he is gay at age 11? I wasn’t, although there were clues, but I didn’t recognise them. Not until Dave came on the scene at age nearly 16…

I’m also struggling to be honest and to say what I think, and I shall probably annoy some of you – but here goes… Check the image above. Eccentric clothes… a bit ‘girly’? Is this the image of gayness we want? Being ‘extraordinary’? Isn’t gay ‘ordinary’ for the 7% of us (or whatever it is)?

Cover1 ThumbCover2 ThumbCover 3 ThumbOur image of gayness is admiration of the male form, yes, but presenting ourselves as seriously male – tough, fit, doing ‘male’ things… in my own writings, I only ever introduce you to one (dare I say..) effeminate gay character, and I entitled the Chapter in which he first appeared, after some agonising, as ‘Meeting the Queen’. None of us – not the ten Tuan Jie in our close circle, not the guys in Chad’s private gym, nor any of our other gay acquaintances, portrays the ‘fem’ side which some unknowing people assume goes with the gay territory.

And Marcel’s best friend – by his own admission – is a girl. 1238253_170628546467453_1567014920_nThe boy is definitely, for me, an anomaly. He’s not in Leo or Jaymee’s school (there are two middle schools here) – however, something I didn’t know is that there is a ‘gay-straight alliance’ in this other school – with a Facebook page – which Marcel says helps him a lot. The alliance seems so out of character in this essentially homophobic region that I shall try and find out a little more about it – although its presence and the apparent attitude of teachers are seemingly at odds.

So, Marcel: I wish you well: I just hope that the publicity you are getting (and, apparently, encouraging) doesn’t get out of control and cause difficulties for you in the future. It could get suddenly lonely out there. If you are SURE you are gay at age 11, fine. All I can say is, if I were your parent, I would tell you that being gay is fine by me but be open minded while you grow a little older: who knows, your inclinations may change as your body adapts to being an adult and, if that were so, that would be fine by me as well.

And we shall go on exhibiting our male side (as usual)! More inspirational pictures to get you into the gym…



Now that’s what I call a tan!








armpit 7

be proud

I titled that last pic ‘be proud’… our ethic really, develop and maintain your body to be something you can be proud of. It doesn’t have to be like a huge bodybuilder – in fact, for us acrobats, that would be disastrous! – just need to see an improvement: that’s all it takes. Marcel, I fear, could usefully get a gym membership, beef himself up a bit – just in case he needs to defend his case, shall we say, a little more physically in the future. Lean and mean – with the emphasis on the mean, maybe, is fine:


A friend can give you encouragement:

checkin him out

…as well as just being a great companion for all those other ‘fun’ things you can enjoy…


Marcel probably has yet to learn that some folks – senators amongst them – think that ‘gay’ means only one thing (well, two things) – bed and sex. I very much doubt that he has gotten there yet, most likely not even thought about it, given his age.

Well, as Dave and I quickly discovered, two like-minded gay guys being together is huge fun, before even the bed and sex come on to the agenda:


Simple companionship can bring so much joy, supporting one another (especially in the face of adverse comments from those who regard themselves as ‘normal’) – although, one has to admit, the closeness of the more personal relationships brings much joy as well!


So, Marcel, enjoy what you truly are rather than what you think you are. Tread softly, go gently, and be happy. Happiness is not necessarily exposure on TV. And take note: there is more support for gay guys in Oak Ridge than you probably realise and, in good time, you’ll find it.





About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Out and Proud – Aged 11!

  1. Antoine says:

    Sorry to break your pride bubble, but you’re being homophobic. You seem to be more concerned in the way he expresses his sexuality than anything else (like the institutional bullying he has received)
    You are right to say he does not represent gays, well, he shouldn’t. As you pointed several times, he is only 11; he is representing himself. Furthermore, gay acceptance is precisely about accepting the different; you, wanting to propose a mostly wholly masculine gay vision are doing the same those uninformed people you criticize, who think gay means effeminate.

    • tonycavanagh says:

      Arrgh, he calls ME homophobic. I respect Antoine’s viewpoint here, but I think he misunderstands us. I neither accuse Marcel of being effeminate (and do not intend to associate ‘gay’ with that term), nor imply that being gay implies being effeminate either. I shared the comment with Dave and my gay friends before ‘approving’ it, and none of us understands why Antoine feels I was being homophobic (which is NOT likely, given my circumstances!). So, Antoine, thank you for your comment, which is genuinely appreciated, but we’re not with you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.