How I Knew I Was a Lesbian at 4 Years Old

As my teacher explained God’s plan,

I remember these specific thoughts:

“That’s not me, I’m not in Heaven,

Why aren’t two married girls there?”

Prior to the moment I was told homosexuality was wrong,

I had to have known I was exclusively attracted to girls,

Otherwise it would not have been severely traumatic.

So I must have known prior to it,

Even right before that moment,

But what was the actual feeling?

For certain:

It wasn’t a sexual thing, I had no concept of sexual feeling.

It wasn’t a romance thing, I had not yet developed actual crushes.

It wasn’t a misandrist thing, I had no problem with men or boys.

I simply knew I only “liked” girls — but what was the actual feeling?

Liking girls:

There was a difference between liking a 4 year old girl,

And desiring platonic friendship with a 4 year old girl.

I’m not sure how certain girls seemed unique to me,

Why I looked at specific 4 year olds differently.

I know:

I wanted those specific girls to enjoy being near me,

Similar to adult couples enjoying a date.

I wanted those specific girls to think I was pretty,

Similar to women in my sister’s magazines.

I never cared what 4 year old boys thought about me,

Only mattered when I was told I needed to choose one.

I didn’t dislike boys,

But I didn’t “like” them,

Not like specific girls.

[Look through old photo albums,

Help unlock the memories.]

Many photos showing:

Nurturing baby dolls,

My love for animals,

Playing with barbies,

All from 3 to 4 years old.

Few months into my 4th year:

I met Sleeping Beauty at Disneyland.

She wasn’t the first or last princess I met,

She wasn’t even a princess I cared for.

The story didn’t interest me,

Her personality was boring.

There was something about her,

No, not the fictional character,

Nothing special about Aurora,

Instead, the actress playing her.

She’s not “my type” — the appearance I later gravitated towards,

Her appearance is nothing like any of my grade-school crushes,

Nor appearance similar to ex-girlfriends or other sexual interests.

Memory of the Disneyland actress:

The smile radiated from her face,

The friendliness reached her eyes.

She seemed genuinely happy to hug me,

An embrace unique from other actors.

The feeling of her velvet costume,

The warmth of her arms surrounding me.

She was beautiful,

On both inside and out.

That was my first impression:

She was a beautiful woman.

I wanted her to like me,

I happily showed her my stuffed dogs.

I became slightly jealous,

I couldn’t have her undivided attention.

I didn’t want to leave her,

Not caring to meet other characters.

I didn’t feel a sisterly or motherly bond,

It wasn’t friendship or idolization either.

English may not have a word to describe it,

Not this feeling predating an actual “crush”

For right now,

The simplest words:

I liked her.

I’m not sure why I liked Sleeping Beauty’s actress,

From the pictures — Cinderella looked quite similar!

I remember Sleeping Beauty’s presence clearly,

I only have traces of Belle and Cinderella.

Sleeping Beauty may have been the best actress,

She may have a natural connection to children.

Her demeanor seemed genuine to me,

I was immediately drawn towards her.

I didn’t feel shame in that moment,

I didn’t realize anything was wrong.

It was only when I was told,

Not long after the experience,

That it wasn’t part of God’s plan.

It was the first time I was told,

Girls together weren’t allowed.

That is where the pain rooted,

That is when the trauma started.

From liking a Disney princess at 4 years old,

To crushing on a fellow 3rd grade classmate,

From wanting to give my 12-year-old peer a peck on the lips,

To less innocent desires developing near adulthood,

It was always a her,

It’ll always be a she.

Author’s Note: This poem was a free-write therapy to remember specific feelings/thoughts before my initial homophobic trauma occurred. I was expecting to uncover a memory of a specific 4 year old girl, but instead found a Disneyland actress! It’s normal and common for a 4 year old to develop the beginning stages of a crush on an adult consistent with the child’s sexual orientation. [Source 1] [Source 2]

Once I realized my early stages of a crush (or “like” as I term it) was wrong, I desperately tried to resist it. However, my efforts did not stop mini-crushes from forming on my older sister’s friends; nor stop my first full crush at 7 years old.

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