My name is Thaddeus Fletcher, but everyone just calls me Tad, and I have been gay for… pretty much my entire life. I'm not really the flaming stereotypical gay that wears t-shirts that say 'princess' and glittery make up and lisps, but most people pick up that I'm gay pretty quick. I fit some stereotypes, like I listen to Cher and enjoy musicals, but other than that I'm just a normal book-worm type. That's not a good thing considering my family.

My father coached high school football and his team has been state champions on and off since he took the position, either champions or ranked in the top five, usually in the top ten nationally. Growing up, Super Bowl Sunday was a bigger event than Christmas. Strange, obscure relatives that I highly doubt I'm actually related to would come to our house and punch my shoulder or throw a football in my face. Where many people thought of football as a fun sport, I saw it as a bringer of pain, agony, and shame.

My mother worked as a personal trainer at the nearby fitness center, the nice one. Not the cheap one with some weight machines and a few treadmills, but the expensive one that only dementedly rich people or people with a company discount would even consider joining. She had been a basketball champ in high school and college, before women played professionally, and ended up getting a degree in physical fitness and nutrition. She made us all eat dementedly healthy food and was constantly making sure we weren't over or under weight or had the wrong body-fat percentage. We had to run a treadmill for fifteen minutes everyday after we finished our homework before we could watch TV. We means my brothers and sister, of course.

I had one older brother, Robert (how did I get stuck with Thaddeus?), commonly called Bobby, and he made Varsity quarterback by his sophomore year, was a State champion track star, and went on to play football in college before graduating with a degree in Athletic Training. He was always Dad's favorite.

My younger sister, Belinda (again, not Thaddeus), was a gymnastics star, track star, and head cheerleader for football, basket ball, and wrestling. Who the hell cheers for wrestling?? But she did and everyone loved her. She was the girl that all the guys fantasized about, but never actually asked out because they thought she was too perfect. Well, that and they were terrified of Dad and Bobby.

Then there was the youngest of us, Kenneth (why me?), or Kenny, and he fell in love with soccer and basketball, much to Dad's disappointment, and was a high school basketball star much to Mom's joy. He had figured since Bobby had taken place as Dad's favorite, he'd be Mom's. Kenny has never been very good at making decisions… of any kind.

I was my Student Class president all four years, editor of the school newspaper, valedictorian, and the creator and president of the creative writing club. I was the disappointment.

They all just kind of figured out I was gay, several years before I did. When some guy in school punched me in the nose and we had to have a conference, my parents asked if we were having a lover's spat, I hyperventilated. I had never kissed any one between my unofficial first with Trisha McPherson at a party in fifth grade and going to college. It was utterly pathetic.

It wasn't that I was unattractive or anti-social, I was just in denial. I didn't want to be the gay. Smart One would have been nice. Average One would have been acceptable. I got stuck being the Gay One. Bobby was Dad's Favorite, Belinda was the Girl, which made her special without any real effort, and Kenny was Mom's Favorite. I was THE GAY ONE. Wave my little flag…

So yes, I was the disappointment. I went on to college and studied English. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with double degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing and I got enough scholarships for my academics, essay writing, and community service, so that they never had to pay for a day of it. How is that disappointing??

Then I went to write for Atheltica, a sports magazine and my picture was removed from the Wall of Shame. Dad gets a free subscription and I live in a lovely crap-tastic flat in Texas, far away from my Boston residing family. What more could anyone ask for?