Crushed Out

By Liz Massey, February 2017 Issue.

A lot of LGBTQ adults will tell you their awareness of their sexual-romantic attractions and/or gender uniqueness stretches back to their earliest memories.

One of the clearest ways my proto-queerness reared its beautiful head when I was a youngster was through my crushes. My choice of celebrity role models and real-life infatuations provided ample evidence that “one of these things is not like the others,” and it was me.

Take, for example, the interrogation I received when I was six and I was required to hang out with an age mate while my parents went to a party. This girl rhapsodized for at least 30 minutes on the many virtues of David Cassidy of “The Partridge Family” and was quite put out that I didn’t share her excitement about him.

About 10 years later, I was jokingly accused of not being an “All-American girl” for being oblivious to the male starpower of Bruce Willis during his “Moonlighting” days. (He did have nice hair then.)

In between those exposures as a romantic outlier, I was busy surreptitiously having crushes on an assortment of fetching girls and women, including:

• Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter)

I thought her outfit was too skimpy, but she was strong, had an invisible plane and fought Nazi spies!

• The Bionic Woman (Lindsay Wagner)

This heroine had extra-human strength and she, too, got to do cool spy stuff.

• Jo from “The Facts of Life”

(Nancy McKeon)

She had a motorcycle and wore a leather jacket. That is all. (Swoon.)

• Actress Kristy McNichol

The actress who was the source of this crush combined girl-next-door looks with a sweet charm. If I had actually seen her and Tatum O’Neal in the movie “Little Darlings” when it came out in 1980, I think I would have spontaneously combusted.

When it came to my real-life infatuations, I was a sucker for a strong, sporty girl, or a smart, confident woman. While I didn’t have too many crushes who were secret agents (unless they were really good at keeping that secret!), I did have Gaby and Lisa, who were star athletes in soccer and basketball; Stephanie, who led our high school newsroom with both intelligence and a sense of humor; Allison, who wowed me in college with her guitar playing and out-lesbian charm; and my high school band director and journalism teacher, who set my musical and professional writing aspirations on a firm foundation.

Looking back on all this, I’ve come to realize that crushes represent our projections of what we value, who we find attractive (very important for young LGBTQ hearts and minds!), and the sort of people we want to become. My sporty crushes reflected my love of being active. My spy crushes demonstrated the crafty and significant ways in which I wished to use my intelligence. The musician crushes connected my passion for the arts to the passion I felt for my talented musical friends. My crushes on my teachers gave me hope that I would some day develop into a professional who had something to give back to others. My motorcycle-gal crushes … well … while I’m doing well to pedal around the neighborhood on my adult tricycle, I think those infatuations represent the wildness and subversiveness that lives beneath my suburban middle-class exterior.

Lately, I have taken to consciously seeking out grown-up crushes and sharing my affinity for these fine women (and the occasional fellow, since there are a few gentlemen who also meet these aspirational criteria for me) with other besotted comrades. Currently my fangirl list is taken up by the following celebrities:

• Rachel Maddow

Rhodes scholar, out lesbian, policy wonk, pantsuit wearer extraordinaire and one of the most intelligent and incisive news commentators out there. What’s not to like? (And cute as a button, too.)

• Sarah McLachlan

I’m a huge fan of Sarah’s unique songwriting and singing talents. I love the fact that she can turn even the most upbeat holiday song into a minor key dirge. I also love that she dealt with creepy deranged fans by writing the song “Possession,” which made her money off of their unwanted letters to her.

• Claire(Caitriona Balfe) from the “Outlander” TV series

No matter what century she’s in, Claire speaks up for what’s right, takes care of those more vulnerable than herself, and supports her equally sexy husband Jamie while looking fabulous in 18th century haute couture.

• Jennifer Lawrence

Because she is just a general badass. No matter how submissive or powerless her character starts out behaving in a movie (her role in Joy being a recent example), she finds a way for them to pursue their own destiny, often with a great deal of self-assertive flair.

Filmmaker Wes Anderson has written about both the power and danger of crushes for early adolescents.

“When you’re 11 or 12 years old, you can get so swept up in a book that you start to believe that the fantasy is reality,” he said. “I think when you have a giant crush when you’re in fifth grade, it becomes your whole world. It’s like being underwater; everything is different.”

Adults have the option, given their more seasoned perspective, of coming up for air when they have a crush. We can dive deeply into the positive qualities our crushes represent to us – but also have the sense to realize that the strengths we see in them are also in us, and have been there the whole time, waiting to be discovered and expressed.

Keep readingShow less
WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less