Gordon Fleming – Identity and Awareness

“I identified really early on with Liberace.”

My earliest memories of being different actually start from when I was three years old, [living] down in Walla Walla. I realized I was still playing with girls and liked girls at that age. I still wasn’t segregating off with boys camps and girls camps. I just remember playing by myself somewhere close to the house. I had this thought that just banged into my head, like it fell from the sky, that I knew I was very different from everybody else. I didn’t really know why or how, but I knew that I was different.

At that young age, I was learning to sew. I saw mom fixing something, and so I whined to get a piece of needle and thread and something to sew. I remember starting the project. She just gave me two little squares to sew together. I got up, went over, and locked the sliding patio door. Dad used to come home for lunch when we lived in Walla Walla. I guess I didn’t want him barging in and seeing me sewing. When he came home, the door was locked. At that point we never even locked the doors when we left the house, so . . . It didn’t go over real well. [Laughs.] Just me locking the door. I don’t remember any reaction about me sewing.

One of the other things I noticed, from watching TV, was there were people I identified with, that I knew that I was exactly like: the Village People, Liberace, Elton John . . . a couple of other people that, to me, the gay-dar was just pretty obvious. But there again: when I was really young, I wasn’t identifying how I was like them. You know, until I was 10, in fourth grade or so.

I play the piano. Took lessons since I was in second grade. I identified really early on with Liberace. I caught some of his shows when they were re-running those and the few movies that he was in. I have seen him live here in Spokane at least four or five times. He came during Expo. He was still touring a lot back then, so I saw him quite a few times. I mean, talking about being obvious. Just the way he looked at his chauffeur. They drove out in one of the limos on one of the shows on the stage in the opera house. He always had gorgeous, beautiful, young chauffeurs. Just the look that they gave each other. I was like, “Um. There’s more than just driving happening here.”

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Source: Interview with Laura S. Hodgman, 16 March 2013.