Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. In September, he launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. Every day, People’s District presents a different Washingtonian sharing his or her insights on everything from Go Go music to homelessness to fashion to politics. You can read his previous columns here.
“I’m 17. Throughout my life, I have lived in the whole D.C. metropolitan area. Now, I live in Arlington. I came out when I was 15. I always knew that I was gay. As a kid, I played dress up with the girls and loved Barbies. I really wanted to tell people before, but I couldn’t. I finally decided to tell everyone how I really was in the 8th grade because I wanted to start high school as a new me. Telling my Mom was easier than I thought because she always knew. It was hard on my father, though. He took it worse than my Mom did. My friends already knew too, they were just waiting for me to say it.
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“Now, it is fun being a young, gay teen. I have a lot of friends and do the normal stuff that teenagers do. I have a lot of straight friends, too. A lot of my friends don’t care that I am gay. They know that even though I am gay, there are barriers that we won’t cross as friends. Other people can be all fake towards me because they don’t want to be perceived as gay because they are around me. So, we can be friends in private, but not in public. I tell you, I am not really one who is pressed to have a lot of friends, though. If you are close to me, you are close to me. If you are not, you’re not. That is the way I carry it. I’m a fun, good person and like to party like everyone else. That’s all that should matter.
“When I grow up, I want to work in fashion. I love fashion. I only read Vogue and W magazine. I grew up with style. My Mom is Vietnamese and black. My grandmother is German and my grandfather is Polish, so I grew up around a lot of different cultures and styles. They have all defined my own personal style. Now, I like to dress the way I like to dress and wear my hair the way that I like to wear my hair. This is just who I am.”