Did I Ever Look Straight Once In My Life?

If you follow me on Twitter dot com, you have probably seen photos of me as a child. Specifically, you have seen my school yearbook photos. Here’s a refresher:

Look how cute I was! And how gay I was! And yet, I didn’t come out to myself or others until I was 20ish. I was, admittedly, very bad at pretending to be straight, as evidenced by my fashion choices ages 0-20.

So I ask you, my friends: Did I ever look straight once in my life? You decide!

Check out my sensible collection of overalls.

My first girlfriend

Is this how you heterosexual?

Gotta love a classic denim-on-denim outfit!

Just a straight cowgirl, nothing to see here

Why yes, I am indeed wearing a Ricky Martin tour shirt whilst crafting

I was the pitcher, baby!

I hear fannypacks and park ranger hats are all the rage in straight fashion.

Do not question my head-to-toe rainbow pattern.

Let us all take a moment to reflect on the fact that my mother was surprised when I came out.

The girl in this photo became my rival when she beat me out for the role of the mouse king in The Nutcracker. Is that gay?

Taken at Vacation Bible School!

More school pics!

In the photo on the right, I am wearing my softball jersey UNDER my basketball jersey.

I started wearing vests because Jennifer Morrison on House M.D. wore vests.

I used power tools shortly after this photo was taken.


Is this straight?

Are these camo Keds straight?

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is currently a fiction editor at TriQuarterly. Her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Catapult, and The Offing. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 280 articles for us.


  1. But where are the real photos?

    These ones are obviously all tour shots from your life as a pre-teen KD Lang tribute act.

  2. These pictures range from ‘gay’ to ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidiociously gay’. With a special appearance of ‘Rachel Berry Bisexual’ in 2005.

  3. Vacation Bible School more like Vacation BI- or GAY-ble school amiright?

  4. THIS IS ADORABLE and now I want a montage of all the AS staff at their baby-gayest.

  5. I feel you on this. Is plaid flannel and overalls how straight people dress???

  6. I’m sorry but does your shirt in the second to last pic say “GOT MOUNT?” ???

  7. Honestly, I seriously covet that rainbow turtleneck in your twitter school pictures. I love how your pictures got progressively gayer as I scrolled down.

  8. I am still chucking at the softball jersey under the basketball jersey comment. That’s awesome!

  9. spent way too long trying to rank my favorites:
    a) softball jersey under basketball jersey (i just imagine this conversation w/ your parents: “kayla, you need to take off your softball jersey you have a basketball game today” “NO!”)
    b) bette porter realness! (are we sure this was pre coming out??)
    c) the head to toe rainbow fit
    d) everything else

  10. I happen to be visiting my parents and thought while I was here I’d look through some boxes and try to find comparable examples. This was fully 20 years before I came out to myself.


      the back of those characters’ sweatshirts should probably just spell out G-A-Y, honestly.

        • Omggg ? But what does it actually say?? Also the jaunty angle of your hat is making. My . Day

          • @kenne120 Sorry, I just saw this comment now! It says “COOL CREW”. Because in 1988 we hadn’t yet figured out that if you call yourself cool, you’re definitely not.

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