Los Angeles-based blogger Paul V. started the photo and essay project BornThisWay.com in January as a way for gay adults to celebrate their childhood selves. Just a couple months later the blog has had over a million visitors, received submissions from over a dozen countries, and been featured on CNN and AOL.
“I really was not prepared at all for the level of connecting with people,” Paul told CNN. Along with all that attention has come a certain amount of homophobia from commentors, debate over nature vs. nurture, and accusations that the blog plays into gay stereotypes. In response to that last criticism, Paul says:
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true on some level. As the gay community has every shade of masculine and feminine, the people on my blog are simply representing — and owning — all those various shades, but without the shame or guilt that society has assigned to those traits.
Paul hopes to publish a “Born This Way” coffee table book later this year.