James Holmes

It's All a Bunch of 'Hocus Pocus'

Filed By James Holmes | October 19, 2012 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: coming out of the closet, gay icons, I Put a Spell on You

Hocuspocusposter.jpegI first saw the greatest Halloween movie of all time, Disney's Hocus Pocus, in theaters, and what I remember most is how a musical number brought kids and teenagers (my sister included) out of their seats to dance. To this day, I have never seen that happen again.

Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy - looking back it was a young gay man's dream, and when I was in forth grade, me and two of my best girlfriends brought the movie to life on the playground almost everyday. We each played one of the witches, and I, of course, was Bette Midler's character Winifred.

Nothing seemed odd to me, or my friends, that I was playing a female character. She was the most fabulous and had lead vocals during "I Put a Spell on You," which we performed at least every other day on for the teachers assigned to playground duty. They loved it, and probably were thinking, "what a cute little gay boy" the entire time.

Fourth grade ended, puberty hit, and the world started changing. My female friends wanted real boyfriends. And during one of our only attempts at a revival of Hocus Pocus in fifth grade ended with me feeling depressed and confused.

During "I Put a Spell on You," there is the line where Winifred sings, "Ask my sister!" to which they answer, "She's vicious." We had always changed the line to "He's vicious," but that day with a group of boys standing around, my friend said "she" and all the boys laughed.

It was only a few weeks later that I first applied the label "gay" to myself - and convenced that everyone knew it. I freaked, ripped all the Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters from my bedroom walls, and started my poor attempts at hiding it.

I tried religion, which scared the hell out of me on a weekly basis but not the gay. I stopped talking to people, had few friends, and gained a lot of wait. Middle school was hell.

But high school turned things around. I had a strong friend group, a mother that worked in the principal's office which deterred bullies, a vegetarian diet that helped me drop 50lbs, and the internet to tell me I wasn't alone. I started coming out my senior year almost exactly ten years ago.

I doubt my Hocus Pocus buddies even remember the sad way things ended. Nearing twenty years after the movie's release, we still joke about it every year around this time over facebook. The fun times are more important.

And in the end, I like to be able to say that in her own way, Bette Midler helped me realize I was gay - something she has been doing for men since the 70s. And with the announcement of an upcoming guest appearance on Glee, she has a new gaggle of gaybies on the way.

Check out my inspiration:

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