But even at the age of six, Jim sensed he was different. He feared his true nature would threaten his dreams.
"I couldn't achieve anything that I wanted professionally if people knew that I was gay. I could never be a mayor, I could never be elected governor," he says.
Growing up in a working class, Irish-Catholic family, Jim felt he couldn't divulge his secret to anyone. He knew other children who came from similar backgrounds as he did, but no other kids who were gay. Confused about his feelings, Jim sought answers anywhere he could get them—including the library.
"I remember reading books on homosexuality, and it [had words] like 'perversion.' 'Abomination.' 'Psychiatric disorder,'" Jim says. "And then also, as a strong Irish Catholic, the church talked about mortal sin and damnation. I'm like, I don't want to own this. This is horrific. I've got to do something about this."