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I'm reading through Ishikawa Taiga's memoir 『僕の彼氏はどこにいる?』, and I've come across a passage that has me quite confused as far as grammatical structure goes, specifically the role of 自分が in following passage:

自分が初めて男のコに気持ちが動いたときのこと、学校でのこと、中には「元彼のことが忘れられない」なんて発言も飛び出して、まだ「生のゲイ」に出会ったことのないボクは、ただ感心するばかりだった。

For context, the narrator (Taiga) is discussing his experience of entering a chat room way back in the early days of the Internet and, for the first time, being able to chat with other gay men about their lives. He's brought up all the different things that these other gay men would discuss with him.

I've translated the passage without any issue. However, my question is this: what in the world is the function of the bolded 自分が above? I've assumed, perhaps wrongly, that it's referring to the men in the chat room, not Taiga, as ボクは appears in the same passage, and that refers to Taiga. With that being said, I've also taken it to indicate the subject of either a (relative?) clause or sentence. But looking at the entire passage again, I can't see how that's possible. Maybe I'm missing something, but taking just this bit on its own...

自分が初めて男のコに気持ちが動いたときのこと、学校でのこと、中には「元彼のことが忘れられない」なんて発言も飛び出して

...自分 couldn't be related to either the verb 動く or 飛び出す. As far as I know, those are both intransitive verbs that already possess "actors" carrying out their actions (気持ち in the case of 動く; 発言 in the case of 飛び出す).

So is 自分が functioning in a more colloquial way, intending to mean something more along the lines of "Each one of them, himself, confessed these things"? I can't help but feel there's some kind of grammatical point here I've completely missed that's keeping me from understanding how 自分が is functioning in this passage.

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Your initial assumption is correct. This 自分 refers to one of the 生のゲイ's, i.e., the other chat members other than Taiga. The basic structure of the first half of the sentence is:

A, B, 中にはCも飛び出して...
A, B and (among others) even C popped out, and ...

Where A/B/C refer to three different chat topics (maybe from three different guys):

A: 自分が初めて男のコに気持ちが動いたときのこと
the time when someone fell in love with a boy for the first time

B: 学校でのこと
how things were like at school (to someone)

C: 「元彼のことが忘れられない」なんて発言
how someone missed his ex-boyfriend

As for A, it has two words marked with が because it's a relative clause made from so-called a "double-subject" construction. For example, you can say ゾウ長い and ゾウ長い理由.

あのとき初めて男のコに気持ち動いた。

初めて男のコに気持ち動いたとき(のこと)

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    I see. I recognized the "double-subject" construction as AはBが, but I'd never seen it before as AがBが. That really threw me off. Thanks for a very detailed, very helpful answer! – ガース Aug 4 at 22:54

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