There are a lot of things a woman doesn’t want to hear from her husband. “Honey, I’m gay,” might be one of the all-time shockers. Talk about one’s world being turned upside down and inside out. And if there are children involved…
With the advent of Stonewall in 1969 and the subsequent “coming out” of gay people at all levels of society, gay men who married for myriad reasons – chief among them fear – are now realizing that it’s time to be who they truly are: gay men.
Even though the act of coming out is fraught with potential loss and even danger, the need to be authentic overpowers one’s fears. And it’s causing quite a ruckus within families, communities, our nation, and around the world.
What’s key to the process of a married man coming out is understanding that everyone – wife, kids, family, relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, community, church, and group members – will also be joining in the coming out process. This is going to happen if they want to join in or not. And, just like the husband coming out, they’ll get to face many of the same emotions, insecurities, and fears. What’s required is a new discourse, one in which a new trajectory will be initiated by all involved, individually and collectively.
Many people know about the LGBTQ community and have formed opinions and judgments about it. What they know ranges from truthful to fabricated to ignorantly malignant. Just about everyone knows someone who’s gay – not many know a man who’s actually gay hiding out in a marriage to a woman. When the news hits them that he’s gay, it can be jarringly discombobulating, enough so as to end friendships, partnerships, and family connections.
Let’s face it: Most humans want life to be organized, safe, comfortable. Essentially, unthreatening. What is it about a man being gay that throws so many people into a tizzy? For some, homosexuality is a sin – next stop hell and eternal damnation. For others, it’s a matter of being contrary to nature – it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Others are afraid it says something about themselves – guilt by association. And for some, it hits dangerously close to a hidden truth.
The fact is, though, that there many men who opted for heterosexual marriage because it was the safest thing to do. They’d rather suppress their desires and subvert their very being to avoid rejection, abuse and humiliation, excommunication, damnation, and even being killed. But in today’s dichotomous world of individuality and “f— you” mentality versus the backlash of conservative homogeneity, more men are deciding they can no longer deny their essential being.
Try as we might to ignore, deny, and legislate against the LGBTQ community, the phenomenon of married men coming out will continue on its course. What’s interesting is that very little changes when a man comes out. He’s still the man he’s always been except that his lifestyle will change to a degree and you may very possibly see him with another man, perhaps even at his wedding to that man. He is still a man you can talk to, work with, share life’s experiences with, to be in your heart and part of your spiritual life. In essence, he is still someone you can continue having be a part of your life.
For that to happen, all it takes is communication, a new discourse. Gay men are not monsters or possessed by demons. They are just men who love men. What moves their hearts is no different than anyone else.
The new discourse is about understanding why a man who identifies as gay chose to enter a heterosexual marriage and what drives him from within to be more authentically who he is. There’s nothing black and white about this situation. It is contextual and specific to each individual, and life-changing.
There are those who will shut the door on any married man who comes out. So be it. Those are not the people one needs in their life. Other people will be curious, scared, accepting, defensive, and/or supportive and affirming. Reactions and emotions will run the gamut. The keys to it all are patience, compassion, and an open mind. Discourse is then possible unfettered by preconceptions, fear, and judgment. The new trajectory is a world of accepting and open hearts guided by unconditional love.