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    February 25, 2008

    Hidden victims of Christian ignorance

    Posted by: Chris

    Marriedgaycaketopper1 Self magazine has published a poignant profile of a woman who learned, after a decade of marriage and pregnant with her fourth child, that her husband was gay. It's worth the read, but the take-away for me was this excerpt:

    I was 30 years old when this happened, and Chris and I had been married for 11 years. We looked like the perfect family in our Christmas card portrait. Both of us grew up in the small-town South, and Chris was in the military. …

    I was a 19-year-old college freshman in Kentucky when I met Chris. He was 22, a senior and a talented musician who could sing and play brass, keyboards and woodwinds. I'd never had a boyfriend before, and I felt incredibly flattered when this popular, good-looking guy asked me out. I was also pleased that we had a similar religious upbringing. I grew up going to a Methodist church, and I've always had a strong Christian faith. Chris's father was a Southern Baptist minister who preached fire and brimstone. …

    It's not just her husband's (fake) name that makes this story ring true. Time and again, I have seen how the woman most vulnerable to marrying closeted gay men are those from the same sheltered conservative Christian background as the men who aren't equipped to come to grips with their sexual orientation.

    These women (and the men who marry closeted lesbians) are the hidden victims of often-willful Christian ignorance about homosexuality. It's easy enough to see how gay men and lesbians can be tortured about their sexual orientation, worried about risking family, friends and even their eternal hereafter. But the roadkill in their torture are the heterosexual girlfriends and boyfriends they date and often marry.

    The woman in the Self magazine profile actually had many more clues than most do. "Chris" told her at the end of their first date, out of the blue, not to believe all the rumors about him being gay. Most of those in the closet are a bit more adept at hiding who they are. But just as gays from small towns and conservative churches aren't informed enough about sexual orientation to come out, their girlfriends and wives aren't clued in as well about the signs to watch out for.

    Still, let's be clear that responsibility for a sham marriage ultimately falls on the closeted homosexual, as well as on the pressuring family, church and society leaders insistent on making the case that sexual orientation is a "choice."

    I remember all too well the relationships I had with women in college and law school. Whenever I felt like her feelings were becoming serious, I fell into a torment. On the one hand, the relationship held the hope of "saving" me from the feelings I tried so hard to stifle. On the other, I knew I would be risking her feelings and her future as much as my own. I would pull away, but I could just as easily see myself jumping in, with consequences I shudder to imagine today.

    It's too much to ask of these "straight spouses," after all they've been put through, to stand up for us in public. But their stories bear powerful witness to the real human cost of anti-gay ignorance and religious-motivated bigotry.

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    Comments

    1. Double T on Feb 25, 2008 3:32:32 PM:

      .…..witness to the real human cost of anti-gay ignorance and religious-motivated bigotry……..
      I think there’s plenty of blame to share. Your post however only hits half of the problem.

      Take the following statement.
      “Anti-gay ignorance and religious-motivated bigotry caused me to drink and now I am an alcoholic”. My response, BULLSH-T.

      We have control( for the most part ) over our own lives. If you can not blame the religious right for every case of gay alcoholism ( and drug abuse ) and I believe you can not blame them. Then certainly you can not blame them for these marriages. I’m going to assume they weren’t arranged marriages and the people involved had free will.

      I did not date women, ever. I made this choice because I thought it was wrong to “play” with someone else’s mental well being.

      I have no tolerates for people who behave poorly and then blame it on religion, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, fraternities, business associates, higher education, no education, economic background, ethnicity, voters, neighbors, TV and my favorite – terrorists.


      Life can be tough, deal with it.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Feb 25, 2008 4:04:18 PM:

      Double T, for once I'm going to agree with you.

      The problem here, Chris, is that a gay man, like James McGreevey, decided to lie, cheat on his wife, endanger her health, and then skip merrily off claiming that it's all religious peoples' fault.

      Bullshit.

      This guy CHOSE to do what he did. And all his story demonstrates is that gays and lesbians can choose to have heterosexual relationships; they just prefer to have anonymous gay sex with other people in bars and spread STDs.

      Thank you, but that's not the message that we need to be spreading.

    1. Tim on Feb 25, 2008 6:03:25 PM:

      I'd give them a pass on it, having been pressured to do the same, I understand that you can genuinely believe what you were taught. That you can get married and it will go away, or if you try not to act on it you can control it. Than suddenly your a dad and the feelings haven't gone away your under extreme stress from hiding from your spouse, your work, and your family, that your whole life is a lie and you feel like it's going to crumble at any moment. Or better when you do tell someone that you trust they try to help you "work through it".
      NDT I'm so not surprised that you take straight side on this, (as always) Blah your inability to relate to gays is constantly surprising, as is apparently, your unblemished conscious and life.
      Sure a gay guy can have sex with a woman just as a straight guy can have sex with a man, but to say that people understand the ramifications of their actions from the beginning is just stupid. I'm one of those gays that don't get turned on by women, at all, but get me drunk and play with my dick enough and I'll get hard.
      "This guy CHOSE to do what he did. And all his story demonstrates is that gays and lesbians can choose to have heterosexual relationships; they just prefer to have anonymous gay sex with other people in bars and spread STDs." From someone that claims to live with a partner in a monogamous relationship isn't that a bit of a stretch? Or did you get dumped?

      This whole paragraph from you seems to connotate some really deep seated self hatred and I think you should get it checked out, I've read your stupid posts for years but you've rarely expressed your hatred of your fellow gays with such uncloaked bile.
      First off research has shown time and again that female sexuality is more fluid than males and they are more likely to have sex partners of alternate genders. Second male homosexuality is much more fixed and gays will invariably turn back to their own gender regardless of the happy wives or children because they cannot achieve true intimacy or satisfaction with females. Thus the more they resist the more likely they are to accept degrading sexual encounters because their self hatred drives them further and further from normal sexual boundaries. Whereas young gays that see their sexuality as normal tend to date and control their sexual urges like their heterosexual counterparts. Your blanket white washings of gays is, as usual, offensive and self centered.
      At no point in the article did the subject "chris" do anything other than go thru a period of extreme confusion and anger generated by his inability to make his life work by the rules he was raised by.

    1. Double T on Feb 25, 2008 6:39:14 PM:

      Tim,
      You’re pathetic. You do have control over your own life.
      Did your wife force you to post your little “blah, blah, blah” speech?
      Silly me, the devil made you do it.

      Why is it when things go wrong in your life, someone else “forced” you to do.
      But when things go well, that’s ALL YOU.

      Take responsibility for your own actions. Be an adult. Act like an adult.
      You screw up, those are your mistakes. I’ll say it again, this time, read slower.

      DEAL WITH IT.
      Don't DENY WITH IT.

    1. Out of Eygpt on Feb 25, 2008 9:33:50 PM:

      Vitamin 'G' Deficiency produces the little-known but highly contagious Drone Syndrome, similar to the comatose state but more liken to a 'black out'. The victim is able to walk and talk but is clueless as to what is happening around him. This ever-increasing phenomen, rampant in North America, is reversible only w/ an unrelenting daily maintenance of one's spiritual condition.

      Please see: 1 Cor: 6:9-11 Listed is an exhaustive hit parade of everyday common sins--sex addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, murder, rape, homosexuality etc.
      Nothing new, same old, same old YET in verse 11 please remark the tense of the verb--the past tense WERE, in other words, there is a way out--ever more Vitamin 'G'

      This side of Heaven we each have something to drive us to our Knees. In our fallen state we all have a vitamin "G" deficiency, as he alone can meet our every need. Imperfect parents met imperfectly our basic needs for love, dependancy and identity, a problem Adam and Eve didn't have until they 'ate the apple'.
      Until we have 'worked through' the imperfect relationships we each one we had w/ our parents, history will repeat itself (I know, I married my father twice).
      No one is to blame in this story. He was just trying to get his basic need for masculine love met (not met when he was small) and she was working out her issues w/ men...unavailable men. Many women, myself included have spent much time running after the unavailable man, seeking to meet the missing masculine love never received from an 'absent' dad.
      Had this man been a heterosexual running around on his wife, would there be a difference? Take Clinton, for example, he is a 'homosexual' for women, screaming out his deficiency where it comes to maternal love---his mom was married a bunch of times I believe. So who does he marry, a refrigerator rather a freezer, totally unavailable.
      I know in my case I had to get on my knees to be able to get back up on my feet. It has been 19 years of working through the underlying cause once the alcohol removed.
      This lady made a commitment before God to remain married to this man in sickness and in health, etc. What would she do if he had another 'more acceptable issue'. Divorce is never the answer, though it may seem that way.
      Fine, if he wants to follow his bliss, ignoring opportunities to face himself and find out why Glory Holes have appeal for him-- great, one need love hands open---while at the same time taking care of myself as never before.( For example, marry an alcoholic, get to Alanon quick, a sex addict, alanon will do if there isn't an S-Anon program around.) There is hope to save a marriage if you let him go and let God handle him all the while praying for a disaster. No guarantees though, there never are in this life.
      I myself wanted to marry a homosexual. I just couldn't grasp why he wanted to be with a man rather than with me. That situation made hamburger of my heart. Once finished wallowing in self-pity, I picked myself back up, dusted myself off and proceeded to learn everything there was to know about homosexuality. Guess What? I met myself. I can laughingly call myself a female 'male homosexual'--same deficit--masculine love only difference is the way it manifested in my life---promiscuity when younger, unavailable men, alcohol, inability to form a true partnership.
      Every one of these situations God sends us are sent to build character is all. Healing a homosexual is not any more difficult for the Master than healing an alcoholic. The only catch is that the one in need needs to become willing to be helped. God is a gentleman, he will not force his way into your heart, he may create unbearably persuasive situations but ultimately it is your choice.
      As w/ Moses, he had to lift his rod for the Red Sea to open. With every saint in the Bible, each one had to do what was humanly possible before God stepped in to do the impossible.

    1. MidtownFreak on Feb 25, 2008 9:40:08 PM:

      Double T, I think you're being too narrow in your objectivity. In a nutshell, you're basically stating that terms like "influence" and "peer pressure" are non-existent. Obviously, one has the final power to decide whether or not to commit an action, but its the sum of various factors that contribute to that call.

      Thus my point is that, in many cases, these men/women have suppressed their homosexual desires so greatly that they attempt to lead "normal" lives in every aspect possible. I specially agree with Tim when he mentions that "That you can get married and it will go away, or if you try not to act on it you can control it." Essentially, by following the "rules of normalcy" one would be able to completely eradicate any homosexual desire and live a happy hetero life.

      I do believe that these closeted folks should take a good deal of the blame for causing these situations and heartbreak. I think more so if they are actively sexual outside of their marriages, because then the problem ceases being a "closeted" issue and becomes an act of infidelity -- unacceptable in any monogamous marriage.

    1. Kevin on Feb 25, 2008 9:46:49 PM:

      *cue theremin serade*

    1. Tim on Feb 26, 2008 11:13:51 AM:

      uh Double TT, I'm gay...and not closeted so no my "wife" didn't make me post, however my life experiences have taught me humility, understanding and forgiveness. Something that neither your parents, teachers or life has seen fit to beat into your head. Since i have experienced the tremendous pressure and counseling services of churches, and was given, quite frankly, horrid advice on how to make myself not gay. I can understand how a man can end up married, repressed and confused. People do not spring from the womb brimming with wisdom and the knowledge of how to live a happy life and none of your ranting will change that, nor the false promises of religion.
      Your viciousness wins you no friends it just exposes your heart.

    1. Double T on Feb 26, 2008 11:30:59 AM:

      MidtownFreak,
      If I were not raised with religion, I still entered into a shame marriage. Who could I blame then?(If I'm not at fault).

      I knew a guy who cheated on his wife. It was not until SHE ended up positive with HIV that it was discovered. In the divorce he was denied all contact with children because the judge said his behavior was completely wreckless and he disregarded the health and safety of others.

      He pointed the finger at everyone but himself.And people like Tim were his support group.

      The "Tim"'s of the world are not helping matters, they are making them worse.

    1. MidtownFreak on Feb 26, 2008 12:23:49 PM:

      Obviously, religion is not the only factor that would contribute into creating these sorts of messes. Even in the most remote areas of the world, where Judeo-Christian influence has not evolved completely, being subjected to the norm of hetero-relationships causes closeted people to find closure in marrying within those bounds. Blame falls on the ignorance of the group and the individual; just like I said before.

      As for your story, it's a perfect example of the final sentence in my previous comment: infidelity. At that point, he truly is responsible for all his actions because, regardless of sexual orientation, having extramarital affairs is simply unacceptable and wrong.

      I agree with you Double T, in relation to not being so easily gullible and sympathetic to these people. Simply put, each situation is different (although not necessarily unique) and thus should be judged so.

    1. Andoni on Feb 26, 2008 1:09:12 PM:

      It would be interesting to do a study to see what percentage of failed marriages have a gay angle. A study that passes peer scrutiny would require a lot of time, money, and other resources in order to contact a large sampling of divorced couples. A simpler study might be to look just at court divorce records to see if there is mention of gayness on the official divorce documents.

      If I had to bet, I would bet that a significant percentage of divorces occur because one of the partners is gay ....and the other partner finds out... or the gay spouse decides to come out and pursue his/her true love. Even if the percentage is only 1%, that's a lot of ruined lives and another good argument to allow same sex marriage and push for other laws that help gay people be themselves instead of hiding in fake marriages which end up ruining a lot of lives, more than just their own.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Feb 27, 2008 2:59:36 AM:

      Andoni, if you can justify lying, cheating, and acting with reckless disregard for your partner's health in a heterosexual marriage, what on earth should lead people to believe that you won't do it in a gay one?

      What you're making clear is that someone's choice to break their legal and moral responsibilities to another person is OK because otherwise they can't sexually gratify themselves. That is NO different than saying one member of a heterosexual couple should be allowed to be unfaithful because they no longer are sexually attracted to their mate or want something else instead.

    1. Out of Eygpt on Feb 27, 2008 6:24:35 AM:

      It all seems to have ended happily for this woman?? For her former spouse?? But was happiness the object lesson of this test? It would perhaps seem that there is another way of looking at this situation. I must return to the commitment taken before God that she would remain faithful no matter what. There wasn't an exception clause such as, except if he is gay and I don't get enough sex. Granted Biblically she, as did I, have grounds for divorce r/t adultery, but isn't there a high road rarely taken?
      If her spouse wanted the divorce in order to live w/ his partner, well then that is a different story. Then let him get the divorce, let him make the decision to leave and so then let him go.... I am then free.
      There is no such thing as a Homosexual, only heterosexuals w/ homosexual issues. If he wants to pursue the solution, however haltingly, then my heart would say stay, honoring my husband and my commitment to God.
      Nowhere is it written that marriage guarantees bliss, to the contrary. My parents now married 55 years have been through the wringer, come out the other side and today from all they have been throughlove one another deeply.
      Selfishness can't be part of the equation but rather an attitude of service to my spouse and above all an honoring of my commitment taken before my Creator.

      PS. As I hit send yesterday I realized the 'recent post' button, Oh how human am I!!

    1. Sean on Feb 27, 2008 8:19:07 PM:

      Out of Eygypt shove the straight supremacist bullshit back in your head. There are no gay people just straights with problems, shut the f*ck up!!!!

      The husband was lied to plain and simple. Society for thousands of years have dehumanized gay people and have warned against anyone that dare not be straight. I'm glad he and his former wife were able to break from the straight supremacist bullshit.

    1. Niederlander on Feb 29, 2008 9:06:31 AM:

      Your's and Andrew Sullivan's compassion for gay men hiding in traditional marriages is interesting. They remind me of a man who taught me much about life choices: Jack was 84 years old when he died in 2007. He was my dad's lifetime friend. Jack was gay. My dad is not.

      Jack was a product of his generation. He was married to Jean for 62 years. They got married young, started a family, worked hard, sacrificed and were very comfortable. They were loved by many in the small middle class suburb in which both were born and died. As often happens with older couples Jack's death followed Jean's by less than a year. My dad and mom were not sad at Jack's funeral because they knew Jack missed Jean profoundly. Jack and Jean had six children and 22 grandchildren and hundreds of friends. Over 500 of them came to Jack's funeral.

      Jack was very outspoken, progressive and liberal. He was extremely effeminate. In the last few years of his life Jack spoke openly that if he were of a younger generation he probably would have come out. He quietly told young people (me included) who asked that he had no regrets because he could not imagine a more fulfilling life than his 62 years with Jean.

    1. Chris on Feb 29, 2008 1:13:59 PM:

      Niederlander, I understand the point, and it's a good one. I too have a friend of that generation who talks about a wonderfully fulfilling marriage with a woman of many years that produced children and grandchildren. I also have a friend of my own vintage whose marriage ended in divorce but who has no regrets because of the daughter the union produced. I don't doubt that these marriages of convenience can produce deep and enduring friendships and love, just not of the romantic sort. Certainly many heterosexual marriages (especially in the past) could be described similarly.

      Of course many, many marriages of convenience with a closeted gay spouse are not so happy and result in betrayal and deep emotional wounds.

      What's more, the emergence of the gay movement and the ability to live a fulfilled life openly gay and in deep and meaningful romantic relationships with someone of the same gender will make such stories fewer and farther between. The temptation of the closeted gay spouse to stray (anonymously or otherwise) are just too easy to scratch, and the likelihood of many more "Jacks" like in your story is very greatly diminished. Inversely, the odds of pain and misery of the type in the Self profile are greatly increased.

      I actually view that as a good thing, as we transition to a time when such marriages of convenience will be unthinkable.

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