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From a Straight Spouse: Some People are Gay…Get Over It!

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When I learned that the shooter in the Orlando massacre showed signs of being a latent or closeted homosexual my heart dropped in my chest.  It somehow hurt even more to know that part of what drove him to murder 49 innocent people was his own deep-seated self-hatred. I do not pity the shooter.  I pity a culture that reinforces the notion that being gay is a shortcoming, weakness, defect, perversion or a sin.  I pity his hateful father who admonished homosexuality days after the massacre.  The same man who used to insult his son by calling him gay and taught him to hate himself.   I pity him because he’s a pathetic excuse for a human being who will only be remembered for raising someone capable of such a horrific act.  My deepest sympathies go to the friends and families of the fallen, and every LGTB person who will feel less safe as a result of such an attack.

Despite the outpouring of support from people all over the country, I knew there would be a backlash.  It wasn’t enough that worst shooting in US history targeted the LGTB community, the critics of homosexuality had to get their digs in before the bodies were cold..  The first blow came in the form of a tweet by Dan Patrick the fiercely anti-LGTB Lt. Governor of Texas just two hours after the shooting.

Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.

He claimed the bible verse was randomly selected beforehand but he also posted it on his Facebook account three hours later even after numerous complaints on his twitter feed.

Then there was the video of a fringe Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez

‘What if you asked me, “Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” Um, no, I think that’s great,’ he told his followers, some of whom laughed. ‘I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job

Twitter was ablaze with homophobic rants and rhetoric.  ThoughtCatalog compiled a list of the worst.

One simply stated

At least it was gays this time and not innocent people

The blood of the victims was probably still fresh on the ground when these comments were made.  I get worked up about this topic because my life has been negatively affected by homophobia.  My ex-husband was a self-loathing closeted gay man who thought he could change himself.  I was unaware of his struggle with his sexual orientation and became collateral damage in his war with himself.   Instead of living his life authentically and honestly, he lived a miserable existence in hiding.  If he felt he could have lived his life happily and fulfilled as a gay man,  we both would have been much better off.  There are millions of other straight spouses like myself, and children who have been through the emotionally wrenching experience of a mixed orientation marriage. The hatred of LGTB people extends much further out than just the LGTB community.  It hurts their families, friends, and our culture as a whole.  Although LGTB men and women have made great strides in recent years, incidents like the massacre in Orlando prove we have a long way to go before true acceptance is possible.

I am not sure if I’ll reach anyone in my intended audience with this article, but I’m just so sick of the hate.  No one wins when LGTB men and women are shamed, labeled as sinners or treated like second-hand citizens. Homophobes use all sorts of reasoning to justify their hate, so I’ve compiled the most common ones here and intend to challenge all of them.

Homosexulaity and sin – Everyone has a right to their own religious views, but we live in a country with a multitude of faiths and belief systems..  I won’t break down every religion, religious text or reasoning for the condemnations of homosexuality.  That wouldn’t just be a blog article, it could fill several volumes.  In a secular nation, one person’s religion does not trump another person’s civil rights.   I don’t know how love can be sinful, and I know many loving LGTB couples.  Many of them are also devoted parents.  I’m agnostic myself, but it’s hard to imagine how any loving God would be against a healthy, happy, loving relationships between two consenting adults.

Gay people cannot be changed or converted through therapy.  – I could write several hundred pages on this, but instead I’ll just provide this handy link and quote about the widely derided conversion therapy.

To quote the Southern Poverty Law Center 

Conversion therapy – sometimes known as reparative or “sexual reorientation” therapy – is a dangerous practice based on the premise that people can change their sexual orientation, literally “converting” from gay to straight. Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

People who have undergone conversion therapy have reported increased anxiety, depression, and in some cases, suicidal ideation.

Being gay is not a sickness or a mental illness – The medical community hasn’t believed that since 1973.  To quote psychiatrytoday.com 

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Second Edition (DSM II). The action was taken following a review of the scientific literature and consultation with experts in the field. The experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness.

Openly gay people are not a sign of the collapse of society  – LGTB men and women have been around since the dawn of humanity and have always been a part of the spectrum of human sexuality.  LGTB people have existed even in places where the punishment for homosexual behavior was death.   In some Native American tribes homosexuality and gender fluidity was not only tolerated, it was revered.   To quote http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/

It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third and fourth gender in many cases and in almost all cultures they were honoured and revered. Two-spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers, the medicine people, the nannies of orphans, the caregivers They were respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies

Homosexuality is not unnatural. –  A common argument is that since homosexual sex does not lead to procreation then it must be against the laws of nature.  Homosexuality is also expressed in over 450 different animal species on this planet.  Obviously humans aren’t the only species that has non-reproductive sex.

HIV is not a plague sent to wipe out gay men  – Sexually transmitted diseases are not limited to the LGTB community. Although HIV rates are higher among gay men than the general population, anyone under the right circumstances can contract HIV.  HIV is also not the killer it once was, as most patients live long lives if they get early treatment.   Daily medications like PreP also can prevent the spread of the virus.   It’s also not the only potentially lethal STD. From the 15th century until the discovery of antibiotics Syphilis infections ravaged Europe.  Even today if left untreated Syphilis can cause disfigurement, brain damage, and eventually death.  HIV isn’t a plague to wipe out any specific group, it is simply another nasty sexually transmitted pathogen.

Gay men are pedophiles who abuse children and turn them gay –  Every time I hear this one I slightly lose my mind, so I’m going to write this in all caps!  THIS MYTH HAS BEEN WIDELY DISCREDITED MULTIPLE TIMES!  IN STUDY AFTER STUDY OVER THE COURSE OF DECADES RESEARCH DOES NOT LINK HOMOSEXAULITY TO PEDOPHILA!!!!!  To quote the Southern Poverty Law Center 

According to the American Psychological Association, children are not more likely to be molested by LGBT parents or their LGBT friends or acquaintances. Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

 

The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends, and the majority are men married to women. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

When children see a same-sex couple holding hands, kissing or locked in a loving embrace it won’t scar them or cause them to turn gay.  – If two adults are showing affection in a fairly conservative way – holding hands, walking arm in arm and kissing – it’s not going to harm anyone else around them.  A child is not going to suddenly think they are gay after observing two gay adults.  Sexual orientation is deeply rooted into a person’s psyche.  If you were to ask most LGTB people when they knew they were gay they would answer it’s something they’ve always known.  No event flipped the switch in their heads from straight to gay.  If anything young adults who come out sooner as LGTB are less likely to get married to a straight partner.  They are less likely to live a confused and tortured existence.   If a child who will ultimately grow up to be gay sees a loving same-sex couple together, they are more likely to grow up without self-hatred.

There is no “gay agenda” – I can’t even humor this one.  The only “agenda” LGTB people have is to live like anyone else.  They aren’t out to recruit the rest of the world or change anyone else’s sexual orientation.

Homophobia claims many victims –  LGTB youth are more than twice as likely to try to commit suicide than their straight peers. Studies have shown that 15 to 43 percent of LGTB people as well as 90 percent of transgender men and women have faced some sort of harassment or discrimination in the workforce.  In 28 states it’s still perfectly legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation.  Even in 2016 children are still rejected by their families for coming out.

LGTB men and women are not going to go back into hiding.  No amount of hateful rhetoric, bullets or bombs that will stop anyone from being gay.  We need to come out of the dark ages and accept people for who they are.  I want to grab the father of the shooter and every other homophobe by both shoulders, look them dead in the eyes and scream

The real sickness in our culture is not homosexuals but the hatred and bigotry expressed towards them!

All the hate in the world can’t stop love, and sexual orientation is much more than just sex.  LGTB men and women love their partners with the same intensity and devotion as any straight person would.   Some people are gay, and the haters should just get used to it.

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Straight Spouse: When Your Life is Not Politically Correct

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Imagine finding out your spouse was cheating on you, not just with one partner, but with several for the duration of your marriage. He didn’t come to you on his own and confess.  You discovered the truth after suspecting for years that something wasn’t right.  After unearthing hard evidence of his infidelity he reveals he wasn’t even faithful while you were dating.  The entire time your partner was having these illicit trysts, he exposed you to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

You decide to leave him.  What follows is a vicious battle for custody of your children, your home, and every last possession between you.  He tires to refuse to pay for anything including child support.  Your husband even loses his job mid-divorce in an attempt to avoid his obligations to you and your children.  He uses every trick in the book to ruin you financially, and your divorce drags on for years.

Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he blames you for the destruction of the marriage.  He cites your lack of emotional support for his infidelity.  If you had only understood and loved him better, he wouldn’t have gone looking for love and sex from others.

When your friends and family find out about his betrayal, your charismatic ex manages to spin it to his advantage.  He tells everyone that he was a loving and supportive husband.  He claims you knew of his many trysts and had some of your own.  Not only does your former husband get support from your friends, he’s given accolades.  An entire community embraces and welcomes him.  Any past transgressions are instantly forgiven.

Meanwhile you go underground. To protect your children you bury even more secrets, make excuses, and continue to live a lie. If you try to talk about what’s happened to you, your friends tell you to “have some compassion” for you ex.  Although some see the truth, few truly understand the extent of his lies, betrayal and profound selfishness.   You’re told to have empathy for the man who just ruined your life, because now he’s openly gay.

Now take out the confused sexual orientation. Let’s say a man cheated on his wife with multiple women for the entire marriage.  Would anyone tell the wife to have “compassion” for her ex-husband? Would people criticize her for not showing empathy to his lack of respect, impulse control and selfishness? I doubt it. Why are straight spouses supposed to instantly forgive a spouse given these circumstances?

What if both partners were gay. If a man was cheating on his spouse throughout the entire marriage then embroiled him in a nasty divorce would anyone ask the spouse to have compassion for his cheating ex? Could the cheater wrap himself in the flag of his orientation and say that he couldn’t help his actions because he was gay?

In a politically correct world these situations would be clear-cut.  The oppressed homosexual wouldn’t do anything cruel or self-serving and the straight spouse would be understanding and empathetic towards his or her closeted spouse.  Real life is not so neat and tidy.  Is it politically correct when a man loses access to his children because his cheating spouse relocates with her new partner to another state?   Is it politically correct when a woman kills herself after she finds out her cheating husband is gay?   Is it politically correct when a cheating spouses gives his wife HIV?

No one is advocating for closeted spouses to stay in the misery and torment that is the closet. It is much better for everyone involved when people live authentic and honest lives. No one who is currently living a secret life should remain deceiving his or her spouse in order to try to spare them the pain and heartache of a divorce. Chances are the straight spouse will discover the truth and the damage will only be compounded.

I know how difficult these situations are because I’m a straight spouse.  Many straight spouses have been told by well-meaning friends to have compassion for their exes who treated them so callously and without much consideration.    There is pressure to instantly forgive every lie and transgression, no matter how egregious.  To many straight spouses, this forced forgiveness feels like a second betrayal.  The concept is even harder to grasp while in the middle of a nasty custody battle or vicious divorce.

A few of my critics believe that when I write about these doomed marriages that I am attacking all LGBT people.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I love and support the LGBT community but I have a lot of conflicted emotions towards my ex-husband.  He is responsible for his own actions, and he does not represent every LGBT person or even every closeted gay man.  For some, saying anything bad about an individual LGBT person is somehow homophobic or politically incorrect.  Well no group is homogenous, and sociopaths, narcissists and selfish people can be of any sexual orientation.  LGBT men and women who openly deceive others to hide their true orientation do a huge disservice to the larger LGBT community. By hiding out they aren’t exactly helping the cause of acceptance and equality. They are in fact perpetuating the myth that the only way a person can live a happy and fulfilled life is to pose as straight.

Many straight spouses discover in therapy that their exes struggle with profound narcissism.  A narcissist tends to not see other people as fully formed individuals but rather pawns or objects.  Narcissists lack empathy and usually take no responsibility for their actions.  In a narcissist’s mind, they are the ultimate victims.  Therefore they see nothing wrong with deceiving another person, to protect themselves or gain social acceptance. Narcissism has nothing to do with sexual orientation.  There are narcissists of every socioeconomic background, sexual orientation and ethnicity.  I would bet that psychological profiles of many of these men and women, would be nearly identical to those who marry others for a green card, financial gain or career advancement.

Of course not all mixed orientation marriages are the same, and some closeted homosexuals who marry straight partners are not narcissists.  Some met their spouses when they were quite young, before they truly understood their sexual orientation.  A few closeted homosexuals are strongly pressured by their families and communities to marry a straight partner.   In some rare cases, medical conditions can suppress a person’s sex drive enough to cloud their orientation.  Some mixed orientation marriages are open and honest from day one.  Just as there are many shades of the sexual orientation rainbow, the reasons behind mixed orientation marriages run a spectrum.

But given all that, no one has a right to assume all straight spouses have the same story.  When I and other straight spouses share our stories, we don’t do it to trash the LGBT community or our exes.  We do it to help other people who typically blame themselves for their shattered lives.  We do it to help dissuade the notion that sexual orientation is something that’s a lifestyle or personal choice.  We do it to show that encouraging LGBT men and women to retreat into “the closet” causes far more misery and suffering than to just the closeted person.

Hopefully one day soon we will move forward and marriages like mine and many others will become increasingly rare, but we aren’t going to get to that truth by creating a new closet.  Straight spouses shouldn’t have to create a false reality in order to protect their exes.  We will only arrive a new authentic way of living through truth, and many times our truth is not politically correct.

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John Travolta – Gay or Not Gay? A straight spouse’s perspective

John Travolta

John Travolta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have so many mixed feelings about the John Travolta gay sex allegations it is difficult for me to write about this.  As any regular reader of this blogs already knows, I am a straight spouse.  A straight spouse is someone who married a gay partner.  In my case I was unaware of my spouse’s true sexual orientation when I married him.  For most straight spouses, the discovery of the true nature of their partner’s sexuality is devastating.

Accusations of John Travolta’s sexual orientation have dogged the actor for years.  Is he or isn’t he gay?  He has been married to actress Kelly Preston since 1991.  Publicly they have always maintained that their marriage was completely traditional.  So why do these rumors persist? Is it mere speculation?  Does he have a homosexual past?  Is he living a secret homosexual life now?  Is he an easy target because of the roles that he has played?

John Travolta is far from the only high-profile actor or personality that has dealt with these types of accusations, others have included Tom Cruise, Ryan Seacrest, George Clooney, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys and even Oprah Winfrey.   In the case of Travolta most of the allegations have been from men seeking monetary gain from sharing their experiences.  Although not all of them have sought money, as one man simply went to the press with his story.   Then there is the long-time girlfriend of the now deceased actor Jeff Conaway, Vikki Lizzi.   She has come out with a tale of Travolta sexually assaulting her partner while he was sleeping.  It is difficult to ascertain her reasoning for revealing this accusation now, as her deceased partner cannot corroborate the story.  But at the same time what does she have to gain from telling it?  Was she paid for her story?  Or does she feel it is simply the time to be upfront and set the record straight (or set the record gay, pardon the pun) now that multiple accusers have surfaced.

Ultimately someone’s sexual orientation is their own business.  Travolta should be free to love and have sex with whomever he wants and not need to broadcast it to the world.  Yet, if he is hiding his true nature and living in the closet, he is setting a horrible example for young gay men and women.  By using a straight spouse as cover he is sending the message

To survive you must hide and take others down with you. 

If he is using his wife as a sort of a prop and she doesn’t know it, she has my deepest sympathies.  Although if she entered this marriage with the full knowledge that her husband was gay or bisexual and his occasional sexual affairs were part of the bargain then none of this is our business.   It is not as if John Travolta is condemning the lives of homosexuals or working to suppress their rights.  Unlike the hypocrite Ted Haggard who was condemning gays from the pulpit only to later come out as a gay man himself.  But Travolta’s religion of Scientology,  has had a somewhat uneven history on the subject of homosexuality.  The church officially states it is one of tolerance toward homosexuals, but the original teachings of L.Ron Hubbard read as very homophobic.

If Travolta is gay, and he feels the need to hide is sexual orientation in order to have a successful acting career than it is a tragedy, for his family and for himself.  The closet is a suffocating vice, which forces the person living inside of it to constantly lie.  They must lie to their loved ones, lie to themselves and lie to most of  their partners. If he is gay, I would suspect that some of his homosexual partners might be coming out now out due to resentment towards him.  As a closet case he gets to have his cake and eat it to, live the life of a heterosexual free of societal stigma, harassment, bullying and discrimination while secretly living as a homosexual.  Yet if he is gay and living a lie, he is only encouraging more men and women to do the same.  As a straight spouse this cuts me to the bone.  Most of us don’t know the truth until we have invested years sometimes decades into a marriage, and we don’t have multimillion dollar estates to soften the blow.

With changing attitudes about homosexuality and the greater acceptance of homosexuals no one should have to live like this.  Other openly gay actors like Zachary Quinto, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Jane Lynch and Alan Cummings haven’t hurt their careers by coming out.   After all an actor is just filling a role.  We all know that Travolta is not the same man who was a hitman for hire as he was in “Pulp Fiction”, nor is he Edna Turnblad from “Hairspray”.  Plenty of women were swooning when Zachary Quinto portrayed Spock in the last “Star Trek” movie even though we suspected or knew he was gay.  I was completely in LOVE with Spock, not the actor, but the character created for the movie.    Travolta’s sex life is his own personal business, but if he is living a lie I wish he would come clean.  If more gay men were open and proud about who they are and who they love in this world we would have much less suffering, and no straight spouses.  And as a straight spouse, I would never want anyone else to go through what I have gone through.  Living your life as one half of someone else’s lie is a torture I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Dating Online: I am a Closet Case Magnet!

A wall closet in a residential house in the Un...

A wall closet in a residential house in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have horrible and lingering doubts about if I will ever have a significant relationship with a heterosexual man.  I know this is paranoid thinking, but is it? I don’t know or meet a lot of age appropriate men that I would want to date in my social or professional circles.  So like a lot of people in my situation I turned to online dating.  Match.com, OKCupid and eHarmony, and I hate to admit it but…..I seem to be a closet case magnet.  Something about me must attract men who are not quite sure or their sexual orientation, desperate to cover it up.  Is it my take no prisoners personality?  My blonde hair?  My obnoxious stage persona?  I have no idea. So far I have been extremely passive on the sites, I usually don’t go out looking for men, instead I wait for the men to come to me.  I get anywhere from 1-10 emails a day.  Out of the men that have emailed me or “winked” at me I have seen the following….. Photos of them dressed in the following

  • A feather boa
  • A tiara
  • A skirt or dress
  • Women’s wigs
  • Pink Leotard – It was a ballroom dancing photo and he looked quite happy wearing it.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a man who wears pink, or dons a tiara as a joke, and many cross dressers are actually straight men.  But when a profile looks and reads like a gay man’s profile – that’s a red flag. My favorite profile is another man’s description of himself (I edited it a touch to protect his identity)

I love watching old movie classics, listening to music and singing (especially Nat King Cole)good conversations about “great” literature (Les Miserables, Sister Carrie, Anna Karenina and modern history,dining out, wine tastings, going for long walks in Central Park, doing impersonations, watching plays (I have acted off-broadway), learning historical trivia & sharing it, learning languages, going shopping with a date and helping her select and buy a new dress (and all she needs to wear with it)!!
I wanted to grab this man by both shoulders, look him directly in his eyes and say – “You’re GAY!  You know you’re gay.  You’ve probably known since you were very young that you like other boys.  Maybe you think you can run from it, hide it or suffocate those feelings.  But I KNOW DEEP IN MY HEART, that you will be so much happier when you just accept who you are and celebrate it.  Stop trying to live a lie and start living!”
And then today there was this, the man only had two photos of himself and this was one of them.
Nothing gay about a unicorn pissing a  rainbow with a hot male human ass?  I think he thought it was funny, but it just sent a huge mixed message.
Online dating seems to attract men who have had problems dating in real life.  I would be the amount of closeted homosexuals on dating websites is actually higher than the general population.  Out of frustration and a deep desire to live as someone they’re not, they turn to the internet to order up a girlfriend or a bride.  Despite their attempts to mask their true sexual orientation, it’s usually quite apparent.  Of course there is a spectrum, and they could be bisexual or just very feminine men, but in most cases I would suspect these guys are just kidding themselves.
I got stuck on an actual date with a man who had claimed he was 43 on his profile only to admit he was 51 on our date.  He had every stereotypical mannerism of a gay man, but he really convinced me of his inner self loathing when he made a homophobic remark.  One of the ways I pay my rent is by working as a face and body painter. He wanted to see some photos of my work on my phone.   When he got to one of a gay man he said, “That’s gross.  I don’t like that design.  He looks ridiculous”  I had shown that same photo to countless people and never had that reaction.  It was completely clear to me he really hated himself, and was just projecting his own self-loathing onto another human being.  Online dating isn’t going to fix anyone’s sexual orientation.   I wish these men would learn to love themselves as they are, and embrace their homosexuality.  Until then I’ll avoid the boa wearers, the men who claim their love for Madonna, and the self-loathing homophobes.
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