I’ve been accused of the past of being homophobic. To say I was angry about this would be an understatement. My life was irrevocably harmed by a gay man, and yet I fight with everything I have inside of me for further LGTB understanding and acceptance. This dichotomy might seem strange to some but my relationship with the LGTB community is a long and complicated one.
In 2000 I met the man of my dreams, or so I thought. We were married two years later and went on to work together onstage and off for seven years. I eventually discovered that not only was my ex-husband secretly gay he was lying to me from the first day I’d met him. He admitted in therapy that he knew he was gay since he was 8 years old. He also admitted that he never really wanted to be with me as husband and wife. I was a human prop or shield to mask his doubts and fears about being gay. I think he also liked working with me as a partner onstage but he’d already replaced me in that role before the marriage was over.
Meanwhile his older brother was openly gay and had been for over 20 years. His brother was not rejected by the family and had an extremely close relationship with his parents. My ex was not in a field or part of the country that was especially anti-LGTB, in fact as a performing artist in New York City he was in one of the best places he could live as an openly gay man.
To add the cherry to the top of my sundae of despair, I found out the truth regarding my ex-husband in the middle of Chelsea (A gay neighborhood in Manhattan) the week before Pride week. As we stumbled out of that therapist’s office I was surrounded by gay pride rainbows and flags being sold in every direction, and large Pride banners hung from every light post. Our couple’s therapist largely ignored me in our one session and instead focused on my soon to be ex-husband. The lies, deception and betrayal I’d just suffered was ignored, while my soon to be ex was given deference, sympathy and an overwhelming amount of empathy by this horrible therapist. I was literally suicidal and she couldn’t remember my name during the session.
You’d think after all of this, that I would be on a mountain top bashing gay men, decrying their perversion and deviance in the loudest way possible. I’ve had several people assume that was the case, because I do not care for or have a relationship with my ex-husband in any way shape or form. Instead I have championed gay men and the acceptance and normalcy of the LGTB community. .
I have done this because I know that just as I am blonde, my ex-husband is gay. It’s simply in his wiring to be attracted to and want to have relationships with other gay men. My ex-husband doesn’t get off the hook for all of the many horrible things he did and said to me. He doesn’t get a free pass because he lied to me repeatedly and mislead me into a fraudulent marriage. At the same time he DOES NOT represent all gay men. He is only responsible for his own actions. Some gay men in his position have had the courage and conviction to be open and honest with their partners. Although those types of marriages are rare, they do exist and the outcomes are usually much better than what I and millions of others have been through. The larger LGTB community does not bear the burden of accounting for my ex-husband’s many transgressions. I have many kind and caring gay male friends who have supported me through this hellscape when some straight people have not.
The most important reason however that I promote the idea that being gay is just as benign as being blonde is that it gay normalization is the ONLY way we are going to cut down on mixed orientation marriages. I also believe deeply in my heart that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay.
There is a school of thought that believes we can shame, correct and cure homosexuality. Even though those methods have been denounced by the mainstream medical and psychiatric community, these ideas persist. Conversion therapy (converting people from gay to straight) is considered abuse by most medical experts and is banned in 9 states and several municipalities. There are also those who falsely conflate being gay with pedofilia, something that has been researched at length and debunked numerous times over a period of decades. To quote the American Psychological Association
Studies on who commits child sexual abuse vary in their findings, but the most common finding is that the majority of sexual offenders are family members or are otherwise known to the child. Sexual abuse by strangers is not nearly as common as sexual abuse by family members. Research further shows that men perpetrate most instances of sexual abuse, but there are cases in which women are the offenders. Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.
Most of the current research into pedophilia has pointed more towards brain damage, or brain defects as the cause. The current scientific movement in regards towards pedophilia is for effective treatments and prevention of crimes against children. No one but a few depraved pedophiles themselves are calling for acceptance of these depraved acts.
The demonization and shaming of LGTB people accomplishes nothing than more people retreating to the closet. I’ve written about this before at length. The more we try to shove people back into that dark place, the more likely they will drag others with them. The more gay people try to suppress their orientation the more straight spouses like myself will find themselves in tragic mixed orientation marriages.
I’m proud to know many loving and caring gay parents. I’m proud to have many gay men in my life as co-workers, friends, confidants, and shoulders to cry on. I feel eternally blessed to have so many amazing supportive, creative, kind and brave LGTB people around me. Because I feel so strongly about this, and I want to end misconceptions about LGTB people I’ve provided several links, to reputable non-biased sources that back up my beliefs and opinions. I will support both straight spouses and the LGTB community until my last breath. I want straight spouses and sham marriages to be a thing of the past. We aren’t going to win this battle with superstition, hate and bigotry. Knowledge is power and there is a wealth of information out there. Of course there are conflicting opinions regarding the LGTB community but they largely come from religious organizations. Everyone can make their own conclusions, but as a non-religious person I’d defer to experts on the human mind and body. I prefer data, research and peer-reviewed clinical studies over passages from ancient texts or pseudoscience.
To quote the American Psychological Association
Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being. The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects. This pamphlet is designed to provide accurate information for those who want to better understand sexual orientation and the impact of prejudice and discrimination on those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Myths about Being Gay
- 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked – Southern Poverty Law Center
- 5 Myths About Gay People Debunked – Live Science
- Anti-Gay Activism and the Misuse of Science – Center for Inquiry
- Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality – American Psychological Association
- Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder is simply not backed up by Science – American Psychiatric Association.
- Homophobia, History and Homosexuality – Journal of Human Behavior and Sciences
- A Straight Spouse Goes to a Dinner Party (straightforwardonline.blogspot.com)
- On Being a Straight Spouse: Broken Memories (julietjeskeblog.com)
- 10 Anti-gay Myths Debunked (Southernpovertylawcenter.com)
- Homophobia an Equal Opportunity Destroyer (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Collateral Damage in the LGTB Community (huffingtonpost.com)
- One Straight Spouse in Support of Marriage Equality (huffingtonpost.com)
- Chik-Fil-A Do you Really want to Run your Company on Biblical Values? (Huffingtonpost.com)
- How Did You Not Know? The Worst Thing you could say to a Straight Spouse (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Bonnie Kaye’s Official Gay Husband Checklist (gayhusbands.com)
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