The Gay Closet


What is the closet like? It’s a complete separation of the inner life and what we show to the world. There is a secret interior landscape that stays secret. There has been much written about self-loathing or self-hatred in gays but I don’t feel that. I do feel, later in life, the desire to make the interior and exterior one. The desire to live honestly for whatever time I have left.

Not that I want to sound morbid but I don’t see myself living, as my grandmother did, to 100. The closet once chosen is hard to get out of. We make our bed and then we settle down to lie in it. Having emerged, from what I later realized was a cult, which promised me that I could change from homosexuality, in the late 1980s, I thought that in many ways I had changed.

When I met my wife to be in 1990 on a trip to what was then the Soviet Union, she blew me away with her energy, her unique perspective on the world, her upbeat disposition. I fell for her and could see myself growing old with her. I felt that with her, whatever hadn’t changed, would change through our relationship. I remember my surprise on our honeymoon in Paris walking the streets with her and finding myself attracted to men. But I thought, I had made my bed and was going to stick with her.

We were great companions. I didn’t tire of being with her. But over the years the gay feeling never went away and only intensified. Now at 54, the closet seems claustrophobic and I want out.

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