Four times a year I board a plan to attend a board meeting as a board member of a company that my employer is part owner of. While I came out last year to about half people who attend this meeting, I have not come out to everyone, and because of that each meeting has a certain level of stress. Continue reading →
A man that I recently met told me that he liked to have sex with men, but that he did not consider himself gay or bisexual. He did not feel any need to have gay friends and wanted nothing to do with the gay community. I asked him if he ever saw himself having a boyfriend or developing an intimate relationship with another man. He did not. He said that he simply liked sex with men, period.
I never fit in with the other boys. From my earliest memories, I did not like organized sports. I preferred to play dolls with my sister, watch TV for hours on end, or imagine elaborate fantasy stories in my mind. But play baseball, football or basketball? I was not interested.
This morning I spoke to a man who is in the process of separating from his wife and getting a divorce. He told me that he loves his wife, but after she found emails between him and other men that he was having sex with, their marriage broke down. He described himself as bisexual and equally attracted to both men and women. He went on to describe that he had not come out to his adult children or his friends and family because of how people see bisexuality. He feels that most people believe that bisexuality does not exist and that a man who claims he is bi is really just gay but cannot admit it. His wife has told him as much, which is very unfortunate.
My fear in rereading the chapter on Male Homosexuality in David Reuben’s 1969 book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), something I had not read since I was fourteen or fifteen, was that his sick distortions about homosexuality would get inside my head. When I finally did reread the chapter, it was so outlandish in its portrayal of homosexuality that it seemed laughable and sad at the same time. Ruben’s utter contempt, breezy sneering, and high minded superiority for homosexuality has an ugly and evil quality.
I’m re-listening to the book, The Velvet Rage, by Alan Downs. It was a very important book in my coming out process when I read two and a half years ago. As I hear the book again, there is so much valuable information which I had forgotten. One of the important cornerstones of the book, which I have been thinking freshly about is the concept of ‘toxic shame’. Having spent the last year and a half coming out, I was beginning to feel I was finished with the shame I once felt about being gay. But I am seeing that overcoming shame is really a lifelong process.