I've known three in my life, at least three that I was pretty sure about because I inadvertently witnessed something secret. There was a fourth, but I couldn't say with conviction he was the real deal like the other three. They all broke my heart. I wonder what ever happened to them.
Married men, family men. Attentive and sweet to their wives. Doting with the kids. They followed all the rules meticulously: mowing the lawn in baggy Bermudas on Saturday afternoon, attending galas in sharp tuxedos on Saturday night and coaching the little league team on Sunday morning. The office and briefcase rounded out the week. Their silk ties were always perfect.
Ten years ago, twenty years ago, fifty years ago, no years ago. It doesn't matter. There is an entire army of gay men who shoved their homosexuality into the closet and locked it there. They bravely stepped into hetero life. They married and just ... what? Maybe they hoped their sexuality would go away or maybe they pushed it away with drugs and alcohol (one of the ones I knew was constantly popping Valium). Maybe they ended up stealing taboo pleasures in filthy bathroom stalls. Remember Larry Craig? A lot of people laughed at the conservative politician from Idaho. I didn't. There's nothing funny about denying something as human and innate as your sexuality.
The polls and headlines tell us attitudes towards homosexuality are changing with lightning speed. However fast it happens, it will never be fast enough for all those gay men who were so afraid of what they were that they cheated themselves out of an honest life and the simple joys of natural love. I'll leave the painful silence of their wives for another essay.
So then, dear readership, while politicians decried the downfall of a sacred institution and flamboyant celebrants waved rainbow colored flags in the wake of this week's SCOTUS rulings, the true victory was quietly marked. It bloomed within the men I knew all those years ago and countless others just like them as they mused on the day when no one will feel compelled to live the lie:
It's getting closer.
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