Saturday, June 29, 2013

The other gay marriages


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.

Too 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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15 comments:

Ms Amanda said...

Beautifully stated.

Bill said...

I've been over here on the west coast, in the SF Bay Area for a long time. Gayness is not closeted and hasn't been for more than 20 years. Married and unmarried gay couples have been mowing their lawns, coaching little league, wearing ties to work, catering to their spouses/partners, etc., and, frankly, it's not a big deal. Now, there will be more weddings and more divorces and more people applying for federal spousal benefits. The celebration will last through the gay pride weekend.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I was wondering if someone was going to address this... Glad u did.. Growing up in the 60's I remember my mother commenting about 'the guys across the street'.. she never came out and used the word homosexual/gay.. she just mentioned about how two men lived across from us, one a court reporter and another whose job I forgot what... parents back then never talked too much in fact if they did about the guys across the street it was in hushed tones... she was more concerned about Christine Jorgensen- who back then was one of the first to change his sex... and the reason she was concerned was that she and dad named me Christine- my dad's choice... she assumed I would be stigmatized- which I wasn't... just learning to write it was bad enough, I wasn't bothered by the unmentioned reference.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Bill, you know where you find most closeted homosexuals like I've described in my post? I'm sure they're everywhere, but spend time in conservative towns like Cincinnati inside conservative business environments and communities.

San Fransisco is a million miles away from Lubbock, Texas and Columbia, South Carolina and Jackson, Mississippi.

I'm sure it's no where near what it used to be, but you can bet gay men still lie themselves and their brides into sad marriage all the time.

Bill said...

Straight men lie themselves and their brides into sad marriage all the time too! And there will be plenty of gay and lesbian people who will lie themselves into sad marriages. Does a bisexual person have about a 50/50 chance of being happy in marriage? A distant cousin of mine was married with two children and his wife's lesbian urges caused her to decide to leave the family and be with her soul mate. Sad but, just for the guy and his kids. This was 30 years ago. The difference now is that there are fewer people thinking that it's weird. I'm wondering, since marriage is definitely NOT about procreation anymore, why a court wouldn't allow two brothers, for example, to get married. I honestly don't care who gets married. Marriage equality is OK with me. It's true, though, that SF is a million miles away from places like Jackson Mississippi. You definitely won't see a mayoral candidate in Jackson, leading the annual Dykes on Bikes parade.

Anonymous said...

Advantage, Frisco.

Jackson does have better barbeque.

MR

Patricia said...

Really loved this post. Here's hoping anyone stuck in the closet can come out. Sadly, there's always going to be judgmental homophobes out there, the ones that liked DOMA.

Bill said...

For sure, Patricia! That Bill Clinton! Wow! Where was he coming from? Then there are all of those other haters. You know. The one's who hate anyone with strong religious beliefs. Like people who think snipping the spinal cord of a, born alive, baby, is immoral. Go figure.

Erin O'Brien said...

Poor Bill ...

Anonymous said...

This hatred of those with strong religious beliefs HAS gotten out of hand. Why not too long ago a man was shot down, murdered, in cold blood in his house of worship. He was taking his turn as an usher that month. He was a devout Lutheran. His name was George Tiller. He was a doctor.

MR

DogsDontPurr said...

I happened to end up in San Francisco this weekend, smack dab in the middle of Pride Weekend and gay marriage combined. (Not to mention public transit goes on strike tomorrow and the Fourth is coming up.) Not the best time to be here if you want to go anywhere (poor planning for a road trip...oops!), but I must say, the joy, the energy, the pure happiness is out in force! You cannot help but to get caught up in it. I have shed more than a few tears of happiness with strangers because their celebration is so big and so full of meaning and importance.

I joked with Alan, saying "When are they going to legalize this for the straight people?!" We take way too many things for granted.

Also, I seriously don't get why anyone would want to deny such joy and happiness. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

eviljwinter said...

My previous marriage and that of Mrs. Winter were both done in by heterosexuals.

I think we need to do something about that.

So, wingnuts, what's your solution to our nagging breeder problem? Hmmm?

Anonymous said...

Correctomundo, Oh evil one...to paraphrase the great philosopher and ethicist Ralph E. May, if you're uncomfortable with gay people, blame straight people. By definition gay people can't make gay people. Only straight people can do that.

MR

Erin O'Brien said...

I wonder if this individual understands that her (ahem) definition of marriage would have anyone who has had a vasectomy, tubal ligation or hysterectomy--along with all post-menopausal women and a host of other infertile heterosexuals--ineligible for marriage.

Sorry, sir, this sperm count is a little low. You'll need to step on over to the Civil Union window along with all them gay folk and old broads.

Yeah yeah. Ain't it beautiful watching all the righties go batshit crazy over this?

J9 said...

It's been a while since I stopped by, and I must tell you how much I loved this. My thoughts are that the true beauty of the changing hearts and minds is with the little kids. The ones who are teased on the playground and if born too soon would have turned into those men we all know. Now they can know that they are valued and can have the life they want and the happiness they deserve.