If ignorance is the basis to what leads to hate, I want to clear up as much as I am able in regards to why I chose to marry a woman, after once being married to a man. My underlying hope in this disclosure will be to invoke deeper understanding into the humanness of us all regardless of sexual orientation.
It is my fundamental belief that all of us share the common desire to be loved, cherished and respected.
But first let me share that as I sit in the relative comfort of my home in this very moment typing these words, I am surrounded by doubts as I stare at the title at the top of this blog. Literally, my heart rate is increasing and I am afraid that I will be making a mistake in outing myself on my web site. I am more than aware that my blog feeds directly into my professional web site as a Psychotherapist, and I am beginning to fear this may affect my future client base. The simple choice of who I married runs deeply through the veins of haters in this world who would wish to see me, and others like me, dead.
This constant concern and doubt is part of what has become my reality; however, I can no longer feel comfortable with my own silence. I must stand up and find my courageous skin, colored with my own identity, so that I may help put a face to our community and reduce the stigma associated with being gay. If I cannot stand up and be counted, I am part of the problem.
Keeping silent is no longer an option for me. I am compelled to do my part.
As those close to me know, I just finished riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle ride last week. In this ride, we cyclists travel from SFO to LA in 545 miles of hard-core road biking as a fundraising effort to end AIDS. There were 2500 of us this year. I was riding alongside a gathering of people who came together from all different backgrounds, sexual orientations, and cultures to form a community of shared hope and love. At around mile 180, I saw a car riding up towards us from across the street. As I put my finger on my bike bell to honor them honking in support of us (which was most of the people we came across), I noticed that a 20ish year old girl was hanging out the passenger side of the car flipping all of us riders off with her middle finger. Her face was transformed through ugliness into a grimace of passionate hatred.
Why so much hatred?
I have considered this deeply as I have had the experience of automatic privilege that comes from marrying a man. I have then had to understand the consequences of choosing to marry a woman instead.
I have decided it all comes down to my bedroom. Frankly, it comes down to my sex life. The reality is, I could be a woman who decides to buy a home with another woman, raise my kids with her, travel with her and share my life with her. These things are acceptable in society as they can be written off as two friends who couldn’t find a husband, sharing life challenges together as companions who love each other. I even think there is a term for it: Spinsters.
All is socially acceptable until those two women actually have sex together. Once sex is involved, all bets are off and people who you have never met in your life instantly hate you and are disgusted by you. Really? How did sex get so important? I mean, it’s definitely fun and all, but worthy of death? I don’t know about you, but it seems a bit extreme to me.
Why is anyone but me even interested in what goes on in the privacy of my bedroom? No one seemed to care about my sex life when it was with the men I had messed around with…I would go so far as to say that no one even considered my sex life at all before I married a woman. But let me tell you, the minute I reached out in public and held my wife’s hand, it became one of the first thoughts that now crosses people’s minds when they look at us. You should see some of the expressions that I watch happen as people realize what they are seeing and it dawns on them that they are looking at REAL LIFE LESBIANS!
“EEEEK, run for your life, hide your children, wash your hands”…. Surely it must be contagious.
The idea that we want to convert straight people or have sex with anyone we can find because we are desperate and crazed sex maniacs is ridiculous. Heard the one about goats? Seriously? This is as far from the truth as is possible, and yet is also somehow what drives so much fear into the minds of homophobic people.
So I want to make this really clear and simple. Here is my answer:
Why did I marry a woman?
I married a woman because I fell madly in love with her in the sweetest possible way. It was unexpected, beautiful, and the stuff love stories are made of. I married a woman who was the first person in my life that had my back, made me feel safe, and loved me completely for exactly the person I am. Isn’t this the reason people marry each other?
Here is my secret to tell: It didn’t matter that she didn’t have a penis. …….shhh, don’t tell anyone else.
I am not over simplifying it; I married a woman because I found my person in this world and she happened to be a girl. It wasn’t more complicated than that. I was lucky enough to see beyond gender, and allow myself to be completely loved by another human being for the first time in my life.
Love is beyond gender or anatomy. Love transcends.
Our marriage is probably like many of yours. We go to the grocery store, do dishes, travel and run a business together. We raise kids (who are amazing, thank you), pay bills and have pets. We are not the crazy lesbian cat people, but are coming close with 3 rescue cats. We are everyday people. We are your neighbors, we teach your kids PE, and watch TV. We may not have to argue over who puts the lid down on the toilet, but maybe battle a bit more over who used the last tampon. Really, it’s not anything out of the ordinary. She likes to cook; I like to bake. Differences we have learned to manage.
In all seriousness though, the isolating variable in our lives, is that people all over the world hate us who don’t even know us. You can not imagine how vulnerable a feeling that is.
Orlando happened to all of us. Horrific violence can be as simple as the girl who hung out the window during my AIDS ride last week pulling out a semi-automatic weapon and firing on us during our ride. It is unimaginable, unbelievable perhaps, and yet it is happening right now at this very moment in our world.
I don’t need you to want my lifestyle for your own; although, I do hope you have a marriage that is based in the same fundamental truths as mine. I hope you are as supported, safe and loved as I am by my wife. I wish that on everyone. I believe if everyone was as cared about and loved as we are in our marriage, that there would be no place for hatred.
My hope for our world is tolerance. I am willing to end my silence to further this aim.