While I was on vacation, I was at a family dinner, and one of the things that came up was a discussion about a local musician’s divorce. Now I’ve known him, and his ex-wife for over twenty-five years. They’re about my age, and have kids, who are about the same age as my kids, who my kids know, and used to play with.
I knew that they’d divorced. Didn’t know the details. During discussion after dinner, the details came out.
Apparently he’d finally admitted that he was gay. My response was that I wasn’t surprised. Jaws around the room dropped, so I had to explain.
I’d never had any clue that he was gay. Not once. But… He’s my age. He was in high school at the same time (early seventies). If you came out while in high school in the early seventies, the odds were that you’d be beaten to a pulp every day, until you dropped out. It really, truly, was a brutal era to be gay, or lesbian. In fact most people my age, who have come out, often speak of how terrified they were of their own feelings. They knew if they admitted to them, that they would be regarded as sub-human.
And I know a lot of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people. I think that nearly twenty percent of the people I know have what was at one time considered an ‘alternate sexuality’.
Another point was that unlike most couples I knew of who had gotten divorced, there weren’t any major visible problems, which pointed to a major, invisible problem. And many men my age still consider being gay something shameful, to be hidden.
So no, I wasn’t surprised that he was gay. Quite frankly I couldn’t think of any other reason he and his wife would have gotten divorced. In so many ways they were the perfect couple, both really, really, nice people.
So while I’m sad that their marriage ended, I’m also happy that he finally found the courage to admit to his sexuality. I suspect that the kids won’t have any problems with Daddy’s new life. I suspect that his wife has been devastated, and feel for her.
Wednesday November 24, 2010