Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gay marriage from the perspective of one who believed her father was gay

I grew up with the idea that my father was gay, but he was never honest about it, and he was one of the angriest men I have ever known. I understood even then some of the reasons he was not honest about it. We were living in Mormon Utah, and he would not have been rewarded in any way I thought for telling the truth. Finding himself gay, he was in a no win situation.
I always thought that being able to tell the truth was very important, and if others made it too hard for people to tell the truth, they were not valuing the truth either. This included my mother and the good Mormons around her. My father was a son of a man with more property than any rancher in town. My mother saw money in her future if she married my father, who was about 26 at the time, (she was all of 18) and I always thought that she, too, behaved with absolute fury when my father fell short of her ideal in husbands. She became an even angrier woman than he was man.
Without ever facing, of course, why he found himself unable to be an ideal husband, she was doomed to one of the most unhappy marriages I have ever witnessed. I could not see any fixing it. I just thought that they would have to muddle along taking care of their five children the best they could together, since neither was capable of taking care of them by themselves. I feared I would not even survive with my mother, and my father drank too much so he could not be trusted either. She needed to be there when his alcoholism got out of hand.
Obviously marriage was not working for a normal woman and a gay man. Had my father not become so addicted to alcohol, I could have pictured him in quite a happy relationship with one guy he seemed to prefer for a long time. But gay marriage? Obviously that idea was way ahead of our time.
I see that Mormons have infuriated the gay community by fighting gay marriage as though it was evil incarnate. Well, that is the way the religious tend to approach homosexuality, which means there are going to be a lot of angry people on both sides for years to come.
I did not regard it as an issue I needed to fight against, nor was I particularly for it, but I voted against it because I feel like a lot of issues need to be dealt with first. I came to knowledge about my father through molestation by two of his partners who had come to hate him. Their homosexual connection created a very disturbing element in it for me since that was so tough to fight. I could not tell about the molesting any more than I could reveal that I thought my father was gay. I wanted to scream at my father at five years old, you made this man furious by snubbing him on your weekend parties with younger guys, so he grabbed me! I witnessed my father in the trappings of what I thought was a sexual affair with this guy before the molesting began, and I thought of my mother at home with a new baby, and how angry she would be if she knew that every few days he went to this guy's cabin and spent at least an hour inside with him, while instructing me and my sister to go play and not bother them. My mind was just whirling with the magnitude of what I was witnessing with worse to come. The affair in my father's mind palled, he was much younger, this guy was too old in spite of being highly sexual which I found out when he molested me. My mother even said that he was too old and ugly for my father to take with him when the older guy became angry at being left home to do the chores. Unconsciously she was picking up on the sexual interplay between them without actually ever expressing her suspicions in so many words. If she even thought about homosexuality which I came to doubt. But she was angry all the time at my dad, and now I pretty much knew what he was doing to deserve her upset. She was really in a pickle I thought. You think children can't be that wise? If they have to deal with terrible situations they wise up in a hurry. Survival depends on it.
Anyway, out of that very rough beginning I developed a life time interest mainly in bisexual men who liked women, too, reminscent of my father.
Noel Coward despised men who used women sexually for advantage who actually preferred men he thought. So there are all kinds of reasons why a bisexual man will take up with a woman. But some I think have genuine feelings for women which they think were thwarted by molestation by males. A man intervenes in a young boy's sexual life, and then what is he? He may not even know if he did not have that orientation before molestation. He does not know what he could have been.
Early molestation is a very big problem here, naturally what parents greatly fear, not so much the homosexual but the homosexual pedofile who might in some way benefit from legal gay marriage. Which fear tends to make gays furious. However, I do not think that the mainstream of gays are willing to concede that pedofiles are a huge problems, both heterosexual and homosexual. If gays aren't concerned enough about the problem, this is cause for alarm, because it is perceived by parents as being soft on sexual interplay involving children.
I think at the present there is far too little dialogue between the different factions. Gays, to my mind, need to play a more activist role if they are going to get people to understand that their motives for wanting the right to legal gay marriage will not threaten society in basic ways. I get along with lesbian women very well because we are both women I think. I get along with bisexuals who are grateful that I try to understand them and am genuinely attracted to them if I feel their emotion is real. But gays in general I have a very tough time with. I think gays tend to be extremely angry, so if difficult subjects are brought up, such as molestation they may get so furious no dialogue is possible. All we can do is retreat to our different corners with an abyss between.
At the present I would say that gays are so sick of prejudice they have preferred isolating themselves from heterosexuals to mixing and mingling and trying to get along, especially when a great deal of ignorance and blind acceptance of religous values are involved. I can hardly blame them for that, but such blind acceptance helps no one. I left the church partly over this issue. I could not get my own thoughts about it accepted, even though I am not gay. I thought the religious became completely irrational when they had to deal with the specifics of a life style sexually different than their own.
Bisexuals existed long before my time. My father was by no means the first bisexual cowboy who has come along the pike. The work lends its self to guys who like to camp out with guys. I would say there are a lot of reasons why bisexuality develops among men who are isolated from women for certain periods of time in their work. But I believe my father to have been introduced to homosexual practices very young, so his development could probably also be attributed to molestation. I think that might be the primary reason he wanted to marry and father children. He was trying to be normal.
But he and my mother had no understanding about it, which I think became an insurmounatable problem in their having any kind of successful marriage. I blame my mother more for this than my father, because she punished him for not being normal. Everything was his fault. And she had a hair trigger temper and made us all suffer. My father had to protect me from her, since she found out she could hurt him by being mean to his children. She went a little crazy is all I can say.
Gay marriage might be a good idea but I think there needs to be a lot more dialogue about it, obviously, and absolutely furious people on both sides are not very apt to have meaningful dialogue.


Pamela said...

Such a sad situation for both of your parents. Neither one could be happy. I find it very sad.

ada said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ada said...

The way I see it, you have two willing and consenting adults that want to have a relationship "cemented" by a legal document. So be it. There's nothing to think about or talk about. Let them have their equal rights.
I strongly believe that just as some people are born with blue eyes, or whose genes dictate that they have dark hair, so too are some born homosexual. Granted there are those that have been brought to that level due to some kind of abuse as children, but I think that's a very small percentage. But that's just my theory.
The bottom line is that they are people; thinking, feeling, loving human beings that want to live their lives while not taking anything away from anyone nor hurting another soul.
I can see why your parents were so angry, having been in a situation they felt they had very little control over.
Very good entry, and I thank you for sharing it with us.

ada said...

Gerry, I wanted to let you know that I removed the previous comment because a sentence got all messed up upon hitting the post button.
;) Ada

sober white women said...

I have no idea what just happened to the long comment I left, so here we go again.
I have a friend who is gay and he said that he does not care either way if gay marriage gets passed or not. One of Ambers friends is gay and he wants to gay marriage passed. If there is going to be great change then it will have to come from the generation that is coming up. However we must fist get then registered to vote.


Blog Archive