Do these attributes ring any bells for you, as they do for me?
A conversation this week with a new acquaintance raised the old-for-me question: why do I oppose gay marriage? Don’t gays deserve equal rights with heterosexuals? Don’t I want them to have the same opportunities for happiness I enjoy?
Why do I deviate from the “Straight Spouse” standard reply that, because I love my ex-husband, I want him to be happy in his “real self”? After all, how does gay marriage hurt me, individually? personally? —
Discussing abstract realities is always difficult, and this is an abstract; that is, it’s a reality that cannot be known by our physical senses (touch, sight, hearing, taste, etc.). Nevertheless, I keep coming to a place where I have to try to — not persuade, that’s not in my sphere of influence! But I do hope to speak well enough that people get even a partial glimpse of how I see things, from “behind my eyeballs” as it were. So I keep trying, hoping the same old responses don’t feel tired to the person who’s reading them, while I keep reaching for better ways to say what I perceive and feel.
The question “how does gay marriage hurt you?” is bantered about like a challenge the opponent is suppose to yield, unable to defend. But gay marriage does hurt me. It hurts all of us.
Gay marriage suggests that there is no distinction between the sexes, that we are interchangeable parts of a social construct. This is an attitude that demeans me as a woman — demeans all women (and men, too). It says we have no intrinsic value or worth due our sex. It says that the rejection of the opposite sex in favor of a different type of union is acceptable and laudable.
It also says that I have no value as a wife — that unique relationship to a husband that simply cannot be replicated in same-sex unions. Of course, this is why California has abandoned the language of gender and opted for “Spouse One and Spouse Two” in their legal processes.
I was demeaned in my marriage to a homosexual. I was unworthy of companionship, of basic, nonsexual affection. I was merely a personified abstract — a Wife — behind which my then-husband could hide. This misogynistic attitude is only legitimated through a recognition of gay marriage: it is a society saying that I, as a woman and as a wife, have no meaning, no value. I am again only a personified abstract, this time expected to approve the very things that diminish my worth and render me inconsequential.
This I will not do.
I questioned why the professional community taxed with screening gender reassignment candidates has not been more capable of recognizing the severe dysfunctions operating in the LGBT community, particularly in those lesbian households that are putting little boys on the transgender trainwreck. But perhaps the answer to that lies here:
“. . . the aggression shown by the LGBT community toward people who question whether children should prepare to have their genitals surgically altered and be injected with massive doses of hormones is such that clinicians are terrified to continue searching for the truth.”
The original article is available from the Wall Street Journal, but they demanded I subscribe before I could access the article. I’m not in the market for a paid subscription of a work I only use a few times a year, rather than daily, cover to cover.
The LGBT community certainly is aggressive, even hostile, in the face of opposition. Last week I posted a story by Janna Darnelle about her experiences divorcing, or being divorced by, a man who’d decided to come out of the closet. Later in the week, this article appeared with an update, revealing that, in the aftermath of Janna’s article’s publication, and widespread sharing on the internet, the Gay Mafia has gone berserk with trying to punish her.
I highly recommend Rivka’s update, full of great information and insights such as this one:
“You want to marry a man and you are a man? Society does not owe you women’s children, women’s eggs, or women’s bodies.”
I would add, ” . . . or our hearts and souls.”
After a few dismally disappointing attempts at dating, and after watching some other women go through the seek-a-man process, I have a few observations to offer:
1. Women who’ve been married to a gay man are scared to death of having to go through that trauma again. For years, I looked at every man I met as “gay until proven otherwise,” and I’ve discovered I’m not alone in this reaction.
2. Women who’ve been married to a gay man have a hard time figuring out what is “normal” (whatever the heck that means) heterosexual male behavior and character. After all, we completely missed out on our ex-husbands’ homosexuality! Bad “Gaydar” and all that.
3. Women who’ve been married to a gay man agonize over #s 1 and 2. Agonize. As if our lives depended on it.
4. Women who’ve been married to a gay man are sexually vulnerable. Because our husbands were so stingy with affection, we become programmed to equate physical attention with affection. With Love. When a man shows a bit of sexual interest in us, we’re so damned affection-starved it’s really hard to recognize that he’s interested in sexual pleasure and not necessarily in us as human beings, as living souls. Sadly, there are some men who will exploit our vulnerability for their own pleasure, just as our husbands exploited our trusting nature in order to provide some sort of front for their own sense of inadequacy.
5. Women who’ve been married to a gay man have a hard time recognizing “Players” from serious men, in consequence of #4.
6. Women who’ve been married to a gay man appear to fall into one extreme or the other: either we marry quickly to cover up our loneliness and fear of not being good enough (and not always well or wisely), or we get scared of our own inability to recognize “healthy” or “normal” men from the jerks.
7. Related to several of the above observations, women who’ve been married to a gay man tend to be adapters, people-pleasers, accommodaters. A girlfriend and I spent two hours on the phone, one night, talking about a man we both knew, who was making overtures to her, dissecting some of his quirks and trying to figure out whether they were “normal” or danger signals. “Is this something I should just put up with?” she asked. We just do not know the difference.
We also struggle with basic friendships – the topic of my next post.
While it might be debatable, just whether, to what extent, and in what order of events homosexuality is a mental illness, I think it’s quite certain that our marriages were very sick.
Living with a gay man is not an easy task, or a pleasant one. The first manifestation of this is a dearth of physical affection and intimacy. It’s highly revealing that one of the first things ex-wives want to talk about, when we find one another, is sex. Rather, the utter lack of it. It’s as if we’re grasping for reassurance:was my experience unique? is something wrong with me, or did you go through this, too?
One woman told me she could count on one hand the number of times she and her husband had sex – although they were married for more than seven years. My own husband would flinch if i demonstrated the most benign and nonsexual affection by resting my hand on his shoulder or his arm: “Don’t do that!” he’d explode. “You know that bothers me!” When he would condescend to hug me, it was done gingerly, actually touching me as little as possible, as if he were afraid of catching something.
For a woman who is as affectionate in nature as I am, and who came from a family of very affectionate people, that hurt terribly. It hurts all of us.
We were ignored, rebuffed, as companions as well as lovers. Our husbands didn’t mind talking about their work – a topic in which they could dominate and control the topic and our participation was severely limited, but they didn’t want to really communicate with us. Our husbands have used a lot of mechanisms to shut us out, from television to workaholism to spending all their spare time with their buddies …
And did you know your husband’s friends? Because I never met mine. They were “some guys I know through work,” but I never met them, or learned their names, or anything else about them. He never liked the men we went to church with. He complained they were snobs, while I thought they were terrific fellows. Now I realize that he – so many gay men – have to cut others down because they’re so insecure in their own tenuous masculinity; the men in our church, straight men, were a threat; through them he might be found out for what he really was.
And, of course, for so many of us, all these issues had to be our fault.
We’re women – we are created to adapt and to yield. When we are said to pour our selves into a relationship, it’s true: we adapt to fit the mold we’ve chosen. So when the “mold” kept changing and pushing us away… what’s wrong with me? became the relentless cry of our hearts.
Discovering our husbands are gay doesn’t quiet that cry, as noted by the point, above, that we seek reassurance from one another that our situation was not unique, and therefore was probably not our own fault.
So now we must take stock, recognize that it’s not us – if we’d been perfect, it would not have been enough! – and begin the process of recovering our own serenity and wellbeing.
We are still embroiled in controversy, here in North Carolina, after Tuesday’s vote on the Marriage Amendment. There have been a lot of insults thrown our way, even by straight friends of gays who think we should have grown up and become more “with the times.” I’ve even seen comments like “I’m ashamed to be from NC” from people I grew up with, who were raised in traditional Christian homes with traditional, old-fashioned Christian moral values.
I’ve tried to find out from a couple of these friends how they’ve come to abandon as evil the values we were raised with, but no one is willing – or able – to give me an answer.
In the wake of this, I’ve looked at a couple of other “straight spouse” websites, and I’m disappointed, to say the very least, that each of them advocates for gay “marriage.”
Can you think of anything more insulting?
When my husband and I stood before God and man and exchanged promises, vows, with one another, we were participating in something holy. We thought in terms of “covenant” – an agreement between God and ourselves, instituting a new family bond; now I think of marriage also as a sacrament.
He entered this covenant falsely – I like to think it was not a malicious falsehood, but a lack of understanding on his part (we were, after all, very young at the time, and “nice people” simply did not discuss some things, where we lived), but it was false.
Nevertheless, the nature of the covenant is not destroyed by that false or mistaken attempt – my own intentions are not invalidated by his incapacity to enter into the sacrament.
And other women who’ve been through this, who are supposed to understand just what we’ve gone through, are telling me that I have an obligation to demonstrate goodwill and “friendship” by supporting –
a mockery! a travesty! a farce! an obscene mockery!
No! I will not betray my worth as a human being, my dignity and value as a woman, my purpose and significance as a wife, by sanctioning this bawdy burlesque.
I’m not a poet. I sure wish I were. I’ve had a poem floating around in my head for several years now. Well, the beginning and the end.
It would begin, simply, I thought I stood at the brink of Hell... and then it would twist and turn in those solar-plexus-hitting ways that good poetry has, in memories of the hard times, the abject fear that wrenched me as we were separating, the fear that the contempt was grounded in reality, etc., etc., etc….
but it would end, But it was Purgatory. Purgatory – that place Catholics believe in -more a state of being, perhaps than a geographical location in the Cosmos – where we are purged of our sins and selfish-self-love and cleaned of our love for worldly things that have meant more to us than God.
Being married to a homosexual is one of those things I would not wish on my worst enemy. It’s also one of those things I wouldn’t take a million bucks for (not in today’s economy, by any means!) for what I learned about myself in the process:
I am strong. I am resilient. I have good instincts. I am not stupid, or unrealistic, or irrational, or boring, or undesirable; I am intelligent, and perceptive and so often I was right about the values and ideals that he couldn’t face up to… and (straight) men love to talk to me about all sorts of things and even now I rebuff advances (blush) —
and THIS is what I want this blog to be about, ultimately. NOT about disparaging my ex- or other gays. Yes, understanding what goes on behind the scenes is important to our finding our balance after such an event, but we mustn’t wallow in our grief and sense of loss!
Life is beautiful – and so are we.
(Language warning – but this is why I rated this blog PG-13)
I get pretty angry when I see/hear people talking about homosexuality as if it were all sweetness and light. The willful ignorance of the general population toward homosexuality is appalling.
I have a hard time keeping a civil tongue in my head when I encounter discussion about gay rights, gay marriage, as if homosexual “love” were just like heterosexual love… with certain… anatomical… distinctions.
Think that if you wish, but you’re not thinking at all if you do. The dynamic of homosexual relationships is not like heterosexual ones. There is a violence – physical violence in the sex act and emotional violence in the way gays treat one another and everyone else.
There is nothing sweet or normal about the anger and sarcasm and emotional violence and the general contempt for other people, the basic “F*** you” attitude that marks the gay community in regards to everyone else who isn’t a part of that community – or, in their language, all us heterosexists.
Look. In heterosexual relationships, there is a complementarity of being: masculine/feminine, both equally strong but in different ways. In the gay community, relationships are identified by dominant/passive-receptive. According to Queer Net, this is called the active-passive split: “–a mode of thought found in some cultures in which, in male-male sexual activity, the only one who is perverted is the bottom. In this mode of thought, a man who would allow himself to get fucked is thought weak and womanish, whereas the top retains his manhood because he is doing the fucking.”
Note that the male partner in the receptive or “female” role is the one regarded with contempt and derision.
The slang of the gay community is further evidence of this violence and contempt. It’s rude, it’s ugly to call a homosexual a “queen”? Guess what? That’s what they call themselves and each other. Is it ugly to call a straight girl attracted to gay men a “fag hag”? Well, guess what, again! The term was coined by gays! Someone told me that my ex- is a “bitch queen” – a term given to a particularly campy or catty gay man. Do you really think I’m being nasty and ill-tempered to use these words, here? Would I be if I were a lesbian?
But the language is nothing compared to the physical acts. Do you know that gay men are likely to have a variety of gay-specific infections and medical complications, not including AIDS, that the rest of the population has never heard of? That gay men in the passive role lose the ability to have normal bowel movements? have to wear feminine hygiene products to catch the bleeding? There is nothing noble, heroic, beautiful or “sweet” about a man having his anal sphincter ripped open by another man’s dick. Okay?
And there’s nothing sweet, loving, or honorable about a man doing that to another man.
People think homosexuality is about what goes on in the bedroom – a preference to have sexual intercourse with someone of the same rather than opposite sex. This is a serious misunderstanding. Homosexuality is about an individual’s orientation toward the same and opposite sex in every dimension of life – in the living room, kitchen, and workplace.
In my dreams, we laugh and talk and work together. In my dreams, he loves me – even after all these years. The reality of our life together was much different: neglect relieved by insults and ridicule and outright contempt.
More than twenty years after the divorce, I’m still recovering from those twelve very difficult, painful, demoralizing years. While it’s entirely possible that he might have been an equally contemptuous misogynist if he were straight, the fact that he is gay cannot be discounted from the toxicity of our marital relationship, even though he continues to insist that his being gay had nothing to do with our divorce.
When I was going through it all, there was no one to talk with, no one I trusted. My support network developed far more recently. I’m determined that no woman within my circle of influence suffer as I did.