Gay Men Who Marry Women

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 09, 2012 6:09 AM GMT
    I've never understood why a man would do this, so I'd like to get a further insight on this.

    Why would you marry a woman if you know you're gay? Do you feel ashamed for essentially lying to your wife, family/friends, and yourself? How does it feel to live in a lie for so many years? I'm genuinley interested.

    It seems like such a devious thing to do - but maybe I'm being naive. icon_eek.gif
  • BmwKid92

    Posts: 1097

    Apr 09, 2012 6:19 AM GMT
    This is a tough question... I can see myself Living with my Girlfriend only cause i don't believe a piece of paper has any significance, too commitment, but thats because I like both genders, I also would love to have kids my dude...
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    Apr 09, 2012 6:23 AM GMT
    k1ng saidThis is a tough question... I can see myself Living with my Girlfriend only cause i don't believe a piece of paper has any significance, too commitment, but thats because I like both genders, I also would love to have kids my dude...


    You're bi, not gay.
  • BmwKid92

    Posts: 1097

    Apr 09, 2012 6:24 AM GMT
    your asking a Taboo question that i doubt any guy is gonna answer.... goodluck bet money if they do they'll be faceless
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    Apr 09, 2012 6:25 AM GMT
    k1ng saidyour asking a Taboo question that i doubt any guy is gonna answer.... goodluck bet money if they do they'll be faceless


    Lol they're hiding in their marriage, so hiding in a gay community forum doesn't seem like a big surprise to me.
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    Apr 09, 2012 6:35 AM GMT
    I think it was a more common practice for older generations who couldn't be out of the closet. In some cases, they probably lived in denial thinking they could just ignore their gay tendencies. In other cases, they lived in fear and felt they had to live the hetero lifestyle to stay hidden. Depending on the culture or religion, there can be an enormous pressure to get married and have kids. The reasons vary.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Apr 09, 2012 12:49 PM GMT
    DudeInNOVA saidI think it was a more common practice for older generations who couldn't be out of the closet. In some cases, they probably lived in denial thinking they could just ignore their gay tendencies. In other cases, they lived in fear and felt they had to live the hetero lifestyle to stay hidden. Depending on the culture or religion, there can be an enormous pressure to get married and have kids. The reasons vary.


    This. OP, you are 19 and living in Canada, you live in a place and time where there are fewer pressures/fears affecting how and when a person comes out- if ever. While it is great, understand that most of the world is not nearly as accepting as the city you live in.
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    Apr 09, 2012 12:50 PM GMT
    You aren't being naive, but because of your age, a little lack of perspective. I'm 61 and when I was in the 'formative gay' years we had no role models, no positive media or social support. If you went to the library (no internet) all you found were books that described your 'condition' as a perversion.

    All of the literature, movies, etc. had sad homosexuals that committed suicide at the end rather than face the world.

    I did get married to try and change. I felt that if I changed my behavior, I could change my thoughts. I hoped and prayed it would work. It didn't.

    Luckily, we have a wonderful son and I have a relatively good relationship with my ex wife.

    Now why gay men marry women NOW, that is a puzzle.

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    Apr 09, 2012 1:05 PM GMT
    Bigsmiles saidYou aren't being naive, but because of your age, a little lack of perspective. I'm 61 and when I was in the 'formative gay' years we had no role models, no positive media or social support. If you went to the library (no internet) all you found were books that described your 'condition' as a perversion.

    All of the literature, movies, etc. had sad homosexuals that committed suicide at the end rather than face the world.

    I did get married to try and change. I felt that if I changed my behavior, I could change my thoughts. I hoped and prayed it would work. It didn't.

    Luckily, we have a wonderful son and I have a relatively good relationship with my ex wife.

    Now why gay men marry women NOW, that is a puzzle.



    Good points. It is difficult to imagine the world pre-internet and how difficult it was to rationalize homosexuality back then. I would say the internet was the biggest single factor in my coming out to myself. It helped me realise that, far from being some rare oddity, being gay was relatively common and perfectly normal. Fortunately, this was about the same time the UK lifted the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces. I met most of my dates via the internet and most were very positive experiences.
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    Apr 09, 2012 1:36 PM GMT
    You assume that all gay men all start out as gay. That's not necessarily true. I know many gay men who, just like me, didn't know they like men until later in life (e.g., 20's, 30's etc.). Some got married and even had children not knowing they'd turn out gay later in life. If my hetero relationship had worked out when I was 21, I could have gotten married to a woman and my marriage at that time would not have been a lie or a fraud. Not every married gay man got married to cover up something or hide a personal agenda. Let's get this bullshit out of our heads. If you haven't been in their shoes, don't judge them because you don't know what the fuck you're saying.
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    Apr 09, 2012 1:41 PM GMT
    DOMINUS saidYou assume that all gay men all start out as gay. That's not necessarily true. I know many gay men who, just like me, didn't know they like men until later in life (e.g., 20's, 30's etc.). Some got married and even had children not knowing they'd turn out gay later in life. If my hetero relationship had worked out when I was 21, I could have gotten married to a woman and my marriage at that time would not have been a lie or a fraud. Not every married gay man married to cover up something. Let's get this bullshit out of our heads. If you haven't been in their shoes, don't judge them because you don't know what the fuck you're saying.
    I dont believe this for a split second. The 'degree' to ones homosexual tendencies, i.e. the kinsey scale for lack of a better measure, is something you 'know' from a very early age.
    MOST here can attest to that. I knew I was 'different' from a very early age and struggled to understand it within that 'old fashioned condemning' environment I was raised in. That environment is different today. BigSmiles got it dead on!

    Edited to add:

    I am supremely sexual and nonjudgmental, always pushing the envelope. I won't judge you, so keep your judgment to yourself. Oh, by the way, I swing both ways some times. (from your profile, says alot!)
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    Apr 09, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    DOMINUS saidYou assume that all gay men all start out as gay. That's not necessarily true. I know many gay men who, just like me, didn't know they like men until later in life (e.g., 20's, 30's etc.). Some got married and even had children not knowing they'd turn out gay later in life. If my hetero relationship had worked out when I was 21, I could have gotten married to a woman and my marriage at that time would not have been a lie or a fraud. Not every married gay man married to cover up something. Let's get this bullshit out of our heads. If you haven't been in their shoes, don't judge them because you don't know what the fuck you're saying.
    I dont believe this for a split second. The 'degree' to ones homosexual tendencies, i.e. the kinsey scale for lack of a better measure, is something you 'know' from a very early age.
    MOST here can attest to that. I knew I was 'different' from a very early age and struggled to understand it within that 'old fashioned condemning' environment I was raised in. That environment is different today. BigSmiles got it dead on!

    Edited to add:

    I am supremely sexual and nonjudgmental, always pushing the envelope. I won't judge you, so keep your judgment to yourself. Oh, by the way, I swing both ways some times. (from your profile, says alot!)



    Proves my point. For many gay guys, there's only one answer to everything--and it's usually theirs.
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    Apr 09, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    Bigsmiles saidYou aren't being naive, but because of your age, a little lack of perspective. I'm 61 and when I was in the 'formative gay' years we had no role models, no positive media or social support. If you went to the library (no internet) all you found were books that described your 'condition' as a perversion.

    All of the literature, movies, etc. had sad homosexuals that committed suicide at the end rather than face the world.

    I did get married to try and change. I felt that if I changed my behavior, I could change my thoughts. I hoped and prayed it would work. It didn't.

    Luckily, we have a wonderful son and I have a relatively good relationship with my ex wife.

    Now why gay men marry women NOW, that is a puzzle.

    +10

    And in my case, I really didn't understand I was gay, because I didn't fit into the gay stereotype of the 1950s and '60s, the era when I was raised. I wasn't effeminate, had zero interest in wearing women's clothing, didn't prance or lisp, liked to do all the manly outdoor stuff (except team sports). I thought those were the essential elements that defined a sissy gay, things I wasn't.

    But I also knew I wasn't aroused by women, only men, and rationalized that was just some kinky thing, and I never acted on it. Instead I finally caved to parental pressure to marry and give them heirs, and also because not having a wife like everyone else was beginning to hinder my US Army Officer's career.

    By the time I realized my true orientation I was already separated from my wife. And felt guilty that I had married 2 women in ignorance of what I am, and caused them unhappiness.

    Which is one reason why I encourage gay men to accept who they are, and refuse the role that family & society wants to impose on us. It only make us miserable, as well as our wives, who don't get the straight husband they want. And it certainly doesn't "cure" us.
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    Apr 09, 2012 2:03 PM GMT
    DOMINUS said
    TropicalMark said
    DOMINUS saidYou assume that all gay men all start out as gay. That's not necessarily true. I know many gay men who, just like me, didn't know they like men until later in life (e.g., 20's, 30's etc.). Some got married and even had children not knowing they'd turn out gay later in life. If my hetero relationship had worked out when I was 21, I could have gotten married to a woman and my marriage at that time would not have been a lie or a fraud. Not every married gay man married to cover up something. Let's get this bullshit out of our heads. If you haven't been in their shoes, don't judge them because you don't know what the fuck you're saying.
    I dont believe this for a split second. The 'degree' to ones homosexual tendencies, i.e. the kinsey scale for lack of a better measure, is something you 'know' from a very early age.
    MOST here can attest to that. I knew I was 'different' from a very early age and struggled to understand it within that 'old fashioned condemning' environment I was raised in. That environment is different today. BigSmiles got it dead on!

    Edited to add:

    I am supremely sexual and nonjudgmental, always pushing the envelope. I won't judge you, so keep your judgment to yourself. Oh, by the way, I swing both ways some times. (from your profile, says alot!)



    Proves my point. For many gay guys, there's only one answer to everything--and it's usually theirs.
    This isnt a 'point' game. sorry. You indeed JUDGED the OP whom happens to be "gay" all the while you profess to be a 99 yr old bisexual. Apparently your answer is the only "right one" according to you.

    Your integrity is suspect.
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    Apr 09, 2012 3:47 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH saidI made the (at the time) rational decision to marry a lesbian friend because we both wanted children. We agreed to stay in the relationship until (if it happened) that we met Mr. or Ms. Right, then we would deal with it. We lasted almost 12 years, and she did meet Ms. Right, and they wound up taking the kids and moving to the suburb of Montclair NJ, a very gay-affirming town.

    Even after she moved, I stayed in the city but I was very involved in the kids' lives until they grew up and out of the house. My ex-wife died almost seven years ago, so I'm the only parent they've got now, which is another incentive for keeping healthy as I get older.

    Interesting story. Does your ex's partner have any contact with your children now, since you indicate they lived with your ex for some period? You say you're their only parent (and your concern for them is commendable), but what about the other lesbian?

    BTW, I lived in Upper Montclair, founded by my Dutch ancestors, and took a degree from Montclair State. My sister attended Lacodaire for girls, and me the Montclair Academy for boys, perhaps you know them.
  • laxdude25

    Posts: 604

    Apr 09, 2012 3:55 PM GMT
    I'm bi, so maybe this answer is irrelevant to the posting. But just to add a perspective. I was exclusively hetero through college. After graduation my best buddy hit on me, we connected and I decided I must be gay and I came out to family and friends. My buddy and I had a 2 year relationship, but broke up for a variety of issues. After a while, I met another great guy and had an 18 month relationship. After that ended, I went back to dating guys and women, and eventually met my wife. It turns out that she was the one person who totally accepted me, understood my sexuality best, and is the right life partner for me. I'm sure my story is similar for some subset of married guys. That said, I'm sure there are still many gay men who marry before they truly accept their sexuality, and/or are hoping that it is a passing phase.
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    Apr 09, 2012 5:01 PM GMT
    The tax incentives. Pooled resources. Companionship. Also it is just a way to express your "otherness" in an entirely new way that you can look at "real couples" shopping at Whole Foods and just be like ... hehehe that's not us!

    I have not personally done it. But I would totally do it if a woman was serious about it and had something of her own going career-wise; I would not do it just to get a gold-digger off the street. I have a demanding career. I could use the pooled resources, companionship, and another pair of hands to help out with my dog if I need to work really late one night or on the weekend. I also want kids ... so that would solve that problem instead of having to enter the alternative conceptions realm fraught with risk, with a complete stranger or someone I did not fully trust.
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    Apr 09, 2012 5:26 PM GMT
    As its been stated by several on this forum, go back 30 years and it was a very diiferent world. For my part, I was also extremely religious. A fervent evangelical. Add those together (ie lack of any social acceptance and a religious belief that gave you the hope of a different future), and I took the bait. I never denied to myself that I was gay, though, and was out to my closes friends, even my brother from the time I was 19. But as we were all religious, always viewed it as a "cross to bear".

    Also, in the grand scheme of things sexual expression is a very small part of marriage. My ex and I have an amicable divorce and remain good friends. Still though I would never suggest that anyone travel the path I did.
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    Apr 09, 2012 6:30 PM GMT
    Well there you have it. There's alot going on @bigsmile, @art deco, @Trollileo etc take your pic. There isn't anything extra I could add, other then that is difficult when you are young and of a different generation. Hope the comments here will help you put your dilemma into perspective. As time goes on I guess you will have your own story to tell. Circumstances alter cases and all that. Have you thought in your generation the fact that you are out if you decided to have a Girlfriend she would actually know you are Gay and the whole relationship would have a different perspective. Good question though for a guy of your age. It helps us all see how different it can be now and all the Rights the Gay Community sought for and gained down the years have been worth it.
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Apr 09, 2012 6:39 PM GMT
    dan_x said
    k1ng saidThis is a tough question... I can see myself Living with my Girlfriend only cause i don't believe a piece of paper has any significance, too commitment, but thats because I like both genders, I also would love to have kids my dude...


    You're bi, not gay.
    i think most married men who sleep with men are bi but because society does not view bi men in the same respect as bi women they just commit to being gay rather than being bi. i think you are being a little judgemental about the topic but that is me. There are many reasons why people lie and they should not be judged for doing so. i am bi and do not know who or what gender i will end up with but when i do. i will be open about it.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Apr 09, 2012 6:41 PM GMT
    A lot of people honestly didn't even realize there was another option.
    What we can conceive of is remarkably constrained by what we've been exposed to.
    Some gay people of my parent's generation (mid 50s) didn't even know that "gay" was a thing you could be until well into adulthood. They had feelings for people of the same sex, but they literally didn't know how to processes it. Other's had a better idea, but hoped it would go away. For many it's been a shame -- they haven't had any good reason to think of their same sex attractions as being any healthier than a desire to drink alcohol or gamble. They were trying to be healthy and normal -and- maybe just fell off the wagon from time to time.

    The idea that being gay is a reasonable, ethically or morally acceptable, or healthy thing is a relatively new concept in the West. At least in the context of the last hundreds to *literally thousands of years.

    You're lucky enough to be on the cusp of another major change in civilization. Many haven't been. And many still live among pockets that haven't accepted, or at least internalized, this new perspective.
  • laxdude25

    Posts: 604

    Apr 09, 2012 6:43 PM GMT
    Great postings, tuffguyndc and neosyllogy. Nice to see some open minded perspectives on this subject.
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    Apr 09, 2012 6:49 PM GMT
    dan_x saidI've never understood why a man would do this, so I'd like to get a further insight on this.

    Why would you marry a woman if you know you're gay? Do you feel ashamed for essentially lying to your wife, family/friends, and yourself? How does it feel to live in a lie for so many years? I'm genuinley interested.

    It seems like such a devious thing to do - but maybe I'm being naive. icon_eek.gif


    You don't understand why a man would do this because you are only 19 and haven't lived in an era when homosexually really wasn't as accepted as it is now. You probably weren't raised in a staunchly Christian family, never went to religion-affiliated schools, or steeped from sun up to sun down in an atmosphere/social environment that wasn't outwardly antagonistic to homosexuals but wasn't exactly welcoming either. Generations of men were.

    I didn't want to be gay. I couldn't accept it and sought solace in the religion of my youth hoping God would find favor in me and cure me of my homosexuality. I did all the things I was told He expected of me - worshipped Him (would never consider missing mass), volunteer catechist, married (100% faithful), and raised a child. The result? He didn't uphold his end of the bargin. I came to realized I was sacrificing who I was for a woman who really didn't like me and was just using me as a means of support. I realized that God either didn't exist or didn't care that I was gay. Either way being true to who I really am became paramount to me. I ditched the loveless relationship with my wife and began truly living.

    Devious? I think not. I was a good and faithful husband to a selfish woman who used me.

    Walk a mile in another's shoes before judging.
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    Apr 09, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 said
    Bigsmiles saidYou aren't being naive, but because of your age, a little lack of perspective. I'm 61 and when I was in the 'formative gay' years we had no role models, no positive media or social support. If you went to the library (no internet) all you found were books that described your 'condition' as a perversion.

    All of the literature, movies, etc. had sad homosexuals that committed suicide at the end rather than face the world.

    I did get married to try and change. I felt that if I changed my behavior, I could change my thoughts. I hoped and prayed it would work. It didn't.

    Luckily, we have a wonderful son and I have a relatively good relationship with my ex wife.

    Now why gay men marry women NOW, that is a puzzle.



    I agree with others here who are suggesting that the opportunities

    It is difficult to imagine the world pre-internet and how difficult it was to rationalize homosexuality back then. I would say the internet was the biggest single factor in my coming out to myself.


    Let's turn it around and look at a case of someone who came out in pre-Internet 1984, but in a decidedly post-Stonewall time (aka The 1980s in a Mid-Southern Town). Most "gay" (Kinsey 5 or 6) guys like me even as late as the 80s would've stayed closeted for much longer than I did.

    But, for the first time ever, there were resources if you could find your way to them--whether you were 19 or 39. There were bars, bookstores, cruisy places, and in some cases, organizations, religious groups, etc providing resources and a capable person could put it all together in a way that wasn't completely free of marginalization but not 100% subject to it either.

    Right after I did come out--I worked in a bookstore that had a gay section of books, as well as the Advocate, and New York Native et al. Even Louisville had a gay newspaper by then and the bar scene was stable. Only 25 yrs prior to then such publications were illegal (de facto illegal since the US Postmaster censored any use of mail for gay topics until One v. US in 1959.

    Prior to coming out, I was masculine-oriented, team-sports-friendly, easily got along with other males, etc. Dated women successfully (if not fulfillingly) during college. Was in a Greek fraternity, held office. In other words, all the makings of perfect candidate for a closeted life with marriage. I fit in, mostly.

    In my specific case several things then happened (and I don't believe they could have happened even half a generation prior to the 1980s, at least not in Kentucky):

    1) I got gaybashed by five young men in a public park while I was leading a double life. Far from accepting this as my fate, I was defiant both during and after this assault. It turned the LIGHT ON in terms of the disadvantages of the closet and of whether I was worth defensing AS IS.

    Being a victim didn't appeal to me and when combined with profound, affirming sexual connections I had with another man by my early 20s, it all made me realize that being gay is good (if you're gay).

    2) I'm from a large Catholic family that rather than being reactionary was progressively committed to intellectual pursuits. I had 5 older brothers, 2 older sisters, and a younger brother. I had learned to fight for myself in other contexts. In a family like that you learned to fight with no expectation to win but because your cause was right.

    My father encouraged open debate about politics and everything was open to discussion. You'd have to know my Dad to understand that I was unusually free to define myself as a person and expect, well, acceptance. WWII war hero, hard worker, family man, conservative when that meant devoted to honest truth and to the real, loving God (not even parochial school could knock that out of his kids haha). When the time came, he accepted my explanation of myself and although I cant say he was pleased, he began to educate himself.

    3) AIDS. The emergence of HIV right as I was coming of age and facing the truth, combined with #1, made coming out inevitable if you cared enough.

    While our enemies greeted the disease with a rhetoric fully prepared to ignore it, it just made it impossible for the gay issue to go away. It was in the newspaper everyday and issues like hospital visitation, AZT, and many more drove in depth discussion of sexuality in every context imaginable. Also, if you went to bars here, then, you knew people who were dying and not always overnight like in the beginning. So, you had to help them even if you were in a closet. You had to be honest and open yourself on some level.

    This change affected everyone--I am HIV negative to this day but probably because of other gay men who thought up "Safe Sex"--and yet I can still easily say that the moral imperatives provoked by AIDS formed my entire moral and intellectual life as a gay person and easily as much as organized religion has done.

    By the later 80s, after an initial period of shock and depression the presence of HIV had compelled "us" to begin to take direct action. ACT UP, Queer Nation, and normal joes and janes coming out on network TV in the pre-DADT, the Clinton presidency, and the 1993 March on Washington soon followed. I was in The Castro enough in both 1986 and in 1994 to observe that they were two very different places--1986 was a grieving time, things closed, people died or went away. 1994 was energetic, cautiously optimistic but out of a much more mature resolve than before.

    Then, the Internet hit. In Louisville, I had my first command line Internet account by late 1992. By 1994, the web had pictures. I guess the point there is that it amplifies the access to resources that for me had to be sought out. Now those types of resources are built right into even our cruisiest web sites; and there is no one who can prevent you from knowing others of your kind both locally and globally.

    It remains to be seen what the current generation will make of it all, but it did change things greatly even for those of us who were considerably older before coming out.
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    Apr 09, 2012 8:41 PM GMT
    nicenmanly said
    Ex_Mil8 said
    Bigsmiles saidYou aren't being naive, but because of your age, a little lack of perspective. I'm 61 and when I was in the 'formative gay' years we had no role models, no positive media or social support. If you went to the library (no internet) all you found were books that described your 'condition' as a perversion.

    All of the literature, movies, etc. had sad homosexuals that committed suicide at the end rather than face the world.

    I did get married to try and change. I felt that if I changed my behavior, I could change my thoughts. I hoped and prayed it would work. It didn't.

    Luckily, we have a wonderful son and I have a relatively good relationship with my ex wife.

    Now why gay men marry women NOW, that is a puzzle.



    I agree with others here who are suggesting that the opportunities

    It is difficult to imagine the world pre-internet and how difficult it was to rationalize homosexuality back then. I would say the internet was the biggest single factor in my coming out to myself.


    Let's turn it around and look at a case of someone who came out in pre-Internet 1984, but in a decidedly post-Stonewall time (aka The 1980s in a Mid-Southern Town). Most "gay" (Kinsey 5 or 6) guys like me even as late as the 80s would've stayed closeted for much longer than I did.

    But, for the first time ever, there were resources if you could find your way to them--whether you were 19 or 39. There were bars, bookstores, cruisy places, and in some cases, organizations, religious groups, etc providing resources and a capable person could put it all together in a way that wasn't completely free of marginalization but not 100% subject to it either.

    Right after I did come out--I worked in a bookstore that had a gay section of books, as well as the Advocate, and New York Native et al. Even Louisville had a gay newspaper by then and the bar scene was stable. Only 25 yrs prior to then such publications were illegal (de facto illegal since the US Postmaster censored any use of mail for gay topics until One v. US in 1959.

    Prior to coming out, I was masculine-oriented, team-sports-friendly, easily got along with other males, etc. Dated women successfully (if not fulfillingly) during college. Was in a Greek fraternity, held office. In other words, all the makings of perfect candidate for a closeted life with marriage. I fit in, mostly.

    In my specific case several things then happened (and I don't believe they could have happened even half a generation prior to the 1980s, at least not in Kentucky):

    1) I got gaybashed by five young men in a public park while I was leading a double life. Far from accepting this as my fate, I was defiant both during and after this assault. It turned the LIGHT ON in terms of the disadvantages of the closet and of whether I was worth defensing AS IS.

    Being a victim didn't appeal to me and when combined with profound, affirming sexual connections I had with another man by my early 20s, it all made me realize that being gay is good (if you're gay).

    2) I'm from a large Catholic family that rather than being reactionary was progressively committed to intellectual pursuits. I had 5 older brothers, 2 older sisters, and a younger brother. I had learned to fight for myself in other contexts. In a family like that you learned to fight with no expectation to win but because your cause was right.

    My father encouraged open debate about politics and everything was open to discussion. You'd have to know my Dad to understand that I was unusually free to define myself as a person and expect, well, acceptance. WWII war hero, hard worker, family man, conservative when that meant devoted to honest truth and to the real, loving God (not even parochial school could knock that out of his kids haha). When the time came, he accepted my explanation of myself and although I cant say he was pleased, he began to educate himself.

    3) AIDS. The emergence of HIV right as I was coming of age and facing the truth, combined with #1, made coming out inevitable if you cared enough.

    While our enemies greeted the disease with a rhetoric fully prepared to ignore it, it just made it impossible for the gay issue to go away. It was in the newspaper everyday and issues like hospital visitation, AZT, and many more drove in depth discussion of sexuality in every context imaginable. Also, if you went to bars here, then, you knew people who were dying and not always overnight like in the beginning. So, you had to help them even if you were in a closet. You had to be honest and open yourself on some level.

    This change affected everyone--I am HIV negative to this day but probably because of other gay men who thought up "Safe Sex"--and yet I can still easily say that the moral imperatives provoked by AIDS formed my entire moral and intellectual life as a gay person and easily as much as organized religion has done.

    By the later 80s, after an initial period of shock and depression the presence of HIV had compelled "us" to begin to take direct action. ACT UP, Queer Nation, and normal joes and janes coming out on network TV in the pre-DADT, the Clinton presidency, and the 1993 March on Washington soon followed. I was in The Castro enough in both 1986 and in 1994 to observe that they were two very different places--1986 was a grieving time, things closed, people died or went away. 1994 was energetic, cautiously optimistic but out of a much more mature resolve than before.

    Then, the Internet hit. In Louisville, I had my first command line Internet account by late 1992. By 1994, the web had pictures. I guess the point there is that it amplifies the access to resources that for me had to be sought out. Now those types of resources are built right into even our cruisiest web sites; and there is no one who can prevent you from knowing others of your kind both locally and globally.

    It remains to be seen what the current generation will make of it all, but it did change things greatly even for those of us who were considerably older before coming out.
    Excellent post.. sums it up quite well!