It’s not trendy right now to be straight. Nor should it be. Being straight or gay, trans or cis, should not be a matter of trend setting. But in the last year or so being gay (and trans in particular) has become so. It’s ridiculous.
Sexual orientation and sexual identity are just part and parcel of who we are. I am no more “proud” to be straight than I am of having curly hair. I was born that way. It’s what I do with what I was born with that makes me feel proud (or not). On that note, I believe that most straight spouses of gay/trans people are behaving as best we can considering our circumstances. And here’s why:
1. Our mates deceived us about their sexuality/identity. Often intentionally.
2. Our (gay) mates were never sexually attracted to us and so we were doubly deceived.
3. We love(ed) them and must somehow figure out how to stop loving them, or to love them differently, at the same time that we may hate and resent them.
4. Once they come out, our mates are often mean, adversarial, and unsympathetic to us.
5. We have to unexpectedly rebuild our lives (sometimes late in life) often leading to loneliness and financial straits.
6. The current cultural climate applauds our mates for “being true” to themselves but we are often ignored, mocked (for not knowing), and even criticized for not being more supportive.
So, for the straight spouses of gay and trans mates, “coming out” means being able to be true to ourselves:
1. It means feeling free to express our pain, our shock, our loss.
2. It means feeling free to be critical of our mates and demanding their consideration even though they are (still) part of a minority who have been oppressed, and are still fighting for their rights.
3. It means insisting that our families, friends, and colleagues understand that when a society oppresses one group of people, those people are not the only people effected.
4. It means we need to accept our own feelings and not to be critical of ourselves for not cheering on our mates as they come out.
They have their struggle. We have ours. It’s hard to read that. It’s hard to live it. But we have no choice.
We didn’t sign up for this. We’re doing the best we can.