Irecently wrote a column about “late blooming” where people realize their orientation often after being in heterosexual relationships.
The other side of late blooming is the straight spouse who can also be involved in the “coming out” process of their mate.
Recently, Gayle Haggard, wife of former pastor Ted Haggard, published a book about her experience as the straight spouse of a homosexual partner. Ted Haggard was the founder of a large church in Colorado and a well-known evangelical leader who was outed by a male prostitute.
The outing, of course, was a very public debacle for the pastor and his wife, but the male prostitute said he felt compelled to out him since he was preaching anti-homosexual beliefs while living a secret life.
Subsequently, Haggard was dismissed from his own church, but his wife chose to stick by him. They claim now that he has been cured of his homosexual desires through therapy.
Gayle Haggard represents for many, the straight spouse who is blind-sided by the revelation that her partner is homosexual.
For many straight spouses, the realization of their husband or wife’s orientation comes as a complete shock. They are living their lives, raising families, only to be told that their partner is living a lie.
For that spouse it can be an obviously very difficult process. They often blame themselves, wondering if it is something they did; they blame themselves wondering if they just didn’t recognize the signs.
Many gay individuals never do come out to their spouses, instead, leading a double life. This is often prevalent with men.
Many gay men, even in Whitehorse, live a double life. They have a wife and children at home but seek out the company of gay men in secret.
For the individual who does choose to come out to live an openly gay life, there is often a lot of excitement and happiness in accepting their authentic self. They often have resources and people to help them through the process.
The straight spouse however, is left to pick up the pieces and to wonder what happened to the life they thought they were leading.
There is a group online that deals with this issue. It is a world wide group that offers support and resources to straight spouses. The web address is www.straightspouse.org.
In response to some e-mails I have received from women seeking the gay community in Whitehorse, I have started organizing some pub nights. We already had one pub night and it was attended by some women just coming out as well as some familiar faces.
Anyone interested in attending can contact me at the e-mail address below.