April 24, 2017
“I find all communication with gay people pointless. […] I want to make it clear that homosexuals don’t interest me at all. The fact that you exist, and that there’s an increasing number of you, doesn’t change my worldview. I don’t want to think about any of you. I prefer to occupy myself with much more constructive things. The fact that I use the word ‘fag’… well… you write about yourselves this way… I can show you excerpts from gay websites, you call yourselves ‘fags’, ‘queers’ and ‘fairies’. […] Personally, I don’t know anyone who, seeing an effeminate guy on the street with a high-pitched voice and fluttering hands (strange gestures), would say: “Look at that homosexual!”… Everyone, everyone, everyone would say: “Look at that FAG!” What’s more, I think you’re harming yourself with these appeals for tolerance. Why should we be tolerant?! And are you tolerant, forcing us to accept your sexuality?! Why don’t you leave us alone? If it weren’t for these irrational pride parades and all these public figures coming out, you’d have a lot less trouble in demanding the legalisation of your unions. I don’t agree that a minority should rule the majority! We live in a democratic state and the majority is right. And the majority of people are heterosexual. Thankfully! That’s all I have to say.” (an excerpt of a post on the blog “A Gay Man’s Wife”, 2009)
This post was read by thousands of people. Two years ago I was one of them. A few moments earlier I had typed “my husband is gay” into the search engine. After reading it quickly I clicked on another link, but it was too late – my mind had already been invaded by hatred, homophobia and fear. These terms and this mentality were very familiar to me, although in different versions. They were shocking words that fell on receptive ground.
According to a report by the Stefan Batory Foundation, the most frequent targets of hate speech in Poland in 2016 were refugees and homosexuals. Hate speech on the Internet is increasing each year – among young people there was an increase of more than 7% between 2014 and 2016 (data from the same report).
It doesn’t have to be like this, however. In 1983, after 25 years of marriage, Amity Pierce Buxton’s husband told her he was gay. They had two children. Amity was full of pain and regret, and she wanted to break the conspiracy of silence. But she decided to use her difficult experience in another way. In 1986 she founded the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), a mutual support network for women who have gone through a similar experience (and for men whose wives turned out to be lesbians). Amity focused on education and spoke out publicly on this difficult, taboo issue. She has written several books that continue to help people who are in relationships with people of different sexual orientations. It’s already possible to contact SSN in 11 countries.
“I understand how you feel now, I have been there and I want you to know that as much as you feel that your life has ended, as much as you feel that you will never experience joy again, as much as you feel that you want to hold on to what you have, you will find out later, and it will be a lot of time and a lot of pain later, but you will find out later, that you can experience joy, you can find again a life, and you can find a better life than the one you had, because it will be based on honesty and not on deception, and not on not the truth of who you are, who your relationship is. You will find incredible life after the gay thing. It will be amazing to you. And you don’t feel that now, that it will ever happen, but it will.” That’s what Amity says, in a film made by SSN called The Straight Story, which jumps out in Google after typing “my husband is gay”. How different this voice is. SSN doesn’t avoid pain and suffering – quite the contrary. But there’s also space here for an attempt at understanding the other person.
Amity and SSN allow people to see that there’s a chance to find happiness in the future. The blog “A Gay Man’s Wife” and many other websites are mostly filled with expressions of rage, hatred, insults and lies. Differences in perception can change a person’s whole life. The blogger curses reality, takes offence at the world, and chooses to remain full of anger and hatred. The founder of the Straight Spouse Network gives strength, faith and hope.
Watch The Straight Story:
P.S. Up to two million homosexuals and bisexuals are married to heterosexuals in the USA, according to data cited by PFLAG – Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays. More than 63% of partners who hide their true sexuality never intend to reveal the truth to their spouses.