Jack’s Back And Out Of The Box!
“To thine own self be true.” Hamlet – William Shakespeare
First, let me apologize to my loyal readers who seem to have once again found me in greater numbers than ever before despite my long absence. There are three reasons for that two-month sabbatical. As reported, a particularly nasty bout of flu swept through my home, first taking me down for two weeks and then disabling my technical lifeline to the blogosphere, Mrs. Jack, for an additional two weeks.
The second thing that led me to feel comfortable to take a break and consider whether to continue my blog was the lovely honeymoon that President Obama was enjoying, thus making me feel as though my assistance was not so badly needed as during the election campaign.
But in the final analysis, the third reason was the underlying factor that has been on my mind since election day. I wrote of it the day after Obama’s thrilling victory and a few times thereafter, but in the wake of the defeat of Proposition 8 in California, I feel that it is time for me to be honest with my readers about a part of myself that my family, friends and Mrs. Jack have known for many years. I am gay.
You may wonder why I would withhold that information when I embarked upon my adventure on the internet, and I am prepared today to explain all and leave it to my readers to assess how they feel about it. I am not ashamed that I am gay. God knows how much I have endeavored to be anything but over the nearly 60 years of my life. So shame was not the motivating factor in my decision to once again hide myself. The emotion that drives this hateful, cowardly behavior on my part is pure fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of physical harm. And more than all of that, the fear of being relegated to a far corner where my words are given no serious attention because people can only see that part of who I am.
I have gone through therapist after therapist and religious leader after religious leader in an attempt to find a simple answer to the simple question: Why? I have entered two heterosexual marriages, including my current one of 35 years, and buried myself in my professional development in vain attempts to “hide out” from the only truth that burned inside my mind. When I was young, I listened to the advice of those who would “help” me overcome this heinous sinfulness that plagued my life, my dear mother among them, who was certain that marriage would be the cure. Of course it wasn’t. However, the second time around I was fortunate enough to find my soul mate and life mate in Mrs. Jack, a wonderful friend who has stood by me through all that my orientation has put her through.
I began my coming out experience at the ripe old age of 37, when I could no longer live the lies of my life. My family was devastated, and my dear mother blamed the whole thing on Mrs. Jack for not being a better wife. I corrected her wrong assumption and separated from my beloved Mrs. Jack, with her permission to “find myself.” The journey was long and hard, accompanied by many tear-filled conversations between the two of us, as she courageously supported me through a lonely and fearful process. In time, I found love and settled down with a man that loved me who I loved in return, but the AIDS epidemic swept him away within five years.
A few years and several failed attempts at romance later, Mrs. Jack and I agreed to recombine our households and have continued our warm close relationship ever since. In the end, for the two of us, the choice of loving companionship became best. We are both retired now and living in the country with our two cats and three dogs. To be honest, I do envy my gay brothers and sisters who are in loving, supportive relationships with one another. I salute their courage and commitment to a life that is under attack on a daily basis in their own homeland.
So for me, personally, I am past the point where my right to marry or have a civil union with another man is important. But I do look back across the long history of my own life and realize how much misery I endured due to the mindless prejudice heaped upon myself and other gay people in our nation. As I struggled with the truth about myself that goes far back into my childhood when I didn’t even know what sex was, I lived in fear of God, fear of family, and fear of community. It is indeed a dark and miserable closet that those who oppose gay rights for their fellow Americans would consign us to. Gay teenagers have the highest suicide rate of any demographic in our nation, and as one who has explored this alternative in the past, I can assure those skeptics that it can seem a viable option compared to the pressures felt by gay people.
Ellen DeGeneres best expressed the feelings of gay people when she pointed out that gay people are minorities even within their own families. So as you go through your daily lives, look about you. It is altogether possible that among your friends, co-workers, and even family members there are those who are gay who are hiding that fact from you and others. And consider for a moment what it would be like to have to carry such a secret burden with you through your daily life.
I hear a great deal of NOISE about the “Gay Agenda.” The best I can tell, the only gay agenda that exists is in the minds of the hate mongers who throw around that term. I have never known a gay person who is interested in forcing a heterosexual to become a homosexual. All we are asking for is to be allowed the same legal protections that anybody is entitled to – nothing special. It is the “Fundamental Christian Agenda” that would force gay people to “choose” to be “straight.” My own mother, a good, God-fearing Christian of long standing, after her own long struggle on the issue of my gayness, testifies that she knows that if being gay were a choice, I wouldn’t have chosen it, “after all I’ve seen you go through,” she says.
So, dear readers who have stayed with me to this point in today’s post, I apologize once again for my long absence. I just felt the need to start anew with an honest admission as to who I am. None of what I have said today actually changes any of the other things you may have come to know about me from previous posts, because like all people, I am a person of many dimensions. So I still think of myself as just another old white guy who lives up in the piney woods north of Houston, Texas, with my wife and pets. Whether I am gay or straight, I have still lived the life I have lived and learned all the lessons that almost 60 years have taught and enjoy passing them along to others in an effort to help inform them.
So if you like what you read before today, there will be much more of it in the future. That same old guy as always will be writing his piece in support of the progressive principles he believes in. Due to the shameful lack of cooperation on the part of the Republicans, I will have much to say.
Jack is back, and he is OUT!
KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!