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Keeping your gay/straight balance


I’ve said it before in this blog, and I’ll likely say it again, it’s great to be in a room full of queers. But, as I also say from time to time, there’s a limit. And I need to talk about that.

Not long after I came out, I was chatting with my friends, Allen and Steve, partners for 30 years, and good friends of mine for almost that long. We were talking about a gay man all three of us knew, and Steve said, “He gives great parties, but we don’t go anymore. There are never any straight people there, and never any women. It gets boring with only gay men.”

Important point. But, I didn’t get how important until last week when it came back to me in a rush. I was having drinks with a female friend and a married couple. These people are very dear to me – we’ve known each other for a lifetime – yet, I found myself feeling sort of disconnected, thinking I’d rather be with a bunch of gay men.

In that moment, I made a conscious effort to check the feeling, and rightly so.

Here’s why. As gay people, we are members of a minority community. Like it or not, we are surrounded by straight people, and there’s no way to have a real life without them. Maybe, if you burrowed deep into the Castro in San Francisco, you could go for a day or two without any contact with a straight person. But most of us can’t do that. And really, who’d want to?

All of us, even those of us who’ve been more-or-less out since kindergarten, got to this planet through some sort of heterosexual contact, which implies we have straight family members. We went to school with straight people, we work with them, they are our neighbors, and some of us late bloomers have even been married to them.

All these people are important. They are a part of our history, a part of who we are. This is especially true for late bloomers. Yes, at core I am a gay man. But I am a gay man who lived as a straight man for 50+ years, and had two wives and two children in the process. Like it or not – and I, for one, like it just fine – straight people are a big part of my life. A good part of my life. I’d be an idiot to walk away and forget them. And worse, I’d be very ungrateful.

Yes, get yourself into that room full of queers. Acknowledge and validate yourself. Stand tall. But don’t forget the substantial part of your life that did, and still should, integrate with the straight side of the world.

Now that I’m out, I can integrate more honestly, and because of that, more effectively. Since I’ve been out, I’ve found my relationships with straight people much more relaxed, productive and meaningful. A good thing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. nanci Reese permalink
    02/13/2011 8:10 PM

    Dear David,
    I am not sure you get these comments. I liked what you said. but I must reiterate the Kinsey scale. as Margaret Mead said nobody is totally straight. the homohobes are men that have homosexual ideas or fantasies and can’t deal with them. I LOVE gay men. Maybe that is because I am in SF and there is a variety of gay men. I have about 3 gay “boy friends” we talk on phone, get together for coffee, lunch dinner etc. We go to museums together.( all are artists) With the kinsesy scale if 100 is totally homo. then I am a 35. I guess that qualifies a BI. I have gone to some bi functions and went out on a couple of dates but nothing ever came of it. maybe it is because I am attracted to straight women. Or I guess they are called “lipstick lesbians”. If any of my gay boyfriends needed to get married for some reason I would do it in a minute as long as it was open. And when I go out with my gay boyfriends it is like a real date sort of – the guy pays etc. The reason Greg and I got along for so long cuz in Jungian terms his anima(sp-female side) was strong and in me my animus( or male side) was strong. I remember when I was taking the GLBT classes ast CCSF the movie ” Bound” came out. Everybody was so excited cuz for maybe the first time the “queers” ran off into the sunset and presumably lived happily ever after. Usually they kill off the lesbian – suicide or something. so this was a ground breaking movie.
    I love my gay boyfriends and they they return the favor. There is no sex in any way shape or form. but I guess I am offically a fag hag. and now your are my virtual gay boyfriend and know what I know know I see that you were gay back in the day. I just didn’t quite know what that meant. I have said this before but I felt I needed to say it again. Love Reese

  2. Margaret Ellis permalink
    02/18/2011 8:53 AM

    Fred ( my husband) and I just got back from vacation where we got into a lunch time chat at a beach side cafe with a couple of gay men from San Francisco. They were surprised, as they admitted having prejudged us because of our Southern accents, that we were so supportive of gay rights. But their mouths literally fell open when they discovered that Fred was very familiar with the designer John Varvados.
    When we went our separate ways Fred and I looked at each other and asked ourselves the question, “Do you think they even know any straight people?”.

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