Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coming out Meme

I don't normally edit posts retroactively. I made two "faux pas" in this post (discussed in the comments) which I feel badly about and must correct.  I'll show the changes in red font.

At first, I was extremely hesitant about doing this meme from Cubby at Patently Queer.   I did it because (I assume) there are many bi/gay/married/closeted/middle-aged fathers who are reading this blog regularly and anonymously.

I know what it's like to be in your shoes.  By reading this meme, I hope that you will feel less alone;  you may even see some similarities with your own situation.

Name: Buddy Bear

Country: British Columbia, Canada

Age: 45

How old were you when you first realized you were gay? In my mid-30s, I first noticed an attraction to men.  I threw in the towel several months ago and admitted to myself that I was gay, rather than bi.  Who knows?  I might be bi, but I'm now exclusively identifying as gay.   It's not as though I am ever going to be alternating:  having sex with a woman one night, a man with the next!  Although I am a gay virgin, I am pretty sure that I have a strong preference for guys.

Do you have more gay friends or straight friends? I only have straight friends in my real life; I have quite a few (in fact more) gay friends online. It's only with my online friends that I can be completely honest about my thoughts, feelings and fears;  they are quickly becoming my true friends.

Biggest turn on? Furry torso and legs, nice ass, pleasant personality.

Biggest turn off?  Closed-mindedness, intolerance

Ever been harassed due to your orientation?  Never.  No one figured it out, including me!

Have you ever been surprised at the reaction of people who know you are gay?  The surprise was that it wasn't a big deal to them.

What is the worst gay stereotype?  That gays are promiscuous and all have HIV / AIDS.

Are you a stereotype? No.

Ever been to a pride rally? No - But I hope to go this June!

Do you go to gay bars? No, the nearest one is 400 miles away.

How old were you when you first told someone you were gay? 45 (several months ago)

Did you plan it? If so, how?  I just told them, flat out, at each of their homes.

What made you choose that person to tell? I  told my whole family (wife, two teenage kids, siblings, parents) and very close friends.  They're the only people that matter.

How did you feel?  That a  great weight  was off my chest.  Happier and freer.

Have you ever been snubbed by someone after coming out to them? No

Have you come out to your family? Yes, all of them.

Why did you come out at that point? Needed to explain why I was getting divorced.

Are you out at work? A couple of close colleagues, yes.  The entire organization, no.

If not, why not?  (1)  Biggest reason:  given the somewhat "high profile" nature of my job and my small town, it would basically mean coming out to the whole town.  I'm fine with that and in fact, look forward to it.  But I have to be sure that my kids would be okay with it first.  There's no rush!  (2) We never discuss sex at work, heterosexual or otherwise.  (3)  Being gay is only a very small part of who I am. (4) It's nobody's business by my own.

If you’ve been outed unwillingly, who did it? It was willingly.

What does being out mean to you?   Living the truth.   Enabling the kids to understand why my marriage was so unhappy.  Ensuring the kids live in two happy households, rather than one household filled with tension and anger.  They have commented on the "happier households" already!

What advice would you give someone wanting to come out?   If you're a bi/gay/married father, consider the impact on your wife and children. You still have a responsibility to your family unit.  I believe that  the wives of closeted gay/bi men would want their husbands to come out to them as soon as possible.  This gives her the option of starting a new life with a "real man", while she is still young. By "real man", I only meant a heterosexual man who is 100% interested in having passionate sex with his woman.  A man who desires and lusts after his wife completely.  Although (I like to think) I was very good  at having sex with my wife, I was really just just going through the motions.  I think woman can always sense this difference. 

Gay men are very much "real men."  Having had to do battle all their lives, they are in fact courageous warriors.

  In time, the children will be perfectly okay with having a "gay Dad", but think carefully and (if you are still talking) discuss it with their mother before coming out to the kids.   Variables include their ages, peer group and the state of gay-acceptance in your community.  My kids were perfectly okay with my announcement.

If you could do it all again, would you do it any differently? If so, how? No changes.  I came out immediately when I acknowledged (to myself) I was gay.  This self-awareness could have occurred at a younger age, but it didn't.  I can't change history.  By figuring out I was gay later in life,  I did end up with two fantastic children;  not every gay man is that lucky!  Everyone's journey is different.


  1. Buddy Bear,
    I can tell this was from your heart. Thank you for your honesty and sharing. I will take up this meme.

  2. Thanks so much for doing this interview. This helps all of us struggling with the prospect of coming out to see how a man like us feels about it looking back.

  3. Congrats on coming out! Great interview!

  4. Great meme Buddy. I love that we bloggers can share so much of each others' thoughts and emotions in this forum.

    I beg to differ with you on your statement that all your friends are straight. I know we have exchanged many of our inner-most thoughts with each other in our blogs and in our private correspondence. I'm willing to bet that I and your other blogger friends know more about the true "Buddy Bear" than many of your in-person friends. What does that make us?

  5. Ron: I consider you one of my gay mentors. It was with your encouragement that I finally abandoned the "bi" label and finally admitted to myself that I was actually gay.

    Jaysonstreet and Jacob: Thank you! Also, congratulations to both of you doing so much work to advance the cause of the GLBT community.

    Cubby: As I typed "All my friends are straight", the thought crossed my mind (which I quickly forgot) that I have many true friends online and they are all gay.

    Yes, I most certainly do share more inner-most feelings with you guys than with my real life "friends." Sorry about that! No offense was intended!

  6. This was very honest. Thank you. Just winced a bit at "real man" even if it was in quotations. Gay men are real men.

  7. Buddy Bear,
    Thank you very much for your comment. I have to admit that after I gave you that advice, I felt I was a little too rough on you. It's not easy coming out and every one has a different path they have to take. I was scared to death when I came out but I felt that either I die or I live my life according to my terms. I saw no other choice for me. You will find that once you accept yourself as a gay man others will also. Once you let go life is so much easier. Freedom, that's the only way I can describe it. Of course sometimes freedom is scary and dangerous but to me it is worth it.

  8. "starting a new life with a "real man", while she is still young"

    You are a very real man; I know many gay men who are more "real men" than a lot of the straight guys out there. From the way you handled things and the way you wrote in general, I'd say you're one hell of a real man.

    Thanks for the candor--our trajectories were very similar in some ways, although my daughters were very young and I got custody, but there were other factors at work. I hear the love for our children in your words. You are a lucky guy!

  9. Great post!

    I like that this tells your story like an interview. It's let's us know more about you.

    But I have to agree with Sean and the others; I didn't like your phrasing of "starting a new life with a "real man", while she is still young". I understand what you're saying, that a woman should get to choice to have a man who is really fulfilled by her emotionally and sexually, not a man who isn't in it with his heart and soul. But we are all men none the less.

    You should feel very great to have the support of your kids and family! I'm very happy for you there!

  10. This meme is really helpful and it does make me feel better when I read it. Thank you, you just made my day!

  11. My man was married once too, and he has a son, so your story sounds familar to me. Thanks for sharing

  12. Thanks for all your great comments! It is hard to convey the emphasis, inflection or perhaps irony in text as you could in a face-to-face conversation. I should have expanded on my point in another sentence. I am very much a "real" man as are all you guys.

    While I don't want to go into the details, I was just repeating something which was said to me. It only refers to a heterosexual man who is sexually attracted to a woman, 100%.

    Also, the age of the woman left behind really is a huge factor in her ability to rebuild her life; there's a big difference between a 30 year old woman and one in her 60s in this situation.

  13. I completely agree that women generally know something is missing when a husband or boy friend is not all there and that it shows respect and love for her to let her know what's what. Otherwise, the woman is our jailers, which is unfair. Nice blog!


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