A blog-reader, Tim, wrote today to share with me the story/news article about Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Thomas, who just recently has come out publicly as a gay man. Although he had thought he could hide his sexuality, he said this:
"I became a master of disguise and could play the straight man down to a tee, sometimes over-compensating by getting into fights or being overly aggressive because I didn't want the real me to be found out. But when you withdraw into yourself you start to feel lonely, upset, ashamed."
Thomas, according to CNN, was married to his high school sweetheart, but they separated after a few years of marriage. No details were given, but perhaps his being gay entered the picture. I have no idea how much hurt this caused each of them, but Thomas sounds like a decent guy, one who tried unsuccessfully to squelch his true orientation. I wish my arms could reach out to hug them both, and let them know that others care.
Gareth Thomas speaks out now through his fame, and he's doing the brave, but difficult thing. This quote, from www.guardian.co.uk speaks of his family's support:
"I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out but, if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it. My parents, my family and my friends all love me and accept me for who I am and, even if the public are upset by this, I know the love of those people who mean the most to me will never change."
When I hear of any mixed-orientation couple, I ache. It's not easy when you have to figure out what to do once the reality of the situation is revealed. Others don't "get it," or, if they do, they don't have to live through it. Not only does it hurt each person in the relationship, it lasts such a long time to get over the insecurity and damage to one's confidence.
For the straight spouse, you ask yourself a million questions, like, "Why didn't I know?" and "Was the love real?" I know I went through so many emotions and questions. To see where I am now, I get absolutely surprised at the "ah-ha" moments of clarity that I've come to. Sometimes it seems like life will never be the same (It won't.) or that it won't ever get any better (It WILL).
Not being very familiar with rugby, I can't guage the impact of Mr. Thomas's coming-out. Being a major star, coming out as gay is a big deal no matter what sport it is. Thomas's recent reveal should and will bring attention to him and to his sport, and to his former wife, there will be fall-out. I hope there will be support for her in this time of change. Like I've said before in times like this, my heart goes out to her.
(Support group for straight spouses: http://www.straightspouse.org/home.php)