Saturday, May 23, 2009

GCN Radio interview is up

I'm not as nervous since I listened, and, uh... I hope you will tune in, too.

GCN Radio 5/22/09

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

letter to...

Still "doing the facebook thing," I got involved with a note/comment thread. Perhaps you can access it here

When a friend of a friend got personal, I decided to write my comment, and since the spaces are only so big, I needed to post it somewhere else. Where else? My blog. :) Here is the comment she wrote, with full knowledge that I had already commented on the feed.

She wrote: Would you really fight so hard about this if Ray were not gay and you didn't have the need to reconcile this with Christian teachings? God gives us choices and maybe he gives us tendencies. I tend to want to eat and watch TV for eternity, but I choose not to do that because it is not the best thing for my life and my family's. And don't tell me this is not a parallel to homosexuality. Does God make murderers, adulterers, liars? Did God make Judas? I feel like Dobson, I can't fight any more.* I can't change anyone. I love you all, and hope we will all see each other in Eternity.

*note here that that link was the topic on the facebook note where this occurred. I added it here,

Below is my response, omitting her name.

Hi (person on facebook, who wrote the comment above, and I had to reply)

Well I'm taking the bait to write a reply...

Your question is would I be fighting so hard for this if Ray weren't gay, and if I weren't trying to justify it.

Answer: No. That's because I would never have believed anyone else. I know Ray, and I know what it was like in our family. I had two friends who came out to me prior to that, and they both responded differently. One stayed with her husband, who had also had affairs with other women. Ten years later they are still together, and they told me they don't talk about it much. One of their daughters is gay, and she has trouble reconciling it, too.

Another friend of mine has partnered with her girlfriend, and they have been together 13 years. At first I didn't understand, and yet I loved my friend. I wrote her a letter and I basically said, "I don't understand, but you are my friend, and I love you." When Ray came out to me, she was the one I went to, crying on her shoulder, and she was shocked but was a great comfort to me. She calls me her "oldest and dearest friend," when she introduces me, because all our other friends abandoned her.

But with neither of these friends did I understand, until it happened in MY family, to ME, and being gay was part of the life of someone I know and love.

I would make more sense if I DID NOT accept and understand what it's like to be gay. I could be bitter because I was lied to. I could hate Ray because he left me. I could pitch a fit for all kinds of reasons - but I have c h o s e n not to. (I spaced that out because there is no italics on fb)

I could also be hateful because people won't simply listen to those who are gay, and give them the benefit of the doubt that it's THEM who live it - that they don't choose it any more than the natural color of one's hair or how tall they are or which hand they prefer to write with.

So I DO speak up for them and I will speak up for them and I'm going to keep on saying over and over and over and over: Listen to gay people. They are every bit as worthy as straights. There is NO difference in them as any of the rest of us. They deserve equal rights. They deserve to be accepted and loved and admired, honored, treated with dignity.

They don't deserve to be compared with those who willingly commit crimes or acts of violence. It is NOT comparable to murder, thievery, adultery, gluttony, or any sin.

I could easily take offense because you assume things about my life, but honestly, I am trying not to. Because this has gotten so long I know it will not fit in a comment section, so I will post it as a note on my wall.

In the beginning of this ordeal, I was embarrassed, afraid someone would find out, ashamed. I no longer feel like that. This is not an easy road I'm walking, and your "love" does not feel like love. It feels like I'm held at arm's length, that you are making an exception with me from being like you simply because I don't agree. And when you say, "I hope we will all see each other in Eternity," it feels like you think one of us won't be there. (Btw, I don't even think that is the main reason we follow Christ, just to get into Heaven. I think there is more to it than that.) I am begging you to listen to gay people, and know they are 100% worthy of the same acceptance that you feel, among others, by God. It's the same.

Please don't read this as if there's an edge to it - I'm doing the best I can since we are not sitting with coffee in a kitchen, understanding the emotions involved. Do you have any more questions about my motives? I will do all I can to answer honestly and, as President Obama recently said, let's do it without reducing one another to caricatures.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Purple and white cats, flying, and high school band

There are no links to this post that I can think of, but I have several recurring dreams that I'm going to share...

One: I dream that I'm in a new house, or it could be an old house that I've just moved into. Or it might be a house with an undiscovered barn or shed, or basement. C'mon, go with me now, it's a dream...and in the dream, I have lots of cats. The cats are having kittens - not actually HAVING the kittens, but more litters of all sizes keep showing up. I am trying to find homes and food for the cats, and they are all beautiful! They are PURPLE. Imagine with me the prettiest cats, all purple and white - not tabby, and there is no black on them, just purple, white, and purple/white combinations. Long-hair ones, too. They have soft, perfect coats. There're no sick ones in the bunch, and I love them all. Here's the clincher: I don't even like cats all that much.

Two: My granddaughter, Arya, is 3 years old. The other day as I got to her house, she had just gotten up from her afternoon nap, and she had told her mom (my daughter, Karen), "Mommy, I had a dream and I was flying!" Oh, how happy that made me! Karen says she has never had a "flying dream," and yet, when I have one, I wish I could sleep all day. Flying dreams are the BEST! They say that you either DO have or DON'T have flying dreams, and I think it is special and very cool that Arya had one! One more thing, an odd thing, is that when I'm flying, often I'm in a seated position, and I can fly, fly, fly.

Three: This dream doesn't recur that much, but years ago I would dream that my old [rather evil] band director was asking me to re-join the band. Trouble is that the way I exited the band was that I got kicked out. (Honest it was NOT my fault!) The variations on this dream are that we are in band competitions, and they need ME to come back and fill in a critical spot, help win the contest, or play a special part. Only one change, they are NOT letting me play an instrument. I'm being relegated to hold a FLAG (I never could play french horn very well) and do some convoluted flag-form to bring home the big prize.

Okay - all you dream interpreters. Where do I go with this?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seeing a little more of the picture - from a new lens

(A funny thing happened as I wrote a blog entry today. I mistakenly posted, then took down for editing, the following entry. Some of you may have gotten it via e-mail, and it has, uh, a mistake. Now this makes for the irony of the day, and I've tried to salvage the post through editing. Hopefully, you can grasp my original point, which is not exactly the same, but at least it won't contain the errors.

Also, if you have experienced difficulty with "comments," please try again. I think I've corrected the problem. Thanks for reading and for ALL your comments.)

I hesitate to write some things because they are about Ray. There are a variety of emotions that surface all the time, and sometimes (or a lot of times) they are concerning him, or how I feel about having been married to him. Some things are too personal. Some things are personal regarding Ray, so even when you may think that I'm being open and honest, there is still MORE to me that I keep close to my heart.

Other times I feel like I want to share something that is about Ray and I've been trying not to get out of balance with that. (I haven't even mentioned that he just finished with the new record! Or how he's finished 11 powerful new songs that make me proud at the same time that I cry over them.) However, today there's something I have to say: Ray Boltz's songwriting is amazing.

Immediately after Ray came out to me, it was apparent to me that the songs always showed that he'd always had "tgt." It was there in so many of his lyrics, and the word, "change," was frequently used. I was struck that the very thing that had made his songs beloved, was the very thing that made the situation so tragic. How sad I felt when I realized that he'd prayed his entire life, but had seen no answer. Songs that were pounded out on the piano, or strummed on guitar, trusting God to make them true, were Ray's life.

I still listen to those songs and now I see the deeper meanings, the real meanings. There is irony in how appropriate they are NOW, as I see a little more of the picture than I knew to even look for years ago.

Today I found an old song that I've heard before but forgotten. Someone posted it on twitter, and they credit Ray, so I linked to it. At first I did think it was something Ray wrote years ago, and I started writing this entry. Now, after doing some checking, I actually found that it is by Babbie Mason, but listening to it now, and taking the meaning of the song from what I know now, is vastly different than how I'd have heard it years ago.

Well, folks, this entry would have made a WHOLE LOT MORE SENSE if it WAS a Ray Boltz song, so the point of this blog is a little harder to come around to. Still, my POINT is that I'm looking for wisdom in how my life is playing out, and I trust that God's wisdom is in the bigger picture. There are things we can see, and things we can't, and although I don't see things like before, I still want to trust in God's purpose.

James Dobson gives up - thank God!

I'd say it is about time for this to happen. James Dobson has declared on his radio program that there is "... utter evil that's coming out of the United States Congress." This is in response to the passage by the House of Representatives of the Matthew Shepard Act.

For any who are not familiar with the recent bill (which recently passed the House, and should soon pass the Senate), it would extend the federal law covering hate crimes to include gay people. It is named for 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, a young man, who in 1998, was tortured, beaten and left to die in a remote area in Wyoming. His offense to the perpetrators was that he was gay.

James Dobson and Focus on the Family has been spreading lies about the nature of this bill since its introduction. By way radio broadcasts and statements, Dobson often led his listeners to rally around on behalf of God in the culture war against acceptance of gay people, among other things (for example, abortion, but I'm not going in to that here).

Now, finally, it appears that there is a change in Dobson's "war." If I am correctly reading the article from U.S. News and World Report, Dobson is giving up, surrendering, throwing in the towel. This is what I have to say about Dobson, "It's about time."

It's about time that Americans stop listening to Dobson's lies about gay people and to think about how their religious rectitude has harmed those whose sexual orientation is in the minority. It's about time that there be protection for the rights of ALL Americans. And it's about time that the Focus on the Family organization get out of politics, and back to honing in on how to accept gay family members, rather than work against them and the bonding relationships that are cherished by ALL of us.

Fortunately there is change happening in America, and we can hope for thinking people of faith to come forward to support things that are truly right.

for further reading:
by Mel White, "Religion Gone Bad: Dangers of the Religious Right."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Radio Interview

What did I think I was doing? What was I thinking? Why did I think it was a good idea? Unlike my hero, Peterson Toscano, I am NOT a "performance artist." I don't like speaking in public. I always get nervous, and I need to practice when I get in front of people. For all the years I was married to Ray, I have generally stayed in the background rather than speak publicly, and I willingly assumed the role of, "silent wife." I've been perfectly happy to remain silent. So, you ask, What did I do?

I accepted an invitation from Brian Eckstein to be interviewed on GCN Radio.
(GCN = Gay Christian Network)
Oh, dear.

Yup. I did it. Even though I fully believe I have plenty to say, and knowing that I'm a "rare bird," as the [former] straight spouse in my acceptance and activism on behalf of GLBTs and equal rights, as well as being a Christian, I am FREAKED OUT that I had MY voice with MY thoughts that are currently being edited for a program on the GCN Radio program. There, I said it. It made me feel, and I feel now, nervous.

In my life I have graduated from college, raised 4 kids, been involved in the career of a Christian musician/minister. I have served as a leader for fundraising, hosted youth activities, and co-ordinated volunteers for multiple groups. I think I have made it through MAJOR personal difficulties, and I've survived in a healthy way. I've maintained my faith even though it has changed in a major way. I even started this blog, and my ideas and views are totally public. I do not hesitate to let people know, individually, that I am gay-affirming and proud to be so. I have plenty to talk about, but to talk about it and sound like I still have my faculties, and let that be recorded and broadcast? What? What was I thinking? Why did I think that was a good idea? AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

All these thoughts and more are only PART of what went through my head all night last night. So, I'm going to relax, and I have put my interview in the capable hands of Brian, who assures me it was fine. (At least he edits it!) I really did have a good time talking with Brian and Justin Lee, but I can't really tell how it will sound. I actually hope you will listen. It goes up on the website on this Friday.

Oh, what the heck was I thinkin'?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Luke, of the Amazing Race

Here was something I didn't know: Luke, of this season's Amazing Race, is gay. Here is the interview I just found, on a site I only just found: (hat tip to Emily DeClercq's facebook post) I was staying up late Sunday night to find out the results, and was really hoping the winners would be Kisha and Jen, who barely missed the final 3 because one sister had to stop to use the toilet.

Reading the interview, there's a question about when Luke came out as gay to his mom, Margie. What a wonderful mother to respond like she did. Here is what she said:

Margie: Luke told me when he was nineteen and he was a freshman in college. He told me in a text message from school, because that's how we communicate, through text or relay, and I said, "Okay. Thank you for telling me. Why did you wait so long?" He was surprised and said, "What?"

Luke: No, no, no, Mom. I wanted to make sure I was actually gay. There was a time in my life that I was a little bit confused. I felt kind of both ways about it, but I wanted to make sure before I said anything to you that I was gay.
Margie: Yeah, well, Luke sends me this text message and says, "I have something really important to tell you, and I don't want to hurt your feelings and I don't want you to be mad, but I'm gay." And I was like, "Thank you for telling me." And he was like, "You're not mad?" And I just said, "Why would I be mad? I've known your whole life." [laughs]
It doesn't change who Luke is. He's my son. He's a wonderful person. If he likes a man or likes a woman, that doesn't make any difference to me. I just want him to be happy. I called his sister when he told me, and said, "Hey, Luke finally came out." And she said, "Oh, it's about time." [laughs] There was no drama, no surprise. Nothing really changed except I think Luke was able to take a breath and be himself a little more around us.

Luke: Actually, I felt a lot better after I did come out to my mom.

I wish I could call Margie and Luke, and tell them, "Congratulations," both for their Amazing Race competition and for the closeness they have as mom and son. I guess this note will have to be my message for them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

more of Sam Harris

There is a LOT more to Sam Harris besides the short clip I referenced early this morning. It WAS so early (2 a.m.) that I didn't do any background research, and before I saw him on Tyra, I was unfamiliar with him. Back before there was American Idol, there was Star Search. Turns out that Sam Harris was a huge star in 1983, and I didn't know it. I apologize, Sam. To all the people who know Sam Harris, you are the lucky ones, and I'm just coming into the light.

These days Sam Harris has a vlog (brace yourselves, it seems we bloggers are out of date). Maybe it's going to be like the silent movies that were replaced by "talkies," but they are taking over! Check out Sam's youtube videos, where you can ask him questions and he will reply on, he says, any topic.

Tyra Banks debates: Gay is the new Black

I'm sharing today a video from the Tyra Banks Show, one in which equal rights for all people is argued. Debates between gay-affirming and non-gay-affirming sides are rather disagreeable, whether they are on Youtube, television, or facebook. However, except for the fact that I am gay-affirming and support equal rights, I would find them non-productive. Few points are made that are going to change anyone's minds. The most beneficial part of this video clip is that the "straight" side women are annoyingly condescending, and they show themselves to be bigoted and unkind, and the blue-jacketed woman is downright mean. Oh, and they also represent themselves as Christians. (Lord, have mercy on us all.)

In this video, Tyra has three guests on the "gay" side, and three on the "straight" side. If I were to sit and talk with them, I'm not even sure they would listen to what I have to say. Of those who I've talked to, few have changed. Few have listened. Many have been distant, and most have stuck to what they already believe.

But there are SOME, those of us who have worked with gay people, lived alongside gay neighbors, have a gay family member, or had a friend who has come out to us, and we few have been willing to realize that gay people are JUST LIKE US. And we few, and the number is growing all the time, are going to continue to grow, and we WILL SEE CHANGE! This change is not going to be that gay will change to straight (nor will straight change to gay) but it will be in the laws, and ultimately in the hearts of straight people - and we are going to realize how awful we (yes, WE) have been - in our non-acceptance, in our villification, in our lies and mean-ness to those who have not chosen to be simply different in ONE little aspect. And we are going to say, Please forgive us, we are so sorry.

Lately there have been some people make charges in my direction, calling me to "come back to the fold," and questioning whether I have just become accepting, "because of my pain." Another one sent her book in the mail questioning "Where's the Proof? True Christianity verses Religion," [sic].

Oh, you people! Are you kidding me? You folks are really calling into question whether I am still a Christian? Let me respond. Forgiveness is a hallmark of a true Christian. Love is what Jesus said would distinguish his followers. And 'though it tries my patience, I still keep trying to love and forgive those who don't see this through my eyes. And THAT is not easy.

When shows like Tyra Banks start looking good and making good points, and when the religious right is showing themselves for who they are, I think there's going to be progress. At least I hope so.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

sharing a song: Vincent

I love it when someone shares a favorite song, such as on facebook (thanks, Evan Hurst!). In this case, I got to hear the poetry of Don McLean, and his song, "Starry, starry night," plus, there are pictures of FRANCE!

I've been feeling that itch I've had the last couple of years, when I got to plan and go on an exciting summer trip: France! The churches and chapels, the farms, the mountains and the landscapes! The villages with old buildings, the kind-hearted people, and the bikes of the Tour de France (I didn't see any of those in Van Gogh's paintings, but they are big in my memories.)

For me, like I've mentioned other times, France is an escape, and I was privileged to go several times, and it's been therapeutic and WONDERFUL! So these pictures of landscapes of the south of France make me remember and feel nostalgic for those adventures that I took with Liz, Sara, and Phil.

I also think of gifted musicians and artists, and I think how the world may look on and not realize their pain that is a day-to-day reality for them. Sharing one's art is so often straight from the heart, and sometimes, no one really knows.

Enjoy the song...

BY Don McLean
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul...
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand
What you tried to say, to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free:
They would not listen; they did not know how --
Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand
What you tried to say, to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free:
They would not listen; they did not know how--
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you
But still, your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do--
But I could've told you, Vincent:
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you.

Starry, Starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget
Like the strangers that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn, a bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know
What you tried to say, to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free:
They would not listen; they're not listening still--
Perhaps they never will.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Facebook opinions

Facebook is a dangerous place for opinions. I was recently made aware of a long comment stream. I wanted so badly to post my thoughts, but instead I decided to rant here instead.

When friends start blowing off their type-written remarks, it can come across mean and hateful - which, no doubt, it is. So, here I'm going to respond - and if by chance some of my facebook "friends," come across it, at least I put it on my own blog, not someone else's page. When the shouting got all high and mighty, here was what I ALMOST posted this:

I just heard of this diatribe, and I have to throw my hat in with the love that God has for us all - and by that I DON'T mean that I just want to warn people of Hell. I mean that I support and affirm loving relationships of gay and straight people. I stand as a Christian that Christ sees NO DIFFERENCE in any of us in regards to sexual orientation. I'm offended that some would call this a choice - as when did you self-righteous straight people decide one day to be straight? For the girls, I bet it was about in kindergarten, when you started chasing the little boys on the playground - maybe sooner. And for the boys, about the same time. Only thing is that for some of the boys and girls, they were chasing, even at that young, innocent age, kids of their same gender. Who among you are casting stones at that child - and later, the young adult? Are you really sure you want to compare same-sex love and attraction to murder and theft? How dare you? I only wish you would put yourselve

and there I ran out of space for a comment. If I went on, I'd have to hit "send," and then go on, and it was then that I quit.

I have talked personally to one of the women and expressed WHY I feel that being gay is NOT a choice. I have tried to personally let her know that if anyone should be off-put by a gay former husband, it would be ME. But I let her know personally, that I can't believe anyone would choose to be turned away by the church, turn their back on a fruitful career, say good-bye to family (and a wife) who, at the least, that person was best friends with. In the face-to-face conversation, I let her know that I felt it was more important to love, forgive, and see truth, rather than stick to what I'd been taught in church. Huh. You'd have thought (or I would) that this woman would give consideration to it personally, but I see that she likens being gay to murder and theft, and reckons being gay to simply who you decide to have sex with.

Ranting is not my speciality, and I'm not one to intentionally tick off friends of the community. But when I saw this woman's name with untrue and dogmatic comments, with no sympathy, and not one bit of effort to see life from a gay person's point of view, the LEAST I could do was rant HERE.

So as I cooled off and wrote this, I went back and changed what I wrote. I'm not sure what will come of it, but here is the comment I left:

Would anyone who holds the religious literalist point of view like to talk to someone who actually KNOWS how hurtful the church is to gay people? Have any of you tried to understand the pain that gay people go through when after years of prayer, they still hear from their church that they are likened to murderers, thieves, to sex-addicts and pedophiles? Would one of you who don't consider me "saved" like to discuss how this has affected my own life? Not on fb, but over coffee at my house? I'm not looking for offense, but for understanding. For those who are gay, for those who are straight, I fear that literalism and dogmatic diatribes will only make us further apart. I stand for Christ, and I stand for love.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"a rough row to hoe"

That phrase, "a rough row to hoe," was one of my counselor, Jane's, favorites. Jane would throw in little "witticisms," whenever it suited the situation. If you have ever gardened, you know what it means: a long row of corn or beans has to be tilled by hand, getting out the weeds, turning over the soil with a tool that only works when you work it. In a long row, with the hot sun burning your back and the end of the row obviously not in sight, it can seem like it's never-ending!

Lately I have heard from some married gay men (married to straight women), and they are desperate to be understood by their wives. The ones I hear from usually love their wives, but realize that same-sex attractions are not going away, despite all their best efforts, and truth be told, some of their worst efforts as well.

When I married, I was making the commitment to be faithful to ONE person. That is the vow you take when you stand before, as they say, God and everybody, and declare that THIS one is your one and only. Not merely emotionally, but physically, I was bonded to my husband. This is the expected way of life once one is married, and for Ray and me, it was our mutual commitment. When I learned (after nearly 30 years of marriage) that he was attracted to men, I not only suffered heartache, but as I found what other wives in my situation had endured, in the long run I realized I had a lot to be thankful for - and it was easier for me, in the long run, to be understanding.

With layers and layers of emotion to go through, several things I can look back and realize were helping me to understand. I knew that my husband had put me and our family first during years of effort to remain faithful, and I also believed him because of our history together. This was his EXPECTED marriage commitment, and the history we had created.

Without this history together, my acceptance would have been much more difficult. Even so, once I heard the words, "I'm gay," and learned what that meant, it was very difficult to still believe, "I love you." For me, it took a great effort on the part of my husband (who was becoming my former husband,) for me to believe him, and it took tremendous changes in my mind and in my heart, in order to shift our relationship to a separation. I'm not sure I'm able to get this across, but try to follow me that there were steps along the way that took talking, and actions, and feeble movements of change. It was work - it was a rough row to hoe.

Now let me get back to what I can offer for other couples, those who have loved one another, and have built a life together. When a spouse comes out as gay, the reactions vary, feelings vary, and history varies. There are situations where mixed-orientation couples NEED to stay together: those with children to raise, college tuitions to pay, those whose medical situations, insurance demands, financial situations, public lives, etc., and many other distinct reasons that people relate to.

Sometimes an immediate break happens, and divorce is inevitable. From there a lot can depend on how faithful the parties have been to the marriage relationship. In the cases where relationships OUTSIDE the marriage have transpired, I fully understand the hurt that causes a straight spouse to never understand or want to reconcile in any measure. And it is to those gay spouses that I also, if I may, remind of Jane's old-fashioned saying: You have a rough row to hoe.

Where in my family I had a history of good family life (for me, I thought my life was perfect) and it took months, even years, to be able to accept the truth of, "I love you, but I have to go," other women may find it harder, or even impossible to accept the reasons you have to end your marriage. Giving up a life that I loved and cherished was beyond description, and for others it may be the same or it may be vastly different. For me and for Ray, there is no way we can erase the years we built a life together, and it has been worth it to remain friends. No matter the difficult way it has gone, no matter the fact that we live apart and have new friends in our lives, we are still doing the work it takes to cause no further pain to one another.

At the same time, I don't [yet] offer hope. This is not a great outcome, but the best that we can expect. It sounds so dismal, so I'm not trying to put you all into depression, but there is nothing that SOLVES this dilemna: We love each other, but Ray is gay. Where do you even go with that? There IS NO solution!

My best effort is to support acceptance of young people who are gay, and to support loving, monogamous family life. I hope that those who are drawn to Christian churches will be able to be accepted fully, and to be part of a life they wish for themselves. I don't want gay/lesbian/bi/trans people to carry self-hate, suffer depression, or feelings of being "less than" straight people. And I certainly don't wish for gay people to marry straight ones!

If you, as a gay man, intend to find understanding from your straight wife, (or it may be a lesbian woman with a straight husband) it is going to take work: "a rough row to hoe," - and you can carry out the analogy to whatever way it works for you: pulling out the weeds, chopping up the clods of dirt, caring for the tender plants, sweating under the hot sun.

You are dealing with issues of trust, self-image, and hopefully, love. Every emotion that went in to making your marriage work from the beginning has been trampled, so it seems. If there is relationship to be salvaged, for whatever reasons, or if there is understanding to be gained, I believe it is worth it to work through the pain to keep it.

Regarding the help it will take for the straight spouse to understand, I am not sure what to add. I don't believe that I have some magic formula to prescribe. I offer resources that helped me, because I learned so much and can share those. Because we had the foundation of a life together, I was able to change - and I believe this was due to MANY things that came together.

From here, I keep trying to hoe my row.