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Frequently Asked Questions
Read some FAQs on this page. If your question is not answered here, why not ask in the forum?
Isn't homosexuality just a choice that a person makes?
Probably the biggest misconception. Most gay men, like myself, know at an early age that they are different. The real test is when you walk down a street, or enter a crowded room, who do you look at - the men or the women?
There is some scientific work that would suggest that a difference in the hypothalamus ( a small area of the brain) is common in gay men. Other work would suggest it is a function of an imbalance of hormones during foetal development or psychological circumstances.
Whatever the cause, if you are gay, you are gay. The worst thing to do is to hate yourself for it, you are just as good a person if you are gay or heterosexual. OK others discriminate and poke fun, but that is only symptomatic of their ignorance of the situation.
Aren't gay men that have children bisexual rather than gay?
Sexuality is not black and white. There are many shades of grey in between. We are all different, I think gay tendencies become more to the fore as you get older. I certainly found it that way. I was in a quite happy relationship with a girl at University but still had a real attraction for other male students. As time went on the need for a man to man relationship increased to the point of not being able to suppress it. It was then a matter of sorting my life out big-time. Gay men make great fathers.
What is the best age to come out to your child/children?
This is a difficult one, and there isn't really a standard answer as all kids are different.
In my own situation, my son is a grown up 11 year old. I was keen to let him know before he got mixed up with his own adolescent problems. Knowing that he has got a very open, honest Dad who has confided his life's secrets in him will hopefully mean he will not be afraid in coming to me with his problems later on in life. You should also remember that gayness with our kids has a totally different meaning then when we were brought up. Gayness is all around them - Elton John, George Michael and other celebrities; many TV programs e.g. Casualty, EastEnders etc. all have openly gay characters.
I also thought it was really important to put my view on gayness across to my son before his mind was filled with the school playground version of what being gay is all about i.e.. "shirt lifters" "arse bandits" etc etc. At least I have forewarned him that he will hear these things so they wont come as such a shock. I "drip fed" the whole subject of gayness for months prior to coming out to him, during car journeys, walks etc. I think that this softening up is very important so it doesn't come totally out of the blue. It also gives them time to reconcile a new concept in their own minds.
How is the best way to come out to your children?
I am no expert in child psychology but there are a few points that I think you need to address
- Put the message across in a positive, confident manner. If a child detects uncertainty, it will make the whole thing more of an issue for them. It is important that you don't appear to be ashamed or guilty. Choose the situation carefully so that there is a nice relaxed atmosphere e.g.. a walk in the woods, on the beach, a bike ride or just at home when you are with them. When I told my son, his first question was - "Does Mum know?", because I could confidently say yes, and that she had known for several years, it wasn't such a big deal for him. He then flung his arms around me, we both cried a little, and he said " I will love you whatever you are, you are my Dad"
- Remember it is better that you tell them, than they find out either through hearing an argument at home where it is mentioned, by you losing your guard, or hearing from someone else.
- I think it is better if you tell them on your own, it is one thing less to worry about not having someone listening and commenting on your every word. By all means, and I think it is very necessary, ask your wife/partner to come in later and let the children know that Mum and Dad are in on this together.
- It is also important to stress that your relationship with them will not change as a result of you telling them. Children may need reassurance that you are just the same person as you were before.
- If your own personal situation is to change with your wife, i.e. you are considering separating, this should be kept for a different occasion, don't over burden them too much at once.
- Don't go into the details of gayness and gay sex too deeply. All they need to know is that it means being attracted to other men so that you might fall in love with a man and express your love with him.
- Reassure the child/children that just because you are gay, it is not hereditary so therefore they don't have to worry about being gay, they will be what they will be.
- Finally and most importantly, the need for confidentiality. I spent a lot of time trying to explain other peoples reaction to gayness and how some people are abhorrent of it, especially the older generation.
Do I tell my wife that I am gay or bisexual?
My answer to this is the old adage "Honesty is the best policy" It is always a good trump card to play to be able to say that you did confess, and how difficult it was rather than you were found out. Inevitably there are going to be lots, and I mean lots of debates/discussions between you and your wife. She will initially feel really hurt and deceived, mine did. I have heard others describing the coming out process and the aftermath as a roller coaster of emotion, I would agree with that. I think you also have to prepare yourself for the worst if your relationship is not strong in the first place, however some relationships do come through it. There are organisations in the states for gay husbands still within a marriage and there seems to be lots of guys in that situation, see my links page.
Who else should I tell I am gay?
I personally think the less people that know, the better. Ask yourself the other question "Why does anyone else need to know?" It is good to have someone to confide in, you are the best judge as to who that is. I have a female colleague who actually guessed there was something going wrong with my marriage and was very clever at putting her finger straight on the problem. She has been a tower of strength and I couldn't have come through all this without her. It is also good to hear things from a woman's point of view.
Aren't many gay men paedophiles?
This is also very untrue. As a matter of fact, evidence consistently shows that child molestation is significantly more a heterosexual problem than a homosexual one. It is generally an older male member of a family or close friend that offends.
Isn't living the life of a gay man a sin and against the bible's teachings?
This one my mother was keen to point out! The belief that homosexuality is sinful is not accurate and is "propaganda" by many homophobes. Most of the anti gay reading is from the Old Testament when in fact there was a real need to encourage the creation of children due to many small towns and villages dying out through lack of population. Anything that stood in the way of this teaching was said to be wrong. The fact is, religion tells us that Jesus loves everyone, and we should love each other. If there is love, how can it be wrong? Jesus himself never mentioned the concept of homosexuality.