…..I was homophobic. Yes, shocking isn’t it, and shameful. I say homophobic but really, I went through a phase of disliking anything gay and avoiding anyone who appeared to be, or I knew to be gay. Thankfully, it didn’t last long.
Let me explain. In 2001 I started an Access Course at a local college and there I met a young man, lets call him Adam (not his real name), who was severel years younger than me and separated. We started seeing each other and for a while it was nice and I fell for him big time.
However, over time, Adam began acting very strangely and being very distant, until one evening after a dinner date he told me he wanted to end the relationship. I was stunned and heartbroken of course but eventually I accepted it and moved on.
In 2002 I went to university and Adam got in touch and we started our relationship again….and a few weeks later, he finished it again. His moods were increasingly erratic and he would shout and scream for little or no reason. I was a wreck and felt as though I was for ever walking on egg shells. Consequently, my studies suffered and I was increasingly depressed.
The on/off pattern of the relationship lasted until April 2003 when we finished finally and for good. Later, a mutual friend phoned me and gave me some news which stunned me…..Adam had ‘come out’ as gay. I will never forget how I felt that day. Sick and angry…at him. Why had he done this to me, why?
That night, I shut myself in my room on campus and sobbed and sobbed and drank and drank. And, to my everlasting shame, I broke and ruined every gift he’d ever given me. Worse, I wrote a letter to him in which I called him every horrible name I could. I won’t say what I called him…but you can imagine. I didn’t send the letter of course.
Consequently, I hated anything gay. Magazines, people, films, books. I was bloody angry and bitter that part of my life had been ruined by him and what he was. Why, I thought couldn’t he have been honest with me (and his ex wife) Didn’t he realise what he’d done with his deceit and lies. He’d ruined my life and possibly hers as well; I was so horribly bitter and filled with so much anger and, looking back, I hate how I was then.
But then, why did Adam feel he had to deceive people and why had he lived a lie for so many years. The answer of course, is simple….he was terrified of how others would react. Frightened that his family and friends would reject him and scorn him for who he really was. In short…..Homophobia.
It wasn’t really Adam who had ‘ruined’ my life or that of his ex wife; it was societies intolerance of GBLTQ people. He lived a lie for so long and I know it caused him great emotional and mental trauma. And I also know that, while he was married he had twice attempted suicide. His wife had been less than sympathetic.
I haven’t seen Adam since that April day in 2003 when we finished for good; but I heard that he had settled down with another young man and they were talking about marriage. I am truly happy for him and I hope he found the peace and happiness that had been denied him for so many years. He has a daughter (from his marriage) and I hope she is happy for him and has accepted who he is because she was the one person in his life who, I believe he truly loved. I hope that, knowing who her father is and that he is still her loving dad as taught her, not merely tolerance but acceptance.
Homophobia, then doesn’t just hurt one person; the effects of it can and do impact on many lives. It is horrible to think, in this day and age that many men and women still feel the need to live a lie, to conform to what many people still see as the ‘norm’. But, until society is truly accepting of the diversity of human sexuality and stops believing that Man/Woman relationships are the only ‘normal’ kind then we will see more stories like mine and Adam’s and more lives ruined because of the terrible scourge of Homophobia.
This piece has been written for the Hop Against Homophobia & Transphobia which was created last year to spread awareness of homophobia and transphobia, and to stand together as a writing community against discrimination of our works.
To visit the site and to read other HAHAT posts, click here or on the Rainbow Badge on the right and enjoy.
To celebrate the the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia and the HAHAT blog, I shall be giving a donation to The Albert Kennedy Trust in one commenters name.