Just one Speech
This is part of my presentation package used for a conference in Bristol:
Every day hundreds of guys across Europe will reach a point in their lives where they cannot continue living a lie. These are men that are in a relationship with a woman, have had children and now realise that the feelings of homosexuality they have always had will not go away.
The emotions that these men have can be extreme, self loathing, guilt, humiliation, fear, all negative and with good reason. Coming out as an older man with children is one of the hardest things someone can do. Imagine all the normal thoughts of rejection and shame coupled with the thought that everything we have worked for over many years and, even more important, our children, could be taken away from us.
Thankfully, this is rarely the case; many men maintain a long and healthy relationship with their children and often remain friends with their wives. Most do eventually divorce as keeping such marriages together is often impossible, some, especially older couples, do continue within their marriages and live as friends often with the freedom to explore alternate sexual partners.
For every case similar to those I have mentioned above, there are a great many more with far reaching variants. There is no solution that will solve every problem for all couples.
Because this is such a complicated situation, a few years ago Gay Dad Support Net
was formed. This is an internet based discussion group that was initially restricted to UK residents but has now been opened up across Europe. With the proliferation of cheap flights across the continent, restriction to just the UK seemed pointless.
Over the coming years we are going to set up real world meetings as well as those online so that any guy wishing to speak to someone face to face can do so. As of February 2005 we have just two locations, London & Milton Keynes in England with Manchester and Birmingham to follow shortly. With the help of our colleagues across Europe, it is hoped that any man that needs to talk to someone else that has been in the same situation as him will be able to do so, not only online but also within travelling distance of his home town.
For membership enquiries, please visit www.gaydadsupport.net , Membership will always be free and your details are never passed to anyone outside the group who all have to agree to a strict code of conduct. The online group is restricted to English speaking members only at this stage but as we grow we plan to introduce additional groups in various languages.
Homophobia – My Experience
My partner and I and my four children were living in a fair size house on one of the Northampton housing estates. Just a year earlier, I had appeared on national TV in an effort to help other gay dads, so my sexuality became all too apparent. Still, it was several months later that the problems started. Initially it was just graffiti written on walls and paving slabs proclaiming that there was a “Gay man at 35”. Shortly after that, abuse was being hurled at us, and always by kids.
The ones most directly and personally affected by the homophobia directed at me were my two sons. True, all of us suffered, what with the broken windows, burnt doors and hate slogans around the estate, but the point is, no-one is safe that is associated with a gay person; all of them can become targets. Remember the neighbour who had his car fire-bombed because his son wanted to give evidence? These lowlifes don’t care who they target, as long as it achieves their objective, which is to eradicate the abnormal as they perceive it.
Steve’s Diary 12:20 am, December 30th 2002
This has been one of the worst years on record for me. This is tragic, as it is also one of the best years, yet all the goodness it held has been destroyed by that kid and his chums.
I have tried sleeping, but each time I close my eyes, my mind goes wild. Every night it is exactly the same thing; each night it has been 3am before I have slept. How long does it take to recover from months of terror? How many weeks or months, or even years, will it be before I can forget or remember without the pain?
I am in limbo, in a place I do not know. Nothing around me feels safe anymore. Everything is tarnished by the hate that has been aimed toward us. The damage goes far further than a few broken windows.
How does anyone have the right to make another feel as I do? For years, I have been happy to be gay; proud of it, almost. It was my difference, that thing that set me apart from others. I liked being a gay dad; it was a fascinating roller-coaster ride, an experiment in achievement.
Now, I feel like I am failing. I am not me anymore; I am this person being led by circumstance and uncertainty. What is an acceptable outcome to this? For how much longer can I be a victim?
This house was a home. It is now a prison. Everything about this house is right, except it isn’t safe any more. The council tried to move us, the house was much too small. There was no back garden, no outside space to call our own. When must we move, how long can we stay where we are? For my sanity, it must be soon, very soon. The next month or so.
What must the police do now? To be honest, I do not care what they do. I have no confidence in them to achieve anything. Despite all that is said, the system is still weighted in favour of the offender; the victim is an insignificant consequence of crime. Those responsible for the damage that has been done to me will not suffer anything like what I am suffering. The police need to understand that criminal damage stretches far beyond damage to property, and that emotional damage takes an age to repair, cannot be insured for, and cannot be measured in statistics. It has to be believed. It must be prevented, stopped, before it becomes this bad.