What can I say? I am a Roman Catholic male, around 40, in the diocese of Arlington, Virginia. Though I don't get to go to meetings as often as I'd like because of scheduling issues, I am a member of our local chapter of Courage, which is a Church spiritual support group for people with same-sex attractions who wish to live chaste lives in accord with Church teaching. I say "wish to," because, well ... I have some severe shortcomings and have to admit an addiction that is out of control.
I may provide more detail later on the event that forced me to admit this, but frankly I'm not experienced in the "public confessional" mode of discourse (in fact, I pretty much hold it in contempt) ... one reason I'm starting this blog only now despite having been involved in the blogosphere under my own name for years. But this addiction was something I had to admit for the first time in my most recent confession, the prompting event for this site. Still, I love the guys from our chapter, several of whom have become my friends (one might have even saved my life), and our chaplain, who is also my regular confessor (first time in my life I've had one ... and I find it discomforting, frankly, but this is how it must be).
I wrote a note to Courage Online back in October explaining, in the context of John Kerry and John Edwards' mentioning Mary Cheney, why I prefer to remain in the closet, which I will repost at the end of this note. To be honest, I really do prize the public persona I have of a devout conservative Catholic yuppie, I have a good job that lets me work with my mind and live without material care since I have no family to support, and I'm sufficiently masculine-acting that I'm only certain of having been "accused" of being gay against my will once in my life. But my SSA is pretty comprehensive -- that is, I have no sexual desire at all for women, never have, and the thought of sex with a women fills me with as much disgust as (I imagine) the thought of sex with men does most men. Unlike a lot of guys in my situation, I never had a girlfriend-for-show throughout high-school or college, but I was (and am) studious enough that this was not considered remarkable -- "he's just the class bookworm," etc. Anyhow ... here's my Apologia for the Closet at Courage Online. It ran under the subject line "I hate the Democrats":
Despite the provocative subject line, this is actually on-topic (I think) and the point isn't (really) partisan politics.
I remain closeted to my family and to most of the world, primarily for a cluster of reasons that crystallized around Wednesday night's debate -- what John Kerry did to Mary Cheney (and Edwards did a few days before that). I will never be a public homosexual, because -- no matter what you do, what level of discretion you try to maintain, what other things you think of the world, whatever difficult accommodations you might reach with your own family or church -- none of it matters. It's all sand. The Abortion Party takes you as their charge, their ward, their pets -- personal property fit mostly for turning into their poster child. That's the world we live in, and that party has the loyalty of (loosely speaking) half the country. And this is so whether we like it or not, depressing as it is.
Even some self-identified gay writers have written that there was once a time (the "bad old" pre Stonewall days and for even a time after that) when the closet was the one absolute of gay life -- the one thing inviolable, that no homosexual would ever violate. From Mutual Assured Destruction, if nothing else. Every so often, I get tempted to maybe just chuck the closet, tell my family about my struggles with homosexuality and quit denying it to the outside world. But as difficult as the closet is, these incidents are nice sinus-clearings. They show that, in this day and age, living outside it doesn't give you any more freedom or security from public humiliation and worse. Now, washing other people's dirty laundry in public, "outing" people to at least part of an audience, referring to other people's family situation in a way about which you have good reason to think they'd rather you not -- these are all now an acceptable form of political discourse. And from the party that is "pro-gay" no less (there's at least a certain perverse consistency in people who despise homosexuals "outing" them). I fear the culture wars and their viciousness ... it's just depressing in its ... depressingness.