An unusual family outing
Gary Hodson's changing family circumstances.
Despite earlier experiences in my youth and doubts about my sexuality it wasn't until some 10 years ago that I became quite certain I wasn't like most other men, at least sexually. Some six years ago after considerable inner searching and talking in depth to many loving friends, I could no longer hide it from myself that I was Gay (or just maybe bisexual?). Eventually I actually came to really value having the "label" gay - as it explained lots of things to and about me. I was however in a long standing hetero-marriage relationship and also working for a very large organisation, in a fairly specialised position, where it was totally unacceptable to be gay. (And in the case of this organisation it just so happens that the law was on their side, not mine.) None-the-less over the next few years I went through intensive counseling and decided to start owning up to who I was - or to begin the process of "Coming out of the Closet" at work and to my ex-wife. I eventually planned to do so with my children as well. I really wanted some integrity in my life. I wanted to be an authentic man - a value I had once proudly owned but over recent years had to admit I'd lost. I thought this had to be a very carefully executed plan because I didn't want to be rejected nor to hurt my family. What a joke that turned out to be ! Life proved I wasn't as strong nor as clever as I thought myself to be. I broke down under the pressure, finally fouling up an attempted suicide. The result was that I was "publicly outed" in a medium sized rural city. In other words within days everyone knew the basic details along with a dramatically enhanced story. At that point my marriage was over, I lost daily (and I feared all) contact with my three teenage daughters, my job, the house we lived in, the car I drove, my status in the local community, my social networks and support base - to me all I had built up, all I longed for and wanted my future to be; all went down the tube.
All this climaxed just 8 months ago. A few weeks after my breakdown I came to Sydney where I had a few family, some friends from the past and medical specialists. I was feeling absolutely broken, hopeless, lost, very sick, terribly alone and confused. My family in Sydney were excellent, as were my most of my friends, but I needed so much more. My men's group from my previous home were just great, standing by and supporting me in many ways - both practical and emotional. G.A.M.M.A. (Gay and Married Men's Association) proved to be an excellent place to talk, to be heard and to hear of other men's journeys, at all different stages. They shared their fears, failures, doubts and also their successes and achievements.
Amongst other things G.A.M.M.A & my Men's Groups gave me the incentive to work on the relationship with my own three children. Yet it was much to my absolute astonishment that I managed to begin rebuilding a far stronger, more honest, mutually respectfully and loving relationship with all three girls. So much so that on many occasions these three teenagers have come to functions with me. Two of the girls had only ever met one man they knew to be gay before I was outed. They, like many others, had come from a social construct where cruel anti-gay jokes were the norm, and the gay world was outside their experience. Because of my essential silence on the topic it had not become an issue that had taken much, if any, priority in their thinking space. All three of the girls have now met many of my gay friends, including one particular friend, been to dinners, out to coffee shops, the beach and to get togthers of gays, gay couples and their families.
It seems to me, speaking very retrospectively, that "up front" honesty builds trust and deepens understanding. I value and want to affirm my children more now than ever before. The fact that they were older may have helped. Having one of them living in Sydney also helped and my ex-wife being very cooperative regarding access and custody have all helped too. I've come to firmly believe that appropriate honesty with our children, at whatever level they can handle, which is often much deeper than we expect, provides a factual base they can depend upon and you, the giver of honesty, will become a person they can instinctively trust. I'm now able to look forward to an adult, loving relationship continuing to grow between us. Most importantly, I'm now confident I can remain a significant person in their lives, as I unquestionably know that they will always be in mine. The painful turns in my life have taught me at least this one invaluable lesson - that effective fathering and honesty go hand in hand.
G.A.M.M.A. Gay and Married Men's Association can be reached in Australia on 1800 804 617
How to Subscribe to Certified Male
Go to table of contents
© Copyright 1995-2000.