I was looking through my phone history to share a picture of the girls when they were 6 months with a friend because her daughter just turned 6 month so we were swapping pictures. (Even though my twins are 2 now. Anyway, point is I stumbled across a screenshot I took back then from when I found out my spouse was in the closet and I just had to share. My hope in sharing this is not to shame or embarrass anyone but rather I hope to enlighten some people who want to brush off what we s a straight spouses go through so easily. You know those people, the friends and family who refuse to acknowledge or believe all this shit is real, or that we are exaggerating or better yet that ‘supportive’ friend who tells you that you just need to get over it.
For me it’s not the fact that these are same sex relations. It’s the underhanded, sneaking, dishonesty of it all. More than that, it’s the betrayal of it all. If these were straight men or women sneaking off to publicly and randomly hook up like this while their unsuspecting spouses or significant other were unaware, or worse still at home breast feeding their 6 month old infants, I’m pretty sure society would be in an uproar about this type of abhorrent behaviour. Don’t misunderstand, I am fully aware of the fact that that very society and its homophobic, transphobic, queerphobic attitude and in some case policies and laws, have created a situation where some in the LGBTQ+ community don’t feel safe, accepted, respected or proud to live openly, to live authentically and that is absolutely wrong and not OK and needs to change. The bifurcating reality though is that it is also not ok for these hurting members of the LGBTQ+ society to commit lateral violence toward their spouse. Most people are quick to support the LGBTQ+ member coming out, and while they should be and do need support. That support should not come at the expense of the unknowing betrayed partner. The partner left behind did not have any agency in what happened to them; the only thing they are guilty of is falling in love with someone. They should not be made to feel silenced and shamed because of it; just as the LGBTQ+ partner should not be shamed or made to feel less because of their sexuality, gender or identity. But too often when the LGBTQ+ community promotes acceptance, equality and safe space of inclusion for everyone they generally mean everyone except heteronormative, straights. There are some fantastic LGBTQ+ inclusive groups in my city that promote being a space for everyone, for all types of people. I have lots of friends and people I love and respect that use those services and yet I myself don’t feel reflected, included or welcomed there. Even though I am part of the rainbow family, I am the co parent of two beautiful children with an LGBTQ+ former spouse. One day our own children may or may not have questions about their own gender, identity or sexuality. I would love for my ex spouse and I to teach them to love and respect for every human being and to be proud and love themselves no matter what. I would love to share in LGBTQ+ activities and events because whether I chose it or not it is part of my life, my family and the core of who I am now. I too have been a victim of homophobia, transphobia and hate. But the problem is I don’t belong and am not accepted by these organizations and spaces, my voice isn’t reflected there because I am straight and I was the victim of a victim of homophobia. So to admit my existence or to allow me to have a presence or a voice would mean what, that ‘hurt people hurt people? Well good we already knew that. And betrayed spouses, and children of closeted spouses are another very real example of that.
Sometimes I think the LGBTQ+ community is hesitant to acknowledge us because they may feel we are hateful or blaming them. While we maybe be angry and we are definitely hurt that doesn’t mean we are homophobic or that we want to spread hate or blame. In fact quite the opposite, we loved our spouses, we are also suffering because of society’s homophobia and transphobia. We need support and healing and love and acceptance. Partners who have discovered their spouse/partner isn’t straight or have had a spouse/or partner come out after years in a relationship have experienced a very deep betrayal by the person they loved and trusted most in the world, and even though that partner was hurting too, they were aware of what they were doing, aware that they were queer or questioning or having confusing feelings about their gender and identity and even though it may have been for valid understandable reasons like family, religion, social pressures, fear etc. they still chose to wrap up another person in their lie, to hurt and betray another person. Some cheated, some stole and some even jeopardized the health of their loved ones and their children in the process of hiding that they were LGBTQ+. Some are still doing it.
A lot of us need and want to connect with, understand and support our queer or questioning partners feelings, challenges, experience and journey but instead we are excluded, silenced and shut out by a lot of straight and LGBTQ+ people, and organizations it’s almost as if they don’t want to acknowledge that we exist. Many of us have lost friends and family. Would u tell the child of an alcoholic who doesn’t drink that it’s ok they don’t need support because their life isn’t really affected by alcohol? Would you tell the child of parents who went to residential school to suck it up because it doesn’t affect their life? Would you tell someone who was abused as a child that it’s ok to abuse their own children because it’s the hurt they had to live with and experience so it’s all they know? I don’t think as a society most people would be ok with any of the above. We know for a fact that lateral violence and intergenerational trauma exists. Recent studies even show that it can impact changes to our DNA. Bottom line, we know that people who have been hurt or are hurting hurt other people. So why doesn’t society want to hear from partners and family’s that have been left behind. Is it because then they would have to admit that on the whole homophobia and transphobia still exist and maybe as human beings we aren’t as loving and accepting as we claim to be? Why does the LGBTQ+ community want to exclude us, or gave us stay silently in the closet out spouse just left? Is it be because as a whole the LGBTQ+ movement is still in its infancy and still fighting for equality and a safe space, basic things that those of us who are straight are privileged to have and take for granted? I don’t know, I’m genuinely asking. If that’s why I can understand it more easily but it still hurts and I don’t think it needs to be that way. Partners who have discovered a spouse/partner isn’t straight or have had a spouse/ partner volunteer that information need to be included in the conversation. We need to have a voice, we need be respected and not feel shamed and silenced so that we can all heal. Maybe people aren’t ready for this yet but I think we need to work together to find a space to truly love respect and honour all aspects of gender, identity LGBTQ+, and rainbow family. True inclusiveness means excepting every part if our stories, and ourselves even the parts we don’t like, the parts where we hurt people, or made poor choices or were scared or angry or the parts that shame us or that we wish we could change, erase or forget. Everything all of it. We don’t get to pick and chose, we are human beings this is how we heal, how we grow, how we learn and most of all how we love and how we live.