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Monthly Archives: March 2013

I am a PMGF.

ImageOver the past several weeks, I have been stuck between the past, present and future.  You see… Being a gay man who was married for 14 1/2 years has put me in a category of society of which very little is known.  I have found myself angry, frustrated, mad, depressed, hopeless, sad, confused, bewildered and guilt-ridden.

Because I love my former wife and my two daughters so deeply, I still find myself upset that I am gay.  I want my family back, I want my house back, I want the dog, the cat… Ummm ok… maybe not the cat.  I don’t like cats.  I want to go places together and be recognized not as Chet, but as Chet who is married to Christa, his beautiful wife with two sweet girls that live in lovely suburbia in a beautiful home with beautiful wreath on the door,  a pool and great neighbors.  I MISS THAT… (and yes… I’m yelling).

Whatever uninformed, small-hearted, hateful, self-serving person that continues to tell me and any other “different” person that we CHOSE this… it is at times like this that I’d like to punch you in the neck for your insensitivity and downright stupidity. Image You sicken me with your bible thumping hateful opinions and misinterpretations of what Jesus really said… and somehow you simply forgot that you wear a rubber band bracelet with WWJD on it…  Take off your false advertising bracelets and your bumper stickers while you are at it.  You shame the God that you claim to represent.  (Wow glad I got that off my chest)

While some may debate me on this next issue, I would say that my life as a gay man who is formerly married is MUCH different from someone who has been gay their whole life or one who never married and had children.  I unequivocally accept that I am gay, but I am deeply struggling internally and externally with overcoming the guilt that I live with.  The guilt that overcomes me that I cannot explain at times. It is debilitating at times.  There are still days (while they may now be fewer) that I wish I had just gone through my plan of suicide. Everyone would be OK by now.  Instead I live daily with the wreckage that I have left behind.  (not reality, but somewhere in my mind.)

At the time of this writing, I am still not in relationship with my siblings and my relationship with my parents is cordial at best, but we may be making progress.  I’m told that this blog is in-part “responsible” for that separation. This simply adds another layer of complication and guilt that causes me physical sickness, emotional sadness and lots of tears.  I lost the support of my wife’s family through the divorce and I loss the support of my own family through years of hiding, guilt and shame and now being authentic.  In my mind, it will NEVER end and I need to somehow adjust… or “un-choose” my “lifestyle.”  Either way, I loose the real me.

So in response to my self-claim of “PMGF” (Previously Married Gay Father), I have taken to the internet to find as many PMGF’s as possible.  I have searched chat sites and other resources to locate those men, lest I go on feeling all alone and lest they go on feeling all alone.  In two weeks I have located and contacted 10 fathers in my area alone who are PMGF.  There are thousands more that I need to connect with.  Most are not blessed to have the support of their former wife or children as I am, but many have the support of their families, but somehow we usually feel alone.  Carrying guilt and shame of “destroying” our family for our “choice” of “lifestyle.”   So we will somehow, someway unite to support each other through what we feel is suffering in silence.  Another discovery is that MOST of these men are of Christian and/or religious faith and conservative politics and “values.”

Many of us (PMGF) wish to keep our faith and conservatism but feel that we must embrace the values bestowed  upon us by those non-faith and liberal gay community if we wish to be fully embraced by them.  So now we have the difficulty of hiding in our former life and again hiding in our “new” life. Over the past few months, I have personally been shamed by several in the gay community that simply cannot understand or respect my conservative and religious values. It has put me in a place of withdrawal.  So I’m attempting to be Rosa Parks, I will sit in the seat that I “chose” and I will practice my faith and conservatism.

I still continue to attend church (non-denom) with my former wife and children where on occasion I have to sit through a talk about my sinful “choice” and “lifestyle.”  I further have to re-educate my children on occasion when they tell me that their (church) teacher told them that they must love sinners and hate the sin of people who are gay.  However this is something that I have “chosen” to deal with as the education of my children is my responsibility and not that of a minister, pastor, deacon or teacher.  I do this in spite of the fact that I want to spit in the face of the “church” as a whole.  I gather myself and realize that most people in my church are OK with me being gay even though the “church” says differently.

So what about me being stuck between my past, present and future.  I am frustrated with myself about past of not being authentic and causing so much carnage.  I am stuck in my present because I am learning to navigate by my gauges only… the sky is foggy and unclear and I can barely see in front of my face. I’m stuck in my future because I simply don’t have a plan of where I am going yet.  I am simply circling around in my vessel trusting that I will not run out of fuel before the fog burns off and I can see clearly again and guide this vessel to safety.

namasteHuge, Mad respect to each of you who have reconsidered your belief system to show love and respect to Me, Christa and my girls.  To the rest of you… time is ticking and you are loosing valuable time with Me, Christa and my girls as you stand firm in your judgment, shame and hate.  It will not be long before the girls will be graduates and brides, and you will have missed it all.  All because their father is “different.”    The God in Me, Honors the God in you.

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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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Raising Kids Towards Love And Acceptance (Guest Blogger, Mrs. Star Forbis)

Today I am pleased to turn my “voice” over to a dear friend.  It takes a lot to turn your “voice” over to someone, but after years of friendship, I have come to have a deep respect for Star.  She is first STAR, a Christ Follower, a Wife,  a Mother, a Friend and a lover of humanity in general.  You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would speak a negative word against or about her.  She is one of the most authentic people who I know.  10 out of 10 people love her.

I have been through several trials with Star and her sweet family and she too has been by me and my family through our trials.  She is selfless, holy and practical.  I could go on and on but you get the picture.  Thank you for giving me the precious gift of love and support in a very difficult situation.  You have a special place in the heart of me and my family.  I Love you!  MUAH!

Star Forbis

Raising Kids Towards Love And Acceptance

I am so honored to be Guest Blogging here on Why Am I Gay? A big Thank You to my good friend Chet DeRouen for giving me this opportunity. I’ll let you know later just how we know each other. Let me start by Introducing myself. My name is Star Forbis, I Blog over at Laughing Through Parenting. Yes, I’m one of those “Mommy Bloggers!” Only with a few twists, 1st my kids are a little older; I have 2 boys, ages 21 & 22, and Twin Daughters, age 15. 2nd I have been Married over 25 years to the Love of my Life, who happens to be a Pastor, a Music Pastor. We’ve also been Youth Pastors. So, needless to say, our kids grew-up in the Church world. But, being firm believers in the Public School system, our kids also grew up in a secular world. It’s been a Balancing Act to say the least. I’ve also gone from being a Stay At Home Mom for over 18 years, to now, working full-time. 

And if I do say so myself (and I do, often!) 🙂 I have some pretty great kids! Now, they are FAR from Perfect, trust me, but I’ve made a conscious effort to raise them to be Loving and Accepting of everyone they encounter. When Chet asked me to be a Guest Blogger on his Blog (& trust me, in the Blog world, it’s a pretty big deal to give Voice to someone else in your space, and I’m honored he Trusts me enough) he wanted me to talk about how I talk to & educate my kids as a Mother, as a Christian & a Pastor’s Wife about people who are different from them. Basically how I’ve raised my kids to be Loving & Accepting of other people. No matter how those other people look, act, live, where they come from, etc. I was amazed first of all that he thought I had! 🙂 

So I asked my kids “How have I raised you to Love & Accept people different from you, if of course, you think that I have?” They said things along the lines of “you showed me we’re all different & thats okay.” “Everyone deserves to be Loved & Accepted.” “We’ve all sinned & done things that are wrong, and God loves us! And He commands us in His Word to Love each other.” And I said “Wow! All this time I thought I was raising you to be Bullies!” 🙂 I’ve said on my Blog that I hope that some of how my kids got to be who they are was ‘Inspired’ by me, but I also know, that some of who they are is ‘Inspite’ of me! 🙂 

It’s really so simple; The Golden Rule, as found in the Bible says “Do Unto Golden RuleOthers As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.” Which simply just means treat other people like you would want to be treated! I’d take that a step further & say treat other people how you would want your kids to be treated! What if your Child were handicapped, mentally or physically? What if your child were Gay? What if your child were different in any way from what is considered the “norm?” How would you want them to be treated by others? (We can overlook others mistreating us sometimes, but not mistreating our Children. Am I right?) Well, that is exactly how you should treat other people and teach your children to treat everyone with Love & Respect as well. 

We have known Chet & his former Wife Christa for many years. We went to church together. My Husband was the Music Pastor, & Chet sang with him, and was a Board Member of the Church. Christa & I helped to run Mom’s groups, and we all hung out together. They are fun people! We’ve known them as a couple for over 10 years. I remember one night hanging out & (one of my Vices) The Real Housewives of New York came up in conversation, and Chet joined in on the discussion, even knowing some of the Housewives by name. Later that evening while my husband & I were talking about how much fun we had, I said to him “you know, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear Chet was Gay!” What straight man can carry on a conversation about The Real Housewives?! And as usual, I was right! 🙂 

Chet E-mailed us & other friends that after years of struggling to not be who he is, dealing with depression & thoughts of suicide, he had decided to be his Authentic self. A gay man. He & Christa were divorcing, yet would continue to parent their two Beautiful little girls together, and would remain best friends to each other. John & I immediately E-mailed Chet & Christa respectively to let them know this changed nothing between us. We Love them both & always will. And that we are praying for them as they go through all the transition & turmoil. And in reality nothing had changed. Chet was still Chet. The man we all know & love! He isn’t somebody different from he’s ever been. 
And since we run in the same circles, we told our kids about Chet coming out. They, as kids always do, took it in stride.  We’ve tried to make no subject Taboo in our house. We have really tried to always be open & honest with our kids, encouraging their questions. Who else would we want them to ask? Mixed Race Family I remember once when my oldest son was preschool age, (we’re talking almost 20 years ago) we were in a fast food joint & an Interracial family walked in. My son looked at them & asked “How come that little girl has a black daddy & a white mommy?” His question was not met with a “Shhhh, we’ll talk about that later.” No, my response was “Well, because they fell in love & got married & had a baby, just like me & Daddy! And when you grow up you can marry who ever you fall in love with.” He simply said “Oh” fully satisfied, it made perfect sense to him & he had no other questions on the subject. We try to watch Movies & T.V. shows together, & read books that feature people different from us. Or that could bring up topics for discussions, that we otherwise might never encounter. We talk about our Beliefs, Moral & Social issues & yes, even Politics & Religion with our kids. But always respectfully. It’s not acceptable to put others down, even if they don’t believe like we do. 

You see I believe with my whole heart that a Christian’s first response should ALWAYS be one of Love & Compassion. But all too often it is one of Judgement & Prejudice. That breaks my heart. Now, I don’t know what other kinds of responses Chet got to his letter, I’m sure some were very nice, I’m also sure others were not. And I do know it was the end of some of those relationships. But, we too have been on the receiving side of people’s  judgements, and we know what if feels like when the Church has seemingly abandoned you, and we have vowed never to purposefully do that to someone else. Jesus was put down when He was on earth for being a “Friend of Sinners.” In fact His only harsh words were reserved for the so-called “Religious” people who thought they were so much better than everyone else. The truth be told: we are all sinners. And we are all Loved by God. We are all created in His Image. None of us are better than anyone else. I’ve tried to make sure my kids have always known that. (Although to me they are the absolute best! As I hope your kids are to you) Who would want to live in a world where everyone looked & thought just like them? Not me! There is so much we can learn from each other & from other cultures. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of every opportunity to do so? 

I have been so proud to watch my boys do everything from open doors for people, to helping people move, to shoveling snow for neighbors without being asked, to Ministering to people in the streets & in homeless shelters in New York City after 9/11. And even to watch my girls this year trying to be there in support of a good friend of theirs who was loosing her Grandma, even while they were still hurting over loosing their own Grandma. But In all honesty, I haven’t really taught my kids anything profound. I believe all kids are born with a natural Love for all creatures. I think it’s Hate that is taught all too often. We pass down our Prejudice, our Fears & Ignorance. When we hear about Bullies, I’ve always told my kids “Someone must have hurt them extremely badly for them to act that way toward other people.” We were Youth Pastors when Columbine happened & my boys were in Elementary school. Needless to say It scared the crap out of us! (Yes, I said crap!) 🙂  I remember seeing it on TV as I was walking through the living room with a laundry basket of clothes & just stopping right there, sitting down on the floor & crying. I talked to my boys about teasing, that it might seem innocent & harmless, and even funny, but it’s not to the person being teased. And why would you want to make someone feel so bad just for a few laughs? I encouraged them not only to not participate in teasing or bullying, but to stick up for the person being put down. You never know that kid could one day snap & come to school with a gun, and just maybe they would remember you were the one who stood up for them when no one else did & spare your life. Again it’s as simple as treating people how you would want to be treated. Shouldn’t that be the norm? There are a lot of people in this world. And every single one of them have something to offer. I’ve always loved meeting & getting to know new people. And just because someone is different from we are, deep down inside, we’re really all the same. And in order to get Love & Respect, we, in turn need to give it. Hows that for profound?

 
 

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