August 5, 2006
It's Not Just Mormon Men Who Don't Want to Lose the Beard
I said we'd abandon this topic for a while, and when I said that, I meant it. But two things--or rather, two comments that need attention called to them--happened on the Brokeback Mountain post: 1) Saviour Onassis offered me a proposal of no marriage--check it out! It was so sweet; and 2) Spike provided a link to a timely article from the NY Times. Entitled "When the Beard Is Too Painful to Remove," it is, as Spike notes, "remarkably sympathetic to the gay men who struggle to figure out how to remain in their marriages and families. But not a word on lesbians who might find themselves in a marriage with a man but needing or craving partnerships with women, and not much comment on how the wives-- ‘beards'--the terms is gendered and sounds so derogatory--are supposed to cope."
The article states that
For gay men in heterosexual marriages, even after the status quo becomes unbearable, the pull of domestic life remains powerful. Many are desperate to preserve their marriages-- to continue reaping the emotional and financial support of wives, (emphasis added) and domestic pleasures like tucking children in at night.
And how do such men hope to retain those benefits? The articles cites Stephen McFadden, a social worker who runs support groups for married gay men in Manhattan, in asserting that "these men want to save their marriages.... either by lying, promising their wives they will not have sex with men or persuading them to accept their double lives."
Leaving a marriage and setting up housekeeping with a gay partner is not what most married gay men have in mind when they join a support group, according to Stephen McFadden.... Instead, Mr. McFadden and others in the field say, their clients generally start out committed to the opposite goal.
That's insane to me--about like joining a support group for alcoholics and expecting to be told how keep people off your back or bolster your liver function so you can continue drinking, or joining a support group for compulsive gamblers because you want information on how to borrow more money when your credit is already shot and your house is in foreclosure.
The only woman quoted is "Bonnie Kaye, the former wife of a gay man, who runs the Web site www.gayhusbands.com and conducts ‘How to Come Out to Your Wife' workshops. ‘If they're too selfish to leave, I won't work with them,' Ms. Kaye said. ‘If they love their wives, they need to give them their lives back.'"
I'm glad the article let someone say it.
Thanks again, Spike, for providing the link.
Posted by holly at August 5, 2006 5:39 PM