By Jody Valley
Stuck in the mud
Q: I recently picked up the Between The Lines newspaper. I was out eating with a friend and happened to see it. I had to come back to the restaurant later to get it because I didn’t want my friend to know that I was picking it up. I felt so scared about picking it up, I must have walked by it many times just making sure that no one was looking at me. I then started asking questions about myself.
I am a 52-year-old woman. I always knew I was different but it wasn’t until the last few years that I decided that my difference was not just being different, but was about maybe my being a homosexual. I’ve never had sex or anything with another woman, but I know that I am very attracted to women–and not to men. Obviously, I have always lived a heterosexual lifestyle, and even though I am not currently married, all my family, friends, work colleagues and my church know me as heterosexual. I am a Republican, and so is pretty much everyone I know.
The church I belong to (sing in the choir and teach Sunday school) is very conservative. In fact, we were just signing petitions against homosexuals being able to marry last week, and the reverend gives lots of sermons about the evils of being homosexual. Sometimes I think he is speaking to me directly. I can’t even hold up my head when he has a sermon on that subject, or when he just seem to say it out of the blue about how bad homosexuals are. I know my face gets red. I can feel the heat of it. I can’t even believe I did it, but I signed the petition against marriage for homosexuals! I felt like if I didn’t, they would see through me and know that I am a homosexual. I was with another woman who was signing it, and there was a group of people around me when it was handed to me. No one in the group even questioned whether or not they should sign it, they just all felt they were doing God’s work by signing it. I was burning up with anxiety through the whole thing.
Anyway, my problem is that the older I get, the harder it is for me to keep pretending that I am not homosexual–even though I really have no doubt that I am. I am afraid it is just going to come up to the surface and will not stay down. I even worry that it will come out in church because there’s a time in the service when people are called to the alter to confess their sins and ask God to forgive them. Then, the minister and the elders of the church get involved. I don’t want to have all that happen to me.
Is there any kind of club or anything that I could go to and be anonymous, and just get out who I am? I would like to continue living the life I am now, but I am afraid if I just ignore these urges that I would do something foolish and make a mess of my whole life.
Stuck in the Middle of Two Worlds
A. It’s hard for me to advocate for your going off and being lesbian for a few hours, then going back to your current lifeÑthough many people have started out that way and some folks keep going with this life style, but I think it is a very stressful lifestyle. However, I think it would be good for you to find a group in the LGBT community. It might be a way to confirm who you are and give you some time to find out what you want out of life. I would also recommend your getting some counseling with a gay friendly counselor. (It doesn’t have to be a gay/lesbian counselor, just one that accepts homosexuality as a valid state of being.) I think it would be better for you if you’d find another church for now. This church is stressing you out and is not very good for you. There are other churches that don’t condemn homosexuality. (If you want the names, I will be glad to give them to you. Just email me and I will provide those names to you.)
You have been pushing down your homosexual feelings like a person trying to keep a big beach ball under waterÑnot an easy task and it keeps popping up to the surface. I’m sure that it will keep happening until you explore this issue for yourself.
You will find some local groups in Between The Lines, along with some ads for counselors. I think it is time for you to make some choices in your life. You can’t choose your sexuality, but you can choose how you will live your life. Good luck and keep me informed.