Peter

I was first conscious of being attracted to boys when I was in school. But I was in an all-boys boarding school, so that was normal, right? That didn’t mean that I was gay. My parents were the product of their generation and were quite happy to speak in front of us of poofs and bum-boys, so I knew that it could not be a good thing and that it was certainly not normal.

When I left school, I shared my room-mate’s bed a few times, but he wasn’t gay, he had a girl-friend, so the fact that I was attracted to him didn’t mean anything, did it? It was just because I did not get to experience girls while I was in school.

As time went by, I realized that my attraction to men would pass if only I had a steady girlfriend, if only we were married, if only we had children, if only…

But it didn’t pass, I never “grew out of that phase”. I was abstinent for long periods. We joined a Church in the US where I was taught to pray, to fast and was even exorcised. But I continued to be more attracted to men than to women.

Finally, at the age of 53, I told my wife, I told my children. I expected the worst and was ready for it; I expected to be banned, for my world to crumble around me. But that did not happen. We decided to work through it together.

I love my wife. She is my best friend. After over 30 years of marriage, I don’t know what I would do without her. I have chosen celibacy over losing her and have kept that promise now for nearly nine years. It is not always easy, but it is a choice I have made. The reason we sleep in separate bedrooms on a regular basis, is because of my snoring, not because of my sexuality.

When I first came out, I was desperate. I could not find any support or guidance. There was plenty for fifteen-year olds coming out, but nothing for the over-fifties, married with children. What was there kept on telling me to give up, get divorced, find a man, there is no hope. Gay Dads offered me options, I started volunteering at a local LGBT charity to feel that I was doing something. I organized some events which brought together LGBT charities and support groups, politicians and the local people who were interested in these things. I explained that activity as “using my gay energy” for something else than finding a boyfriend. It helped. Thank you Ste, and all the others who were there for me at the time, who supported, listened, encouraged me. Thank you to all those out there who gave me hope, and I remain available to support anyone who feels the need.

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