Steve Williams (Ste) – Site and List Owner
What do I get out of this?
Only the satisfaction of seeing men sorting out their difficult situations and moving on.
I actually run all this at a financial loss single handed
Quite possibly I’ve known I was gay my entire life but, the truth is, for many of my early years what I actually knew for a fact was that I was different.
At a time before we really comprehend sexuality as children we cannot grasp the concept of gay or straight. We do understand about love between two people and love generally but not how we can be physically and emotionally attracted to someone we’re not related to. This can be confusing for a child who is heterosexual except in that they tend to hang around with other boys because that’s the way of things, they don’t really need to confront the awkwardness of girls. This is not the case with boys who are homosexual. If they hang around with the boys they are going to get crush’s they cannot do or dare not do anything about which will make them feel apart from the other boys or, they are going to hang around with the girls in which case they are practically signposting themselves as gay.
I can remember that horrible feeling of not really knowing why but knowing that I really didn’t fit in with anyone. Various helpful relatives concluded I was naturally shy or just needed a kick up the arse, back in the 1970’s outer London town of Dagenham, it would not have been considered that I might be gay. Being gay, you see, was quite simply wrong. No question about it, there was normal people and then there were the gays, better watch your backs lads! There was this one boy in school, I won’t name him here but, he was from the posh part of town, a bit of a loner and he got dubbed as the gay boy. I don’t think he was actually gay but he went through hell. Who would want to come out at a time when there was no support or protection, where gay boys ‘brought it upon themselves’ or were ‘asking for it’? My parents spoke of queers, always in the negative, making it clear they were barely tolerated or people to make them laugh, to make fun of.
I tried to ask girls out but, I was going through the motions, my heart wasn’t in it. By the time I reached 15 I knew then that I was badly attracted to other boys. I never did anything about it through fear of the consequences but, I knew.
In 1981 we moved from Dagenham and the world felt like a friendlier place to me. I suffered severe anxiety with regard to my gay feelings but, I was quite convinced that I could possibly just start fresh until two years later when Neil happened. Oh boy, the total and utter image of my dreams and things happened, for around two years things happened and I was quite ready at that point, in 1985 to come out, take whatever consequences of that and become what felt natural to me but …
Neil disappeared ,my world was utterly shaken. The law said we had to be 21, he still wasn’t. I couldn’t impress on his family how much I needed to find him so I had to accept that I was alone, my love had gone. I was no way coming out on my own, I wasn’t yet that brave.
A year later and, to but a long story short, I met and fell in a kind of love with my wife. I’d convinced myself that Neil was a lovely phase but one which I had to put behind me and now it was time to grow up and become ‘normal’.
After we married, soon after our eldest was born in 1987, something quite cruel happened. I quite literally bashed into Neil whilst walking with my wife and child. It totally threw me. Firmly believing that secrets are best not kept I told my wife that evening all about me and Neil. We went through several years of weirdness where either my sexuality (she’d convinced herself I was bisexual) was a fun amusement or, it was the reason why anything at all went wrong.
We carried on until 1995 and now on 4 children. I’d had a complete breakdown in 1991-93 and by now I was quite sorted, or so I though and then, something else happened. There was drink involved, not that this is an excuse and, I slept with another guy. I confessed the next morning and made it clear to my wife that whilst we could continue being married, this had to be the end of our sexual relationship. It wasn’t anything like as cold as that, there was discussion, give and take and agreement but, that was the bottom line. It was at this time I started supporting other gay dads online.
I did a partial coming out to close friends and family and life got a little better. I didn’t seek out gay company, not a lot changed other than that we had different rooms.
In 1998 we decided the way things were had to change. We’d accepted by now we were reaching the end of our time together and decided we needed to take steps to move on. We both sought out other partners, her mainly for a physical relationship but I wanted more. I certainly learnt at this point that whilst a physical thing was sometimes fun, it wasn’t rewarding for me, I was left feeling hollow.
The big coming out occurred in 2000. I had done some magazine pieces before, some newspapers and radio but that year we agreed to have an hour long documentary made for C4.
The Director and Producers did a wonderful job and we watched their cut the day before it was released to C4. What they made was a well balanced and honest portrayal of two grounded people dealing well with a difficult situation. Oh dear, that wasn’t what C4 wanted at all. They cut it about a lot and by the time it was broadcast they’d shifted the balance to portray my wife as the poor victim in it all, the innocent party who’s life was destroyed by her homosexual husband! Of course, not everyone viewed it like that, it only had around 2 million viewers anyway, as if the word ‘only’ applied.
At the same time we were in a lot of demand from the media, ‘This Morning’, ‘Trisha’, ‘Ruby Wax Show’ to name but a few. Once the media have the name they never really let go. I am still asked to participate in a lot of stuff now. I normally just agree to do local radio though.
Now, that 2000 airing had consequences. My wife moved out and I remained with my long term partner and the 4 children. So started nearly 3 years of intimidation and violence from neighbours. By the winter of 2001 we’d stopped getting windows repaired or replaced, it wasn’t worth it as they were smashed as soon as they were put in. We lived boarded up. My two boys were physically attacked, the eldest is severely disabled but that didn’t stop anyone. We had death threats as well. During this period I started Gay Dad Support proper
The local Police did next to nothing, indeed, they almost certainly fuelled the violence by their inactivity. After a lot of pressure from the local authority the police installed a security recording camera and, the same day, notified the attackers of where to stand to be out of site in, as they said, the hope that they might just stop doing it anyway rather than having to prosecute.
We eventually moved in 2003 to the other side of town. The troubles stopped and I’ve had a near quiet life since.
Along the way I have loved and lost. I had a civil partnership in 2009 with a man I’d been living with for 3 years but, he cheated on me several times and we divorced in 2012. I am now a 4 times over grandfather, my eldest and youngest daughter still live with me, my youngest is married and has two small boys of her own, life here is not quiet!
I am still OK with my ex wife, there really is no point falling out over this. She got remarried, had another two children but is now divorced.
Life isn’t always perfect but then, if it were, now would we really know when it was good if we had nothing to compare it to?