Once you have subscribed to BMMA you can either receive messages through your email account or you can read the discussion through our web interface. To access the list through the web please insert, in the form below, your email address and the password you received when you subscribed and press "enter discussion."

Email address:

Your password:

Launch Flickr
We now have a new chat client! If you have already signed up for the service and are a member of the private chat 'BMMA' simply click "START" above and you will be able to chat with any of our members currently in the room. If you have not signed up go to flickr.com to create an account and then drop me a note to receive an invite to our private chat room.





Thursday, September 19, 2002



There are times my wife feels like the character played by Joan
Cusack in the movie, "In and Out."

Cusack, you may recall, played a long-suffering bride-to-be who
waited years and underwent an extreme weight-loss program in order to
get the man she wanted (Kevin Kline) to the altar, only to have him
admit to her during the ceremony that he was gay and couldn't go
through with the marriage.

Later, while still dressed in her wedding gown, she propositions a
handsome man (Tom Selleck) in a bar, only to have him cobnfess that
he, too, was gay.

She then runs out into the night screaming, "Is everybody gay?"

My wife, a beautiful woman blessed with the triplet gifts of
patience, understanding and a sense of humor, can all too well
understand Cusack's character's feelings. Ten years ago, our oldest
son came out to us both as gay. And then, more than a year ago, so
did her husband.

It was not hard for us to deal with our son's homosexuality. My wife
had many gay friends in college and as a physically disabled person,
has a compassion and understanding toward all minority people who are
objects of discrimination. As for myself, a then-closeted gay man, I
felt nothing but admiration for my son's courage in coming out to us
at a time when he could not be sure how we would react. I also felt
envy at his being able to come of age in a time where it was possible
to do so. When I was his age, the post-Stonewall gay liberation
movement was only two years old and most gay men like myself
concentrated on passing for "straight," even to the point of marrying
a woman and becoming a father.

In the years since our son's coming out to us, my wife and I educated
ourselves, through organizations like Parents, Family and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) on what it's like to be parents of a gay
person, as well as on the various public issues --- civil rights,
health, cultural --- affecting the lives of bisexual, gay, lesbian
and transgendered people. We found ourselves increasingly outraged at
the levels of discrimination against these folks, who, for the most
part, are relegated to a second class status in society, whether they
are out of the sexual identity closet or not.

For me, the outrage manifested itself in the form of an on-line
column, which became known as "Family 101." In it, I discussed
current events from the point of view of the father of a gay son. I
expressed opinions on a variety of subjects, ranging from the
obnoxious Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rev. Fred Phelps and hate crimes
to media perceptions of gay people and same-sex marriage.

In the process, I realized that I was very carefully hedging my words
and drawing a line in my openness about my personal life. It became
painfully clear to me that to be fully honest about myself and from
where I was coming, I would have to find the nerve to come out and
say, "This is not just about my son and others like him. It's about
me, too."

As anyone who has ever gone through this process will tell you, it is
a frightening journey take because it is not without risks. There was
the possibility of being rejected by the people I cared about the
most --- my family and friends --- as well as the knowledge that
taking such a step could cause any number of negative reactions from
the society in which I live.

For now, I am keeping the details of how I came out to my wife and
how we handled the aftermath to myself. But the present reality is
that we survived my revelation. More than a year after I came out,
our nearly 21-year marriage is intact with very little change in our
relationship. In some ways, it is stronger than ever because of the
absence of the distance caused by my secrecy. We think of ourselves
as being in a "mixed-orientation marriage" (MOM) and both of us
belong to support groups for husbands, wives and couples in similar
marriages. We consider ourselves lucky to have been able to continue
our lives together because we know that is not always the case.

I quit contributing "Family 101" columns more than a year ago because
I needed time to re-evaluate my positions on many issues, and more
importantly, work on my marriage and family relationships. What I
wrote in the past is true as far as it went, but there was always the
matter of self-censorship at work because I wasn't stating the true
reason why I personally felt so deeply about the issues being

Now, I am preparing to make a fresh start with a new series of
columns called "Family Out," which will view the same topic ---
bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgendered life in America --- but from
the perspective of a man whose family includes more than one gay
member, including himself.

Copyright 2002 by James-Clifton Spires. All rights reserved.

(James-Clifton Spires is a journalist and freelance writer living in
north central Ohio. He and his wife are proud to be the parents of
two adult sons.)

- filchy boy, # 10:41 PM

It costs money to maintain access to the resources Bisexual Married Men of America enjoy. While I never have asked for donations in order to be or become a member it sure helps if you can donate to our costs. If are so inclined to help please use the "donate" button to the left to donate through PayPal. If you would like to help by mailing cash or check please drop me a note and I will give you the address to use. Thanks!
safersex.org v4.0 · November 2004
an online journal of safer sexuality
circulation · 1,978,972 annual readers
editor · christopher l. filkins
technique · cornerhost, radio, blogger, & atomz!
support · aclu, ppf & eff