Pigeon Holes

Do you ever find that without you doing much you have been placed in a pigeon hole? Judgements are made and those opinions stick with you. You are effectively the short, fat, old, ginger, gay, black … guy

Well, when I identified as ‘gay’ (because I am so, not a choice then) I was OK to find my pigeon hole was with gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women. It worked, we all were attracted to someone of the same gender (at least sometimes in the case of bisexuals).

True, I rapidly discovered it wasn’t that simple. You see, I was not a stereotypical gay man. No, a stereotypical gay man was gay first and foremost. Everyone had to know they were out and proud, they were not monogamous, they were often rude and opinionated and, well, I wasn’t. I also discovered that actually, quite a lot of lesbians really don’t like men at all be they gay or heterosexual and, as for the bisexuals, well, no one ever quite knew where they were with them.

But, basically, I was part of the LGB ‘community’. Community is actually a really bad word, it totally isn’t! It’s full of cliques, and this group, that group, tops, bottoms, versatiles, leather queens, twinks … of it so goes on!

But, if someone (clearly not thinking much) wants to put me in the LGB pigeon hole, then OK.

Except now it isn’t OK!

Imagine you are in your lovely Catholic support group and then you discover, it’s no longer the Catholic support group but rather, the multi-faith support group! I mean, a radical departure right. Now imagine it is the black and multi-faith support group, wow, suddenly it feels like it’s not your group any more right?

So, imagine, if you will, how I felt when I’d just got used to this LGB thing when suddenly I was now in the same pigoen hole as trans and heaven knows what other gender issue groups there are.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their own unique community but, what do trans people have in common with LGB? One is about sexuality and the other about gender and, news flash, these are not the same thing.

I therefore disconnect myself, I have left the pigeon loft and am a community of one

(unless other gays choose to join me).

My Baby Reindeer Moment

I have not seen beyond episode 4, I nearly didn’t watch that episode to the end, it was very difficult for me. So many memories of my own experience.

Spoiler Alert

From this point in, some or a lot of what I am going to say might spoil the series for you up to this point but I am only saying it for some context.

What did happen to me?

A little history of me

I have always suspected strongly I was gay. My main issue was, I had actually no idea what that meant. What I knew for sure was that I felt uncomfortable around other men. I thought there was something, some point about being a man I totally didn’t get. They all seemed so confident, they didn’t seem to care what others guys thought, they acted like I was weird if I complimented them. Doing so felt natural for me, I thought it was just that, ‘natural’ to compiment someone. In my teens years I come to understand, just a little more, what fancying men was all about. It is fair to say I was heavily conflicted. If I knew anything I knew for an absolute fact that I could not be gay. There were some very obviously gay men on TV and I most certainly wasn’t like them. Let me give you an example of those men:

What we have here is John Inman, Larry Grayson & Quentin Crisp. I was a million miles away from any of those guys. On TV the first two never openly came out as gay to the best of my knowledge but ‘everyone knew’ they were, you know, queer. The last one, Quentin Crisp only became famous following a story in which the actor John Hurt played him.

There was nothing about any of those men which I related to, nothing at all. If that was what being gay was, perhaps, well, just maybe I wasn’t gay at all, I just somehow found other guys attactive and it would be those other guys which would form all of my sexual fantasies.

But, there was another issue at play, I wanted to be a dad and had zero interest in girls, never even had any friends who were girls let alone a ‘girl friend’. You see, I say that, by my early 20’s I had maybe 1 and a half girlfriends. I was that naive that I didn’t notice that one of them just pretended to be my girlfriend to make the guy she wanted to be her boyfriend jealous. This other girl, I am sorry, I don’t recall her name (it’ll come back to me), she was a girl from the office and she seemed really into me in every way which was important ‘to her’ and, I felt nothing. Neither attraction or desire.

In 1983 I did though get a boyfriend. A true boyfriend in every sense except in the most important, nothing we ever did was legal. When we started it was illegal for us both to be together and by the end of it, two years later, it was just illegal for him but, by defintiion, as I was having a sexual relationship with someone under 21, I was a criminal.

After that ended through a really bad assumption that I was seeing someone else on his part (I wasn’t) I was single again. He was the only guy I’d ever had any form of sex with, we had never gone all the way and had anal sex, all very vanila.

Soon after, I met the girl I would end up marrying. I knew on my wedding night it was a terrible decision. Not because of her but because, I then realised just how long forever could be.

The sex wasn’t unbearable, it was a function, nothing more and I always suspected she got way more from it than I ever did. Within 9 years the marriage had changed. She’d known I was gay from the first weel but chose to believe I meant ‘bisexual’ and I didn’t want to argue. But in 1995 I told her I couldn’t do the sex part any more, I didn’t enjoy it, it stopped me being the person I really was, that it made me unhappy every time that I was acting a part, living someone else’s ideal.

We moved to Northampton, it doesn’t matter why, we just did. In 1998 I told her that I needed to fully come out as a gay man, have gay friends and explore that side of me. I was 35 and I realised I’d long since stopped being a gay boy, I had gotten much too old for that.

I met a man who became a good friend. He really got me out of myself. I enjoyed him touching me and showering me with compliments. He even liked going out with me with all the kids as well. A true friend.

However, and this is where the connection is between me and episode 4 of Bay Reindeer, something happened. He said he wanted to give me the most amazing birthday ever in 1999, my 36th. We would go clubbing in London (I’d never been), he said, I might even meet someone. I got very drunk. I don’t recall the drive home. I say home, I’d agreed to stay at his place as the kids were already sorted for the night. He told me the guest bed wasn’t clean and suggested I sleep in his bed, I was beyond caring from what little I recall.

I was asleep when I felt him fucking me. I’d never had anal sex in my life, never, it wasn’t something I’d ever thought much about and here was this man fucking me. I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening as, no one would do that, not without asking but, it was happening. Before I knew it, he withdrew and wiped his cum from my arse! I went back to sleep.

He asked the next day if I had enjoyed myself the day before, he didn’t mention the sex. I wanted him to because I couldn’t. The words just wouldn’t come out. For days I panicked. I worried I might have HIV. I even not very descretely asked him several days later if getting HIV ever worried him as he didn’t use protection. He told me that as his age he didn’t much care. He didn’t like sex with a condom so he was prepared to take the risk, I did some sort of stupid giggle, I felt sick.

I went to the ‘GUM clinic’ after a week or so. I felt so dirty, I never thought I would ever need to go into one of those places and there I was. I made up some crap story, I don’t ever remember what it was to get a HIV test. Of course, at the time I could have said I was a gay virgin and they’d have eventually suggested a HIV test. I think it took two longest ever weeks to get the all clear result. I had a choice. I knew I’d never be able to prove that what happened did happen so, I either carried on with us being friends because, after all, he was the key to my entire social life else, I say some crap excuse and move on. I decided that moving on only hurt me more so I acted like nothing happened.

I genuinely loved that man. Not in any romantic sense but he was the man who helped me work out what sort of gay man I was and to ignore what others thought I should be.

When I past away I was heartbroken, genuinely, one of the more painful times of my life.

Ever since his passing I have suppressed what really happened but, I cannot do it. Again, for me to understand who I am, to know why sex for me now is so shit, I had to go there back to the early hours of June 5 1999..

Yes, I had sexual relationships since then and they were OK but, they were always things I personally and emotionally had to work at. I was too often taken back to that uncomfortable memory and my mind would race killing the moment,

Did I enjoy the experience with him? I genuinely do not know. It was incredibly painful, I know that. Later in the day I remember a very painful explosion of shit and blood, I felt so dirty, so cheap. Actually, incredibly lonely. But, you know what? That doesn’t matter, that is falling into the victim trap.

If I had enjoyed it, would it still have been wrong?

Yes, undoubtadly I was raped. At no point did we ever have any conversation about anal sex beforehand and at no point did he ever ask my permission to fuck me. Had he asked me, I would have said no, I wasn’t ready to do that with him or anyone else. He took away my right, my absolutely right to choose when I did that. I would have chosen a time when I was with a man I truly loved as an act of love.

Do you know, and I am not saying who, there was only really one man I loved enough to enjoy the experience, where we could laugh about failures say yes or no and it never mattered. Both of us in that relationship were, as I am, 100% versatile, that we both equally enjoyed each aspect, each so called ‘role’ in gay sex. With every other guy. and with some it was just ‘too soon’ but, with other guys it was uncomfortable, it became a function with someone I didn’t really know. That part I know was what changed in me on June 5 1999. I lost my trust in someone else.

I do not think I will ever get over it. This year will mark 25 years since it happened. For sure it is healthy for me to be opening up about this. Some might find it strange or unfortable to read this. Others might ask why now? Why say this about a man who cannot defend himself? My answer is simple, I still loved him enough not to mess his life up whilst he was alive. But, likewise, I love me enough not to allow my life to be messed up because of a decision he made without asking me first.

He always described himself as a narcissist* which, made no sense to me at the time, I always thought he was just being modest. Looking back though I now realise that those of us who benefitted from him in any way did so at his pleasure.

*Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others

You don’t have to be religious …

… To work out some things in life just cannot be explained.

When I was a kid, back when I had to run away from dinosaurs and there was no McDonalds or Sainsbury I had some really crazy wishes for a kid growing up on a council estate.

  • I want a 4 bedroom house
  • I want a new car
  • I want children
  • I want to be happy
  • I want to see Disneyland
  • I want to be married

Let me tell you how that worked out:

  • I have a 5 bedroom house
  • I get a new car every three years
  • I have 4 children and 4 grandchildren
  • I am happy
  • I have been to 4 Disney parks (some many times), just two to go!
  • I have been married to a lady, I have been civil partnered to a man, I am now married to a man

Now, what I had in mind as a kid is not how it worked out. To my immature mind I thought we just aspired to something and there would be no cost, there is always a price to pay and those who know me, know some of those prices I have paid.

Every parent says the same “I don’t care what they are as long as they’re healthy”. Well, mine were not healthy, they all have problems, some more than others but, I am grateful for having them. I got the house because not all my kids were healthy. I get a new car because I now am not healthy. I am happy because what I have outweighs what I suffer. The Disney parks, well, they’re just a huge bonus, even I wonder how that happened. Being married, yes, I also got divorced and dissolved (eww) but, that’s OK as we’re still friends. For sure there was a lot of intervention for me to find Dennis, it’s not like our eyes met in the store! He lived 7000+ miles away!

I wrote something earlier, read that:

Sa bata pa kita gisultihan kita nga mosalig nga ang Dios mag-atiman kanato
Samtang nagkadako na kita, ang mga katingad-an nga wala damha nga mga butang mahitabo
Mga butang nga dili nato mapasabot sa bisan unsang paagi gawas sa, nangutana ko sa Diyos ug nahitabo ra.
Samtang kita adunay mga anak, ang Dios nagbilin kanato sa pagpadayon niini
(Kinahanglan naton ang responsibilidad sa usa ka butang)
Samtang sila nagtubo siya mibalik ug diin kita nagkinahanglan kaniya, siya anaa.
Sa panahon nga kita moretiro na ug modawat sa pagka senior
Makataronganon ang kinabuhi
Atong naamgohan nga ang mga importanteng butang sa kinabuhi atong naangkon.
Nasayud kita nga gibayran nato ang bili sa Dios alang niadtong mga butanga ug, OK ra.
Nakakat-on mi nga magmapainubsanon.
Nakakat-on kami nga magmapasalamaton.
Ang akong nahibal-an labaw sa tanan mao
Kung kita naghunahuna nga ang Dios maghatag sa atong kinabuhi sa mga ganti
Sayop mi.
Ang iyang gibuhat dili kaayo klaro apan kini mahitabo.
Dili perpekto ang kinabuhi pero, nakakat-on ta gikan niana.
Usahay ang kinabuhi lisud, kini makalilisang, kini makalilisang
Naglisod mi
Kita makakat-on gikan niana
Unya kita molingi ug, ang atong kinabuhi mao ang kinabuhi nga atong gipangayo.
Bisan kinsa nga naghunahuna nga ang Dios walay bahin
Nagtuo ko nga mahimo nimong gimingaw ang usa ka daghan sa dalan!

When we are young we are told to trust that God will take care of us

As we get a little older, strange unexpected things happen

Things we cannot explain any way other than, I asked God and it just happened.

As we have children God leaves us to get on with it

(We have to take responsibility for something)

As they grow he steps back in and where we need him, he is there.

By the time we get to retire and accept being a senior

Life makes sense

We realise that the important things in life we got.

We know that we paid God’s price for those things and, it’s OK.

We learnt to be humble.

We learnt to be grateful.

What I know more than anything is

If we think God is going to pave our life with rewards

We are wrong.

What he does is never so obvious but it does happen.

Life will not be perfect but, we learn from that.

Sometimes life is hard, it’s awful, it’s terrible

We struggle

We learn from that

Then we look back and, our life is the life we asked for.

Anyone who thinks God played no part

I think you may have missed an awful lot along the way!

Things I know.

  • If there is no God, how can there be an afterlife and, I know there is because I have witnessed it. I saw my granddad after he died, clear as day, when my mum was alive she told me that her old landlady promised that when she died she would make something move which didn’t usually move and they would then know, she was OK. Soon after her death a hot water bottle hanging on the wall, moved. When my mum died, before I knew she was dead, weird stuff happened. She was in hospital, I didn’t even know she was that ill. Her crutch which had stood at the top of the stairs fell over. I went to pick it up and her dressing gown fell off the door behind me and on a door I had not walked past. Those delays forced me to stay home an extra few minutes at which time the phone rang to tell me to get to the hospital. She had died just before they called me.
  • I overdid it with two of the children back in the 1980’s. We walked too far, I mean, miles further than we should and ended up on the wrong beach in Spain, the one which had no way to get back and it was really hot. I could see no way of getting back so I did a hail Mary, well, in the non religious sense and I prayed. Within a few moments a very random Spanish lady who spoke little English approached me and asked, was I OK. I don’t know how much she understood but she gestured for us to follow. She squeezed us into a tiny little car with her kids and drove us back into town and then drove off before we could say thank you. Intervention of a divine nature? I choose to believe that, yes.

There have been many similar experienced throughout my life. Everything I ever asked for I got. I say God has a wicked sense of humour because he did. This would be an example and a tiny one. I ask for a lottery win and, low and behold, I win the lottery. Sure, it’s £1.75 but I wasn’t specific!

I always wanted to be different, right from as long as I can recall. My questions were answered years later. I was gay, I was mostly deaf, my eyesight is shite, I was born with really short legs, my teeth have always been terrible. So, yes, my feeling was correct and I am different. Perhaps I shouldn’t have wished to be because, this isn’t what I meant when I asked to be different.

I am no bible basher. I have no respect for any organised religion, absolutely none. I honestly believe they are all power hungry, dangerous and corrupt. But, just because they created their own version of things doesn’t mean that the basic of those things are wrong. What they are based on was pure. Things like us all being God’s children, us all being in his image and created equally.

None of those things sit at all well with my being condemned to hell for being gay. Nothing pure demands me to show pure devotion to the organisation with gifts of money.

No, I believe in the pure being, that the church is all around us, freely created. That we can speak freely, there are no rules on how to speak to God.

You know what? I also believe that we are here for a reason, we are here to learn to be better, to live a life we do not understand or accept. The homophobe must live life as a gay man before he can be reconsidered entry to eternity. The murdered must live life experiencing tragic loss … indeed, until we understand how to be good people without prejudice, we just keep living one life after another until we finally get it. I think I might still have a few more to go as I know I still have some prejudices I need to resolve.

Anyway, until than, thanks for reading