To be honest, we sort of figured. “You think he’s gay?” “He must be gay.” “Obviously, it would explain so much….”
I never liked this kind of talk. I mean, that people might privately wonder, I suppose that’s fair enough. When you’re in public life, people feel entitled to treat you like a sociology subject, not a person made of flesh and bones. And certainly not someone whose feelings could be hurt. It is to be expected, but it doesn’t make it right.
And besides, I always said, who cares? Do we go around asking married straight male politicians if they’ve ever enjoyed watching kinky porn or if they’ve ever kissed a male friend? What difference does it make how adults enjoy their intimacy (provided it only involves consenting adults)? Why do we feel we have a right to know if someone’s gay, but if they’re straight and married we don’t want to hear details of the rape-fantasy they might role-play with their righteously wedded wife — that by the way both enjoy?
Anyway. Now that you told everyone you’re gay, you’ll get lots of reactions. Most people (I hope) will be happy for you. Many people will just shrug and say, meh, makes no difference to me. That’s fine, too. I mean, it’s 2019, openly gay politicians shouldn’t be shocking now, right? Others will sneer and jeer. Some will accuse you of having waited until it was safe enough to come out of the closet.
You say, of your 40 years in there: “My reluctance has not allowed me to live my life as full of love and adventure as my gay friends who were bolder and braver than I ever was.”
I want to take a minute and grieve with you.
… and tell you this: You are not the only one who, for one reason or another, has taken a long time coming to terms with who you are, and who has missed out on wonderful experiences because of that hesitation. But your loss is real, and I want to acknowledge that.
It does get better and no, it’s never too late.