I came out 10 years ago and what a big mistake I made.
'You warned me John but I didn't listen' was why I asked Barry if he could send me an e mail after we talked for ages on the phone and I was flabbergasted when he sent this amazing piece below and I am thrilled to share it with you here.
John - You have been proven absolutely correct in your wisdoms about the gay world.
I thought I knew best and ended up getting very hurt - and hurting other innocent people along the way - and all by a community I thought would be more supportive.
How wrong I was.
You warned me not to rush into a relationship when I came out as gay, left my wife and kids and started a whole new life for myself.
You coached me in how to approach my wife concerning all of this and your advise was absolutely spot on. Because of how you counselled me on what to say and how to behave, we remained good dear friends and the children were told when the time was right and when they were big enough to understand and nothing was rushed, something I am very grateful to you for. You told me to slow down as I was in a rush to discover all this new life had to offer and was forgetting about what came before and the hurt I could cause, to say nothing about messing up my children and ruining my relationship with them.
Because I listened to you on that, this did not happen and my family ( X wife and children ) and I are all still very close and dear.
You told me to remind my wife that my change in desire from women to men was not her fault and how much I loved and cared for her and the children and how I would never do anything to hurt them.
You pointed out that it was like - my wife was taking me to the airport for the holiday of a lifetime, - likely to last a lifetime, while she was getting back in the car to drive home to cook dinner for the children and that - for her - nothing had changed from the usual daily routine except now I was not to be there helping and her life was not changing for the better as mine was and that until - and unless - I saw - appreciated and valued what was happening to others around me - others whose life style was to be changed because of my actions, I would be the cause of untold unhappiness in others.
My actions had consequences.
My actions affected others and it was not all about me.
I still barged ahead and ran full speed into the gay world and ignored your warnings and BOY did I come a cropper.
You told me NOT to rush into a relationship with a man as there was no need to.
Women need a relationship to have sex.
Men need sex to have a relationship.
But as that was all I knew in the straight world - finding sex with a women meant largely having a relationship first and the sex came as part of that relationship.
You warned me that homophobia comes from resentful gay men living the lie and hiding their sexuality. It does not come from frightened straight men as if they are straight they have nothing to fear from a gay man at all - they only have fear of a gay men if they are afraid of their own sexuality and doubt their own sexual security one way or the other. You told me many gay men are self destructive and will destroy anyone and anything as that is the way some are - many resent, may are envious of others and many are jealous if you have something they do not - and you told me to be very wary who I open up to on the gay scene as there will always be the dangerous ones destines to destroy.
Well this dummy here rushed into a relationship and married the first guy I fancied and enjoyed sex with and showed me interest . Little did I think and little did I realize that an Immigration Card for a foreigner is an important thing and that, it seems, was all he was interested in. Maybe all I was interested in, maybe blinded by, was that this beautiful Brazilian was interested in me. I know I called you cynical at the time, but he was after something just as you advised.
As soon as we were married I made him part of my company and even gave him a part share in the flat I bought for us both and that again, you warned me against and which caused untold problems when 5 years later, we divorced and it cost me an absolute fortune. Had to sell the business and the flat to pay him off.
My X wife and children have been supportive and have seen first hand appalling behaviour IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN by this man whose attitude and abuse towards me and my family knew no bounds. There were times when we were all left open mouthed at his behaviour and all I can say is - you did warn me... Gay men can be appallingly badly behaved and see the world ONLY through their own eyes and no one else's.
This I learned the hard way.
Coming out as gay was helped by meeting you at the beginning and you spending time with me reading the riot act - telling me the rules - the guidelines of behaviour and how dangerous the gay scene was, but it all seemed so wonderful and exciting for me coming out as gay at 45 years of age after a lifetime living the straight dream with wife and kids. I learned though and am here to warn others - to SLOW DOWN AND TAKE YOUR TIME.
The LGBT world is a dangerous place. Full of mental health. Full of abusive people and full of fuck ups like where I was headed until you caught up with me again after some years and reigned me in and I cannot thank you enough. I was getting lost in a sea of gay men and while I wanted more than my husband offered, I felt lost and confused and worse still - abused my him and the only way forward was a long and expensive divorce, something even my wife didn't do as we split as friends and both remained very supportive of each others life journey in all ways, financial, emotional and with tons of love and listening, something I was not good at at all but again, you showed me how to listen and the value and worth of listening and not always being the one talking all the time.
These days I am settled. have a nice new boyfriend and do not intend rushing into an expensive marriage and shall be playing it slow and safe and always remind myself, I have a family who need me first and now with children at university, who know tons of gay people and are really chuffed to have a gay dad - life is good. My X wife and I are best friends and we still do theatre and shows occasionally and I take her shopping every week as we enjoy the company and we are good together. She knows my boyfriend and compared to my X Husband, is an absolute delight and the family adore him.
Largely, I have a lot to thank you for John and my wife has always said the best thing that happened, was meeting you and the thoughtful counselling you shared with us both and how it helped enormously. It was her who encouraged me to write this to you and believe me John, this was not the first draft...
I showed her your Newsletter some time ago and now send it onto her weekly and she says she loves the naked men pages most having not seen too many dicks in her life she now finds the different shapes and sizes amazing - and she has learned so much about gay life that she now helps other women with gay husbands and I am thrilled for her.
You were right. The LGBT world really can suck you in and blow you out in bubbles ( loved that quote of yours right from the start and have always remembered it John ) and I was sucked well and truly into it all and ended up hurt and lost and you found me and showed me a way of being gay without being swallowed up by it and big thank you for that John. You saved this family from a lot of hurt along the way and although it has taken me a decade to realise and see the wisdoms, you were right.
Barry M. ( Liverpool )
John Bellamy Comments:
I actually cried a little when I received this piece above as we had spoken for ages on the phone and I did ask if he could send me something for the Newsletter and never expected such an informative and long piece and was thrilled.
It reminded me of so many men - when I was a sex worker - who I would chat to after a session concerning their wives and families and how the gay lifestyle was not what they thought etc. and I must have counselled THOUSANDS - freely and for no other reason than the gay world - CAN BE - a dangerous world to be a part of and CAN destroy - and e mails like this, like the occasional client who would return and tell me how ' our little chat' had helped - reminds me I am on the right path and that at any time, I am here - Hamilton Hall is here - and if ever you feel lost and confused, frightened and you feel you are drowning, we are here to help if and where we can and being as I came out at 15 years of age when the gay world was a very different place it is today ( I came out in 1970 ) there is a lot still to be wary of.
We may have equality but still the bigots threaten that freedom, many from within the LGBT world itself whose self destruct buttons are well and truly pressed by themselves - - and as we see in Poland, Hungary and America and many other countries, gay laws can be reversed just as quickly by those religious nuts claiming all sorts of fear based clap trap that religions DO NOT STATE but they will manipulate through fear and the mass of ignorant people will follow like sheep and damn and destroy anyone and everyone that does not fit their agenda, be it LGBT, black and Asian, different religion or as we see in the USA where women's abortion rights are being eroded and reversed and made illegal - it astounds how fast backtracking takes place and we can lose everything we have fought for decades to acquire and being complacent does no good at all.
How many of you even know who Peter Tatchell is ?
This is the man we owe a great deal to who has spent decades fighting the good fight for LGBT rights around the world and yet is hated by many in the gay world - hated - yet they owe him an ENORMOUS amount of gratitude and NOT HATE, and this says a great deal about the gay community at large. A great deal.
It's not, actually, a very nice place at all. It can be, as long as you take care and are careful.
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