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LGBT Stories: Father Comes Out After 28 Years Of Marriage

Gill TR



 Gill was married to his wife for 28 years and had a few children. On the outside he seemed to have had it all.

“Going back 15 years ago I thought I was happy having the big house and the car and the vacations and the perfect relationship and social life,” Gill remembers before adding, ”but something was missing.”

After realizing he was gay and coming out to a friend as well as his therapist, Gill went through “a complete deconstruction of my life, as I describe it, so I had to rebuild emotionally, familially, financially...had to rebuild it all over again.”

In our latest video, Gill shares his wife’s and children’s reactions to his coming out, which ultimately sends an inspiring message to older folks still in the closet: it’s never too late to be your true self.


Driftwood ***

Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee embarked on a 4 month, 50 state tour of the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We'll be sharing some of the stories they collected along with some of the insight into what they saw. They're still encouraging people to submit their written stories via IFD. You can follow IFD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Coming Out in a Cuban Family [tr]
It's Okay to Be Gay in Montana[tr]
Teen Becomes More Popular After Coming Out in Conservative Town [tr]
Bullying Affects Everyone [tr]


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  1. Question to those who do call themselves bisexual. Is he bisexual or gay? Is it a generational thing? I do wish more people would use bisexual, so more will understand it as a facet of normal sexuality.

    Posted by: LOrionn | Sep 21, 2011 1:16:08 PM

  2. I feel very sorry for everyone involved: I feel especially sorry for his ex-wife. I image 'devastated' doesn't even begin to cover it. I wish all of the people involved well, this fellow, his ex-wife, and his children. Peace to all of them.

    Posted by: justinw | Sep 21, 2011 1:27:40 PM

  3. @LORIONN: People label or refuse to label themselves however they see fit. It's none of our business really. Though I will say, he calls himself gay because he's with men exclusively now. I wish people would stop saying just because someone can be aroused by both sexes that makes them bisexual. It's what you unquestionably prefer that matters. I don't look at the girls I dated in high school as mistakes or fakes, just experiences that I don't care to have again.

    Posted by: Aaron | Sep 21, 2011 1:32:34 PM

  4. I always wonder why ex-spouses in these cases don't turn homicidal. If I were a 50-something woman facing a suddenly divorced existence because her husband decided their life together was a mistake and he needed to end it in order to pursue his own happiness, I'd (a) hire a divorce lawyer to strip him of everything legally possible down to his gold fillings, and (b) start doing Google searches for "hit man." But maybe that's just me!

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 21, 2011 1:46:35 PM

  5. I am gay. My Dad didn't take it well when I came out to him but as Life is ironic, he came out to me about 7 years ago in his 60's. My Mom is gone and has been for over 10 years. Better late than ever.

    Posted by: Mikey M | Sep 21, 2011 2:00:15 PM

  6. Bravo to him for deciding to dynamite the lives of several people for his own personal insecurities! Sorry pal, you made your choices long ago..time to live with them. Now he will be alone, the wife is likely to end up alone and the kids are probably confused as hell. Great story. Very inspirational.

    Posted by: Lisa G | Sep 21, 2011 2:28:32 PM

  7. Sancho, ur an idiot. Hope you are single, because clearly u r mentally unstable.

    Lisa, because they're aren't other single older people in this world they can't find? and the kids are adults, they'll get over it.

    Wow, some really dumb people on this board.

    Posted by: B | Sep 21, 2011 2:54:49 PM

  8. I have to ask...after that many years of marriage, raising children and building a foundation together.....why should coming out be the end of the marriage? I'm not advocating that he stay in the closet, but simply to acknowledge that he is clearly some degree of bisexual.

    He had kids...he can clearly get aroused by women....and assuming their marriage isn't riddled with extreme dysfunction beyond sexual attraction, why end a good thing?

    I believe too many gay men feel they can't acknowledge bisexuality because they'd be rejected by both they either choose the straight route or come out as gay and pass this invisible "point of no return."

    Life isn't that black and white and I feel sorry for those who feel pressured to live life like that.

    Posted by: Bisexual | Sep 21, 2011 3:04:58 PM

  9. A little harsh Lisa G. Granted I know if I was her I would have been desperately trying to pray the gay away or I would have feigned alzheimer's and guilt him into staying.
    After 28 years of marriage it is pretty much impossible for it to end well.

    Posted by: Mike in Paris | Sep 21, 2011 3:12:04 PM

  10. There's a great film that came out earlier this yearon this very subject called Beginners It stars Christopher Plummer as 70 something man who comes out after his wife dies, and Ewan McGregor as his son who discovers he has a whole new father. It was written and directed by Mike Mills and is based on his experience with his own father.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 21, 2011 3:17:08 PM

  11. Gay men have to get some authenticity early in life and not go around destroying the lives of unsuspecting women. Closeted folk, man up. You haven't got a chance at happiness till you do.

    Posted by: lewlew | Sep 21, 2011 3:25:46 PM

  12. Thousands of marriages end each year. Would you all be crying foul if he had left his wife for another woman? Regardless of his age or orientation does he not have the same right to happiness as everyone else claims for themselves?

    Posted by: Nicholas | Sep 21, 2011 3:30:22 PM

  13. @BISEXUAL He felt pressured to live the life of a straight man,and, as he just told us, he is not.

    You know what screw everyone for saying that we shouldn't limit ourselves yada yada yada...some people think restraint is healthy. I'm sure he liked having sex with his wife, but that's because sex is fun! He clearly was not totally fulfilled by it and felt he was gay. GAY. His words. Not mine or yours. And how do you know that it was such a good thing? He could have been miserable knowing he was living a lie. He wanted to be partnered with a male. What is with everyone? First it's all about making everyone come out and feel happy because they're now able to live the life that they want. Now this man, who was clearly not happy in a hetero marriage, has come clean to his family and friends and all of us, and now you're berating him for ruining a family? Because you think he should just stay living in the household that he just told us he didn't like all while sleeping with men?

    A word to all of the bisexuals out there, when a man who has slept with a million women but now comes and says he's gay and sleeps with men exclusively, take his word for it. He's gay. You guys have been fighting sooo hard for visibility and for us to stop saying that you're just confused or on your way to gay. WE GET IT. Now stop saying just because I had sex with my senior prom date I'm bi too. You see what you're doing?

    Posted by: Aaron | Sep 21, 2011 3:32:58 PM

  14. He identifies as gay now, so I'm not sure why people are questioning whether he's bisexual. It's quite possible to have a long-term, even committed relationship/marriage with a woman and still be gay. As others have already said, marriages end for all sorts of reasons--relationships are messy. It doesn't mean he doesn't value his family and his relationship with his ex-wife, or that it all was a lie, but clearly he was ready to come out and move on, and he's found happiness that way. It would be very difficult to be out, in a relationship with a man, and still married to a woman.

    And sometimes it all works out eventually. I'm close to a long-term girlfriend I had in my 20s (went to her wedding), and my long-term (now) boyfriend is close to his ex-wife, and I'm close to her because of him. We're unambiguously gay, but our affection for our former female partners is genuine and lasting.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 21, 2011 3:55:50 PM

  15. @Lisa G

    Step away from the booze. Seriously.

    Did you even watch the video? Because if you did you'd know:

    • He said right in the beginning that he was and still is partnered with another man- so he is not alone.

    • His children were grown adults when he eventually came to his decision to finally be true to himself. And if their reaction was to hug him and say "dear god we were worried you had cancer" then I'm pretty sure they aren't confused. They have accepted and love him regardless.

    • his wife was devastated- but there is absolutely no way that she is "alone". One of the benefits of having children, relatives, and friends built up over the course of 28 years is being surrounded by a strong system of support. She has her children to console her, as well as friends and family. And while she was initially devastated- they were still in their 40s or so when he came out- she had plenty of time to re-build. I know that if my parents divorced even now in their 50s my mother would NEVER be alone. We all love her far too much to let that happen. It would take adjustments but we would ALL be there for her. Period. It sounded like his family was similar.

    Finally is it incredibly ignorant of you to say something like "you made your choice now you're stuck." What kind of moronic thing to say is that? This is a man that grew up in a very different time with very different societal expectations and views on homosexuality. Sure it still isn't accepted by many- but the world is a LOT more accepting now then they ever were before. If he had done what you wanted him to do after fully realizing his sexuality he would have made himself and his wife completely miserable. That marriage was doomed the very moment he was willing to admit to himself that he was gay- regardless of whether he openly admitted it to his wife or tried to stick it out anyways, miserable and taking it out on himself and everyone around him.

    Posted by: AedanCRoberts | Sep 21, 2011 4:18:13 PM

  16. Jeez, you guys are brutal. Everyone has their own timetable for coming out. In his case, it may have well been that he was so impacted by societal pressures that he suppressed his feeling when he was younger and only after some time, felt he had to find the truth. Couple that with a need to be there for his kids while they are growing up.
    Everyone needs to find that right time for themselves.

    Posted by: acorlando | Sep 21, 2011 4:31:30 PM

  17. Someone once said that Americans regard their feelings as dispensations; this is an excellent example. This man entered, of his own free will, into a web of commitments and obligations, but then when he discovered a new set of feelings, he believed those feelings dissolved his commitments and obligations and freed him. The one does not follow logically from the other. The definition of a commitment is that a person can be relied upon to honor it; if someone doesn't consider it binding the moment s/he no longer "feels" it, it's not actually a commitment and it never was.

    The truth is that this guy essentially defrauded his wife out of 28 years of her life so that he could live in mainstream society, until he decided he wanted something else more, then he left her. It's too bad you can never return stolen time to someone, but that's clearly not keeping him awake at night. If there's justice, though, his current partner will leave him in turn.

    There's no moral right to hurt someone else just to gratify your own feelings - not even your gay feelings. Those don't occupy some special category magically exempting people from their obligations.

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 21, 2011 8:02:25 PM

  18. Sancho,

    you are an idiot. I hope you are straight.

    Posted by: blah | Sep 21, 2011 8:14:26 PM

  19. @Blah, I'm ethical. And that trumps gay or straight. Go read some Kant, then if you want to argue the propositions or the logic on the table, have at it.

    Posted by: Sancho | Sep 21, 2011 8:23:55 PM

  20. SANCHO,

    You provided the most honest reflection!

    Thank you!

    Posted by: Brains | Sep 21, 2011 9:18:44 PM

  21. If my spouse after 25.6 years of us being [married]decides he straight and wants to get married to a women, I guess might be joining Ryan Idol!

    Posted by: Brains | Sep 21, 2011 9:23:28 PM

  22. opps....

    "he is straight"

    Posted by: Brains | Sep 21, 2011 9:24:29 PM

  23. @SANCHO: "I'm ethical"—no dear, you're emotional. Time to reread the Kant.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 22, 2011 2:05:11 AM

  24. @Sancho

    How about once societies stop trying to force gay men and women into the closet and into situations like the one this man went through we can then talk about this sort of thing as "moral failings." Until then your high horse seems to be built out of popsicle sticks and gum.

    Posted by: AedanCRoberts | Sep 22, 2011 2:09:22 AM

  25. It appears that no one posting where it's negative or positive comments have actually been in this mans shoes. I have. I was married at 21 and for 23 years before I came out at 41, 7 years ago. It is a very complicated situation. My ex-wife was more than devastated and sancho did take me for everything or should I say I let her out of guilt. She also has made it her mission in life to damage me even in the after life as she put it, which is ultimately be her demise. My children were teenagers and very accepting, my friends from then are no longer. My life even with two long term male relationships that no longer exist is completely different.

    At the end of the day my life is not as successful on multiple fronts as it once was however I am being honest with myself and would not change a thing for that freedom and I'll add it's a disservice to another to stay in a relationship when you should not.

    Posted by: Warren | Sep 22, 2011 9:08:28 AM

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