I’ll never forget my moment.
Bracing myself against both sides of my bathroom sink as I scrutinized something significantly deeper than my own reflection, I finally whispered aloud my first truly honest thought about my own sexual orientation.
You see, I’ve never wanted to be anything other than straight.
Since I was eleven years old, I’ve been desperate to only be attracted to those of the opposite sex. I’ve masked and obscured any feeling I’ve ever felt that threatened my place within the realm of what I’ve been coached is both normal and acceptable.
Several months ago, I was finally forced to an edge where I couldn’t pretend any longer. The act of pretending had pushed me continually deeper into life-threatening depression, and it was time to figure out how to admit my own secrets to the world, and far more importantly, how to admit them to the one person who could never be at peace until I did.
To do so became my only option if I ever wanted to be authentically happy, if I ever wanted to be authentically intimate with another, or if I ever wanted to finally stop existing as a fake.
And so, I’ll just say it.
I’m not straight.
Those words are by far the most difficult words I’ve ever typed, and I know they’ll be far more difficult to share.
A very small handful of people whom I trust most know my secret now, and all of them only learned it in the last few months. Their love has been unconditional.
But love is not unconditional coming from every person. We all know that.
Guidelines for acceptable sexuality have been drilled into me my entire life, and the mandate has always been clear. Being anything other than straight will never be tolerable, at least not with the vast majority of the people in my family and in my community.
That damned mandate.
The one that tells us we are to claim love, but we are to never actually love those who we have been told are unacceptably different.
A few months ago, I used an admittedly effeminate hand gesture at family dinner. I naturally use it all the time, only this time it was shortly after the emotional shift toward coming out had started to happen within me.
My brother saw me do it. He laughed uncomfortably and then all too seriously said, “please tell me you’re still straight.”
There are many that have worried about my sexuality for a long time now. And the way he said it, I intrinsically knew that to be anything other than straight might do great damage to something between us. I just laughed it off. I wasn’t ready to tell him yet. I couldn’t tell him yet.
Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
The thought pierced me then perhaps more than ever before, though I’ve struggled against the current of such thoughts thousands of times over the past 21 years.
Since that moment, I have been particularly sensitive and observational of such statements being made by others. My heart wants to tune them all out. My mind tries to absorb every one of them. It’s been a never-ending tug of war between the part of me that wants to maintain the love and admiration of those around me and the part of me that franticly seeks freedom to finally be who I have always dreaded that I am.
“I can’t stand fags,” a friend said so nonchalantly at game night one Friday evening. He then listed his reasons for his revulsion and the table got lost in jubilant conversation about how many gays there are where we live nowadays. Many thoughtless and vicious jokes were made within the group, all proceeded by raucous laughter. I laughed at some of them too so they wouldn’t suspect the truth that was melting me.
Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
I brought a woman to a social event. I really liked this woman. I was very attracted to her. You see, I’m attracted to men, but I’m also very much attracted to women. Some friends we were with began joking about how we were all probably secretly bisexual. She turned to me and laughed, “there is no way I would ever date someone who was like that.” My heart bore its way into my stomach, and I did my best to maneuver the discussion elsewhere.
Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
I was at dinner with some close friends. “I’m pretty sure those guys over there are gay,” one of them said, motioning to two men who were laughing together at another table. “It’s so weird and unnatural and I don’t think I’ll ever understand how people can be like that.” I assured them I didn’t understand it either.
Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
Someone in my family told me that if any of the people in her family were ever gay, their partners or lovers would never be welcome in her home. “I will not support immorality,” she angrily said. I argued with her about how damaging and hurtful such statements could be.
Dear God, if there is a God, please, please, please don’t let me be anything other than straight.
For twenty-one years, I have said that prayer.
For twenty-one years, I have been paralyzed by the fear of what this society will do with me if they ever were to know of the thoughts that I continually push away. For more than two decades, I have made a choice to be straight. After all, it’s as easy as making a choice, isn’t it? This culture has made sure that I know that. Anyone who is anything other than straight was just someone deceived by the devil. He is unnatural. He is confused. He is mistaken. He is weak. He can control it if he desires to control it. Such a compelling and ongoing argument has been made that I have always trusted it.
I believed that if I hid it long enough, and ran from it long enough, and refused to acknowledge it for long enough, I could indeed succeed at living up to their decrees. I believed that I could force myself to never be anything else.
So, just in case you're still worried about having the "bisexual" label define you, here's a thing that happened today. I bought your Real Dad book not long after it came out, for my daughter's dad (fiancé at the time) because I loved your blog and wanted to share something with him that I cared about. He never read it, and got all offended that I thought he should read a parenting book. Anyways, we've broken up, I kept the book and custody of our daughter, he kept the rights to occasional Skype calls and Christmas photos. I picked up your book last week and finally started reading it, and I had forgotten all about this post until the book mentioned something about gay, and I had the thought "Oh yeah, he's bi, it's so weird that this was all before that came out." And it made me smile, not becauee you're "that bisexual blogger" (I usually refer to you as "that dad blogger I like" or "my favorite blogger" when I'm talking about your stuff), but because I'm a bisexual single parent too and it's just one more little thing that links us together that I had forgotten about. Anyways, I've loved you for years, and I'll always love you, have a beautiful day. <3
Thank you Dan! Our daughter just came out to us last night in a letter.... and then asked us to read this blog. She is first, foremost and always our precious baby girl (though far from a baby), and who she defines herself as sexually is only a small part of who she is. We couldn't love her more, and her sexuality would never make us love her less. Our heart only aches for her because we know the cruelty of people. Raised in a far different era, and in conservative religious households, my husband and I have long struggled with how to treat people who are different, not by labeling them, but by acknowledging them all as the beautiful handiwork of a loving God. The God I praise doesn't make junk... or mistakes... he makes people..... with all their challenges, gifts, beauty and faults - and we all have them.
Reading your blog made me cry as I realized how hard this has been for my daughter to hold in, and how she wanted only to be "straight". Thank you again..... for putting eloquent words out for all to see, to allow others of us to be more accepting.
I love this blog. How did I not discover it before today!? I totally support you and your truth! And personally, I think it just makes you and even better parent. Kids need to see our own confidence. They need to see us living our own truths. That way they can one day do the same. What an excellent example your setting! Once again KUDOS!
I may not support your practices, but I still love you and your blog. You are still the AMAZING dad and blogger I have come to know.
I've read only one other blog entry by you but this one by far resignates the most with me. As a man who was raised in a traditionally Catholic household, there has always been an implicit (sometimes explicit) expectation that one must confirm and adhere to the strict guidelines of heterosexuality. Being "anything other than straight" seems unthinkable to those who don't have the internal conflict that many Christian men feel when they even have an inkling that they might identify as something other than straight. I can sense the pain and anguish that you've felt as you were divulging a long kept secret. I want you to know that you're not alone. I'm in the very same situation. Most importantly, I'd like to thank you for your courage in sharing this and for giving me hope on my journey toward self-acceptance. I'm not straight and I don't necessarily feel the need for a label now or ever. But I do know that whoever I fall in love with will be the person that I'm meant to be with and nothing else will matter. Thank you again for making me feel understood and visible. Please stay strong.
I know this post is not new, but I feel like I need to comment. I found this post incredibly moving. I am a single Mum with two kids, now teenagers, and I am also bisexual. Coming out for me wasn't a great trauma or something I struggled with, but certainly there has been a certain backlash. For a long time my family didn't accept me, and sadly not uncommon to be on the receiving end of abuse when I am out with my (female) partner. Hang in there, being true to yourself is worth it and the people who really matter will stick with you. I hope by now it's getting easier x
Just be happy with who you are. No one needs to be defined. You are a good person at heart, you love your child, you make him happy, he makes you happy. The people who love you the most don't care about your preference, they just want to see you happy too.
There are people out there that can help you see that you are a real man and not one that has to take it up the butt. http://www.exodusglobalalliance.org/index.php I hope you find healing.
@goyoson What the ever living FUCK? Piss off, troll. He is perfect just the way he is!
@goyoson @BethanyCopley Of COURSE he isn't crying out for help. He is a happy, healthy dad with a happy, healthy child. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either one of them. How sad it is that you see his love, his LIFE, as inherently flawed because he does not conform to your narrow view of normal. I'll save my prayers for people who need 'em - like those who would "pray away the gay" and try to convince anybody who isn't heterosexual that there is something wrong with them that only faith in Jesus can remedy. (In fact, as I recall, Jesus himself says nothing in the Bible about homosexuality... and in fact, Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality are rather scarce compared to the hundreds about how heterosexuals ought to behave...) Shame on you.
@goyoson @BethanyCopley I guess I don't understand (especially as a reader of Dan's blog) how you can say that we are ignoring his cry for help but, in the same statement, you come right out and say that you'redisappointed in him (for being honest?) and suggest that he needs reparative therapy? Dan's trouble doesn't stem from his God-given orientation but instead, it comes from the fear of being rejected by family and friends - a fear that gets worse by the suggestions of needing to be fixed or by witnessing Christian Parents, who raised their children under the auspices of unconditional Love, reject/disown their LGBT child.There isn't room to complete a moral debate here but, I find it ironic that a religion based on the teachings of Love and Acceptance of Jesus - the Son of God - who is quoted repeatedly in the Bible as REJECTING the teachings and practices of the Old Testament (because they lacked empathy, compassion and forgiveness) - and never said a single word against anyone in a same-sex relationship (even though they were prevalent in his time) - would find anything right with the discrimination and oppression of LGBT people.P.S. Look at the joyful difference in Dan's life since he came out and discovered that he is loved for who he is - as is - unconditionally.No change required. Respectfully, Phil
@goyoson @BethanyCopley So you chose to be straight? Now, if it is so easy, go be gay for a week. Just so you can prove that you can turn it off and on like a switch. Hold hands with a person of your gender. Kiss them, fully on the mouth. Go ahead, it's to prove to all of us that being gay is a choice. You do that, and let us know the results.
@goyoson No one chooses their orientation. When did you choose, goyoson? I need no saving from you! Self-righteous arrogant person, you!
If you were to read the bible you would see that it is clear I the New Testament as well. It is just wrong. But keep trying to convince yourself it is not. I am just human. Judgement is mine. Mine is to tell the truth even if is does not fit you lifestyle. It is still the truth.
That is what I am trying to save you all from. Hell is forever. Choosing to be gay is only for a short time.
@goyoson In the words of some of my ancestors: Turpa kiinni ja häivy! You probably dont know what I said, but people would appreciate it if you did it and quickly. Gays and bisexuals dont need your kind of ignorant 'help'. He's not harming anyone by it.
Foolishness. Everyone is straight. Some may not like it and don't care what the God who created us thinks. That is your choice. But it is still a choice. Just wish people would admit that they are making a decision to be gay and be proud of it. When you try to justify it then you are just proving the point that it is wrong. It is just more honest.
That is because it very clear that it is wrong. Does not take much to see that. And wow, you are a very hateful person. I feel bad for you. You seem to preach tolerance, but have none for people who disagree with you. My trying to help is the most loving thn go this post.
@goyoson Foolishness? Decision to be gay? I never thought I would encounter someone so ignorant! No one "chooses" to be gay, they only choose to hide it or embrace it. No one would "choose" to be gay knowing that the world is full of ignorant, Bible-thumping haters that would only make their lives that much harder. We have many choices in life we can make and obviously YOU have chosen to 1. remain ignorant to the biological and scientific proof of human sexuality, 2. judge people when your own God says he is the lone judge of humankind, 3. spread your hate across the world via the internet and 4. to be an asshole. YOU can change from being an asshole, NO ONE can change being gay. As often as you have posted on this thread, one might be able to argue that "me thinks" you "doth protest too much." Are you hiding in the closet behind your Bible? Is that YOUR issue?
@goyoson You're full of shite; everyone is NOT heterosexual. Nothing wrong with it,either. And, if you're not an Orthodox Jew, why follow those rules? 3500 years of abuse from the religious people like you. Is that any kind of sense or justice? Go troll somewhere else.
@goyoson Keep it classy, idiot; way to reduce a person to a sex act. You're the one who needs help, not the blog owner. And goyoson - haista paska!
@goyoson Go Away homophobe!!! I think you take it up the butt. Go troll your hateful anti Christian BS!
I finally read this post too, after seeing that you were bisexual in other posts and reading what people have said to you.
As a gay man, I have to say you're not alone. Gay, bi, lesbian, transgender, everyone has to go through that same process. For the longest time when I was younger I wished and prayed to be straight, and wondered why I had to go through this turmoil. Why me? I was already the fat kid, why did I have to be the gay fat kid? It never seemed fair.
In high school I was teased, but rarely. Select few people knew I was gay. Maybe 3. Sometimes I had to write it down and hand them the note, because it was too much for me to say out loud. I couldn't handle the rejection. But the people I told were chosen on purpose, and they were loving and accepting.
But that didn't make it easier to tell other people. For four or five years I lied to my mother about it, she was sad when I told her. Mostly because she thought it would make my life harder than it should be. And it has been to a certain extent. She also lost her gay brother to AIDS. It was a horrible thing to watch.
But I'm 36 now, and while still fat, it's very rare that I wish I was straight anymore. Days when I am tired of struggling, or have had a particularly bad experience with the community. But it is unlikely that me being straight would make my experiences that much different.
While the trials were difficult, and can be still, they have made me what I am today. I am fearful of the person I may have become had I not been gay. It helped me accept myself, but it has also helped me accept other people.
Even as far as gay men go, I am accepting. Bisexuality exists, and even if you were the only bisexual in the world, it would exist, because you say it does. I think sexuality gets hooked up on the sex, but that's not really what it means anymore. Sexuality I think is deeper than that, who you'll date, and who you'll spend your life with.
I think labeling needs to go, though, even with the "not straight". It shouldn't matter if someone has sex with a man, then goes on a date with a woman, then has sex with a woman then marries her. I mean, hopefully not in the same day, but, you get the idea. That man could consider himself straight. Or bisexual. Or he could just have been having some fun and decided to get married.
I read an article recently about homophobia. It hypothesized that homophobia wasn't actually fear of homosexuals. But fear of being perceived as a homosexual. Because as a man especially, once you are perceived as gay, or bi, that can't ever be changed. Even if you tried it once to see if you liked it and never went back to it, if people knew about it, it will be what they think. It can't be reversed. I saw a lot of that resonating in this post.
But, if I could change one thing about myself, it would definitely be the fat thing. :)
@KevinPocquette Homophobe = arsehole. Pure and simple!
I know that this post is quite old, I have been reading your blog all morning, I came across it due to a friend liking a post that was shared on Facebook and I just have to say, You are such an inspiring and wonderful person, your courage amazes me. I wanted to drop a line and let you know that it doesnt bother me what your sexuality is, I will continue to read your blog and will continue to see you as "Single Dad Laughing". Even tho I am only one random person, from the other side of the world, I hope that this knowledge makes a difference.
And I hope that your friends and family have been just as accepting as you need them to be. :)
All the best for your continued journey, I hope you find all the happiness in the world and a partner who loves you and accepts you for who you are, You sound like a wonderful man and a great friend and anyone would be lucky to have you as apart of their life.
I finally got the chance to read this. To me it doesn't matter whether one is gay, straight, bi, trans or questioning. It matters who the person is on the inside and how s/he treats others. It saddens me that families can make such declarations about their blood relatives when ideally families should love and support one another through good and bad. <3
I just saw this post. Your posts have lifted me up on so many down days. You have helped me live more openly as a gay man, and you have helped me love myself. By now, judging from the comments I have read, you know you are loved and appreciated. I just want to add my love, support, and thanks to everyone else's.
Thank you, Dan Pearce! I love you!
I just saw the post today, read it, and I can say with the utmost faith you most definitely have my love.
I'm so sorry you had to go through such an internal struggle. I am a 43 year old bisexual man who at one time had similar thoughts. As a teen and in my early 20's I wished to believe I was straight and struggled to be anything but. I wasn't so much afraid of being ostracized by friends and family as I was overwhelmed with fear at the thought of embracing an identity I thought I could in no way handle. The fear was so bad my body would shake uncontrollably when any man would come on to me sexually. Fortuatly I had the courage to finally come out to myself at 24. I did so because the natural impulse of who I was as a spiritual person wished to grow and could in no way hide or deny my authentic self. It was a scary transition but afterwards I was able to embrace and even celebrate my bisexuality in so many wonderful ways. I pray you are doing that as well. Your bisexuality is a gift from God my brother. It's gift will grow through experience both in joy and in adversity. Consider that adversity as another gift from the divine that sharpens your soul like a sword. It has most definitely sharpened mine. Since I came out at 24 I have been very active both in the bi, queer and poly communities. It's been such a rewarding experience especially when I can be there for young queer people who are confused and just coming out themselves.
As I said - You have my love.
Love for your courage, sensitivity, warmth, compassion, and beautiful way with words. Oh and you are also incredibly cute. (sorry had to get that in there) ;-)
I wish you nothing but the deepest love and brightest blessings on your path. I pray we will someday meet. It would be a true honor and blessing.
This was a wonderful blog post. In my heart I know that we love who we love - we don't have a choice. We are attracted to who we are attracted to - we don't choose that. No one 'chooses' to be gay. They just are. And if you are drawn to both men and women, I don't think that's a choice, either. You love who you love. You can embrace it or deny it, but you are who you are. I just found your blog, and I'll be coming back to read more and see more, but I wanted to say how much I loved this post. You will always be Noah's father and acknowledging things about yourself doesn't make you less of a great father - perhaps it makes you more of one because you have allowed yourself to see truth in your life. Your sexuality will not 'make' your son gay, (why oh why do people think that about gay parents???), will not make people you know gay or rub off in any way or change the way you look at your friends (male or female) or change what a great brother or son you are. And I hope that everyone sees that. I know it's not an easy road because sadly we live in a very opinionated world, but keep true to yourself. There is no shame in embracing your truth. I'm glad to have found your blog :-)
I love that you actually express your feelings this way. I personally believe that EVERY gay person goes through this process. I am not gay, it's just my belief. I appreciate the humbleness in your heart. God loves you and will help you through this time. Focus on being the best Dad for Noah and healing WILL happen. God bless!
It's a crying shame that people who said they loved you one day will say they hate you the next simply because of something as trivial as the gender of the person with whom you may find yourself in love. I'll continue to read your blog and laugh. And I hope you find that special someone, whomever she or he may be.
The unconditionality of God's love is surely the most difficult Christian doctrine there is. But you've got to relax and let Him love you just as you are, because He does and He yearns to continue doing so.
@Siya Khumalo No Not really. As Christians we believe that Jesus is God. God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. God detests homosexuals. He demanded the death of homosexuals and destroyed Sodom. To lie to people and tell them that He loves you just the way you are is a lie. He cannot look upon people who detest Him. It is time for people to stop misquoting the Bible and God's character. Jesus died for our sins and Jesus himself said, Go and sin no more. You cannot willfully continue in sin and expect God to love you just the way you are. He gave His son so you could turn from the sin, not fool yourself and embrace it.
@goyoson Why are you here? It's obvious you have little reading comprehension, along with your head up your arse. You have ZERO fecking qualifications to speak for the Creator of Life. Humans hate; God doesn't. He didn't demand the death of gays - PEOPLE DID!
Quit slandering and libeling the god you claim to speak for. We can see through you, you pitiful excuse for a human being.
Please get this through your head: God does NOT hate anyone. He may not like a behavior, and the Bible has a whole list of behaviors he doesn't like, but he does not hate his creation--which is us. Would you hate your child just because they did something of which you didn't approve? I really hope your answer is no.
You are my hero. I so admire you for this and so many of your other posts (I haven't gotten to read them all yet, but believe me, I'm working on it!). I sincerely hope that the people you fear will reject you instead surprise you. I know it may be naïve, but I do hope that the love they have for YOU will overcome whatever their initial fears may be. Keep doing what you're doing - you help so many people everyday. I believe in you!
My feelings for you have not changed. I still admire you and respect your views. What do I care what your sexual orientation may be? I don't read your posts because of whom you are attracted to. It makes no difference to me.
What has changed since reading this heartfelt and brave disclosure (and I'm sorry that it has to take bravery)? I know you that much better. That's all. So if I feel a little closer to you, it isn't because of your preferences. I don't feel closer to you or more distant from you because you are anything other than straight. I feel closer to you because I know you a little better now. Because, in your actions to share this part of yourself with the public, you have shared it with ME.
Be true to yourself. If you aren't, who will be?
It makes me sad that people are in turmoil in these times over their sexual orientation. You are what you are. And that shouldn't change because of someone else's beliefs or thoughts. You shouldn't have to ask forgiveness for what you are. You're still a beautiful being that is deserving of love. Whether that love comes from a man or a woman is your choice and not the choice of others.
Being gay doesn't make you any less worthy of love, acceptance, and understanding. If anything, I think you're the braver one. You chose to speak up about who you are and what would make you happy. That decision may cost you family and friends. But you know what? You are not the one missing out. They are. By choosing to not accept you as you are than they really didn't love you in the first place. Loving someone means loving them wholly. And completely.
Growing up in a strict Christian home was an uphill battle. You are supposed to be straight, marry, have children and raise them in the church (among the other numerous rules and regulations). As a teen, I found myself desperate for affection and what I thought love was. I was attracted to both males and females, but it wrong for me to be attracted to other women. I married at 18 and was pregnant with my son shortly after. During my pregnancy, my feelings toward other women became more than just an attraction. After my son was born, I tried to talk to my husband about it...he became angered and I didn't bring it up again. We eventually divorced. In the almost 10 years since my divorce I have had relationships with both men and women. I am happily involved with a wonderful man right now. He accepts the fact that I am Bi-sexual, and we are very happy.
It is not about who you are attracted to, who you love, or who you spend your life with. All that matters is what is on the inside. Through your blog, you have conveyed to us all that you are a wonderful father and great human being. I would very willing have and have had in the past a relationship with a bi-sexual man. What counted was that he was a great person.
I, for one, believe that TRUE love can only be the love of one person for another, and not the love of any GENDER for a GENDER'S sake. You are braver and stronger than you know. Keep pushing your limits and you will be braver and stronger still.