How Could You Not Know You Were Gay?

“How could you not know you were gay?” asked my wife of twenty years after I finally spoke my truth. It was challenging to come up with a concise, convincing, honest answer.

“How could you not know you were gay?” asked my wife of twenty years after I finally spoke my truth. It was challenging to come up with a concise, convincing, honest answer. I’m writing this memoir, this series of stories that don’t necessarily have to be read in order, in the hope of offering a more complete portrait of the unexplainable.
This memoir spans a life of struggle to accommodate a culture hostile to my existence as a gay man in waiting. By which I mean an ongoing denial of my innate sexuality before I eventually found my way.
Precursors of my gay identity should not be misunderstood as brightly lit billboards on the path to self-understanding that I somehow mysteriously missed. As they happened, they were more like annoying peripheral glimpses to be ignored and repressed.
My perspective then was that I loved women, wanted more than anything to have a happy marriage, that I was more straight than not, that I had never had sex with men, could certainly do without it, could not conceivably love a man, and had no intention of being other than the faithful husband I was for twenty years. In short, I was plagued with what I interpreted as a manageable, purely physical attraction to men which I could safely and adequately work around by repression and denial.
My writing documents how I ever so slowly found my way … and the cost of doing so. In the end, I am fortunate to have had so much love, acceptance, and understanding in my life. My struggle for authenticity and love was long but infinitely rewarding. I am rewarded too by this opportunity to share my story, which I hope transcends my struggle for personal acceptance to touch on something more universal.

Author:Laurence Best
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