Tag Archives: Coming Out

A Gift for My Father?

Please forgive me, but what follows is a “bitter” post.

March 6 was my father’s 67th birthday. I mailed a birthday card (it will get there late) but I did not call him.

I have not spoken with my father (on purpose) since I received his phone call almost one year ago. (I didn’t specify who the family member that called was in that post, but the phone call was from him.)

I am certain this will upset some family members (that I think lurk on my blog) but so be it. What saddens me is that they will be upset not because of the actual content, but because of me publicly airing “negative” information about the family.

I have had a letter tucked away on a bookshelf that I received over three years ago. I know I should probably get rid of it and forget about it but for whatever reason I cannot. I believe the letter was originally intended as my father’s response to the “coming out letter” I sent in August 2001.

Yes—I mailed them a letter telling them I was gay because I was too afraid to do it in person. I was a coward and feared for my personal safety and my sanity; so I wrote a letter and mailed it to them.

And so this episode starts with a letter that I received four years after I sent my letter.

Sept 16 2005

Dear Erik

I came across this letter I had written to you about 4 years ago. Somehow it never got sent. So here it is. None of us can go back but we all can change the future. I have made mistakes and have had to go and fix them.

By the way I have 2 houses in Zellwood ready for immediate occupancy if you decide on coming down this way.


That was the cover letter. The real “fun” comes in the letter that was attached that “never got sent”:

Dear Erik

It was good to hear from you when you called and also write. Call anytime especially at the nursery where I am most of the time.

Erik all through your life you had to make choices. At first your mom and I decided for you that Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School] was not good for you. We decided to spend money on a private school and I believe it was money well spent. First you went to Calvary Baptist in Winter Garden. Later you went to Christian Home & Bible School. I feel we allowed you to take the classes in the subjects you desired. Later you picked an out of state college Harding. I probably should not have allowed that. But I only made that mistake once. You know all of this but what I want you to understand is that all through life and college you have choices to make. You picked what areas you were to study in. I studied in Horticulture and went into a career in Horticulture. I had a choice to major in Plant Diseases but I found I would be at a plant inspection station and the import office all my life and I felt I wouldn’t enjoy that. Can you see back when I was in college and making choices I governed what my future was and is going to be.

The same is true of you, Erik, if you make the choice to prefer men over women. You made the choice then you tried to get your life to fit into your choice. You decided to go to a school far away so no one you knew could check on you. After graduation you had plenty of friends here in Florida but you knew they wouldn’t approve of your life style so you stayed far away where you could associate with those of that life style. Remember you made the choice. Now you are in a life style that doesn’t allow you to associate with Eligible Women. You could leave that life style if you wanted. No one is forcing you but you would have to leave your familiar life style and get out of town to a new place where you could meet someone of the appropriate sex.

From where you look now you don’t think you could have good sex with anyone but another man. But that is not true. It is just as thrilling to have sex with a wife as with some man. The Devil tells you that men are better but the truth is they are just perverted. he has just blinded you to the truth. Women are just as smart as men and with a little training try to please you any way they can especially if they love you.

The choice is still yours Erik. You must change. God does not approve of Homosexuals. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah. He just didn’t leave any survivors. And you are headed for an eternity in a place of torture. I know the Righteous are scarcely saved. Where will the sinner that God doesn’t approve of appear?

Now you write that you are sure you are a homosexual. You want us to love and approve of your choice. Like you could pick a blue couch or a red couch and we should respect your choice! Well we don’t respect your choice! You could find plenty of women that would love and take care of you till their last breath. But your choice won’t allow this and you think that by telling us and impress us with your honesty that you can gain our respect for your sick life style. Yes that’s what it is sick. You have just been very fortunate that you have not contracted a sexual disease. Most homosexuals are dead from Aids or are expected to die from Aids. There is no cure. One worked for me name removed by me]. He had died a horrible death, lingered for years too weak to walk.

The choice is yours Erik. Go back to the sick life you have chosen or make a break. Get out of Rogers to Florida. Go back to Orlando. Maybe take some hobby surely you have some creative interests] I remember you could draw very well and your very clever on a computer. There are hundreds of companies that are looking for someone to help with their computer problems. Rod, your brother, a poor to mediocre computer user is now solving our computer problems at Spring Hill Nursery.

And now how to find a woman who will love you. I certainly wouldn’t go to a bar. I believe there are at least 3 eligible good looking women 25-28 years old at Palm Springs Church of Christ and there must be that many at Par or Azalea Park or Bumby Church of Christ. Besides that Steve your brother] could possibly point you to 1/2 dozen he personally knows. Me I’m out of the loop at 59 63.

Erik you have to make the choice. I do love you or I wouldn’t have loaned you money I earned. But I do not approve of your chosen life style. Please change. Only you can.

Your father

Okay. Breathe.

There are so many things I have wanted to write in response to his letter but I never have. I am fairly certain that whatever my response would be, it will never be read by him in the light I meant for it to be.

Instead of writing a response for my father, maybe it’s something I need to write for myself.

When I read the letter I see things about my father that I did not see as a child: misogyny, elitism, racism and homophobia. Sadly, some of these “attitudes” have even found their way into MY personality in various ways. Things I am aware of and consciously have to fight back when they surface.

Maybe the gift I need to give is really a gift I need to give to myself?

Until next time...

The Way Things Work…

Reading Alexander’s posts a few months back about his coming out started me thinking about my own journey. [You can read his story here in parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.]

I’ve been piecing this post together since then. “The Way Things Work” seemed like an appropriate title as that is what I was attempting to figure out. Actually, I still am.

There is no manual for figuring out your sexuality…

People around me who get to know me, or are just curious, tend to ask me—as probably a lot of us get asked—how I could be gay?

I have attempted many times to write my version of events as seen through my eyes. I’ve yet to be able to do that in any coherent manner. So I’m going with what I have.

The recollections of my past are just murky pieces—faint flickers, really—that I cannot seem to piece together in any logical (to me) order. I remember…

…having feelings that I knew were “wrong” according to everything I had been taught my entire life by my family unit and their chosen religion—the Church of Christ. These teachings were reinforced by 8 years in Church-run schools, then 5 years in a Church-run college.

…secretly watching porn when I was a teenager (thanks to the adult channels on the huge-ass satellite dish—this was before the Internet was a consumer-grade appliance after all) and always wishing they would show more cock. Instead they always showed boobs and twat. Rarely would I catch a glimpse of a cock. But when I did I knew that was what I wanted even though it was “wrong”.

…stealing my father’s porno mags (go Hustler!) and cutting out the occasional pictures of men in them. Scrapbooking, anyone? My parents later found these when they searched my room while I was in high school.

Note the mental conflict these last two caused even at a non-gay level—my father, the “devout” Christian who had his porn stashed under the seat of his VW bus and all the porn channels on the satellite. [“Do as I say and not as I do…” is apparently the example he tried to live by?]

…having “feelings” for some of the male authority figures in my life. I do not remember ever having “feelings” for anyone my own age or of the opposite sex… always older men. And always authority figures: a teacher, a coach, a friend’s dad, etc.

…knowing what I was feeling on the inside contrasted against what I saw going on around me on the outside: dating, girlfriends, sex. None of which I had while in high school or college. All so easy to “explain” away.

Some memories are less flickers and more like explosions. Brilliant points of light in an otherwise dark sky. I remember…

…my mom asking me if I was gay while I was in high school and me telling her “No”.

…the first time someone told me they were gay. While driving home from Arkansas to Florida for a holiday break in college, I was carpooling another student to his home and somewhere along the way he outed himself to me. I fucking freaked out. I don’t think he and I spoke the rest of the way (short of directions) to his house.

…downloading gay porn while at [a Christian!] college, feeling guilty about it, and deleting it. Over and over again.

…at 23 years old, getting the nerve to actually meet someone “to see how this all worked”. I was scared as hell through dinner. We went back to his house. He put his hand on my knee, then started kissing me. IMMEDIATELY the switch was thrown and I knew exactly where I was supposed to be.

Even though at that moment I knew how I was, there were (and are) still many things I had to work through to know who I was.

As always there is more to this story, but that is going to be another post…. And probably in another three months I’ll have it written.

Until next time...

The Letter countering my parents, June 20, 2005

I never sent this letter, but figured it was time to put it out here.

June 20, 2005.

Mom and Dad,

To answer the “important” questions you almost always seem to bring up at the time I am leaving from your presence:

About being gay:
Whether you like it or not, this is what I am. “Being gay” is not a “phase” I’m going through. Regardless of what you may hear—or may hope for—it is not an “illness” that can be “cured.” If there was some “magic pill” that was available which would change me into something else, I would not take it—this is who I am.

It took me many years to sort through everything that was put before me to figure out who and what I am. I don’t expect it to be any easier for you to understand either.

Concerning marriage:
Robert and I are “married.” Even though legal marriage between same-sex couples is currently unsanctioned by the State of Arkansas we still use the term to describe our relationship. We are married to each other at heart, and have been married for eight years as of July 1st. Robert and I consider the relationship we share equal to that of what anyone who is married represents.

We have had to go out of our way to take the legal steps that are available to ensure the “rights” our relationship would have if it were like any other marriage: Robert and I have legally binding Power of Attorney over one another which allow us to make legal and financial decisions for, and in lieu of, the other; we have a binding Declaration to Physicians—legal papers we carry with us requiring medical facilities to allow the other one of us to make medical decisions in the event we are unable to ourselves; and we have legally binding Wills to dispose of our interests as we wish in the event something tragic happens to one, or both, of us. We needed to have these legal documents for several reasons: the first being taken together these documents make up for what is mostly taken for granted to any legally married couple; the second reason is that anyone with any sense of responsibility should do these things—no one should leave it up to the State to attempt to make these decisions; and lastly—to us the most “tragic” reason—we both think our families would more than likely interfere in our affairs in an attempt to claim all that Robert and I have worked so hard to build together—as a couple.

Concerning children:
I already have three children. Legally they are not mine. However, Robert and I do see them as our children—and I have been there for them for the last eight years of their lives—doing all the things that any parent would.

I know you probably can’t (or won’t) understand this. In all honestly I really don’t expect you to either. To me it is more than aggravating to have you repeatedly asking me these same questions—most of which I have expressed the answers in the past. That’s one of the biggest reasons I don’t come to visit. Imagine having your life questioned every time you came to visit.

Until next time...

The Letter

August 30, 2001

To my dear family and friends,

I have planned on sending you this letter for some time now. Actually, my plan was to send you this letter on my birthday earlier this year. My plan was to tell you that I would be giving you a gift for my birthday—the gift of honesty. For the last few years, there has been something that I have wanted to tell you, but I have been too scared to tell you. I finally chose to write it in this letter, which I will start today and give to you at some time in the future. I am sure that it will take at least a few months or maybe longer for me to gather all of my thoughts.

You may be asking yourself why I chose to write to you, instead of telling you in person. I would like to tell you personally, but I get too nervous. I also wanted to be able to express some of my feelings without being interrupted or having to be on the defensive. My intent is to talk with each and every one of you about your questions and concerns. It took me 28 years to get to this point, so I don’t expect you to immediately support me in this decision to tell you the following.

As you know, over the years I have been involved in many different activities. I have been active in religion, schooling, Scouting, family, work, social activities, and with friends. I have been deeply troubled for many years thinking that this would all change if anyone found out my deepest secret: As far back as elementary school (and as far back as I can remember), I have had a same-sex attraction towards men. I used to cry myself to sleep at night asking God to make it stop. I wanted to feel (and be) like my other friends. I wanted to be attracted to girls instead of boys. This situation didn’t improve despite my many hours of deep discussion with God and fighting with myself.

In striving to become a better person, I cannot live with this lie I have been presenting to you any longer. It is and has been unhealthy both for you and myself. I have wanted to leave this life numerous times because of this issue. I thank God that I never had the guts to do anything because that would just have made things worse for those I would have left behind. Over the years, it has hurt me terribly that I have not been able to share this part of my life with you. I finally realized something not too long ago: that I cannot hurt you by expressing to you in words that “I am gay.” If this hurts you, it will be your choice.

The pressure for me is building. I am 28 years old. The trips home are fewer, and I hardly ever stay long when I am there. I know that you are not trying to hurt me, because you had no idea. When the questions of dating and marriage are brought up, it is just too hard to deal with – to have to lie about what is really going on with my life. I found myself making the choice of either telling you how I feel, or distancing myself from you forever. However, I cannot avoid my family or my friends. You mean too much to me. I cannot, nor do I wish to, exclude you from my life. I am your son, brother, grandson, uncle, and friend. That will never change. This is not something that you can talk yourself out of. Trust me! I’ve tried for years. I did not choose this—I am this.

Think about it: Being gay is not a popular thing. Why would someone choose to be persecuted? Do you know the mental torment that I have gone through everyday because of what I believed in and was taught by my religion? I love what I have come to define as God with all my heart, and I have had many heart to heart conversations with Him about this issue. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong—I was always asking him to help me change, instead of asking him to help me understanding my feelings. I never felt better than when I started asking God if I could understand my feelings instead of asking him to change them.

This is what I am. There is no question in my mind. I will still live a happy and successful life. I have a lot of love to give someone, and I know that God won’t deny my sharing it. Many people of the world would like to think that homosexuality is a choice. I am here to tell you that it is not. Please don’t exclude me from your life because of your new knowledge about me. I am the same person that I have always been and always will be. But, of course, the choice is yours.

With love,

Erik David Rubright

Until next time...

The Letter to [someone that was special]

I sent this email to someone who was very much like a father to me, although I had misplaced intentions from time to time.

February 2, 2000

[someone that was special] –

Not sure why I’m writing this, other than I guess we haven’t really had a “talk” since everything happened in Searcy, Arkansas, and I just wanted you to know how I got to where I am today.

** If you can’t handle this right now, please don’t read on. Just delete the letter and we will talk when you can handle it. **

I guess I’ll start in Searcy. Let’s see, after I graduated from Harding University] in December 1996, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. I knew that I didn’t want to stay in that town any longer than I had to, but had no clue as to what and where I would do something else. My yearly evaluation with Walmart was in May, so I figured I would stay until then, and try to transfer to the Home Office, since I was already working for the company, and the benefits seemed good enough.

So, saying my (forever) good-byes to everyone that I knew there, I packed up everything I had and moved up here to Fayetteville. While waiting for the HO to find my transcripts (for almost two months), I pretty much just stayed around the apartment and played on the computer most of the time. I think “recluse” would best define my life then. I learned a lot more about computers during that time, and played with different “chatting” programs, and began more actively exploring feelings that I had been fighting with. I somewhere/somehow came to the conclusion that the only way to know for sure if I was or wasn’t gay was to just “try” it.

I can’t tell you what made me come to that point in my life, because I don’t really even know. Curiosity? Loneliness? I don’t know. All I do know is that I did it, and when I did, I knew that was honestly who I was. It was like all of a sudden everything just clicked into place. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but it was almost “peaceful” to me. Well, peaceful isn’t the right word, but it’s how I felt on the inside. It was like everything I knew about myself suddenly fell into place and made sense.

I do want you to know that I never had any sexual contact with anyone (other than that thing with person removed] when I was a kid) until I moved up here. I don’t want you to think that I was lying to you all a long, because I wasn’t. I was truly fighting with myself the entire time I lived in Searcy, as well as for the first few months that I lived up here in Fayetteville. I know that I was “protected” by you and others from stupid choices that I made at times when I was in Searcy, and I want to thank you for that. I don’t think I could have handled then what I experienced when I finally allowed myself to do it.

** [Someone that was special], if you can’t handle the above, please don’t read anymore, it kind of gets graphic/intense after this. **

Anyway, after seeing this “first person” for about 6 months (from July 1997 to December 1997) over the weekends, it just stopped. (The reason it was just weekends was because he lived in Van Buren.) I can’t say it was a relationship, because it was pretty much just sex between us both, and neither of us had feelings for each other.

I was fully aware of that fact that I was definitely gay at this point and not confused, but I just didn’t know how to handle it with others. I was having a hard time fighting the stereotypes that are associated with “gay,” because I guess I didn’t seem like what most people think of when they think “gay.” I especially didn’t want to tell you at that point, although you were also the first person I wanted to tell as well. (Doesn’t make much sense, huh?) I didn’t want to tell you because of everything that had happened in Searcy. I still feel somewhat “responsible” for a lot of what happened, and I felt that this didn’t help that any. But at the same time I wanted you to know because I was finally so “happy”/”at rest” inside.

Anyway, I became friends with someone in January 1997, who I guess you could say was kind of my first crush as well. Other than a few mutual touching “sessions,” we were never went farther than that, but I still had a crush on him. He moved to California in April and I was pretty upset for a while. We still talk today, but I no longer have any feelings for him, other than that of a very good friend. He took me to my first gay bar on a trip we made to Tulsa one weekend. I thought it was an odd place — It was a dark bar, and no one was really there. I kind of look back on it and think of it like “Cheers” — just your typical neighborhood bar really. I somehow figured they were all like this, and never went to another one.

After he moved, he talked me into going to, at the time, the only gay bar in Fayetteville. I had heard about the place online, and didn’t really want to go, because they were known for drag shows, and that was definitely no interest to me. Turns out the drag shows are usually just on Sunday, and since I was working on Sundays then (in Field Support), I never went to a show anyway. I ventured out by myself on a Thursday night, and it was a somewhat nice place. Thursday and Friday were sort of the “Cheers”-type thing although the music seemed to get pretty loud at times], and so I started going almost every weekend. It was odd being around people who all had something in common, and to be able to relax and be what I really am, without having to hide it from others.

I made a few acquaintances, and a few good friends, but was never interested in sex (pretty atypical for someone going to a bar, I know…). I was still somewhat a hermit, just going to work and coming home and talking with friends online.

Sometime in June 1997, I met Robert online. We talked on and off for a month or so, before we finally got up the nerve to meet each other. We decided to meet (of all places) at the Rogers Walmart on July 1st. The rest is pretty much history, or would be I guess if you knew the story.

We walked around Walmart that night and talked for a few hours, and then went back to my apartment in Rogers, and, well, not to sound like sluts or anything, but we “got together.” We continued to meet, almost daily for about a month and spent time together. But I was “holding out” to see if he was interested in me or sex, in I guess what would have been considered dating. (I’m not sure why I wasn’t interested in sex at that point, but I somehow knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, and wanted to make sure he felt the same.) I didn’t know if when we came to you and [someone that was special’s to-be wife]’s wedding in August if you could tell, or if [someone that was special’s to-be wife] already knew Robert was gay since they had known each other in the past. I knew I was starting to develop serious feelings for Robert, and wasn’t sure if I was ready for that at that point in my life — especially considering I think of Robert as my first long-term relationship. I knew we both had many of the same goals: settling down, etc.

I would have to say that since meeting Robert, I have been happier than I have ever been in my life. We have been together for 2 1/2-years now, and it has definitely been an interesting time. I can say that I would never have foreseen owning my own business (or in this case, co-owing one), or being in a happy, stable relationship; and much of that is thanks to him. We haven’t had a “wedding” yet (a “real” wedding is against the law in all but one state right now), although we both would like to have a “formal” ceremony with friends and family there. We do consider ourselves in a “married relationship,” and have taken the steps we can as a couple to have many of the same benefits married partners have.

I just want to thank you for not “throwing” me out. And thank you for accepting Robert as well. I can’t put into words what that means to me, or how it makes me feel, but all I can say is “Thank you,” and I love you for that.

I miss the relationship that we had, and I know a large part of that is because we both had issues to work on with ourselves and other relationships. I hope you made it this far in the letter, and I hope to be able to spend some time with you in person to be able to talk about everything.


Until next time...