Kat Hudson

Kat Hudson
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Birthday
May 16
Bio
Kathryn Hudson has been a writer for most of her life. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she currently calls Baltimore, Md., her home. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Hudson spent several years as a newspaper reporter. She is currently raising a beautiful daughter on her own as a single mother along with two obnoxious cats (they are probably both French-Canadian). In her free time she writes. In her regular life, she juggles a cute infant along with a job in sales, blogs, and short films about everything. She welcomes new friends and correspondence, especially from befuddled new parents like herself.

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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 11, 2010 4:00AM

How homophobia hurt a straight woman

Rate: 61 Flag

If there is one thing the straight community is finally starting to recognize about the LGBTQ com it is that homophobia kills. We’ve learned this lesson in the high-profile gay youth suicides, six in one month that were reported nationally. The gay bullying that lead to these deaths is nothing short of murder. One thing nobody has acknowledged is how homophobia maims some straight people, too.

As the former straight spouse of a gay man, I can’t begin to tell you just how much I’d like to see an end to homophobia for good. I often wonder just how different my life would have turned out if the man I’d married had felt comfortable enough with his own sexuality to have lived his life on his own terms. Sadly, I will never know.

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. It’s an important day in the LGBTQ community for many reasons. It is a day that encourages all those who still live their lives tucked away in a “closet” to come out into the light of acceptance. I can surely understand why many people would rather stay hidden inside the dark, cramped space their own closet provides. Just this weekend, eight gang members were charged in the kidnapping and torture of three men in New York City suspected of being gay. That is just another reason homophobia needs to end right now. There are so many more.

They’re here, they’re queer, get to know them

Growing up, I remember the first time I learned someone in my life was gay. One of my aunts by marriage had married a gay man and had a child with him. They divorced when my cousin was still a baby. The man apparently didn’t want to be a father to his daughter and preferred to be referred to as “Uncle Marc.” When my aunt married my uncle, I was still young enough not to know all the configurations of family. When I called Marc my uncle, my mother corrected me later.

“Marc is not your uncle,” she said as we drove home from a holiday gathering at my grandparent’s house. I wanted to know how that could be since my cousin, Desiree, called him uncle. My mother explained it all then spilled the beans; Marc wasn’t even Desiree’s uncle. He was her dad. He was a man who loved men and didn’t want to be with my aunt. My mother said he was gay.

I remember giggling at the concept of two men loving each other the way my mother explained. I was probably eight or nine at the time and it seemed a bit funny. I realize now that was because I had not seen any gay couples together. It was out of my scope, so it seemed odd. In time, however, that would change.

I met Eric, a handsome, James Dean look-a-like, the day he transferred into my Utah high school from Detroit. I was reading Truman Capote’s “Music for Chameleons” and left the copy on my desk during our Driver’s Ed class. The tall shadow swept past me and whispered, “Great book.”

Eric told me that because I read Truman Capote, he knew we could be friends. At the time, I had no idea that Capote was gay. I was given the book by an older man I’d harbored a crush on for some time. Rex was a lean, handsome cowboy who was also surprisingly well-read. He wasn’t gay, but he knew great literature. When I announced to him that I wanted to be a writer, he lent me a few books he felt were “must reads” for my education. I’ll always be grateful to him for that and because it’s how Eric and I became friends.

It didn’t take long to figure out that Eric was in fact, gay or at the very least, bisexual. The longing looks he shot certain members of our school’s football team gave him away, as did his distinctive lisp and the way he always joked about wanting to have sex with me. Had he ever backed up those declarations with more than comment, I would have given in to him. But he never did. He had crushes on boys and eventually started teaching me who in our small Mormon town was just like him. It was a whole new world for me.

When Eric graduated, I was sad. He was a year older than me and was planning to move back east with his family. I remember crying the day their moving van pulled away from our town. Thankfully, I was left with my other gay friend, David, who would watch scary movies with me and gossip about cute boys. Though both boys were pretty firmly entrenched in the closet, most people figured out they what they really were.

‘Gay’ is not a dirty word

“I think our neighbor is a fag,” my mother whispered under her breath when I returned home from school one day. The very word sent shivers down my spine. It was as ugly a world to me as the “N-word.”

“Mother, don’t you mean ‘gay?’”

By this point in her life, my mother had become a hard core Christian fundamentalist. A former free spirited hippy, she was now a sad, intolerant bigot. “Your friend Eric was a fag, too, wasn’t he? I don’t want you hanging out with people like that, Kat.”

I dismissed her ignorance as just that—ignorance. I would not let anyone dictate to me who I could be friends with or not. It seemed like such a ridiculous thing to even care about. That was until the day my friend, Samantha, showed up on my doorstep with two bloody wrists.

Until she’d attempted suicide, nobody knew that Sam was struggling under the weight of her secret sexual orientation. She was such a good friend to me and my sister. We’d spent so many crazy, silly adventures together, it was shocking to see her standing in front of me and my sister with blood running down her arms. She could barely speak as we brought her inside and wrapped her arms with dish towels and called for an ambulance. Being a gay kid in such a small town (Population 5,000) was almost too much to bear. She survived, thankfully, and met her first serious girlfriend in college where she found it okay to be open about her sexuality. She’s alive and well today. I am so happy for that.

Oh to be young, in love and confused

It never surprised me that I fell in love with and married a man who would eventually identify as gay. Since the time I was a little girl, I’d also been an includer. I hated anyone to feel left out or less than. I was the girl who our school principal had take all the foreign exchange kids around. When I met my ex-husband, I had no idea he’d spent the past six years struggling to come to terms with his own sexual orientation.

It wasn’t until 10 years into a roller coaster ride of a marriage that I learned the truth: he was gay and had been cheating on me for at least the last three years of our marriage. During that time, we fought almost constantly. Our sex life disappeared and so did my self-worth. When the truth finally came out one truly horrible morning, I crawled into a closet of my own.

Over the next year, my husband finally began his coming out process (and trust me, it is a process) as I learned all the ways I’d been lied to and deceived so he could protect his carefully-constructed image from the rest of the world. I found out about a boyfriend he maintained for two years while he was in the Marine Corps. I discovered how he’d met with countless strangers at their homes and at so-called “glory holes” where he could have anonymous sex with other men. What shocked me most was hearing from him that many of the men he’d met or hooked up with were also closeted married men.

“I figured they were safe when saw the wedding band on their hand,” he tearfully confessed to me one late night as we discussed his hidden life. I knew I wasn’t alone, but that didn’t make me feel any better.

I’ll never get over you

I found help in a Straight Spouse Network support group, but all the support in the world couldn’t shake the horrible feelings of being lied to and controlled for years. My trust in almost everyone, but especially myself, was gone. I considered suicide, too. Why would I want to live in a world that would let someone treat me with such callousness and then expect me to just “get over it” when the truth finally surfaced? Death seemed so much kinder.

I found a good therapist and spent two years in her care. Yet even now, I often find myself scared of ending up with another man like my ex-husband. Not the gay part, but the part that decided his own agenda of looking “normal” was more important than my right to be in a kind, loving, mutually-respectful relationship. I have to constantly remind myself that not all men are this way. There are good guys out there. It still doesn’t make the hurt go away.

Looking back on our life together, I am forced to wonder what, if any of it, was real. Did my ex-husband ever love me at all? Or was I just a pawn all along in his game? I will never know and that thought alone often keeps me awake at night. I really do wish I’d just be done with it all.

Put yourself in his shoes

I am not unsympathetic to what my ex-husband must have been going through for all those years. I can understand why a man who is told his whole life that his true sexual orientation is wrong would want to do anything to change that. I can see how it would seem easier to try and be like the majority than march with a very small minority. I’m sure it was a unique sort of hell. It is why I don’t hate my ex-husband. I’m not focused on hurting or ruining him. I just wish the whole thing had never happened.

When people still feel its okay to use the word “gay” like an insult, I know I still have work to do. Not just for my friends who are gay, but for the many hidden victims like me who are often the subject of ridicule for not knowing we had inadvertently married a closeted gay person.

As crazy at it may sound to some, I, too, have been a victim of homophobia and I’m straight. Maybe a straight person you know has been a victim of homophobia, too. Isn’t it time, for the sake of humankind, to put an end to the hate?

I hope you answer, “Yes.”

 

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YES, Kat! It is way passed time.
YES.

This post was the one that finally got me to join Open Salon so I could rate it- I've linked to it on my Facebook page.
YES. The recent news stories about the persecution of gays inspired me to start my own fledgling blog.
Yes...but sadly I don't think it will happen.

I never did much research on the topic. What are the roots of homophobia? I know that homosexual practices were tolerated in various cultures in history. Was it the rise of Christianity? Certainly the fire-breathing Christians seem to be the best haters of all.
Yes, and what about the parents of all those people who kill themselves over this?
Pitch perfect post for Coming Out Day, thanks for highlighting how the closet hurts us all.
Amen. Well said, Kat!
yes and a HUGE high five..
Rated with hugs
Amen sister. Amen again. Was Columbus gay? Who knew today the 11th would be shared! r
Yes.

BTW, National Coming Out Day is a celebration of our Allies, too, so Happy coming Out Day, Kat.
I'm sure your husband did love you and you weren't just a beard for 10 years. I've known of many married men who have been arrested and shamed by trysts in parks and other out of the way places (some even killing themselves after being publicly called out). Your story moved me personally. When I began the process of coming out to my now ex-husband, I'm sure he felt many of the things you were feeling. It's hard to convince someone you weren't being duplicitous when all facts seem the contrary. For many, feelings stuffed, truths hidden, we go on and make the best of our conformist lives until we just can't do it anymore. I'm sorry for the pain you had to go through, but your story is one of the most poignant I've read. And thoroughly right. If gay people could have the acceptance of their families and communities, you most likely would not have had to go through it all.
Thanks, everyone, for all the comments. Especially those from my friends in the LGBTQ community. I will continue to be a staunch ally to you as long as I live.

I endured a situation that is all-too common for many people, but it is something that can be overcome and reversed. The day a gay son or a lesbian daughter can marry the person they really love without anyone giving it any more thought than they would any other wedding, we've won. The day a transgendered person can feel comfortable in their own skin without being forced into a box, we've won. The day a bisexual person can love and show it to those they care about, we've won. The day a person who isn't sure can openly ask questions about their sexuality and not be judged by their seeking, we've won.

Keep fighting. All of us.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELaLrS-KDJo
Kat, I have read enough of your posts here to know that you were married to a gay man. It also, to be honest, made me steer clear of some of your posts for fear that what I would read would be too painful.

I was also married to a gay man. For thirteen years. He came out to me when I was pregnant with our second child. Your story-- anonymous sex, Straight Spouse Network and all-- is my story.

He was raised as a fundamentalist Christian and had a deep loathing for who he was. He attempted suicide six times before coming out to me. And then I joined him in the closet while we sorted all this out.

I had and continue to have all the same questions you have. Many of these questions cut to the heart of my own identity: with twenty years of my life based on a lie, how could I know myself and trust my own judgment.

I am another straight woman that homophobia has hurt. I will not let its fear and ignorance hurt my children.
oh, and rated for bravery and honesty.
Why do you find yourself attracted to gay men?

In 25 words or less.
A beautifully written story that is moving. We are all hurt by homophobia.
Yes. I am in absolute agreement with everything you have written. Just remember Kat, You're a beautiful woman that can do anything she sets her mind too. I hope you find the guy who's right for you. (: Rated.
David: Funny video about falling in love with a gay man. Oh, if only it were that easy.

If you ever met my ex-husband when we were married, you'd have never suspected him of being gay. He did not meet a single stereotype of being a gay man. He wasn't a snappy dresser, he preferred button-down oxford shirts and Dockers. His underwear were so holey and worn, I'd have to swap them out regularly with nicer ones. He had (and still has) no sense of decoration/style. When I saw the baby-poop colored carpet he installed in my old house, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. He hated shopping. He wasn't sentimental. You get the picture.

I've met a lot of gay people who don't fit the media's stupid mold of them. Not every gay man is a buff, limp-wristed "fairy." Not every lesbian is a plaid-wearing semi-female lumberjack who can build an edition onto your house. Get over these ideas.

I can't do it in under 25 words. Love is love. My ex-husband did have some amazing qualities (I loved how kind he was to animals and how he took my hand to help me on and off curbs). He made me feel safe for a long time. What more can I tell you?
I have been thinking about this issue for some time, but didn't write of it since it doesn't speak to my personal experience. Still, I feel anger for the women who have been used and deceived, gone through countless counseling sessions, dieted, self medicated, or went through real anxiety and depression because their husband was a liar. I remember meeting a gay man who was LDS who introduced himself with the glee of how he had outed himself in the community without warning his wife or his children or grandchildren. He thought this took courage, but I was appalled. He didn't understand how they could be so angry at him, it must be the fault of the church. I thought, you have lied to all of them, now you have publicly shamed them (in their world, yes) and you want a pat on your back for your bravery? He had a whole new community of acceptance to go to, they were left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
I had a long and storied history of falling for gay men when I was a younger lass, Kat.

Of course your ex-husband loved you. There are so many kinds of love. Some of them include sexual attraction and some of them don't, but that doesn't mean there isn't real love.

This is a marvelous piece. Hope Eric reads it and realizes he did, in fact, contribute to the birth of a Writer. Rated.
Amen. I just read Keka's post and both are really great. We need to shed this bigotry about anything, race, sexuality, gender. It's just too easy to hate than to love!
I traveled around the world with a fellow who later came out as Gay. He and I are still friends. We both liked to look at cute guys passing by and he wasn't interested in my body. He had a beautiful body and Im glad he found the courage to be the big beautiful gay man that he is today. He would help me in a nanosecond and vice versa. Homophobia hurts us all. I can't believe the miltary budget was stalled over the issue. America must adapt or die.
At 63 I'm well over "those ideas." But big slob that he was, surely there had to have been clues. "He made me feel safe for a long time" sounds like one of them.

I don't want to sound derisive, and as the Woodman says "The heart wants what it wants," but I've known a ton and a half of women who walked right into relationships doomed to fail beacause of a naive belief that "all he needs is a good woman."

Often as not what he REALLY needs is a Very Bad Man.
David: Excuse me, but it seems like you're looking for someone to blame here. Women who marry gay men are victims. Many of the so-called "clues" do not come out until the men themselves do.

Gay men who are desperate to appear "normal" can act as straight as they need to if it means their secret is kept. I've dated a great variety of men since my ex and I split. There is little difference in having sex with a straight man than having it with a gay man. My ex-husband was, at one time, an excellent, attentive lover.

It took me years to stop blaming myself for what went wrong in this relationship. Had my ex come to me before our marriage and explained his conflicted feelings, I have little doubt we'd be great friends today instead of ex-spouses who are completely out of each other's lives.

For the record, I was 22 and he was 27 when we married. I am now 41. I never once believed he could be changed by the love of a good woman. I loved him as he was when I married him.
I don't think of your experience as a coincidence since this happens so often in homes where sexuality is repressed due to religion. It was true in my family and my sister married a gay man and stayed married to him despite his moving out with his inamorata. In my case I married a woman incapable of sexual fidelity.

My sister went on to make my mother her enemy, though she doesn't have a homophobic bone in her body due to having a gay brother she dearly loved. (Go figure.) I fear my sister never grew up and at 60 it's doubtful she ever will. My wife died and solved the problem for me.

Eventually, if the trauma is serious and the victim in the least analytic and escapes their denial and shame, you wind up examining those belief structures that deny sexuality and try to define it on absolute moralistic grounds.

It is, after all, the source of the ignorance and suffering. Ask: if "God" gives a shit about such matters, by definition what kind of God is she or he? I'm not sure the answer is found in a book, or scriptures,but by looking at ones own heart as you do. What was true in one era is not necessarily true in another, the same as one teaches a child based on their personal development and what reason and their own conscience teaches them.

Congratulation on your courage for seeking the life that you want and in expressing it. May the truth shall set us free.
I'm not looking for anyone to blame, Kat. In ALL manner of relationships, Shit Happens.

"There is little difference in having sex with a straight man than having it with a gay man" brings to mind my favorite line by my favoirte movie tough-guy -- Elaine Stewart in The Man and The Beautiful : "There are no 'Great Men." There are just Men."
Pardon, that should read The Bad and the Beautiful

(Her other great line: "You're business, I'm company. Oh I saw the picture, Georgia. You were swell.")
HELL YES! I am also straight, but whenever I hear someone use gay instead of stupid, it makes me think of my first gay friend, I was the first person he came out to, the second a girl he had just recently dated, and she bought a book for Christains and the title was "What to do when your friend is gay?" and it was a way to "convert" him back, I'M SO SICK AND TIRED OF ALL THE HATE! A MAN CAN LOVE A MAN AND A WOMAN CAN LOVE A WOMAN! I think, if there wasn't such rejection, less people would marry people who later come out and say they are gay.
Great article - a perspective of someone not many consider in this whole thing. And yes, my answer is yes.
Kat, this is very important post! In light of all the suicides and gay-bashing, I wonder why people think it okay to question someone's sexuality and crucify them because of it! R
moving story. thanks for sharing it.
Wow, Kat. I totally agree with you.
A very important post, Kat. You took me places and made me think of the collateral damage of homophobia. I'm not sure I ever thought of those victims before. I hope you don't blame yourself for being a loving, open-hearted person, for trusting the love of others -- which was true even if it was conflicted and not what it needed or promised to be.
This is an excellent post, Kat. I have seen so much damage through the years owing to homophobia, direct and indirect, on both the central person as well as those around them, and it's so unnecessary. Hopefully, things are changing.
I found your blog on Yahoo and I just wanted to say that I think your writing is simply stunning! Thanks again for providing this content for free.
it sounds like youve had some pretty heavy gay Karma to go thru, despite being straight. the universe works in strange ways.
Yes. Without hesitation yes. One of my best friends is gay, and although he's known most of his life who he is, it is still a struggle for him. I myself have been called or thought of as gay for too many years and too numerous times to call. It doesn't bother me now. It's a compliment.
Kat- Thank you for your post. I came out after 13 years of living with an awesome woman. Fortuanatly, I didn't cheat on her, and if I lied to her about my sexuality, I was lying to myself too. But I harmed and hurt someone I love. We've both moved on but we're still very close, and her forgiveness is an amazing thing. Thank you for understanding it's homophobia, and for telling your story. I think your side of this story rarely gets heard, and needs to be. The closet hurts so many people, and I'm sorry you had to go through that.
Just so everyone knows, I have a MAJOR soft-spot for members of the LGBTQ community. Aside from the fact that my friends inside this community were the first to come to my "rescue" when my husband was revealed to be gay, I just love these friends for being who they are and being so cool.

As a grow as person, I've come to see just how amazing this community is. I am proud when I'm named godmother to a couple's child; I'm equally honored when someone feels comfortable enough to tell me they are who they are and they love me for getting that.

I have two nieces; one is lesbian, the other is bi. I am so proud that I am their lifeline. I am almost positive my mother was a closeted lesbian or possibly bi. Either way, I love her and respect anyone who struggles to realize who they are. I just want to let everyone know, YOU ARE OKAY.
Such a moving and beautifully written story!
rated
This article made me rememember this horrible murder that happened a few years ago in Boulder Colorado:
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-73446530.html
I don't have an issue with gay men or women but I do think it is wrong for public institution, group, etc. to try to teach children that a homosexual lifestyle is acceptable. I also don't think that anyone should be talking to your children about sex be it straight or gay. These things should only be the within the realm of what parents should discuss.
So if any of you show up to protest the Tea Party you will be sensitive enough to not call us tea baggers?
Well...Danny Boy...most Tea Partiers do qualify as "Tea Baggers."

Me...I'm just a girl who wants equality. Stop picking on our kids for being anything other than straight. I love gay/lesbian/bi/transgender/questioning kids. I will FOREVER support these kids, especially as a STRAIGHT woman. I want these kids/people to know they are NOT alone. And they are loved.

So, please stop picking on my FAMILY. My family isn't perfect, but I do love it. These kids and people are my heart. I will take a bullet for all of them. If you have a question, defer it to my...flack jacket.

LGBTQ family...I am your ally. I watch over you with love.
Oh, and if you like me even a little, PLEASE vote for me to win this blogging job: http://www.sam-e.com/job/entries/64

I love you either way!!!

We all live under the rainbow.
"The man apparently didn’t want to be a father to his daughter and preferred to be referred to as 'Uncle Marc.'"

How wonderful it must be to be able to waltz away from one's moral responsibilities and then have people blame "homophobia."

" . . . he was gay and had been cheating on me for at least the last three years of our marriage. . . . I’m sure it was a unique sort of hell. It is why I don’t hate my ex-husband. . . . As crazy at it may sound to some, I, too, have been a victim of homophobia and I’m straight."

I don't think you were a victim of "homophobia" at all. I think you were the victim of a lying son-of-a bitch who happened to be gay. I don't give a shit if someone is gay, straight, asexual, or whatever. People need to be responsible for their own actions. Reading the post and many of the comments, it seems that many people here see homophobia as a kind of one-size-fits-all excuse for what is clearly reprehensible behavior. It certainly is not an excuse, nor is it even a good explanation. Who put a gun to his head and forced him to hook up with "countless strangers at their homes and at so-called “glory holes” where he could have anonymous sex with other men"? No one did. It was his own decision. There are gay men who have married women, discovered their error, and managed a graceful exit from the marriage without stabbing either their children or wife in the back. Those are the men who deserve sympathy and understanding, not these other scoundrels.