He hit rock bottom so hard one winter that he landed in rehab. Last year I was proud of him. I felt sure he had finally beaten his addiction — only to find out this year that much of that success was a lie. He can control his urges for a few months, swearing that this time it will be for good, but it never is. And here I am, still in love with the sober man he occasionally is, still defending his character, still believing in his potential. He relapsed again a few weeks after our daughter was born. I had thought that perhaps having a child would inspire sobriety, that he would not want her to grow up with an inebriated father, the way he had.
But tonight, less than a week after he received his umpteenth thirty-days token, he came home from buying us ice cream with that certain dismissive tone, that careless sway to his walk. I used to ignore the warning signs. I became a pro at pretending, at making up excuses for his erratic behavior. But now, with my baby sleeping in the other room and him lying in bed in a stupor, my question to myself is: What am I going to do about it this time? He avoided sex when we were dating, saying he wanted to wait until we were married.
Separately, each of these signs might be seen as insignificant. Taken together, however, they reveal that I married a gay man. After twenty-three years, still having no idea that he was struggling with his sexuality, I was so unhappy that I initiated a divorce. Even after the marriage had ended, he was unable to live openly as who he was. He would be seventy-two today. He must have feared being ostracized or losing his job. Even more, I believe he truly loved the family we had created and simply could not bear the thought of losing it.
Tell her what it is. Our daughter was pink, rosy, and healthy. My daughter has graduated from high school, and we will soon drop her off at college. I must have had some warning somewhere along the way that this day would come, but I missed the signs. Was it when she stopped crawling and took to running? Was it when she begged me to let her wear shoes with a heel?
Was it when she hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and plowed down the fence in the front yard? Was it when we had the talk about sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll? How did I miss the moment when she stopped holding my finger? Six years ago I thought I had found the love of my life online. In the second month of our relationship, at our first social outing together, he became angry at me for some reason and would not talk to me or look at me for hours. I was confused and hurt. He got over it, but I thought it was strange and asked a co-worker if I should move on.
A domestic abuser will ask you to make a big commitment early in the relationship. After a few months we had decided to move to another town together. An abuser will isolate you from your friends and family. Six months in I was pregnant. An abuser will find a way to control you. For most of our relationship I felt caught between trying to make things better and finding a way out. An abuser is most dangerous when the victim tries to leave the relationship.
It's an open letter and signed by 73 prominent gay men. What he As gay men we have watched in horror at the cruelty inflicted upon the trans. Separately, each of these signs might be seen as insignificant. Taken together, however, they reveal that I married a gay man. After twenty-three years, still.
One night after I left him, he snuck into my apartment and crawled into my bed with a butcher knife. I am lucky I survived. She was ten years older than me, frustrated with life, and fat. Back then I was thin, youthful, and active. I did not care how she looked, and we went to movies and other places together.
Over the years her health deteriorated. She got a scratch on her foot that became infected and landed her in the hospital, where she discovered she had diabetes.
In time she lost her sight, and she finally died at the age of fifty. I should have seen it coming. Tina and I had been friends for just a few months. She talked often of her suicidal feelings and her addiction to prescription medications. I listened patiently and shared my usual platitudes about the importance of living. Then her finances took a hit, and the doctors stopped prescribing her pain pills.
She killed herself soon after, took every pill she had left. A year ago, worried about my health, I quit smoking. As expected, I began eating more. Today I weigh almost three hundred pounds. I get winded easily. When I talk on the phone, the other person can hear me breathing. My feet are sore in the morning. I look at myself naked in the mirror, amazed. I can see it coming. On a crisp September morning I was running late for class, and my father was preparing to leave for a trip east for his final round of interviews to become a federal judge.
Love you! My sister Em had a long, uphill walk home from high school. One hot day she bought a cold soda for the journey. When she got home, she put the half-empty bottle in the fridge. Knowing that anything in there would be considered fair game by the rest of us seven kids, she left a note saying, I spit in this.
I was in the kitchen later when she went to retrieve her soda. She reached for the bottle, then stopped to look at the note. Beneath her message our brother had written a new one: So did I. In his second year of college my brilliant brother was hired to program computers. At the age of nineteen he had an office and a secretary.
He lost his job, however, when he came to work one day in bare feet and a suit slashed to shreds with razor blades. He gave away everything he owned, then got arrested for stopping traffic and telling people they were going to hell. I brought him home to live with me. He seemed fine. He went on and got married, but before long I got a call from his wife, who believed he was plotting to kill her. I flew to California from Texas and found not my brother but a maniac.
He was going to call down Jesus to kill us both, he said. We got him to a hospital, where he sweet-talked the doctors into thinking we were crazy. It was at that point that I acquired a book on schizophrenia.
My family insisted there was nothing wrong with my brother except for his divorce and his newly acquired marijuana habit. Then one day he tried methamphetamines. He lost touch with reality and has since been diagnosed as schizophrenic. Despite all of this, my other siblings still believe his brief drug use caused his madness. The litter box was just six feet away. I chased her out of the house, yelling obscenities.
The veterinarian ruled out a bladder infection. But, no, her behavior continued for months after he left. When I was very young, my parents would ignore my siblings and me at family get-togethers as they drank and laughed and told jokes. My older brother would disappear with our cousins, and my younger sister would fall asleep on a couch, but I would sit there feeling neglected and forgotten, asking my parents in tears if we could please go home.
Sometimes, on the way home, my father ended up in a fight with someone at a convenience store or had to pull over to the side of the road to vomit. My brother canceled nights out with his friends to stay home and comfort her. Then in high school he became a drinker, coming home from parties in the early hours of the morning and throwing up with my mom by his side.
Through my own high-school years I never drank, and I cut ties with any friend who started. But at twenty-one I was going through a crisis and began using alcohol to cope. At first I drank to let loose and have fun, then for comfort, then to forget. One night my little sister found me sitting in the darkened kitchen with my forehead flat on the table. She was still in high school and looked up to me. Now here I was, drunk and mumbling. I cried myself to sleep and called a therapist the next morning.
When I spend evenings sitting on the lakeshore trying to find the comfort that the vastness of the water used to give me, and it never comes. When I fear work on Monday but fear the weekend more, because two days with nothing to look forward to is more unpleasant than five days in the office. But I always stop myself because I remember how it was when she died, how devastated everyone who knew her was, and I think maybe it should have been me: I was always the depressed one, and she played counselor to all of us in college.
Maybe if I had gone first, she would have seen how suicide scars the people who are left behind. Maybe if I had gone first, it would have stopped her the way her death is stopping me now. I laughed at the absurdity of what he had just said. She woke up one morning with a purple spot on the end of her nose. Later that night she rubbed some CoverGirl on it and went out disco dancing. About a month later I was working my day job as an orderly in a large, urban teaching hospital.
A lesbian I knew was in for surgical removal of a kidney stone. I felt my stomach drop and the blood rush from my head. Oh, my God , I thought. This is real. God is punishing us. We moved in together in January I gently pressed on it. For some reason I felt relieved: Two years before his death, we were heading home after a romantic dinner when I suggested that we stop at a neighborhood piano bar for a nightcap. A community fundraiser was being held that night to support AIDS -related research at a local university. Miss Charlotte, a local drag queen, promenaded around the room collecting donations and singing a sultry ballad.
As she approached our table, John offered her a handful of cash. I had a lot of luggage on the sidewalk, so I was glad to get a big Checker cab to stop for me.
I was leaving grad school at New York University and moving back to Michigan to marry my boyfriend of six months. The cabdriver, who was overweight and had a pasty complexion, sighed at the sight of my bags. I told him I was going to LaGuardia Airport and mentioned the upcoming marriage. No, I explained. I loved my boyfriend, and we were going to have an exciting life together.
He was a musician in a punk band.
He must have feared being ostracized or losing his job. Webarchive template wayback links CS1: Even though I was sitting, I held on to my glass tightly as if for balance. Already a subscriber? Double female symbol represents Lesbian females. Rights and legal issues.
Why do you want to leave New York? I did want to go, I replied, and I gazed out at the gray December sky as we made our way across the bridge. Then I felt a jolt, followed by the clop-clop-clop of a flat tire. The cabby pulled off to the side, shaking his head. My boyfriend and I got married. We moved to Texas. Three months later I quit my job and flew home to Michigan alone. A year later the marriage was over. I looked down at my forearm, which showed parallel cuts running from wrist to elbow.
Quite a nice pattern, I thought. There was no blood, just a row of neat little lines, a brief distraction from a lecture I felt too dumb to follow anyway. The thing is, I have unusually sensitive skin, and, instead of fading away, the neat little lines turned into swollen scabs. It was stupid. What I learned from that meeting was to turn my future self-abuse inward, where no one would see it. On a bright spring day when my daughter was ten years old, she came home agitated and close to tears. Then she waited impatiently for her father to get home so we could watch the movie together.
The movie was about a child her age who suddenly becomes autistic after the death of her father.
She withdraws into her own world and begins building an elaborate house out of playing cards. Desperate to get through to her daughter, the mother builds a wooden structure modeled after the one the child has made. The daughter climbs into the life-size card house, and the mother follows and brings her back. It was a powerful movie, not something a ten-year-old would normally watch. That night, alone, I watched the movie again, feeling there was a message in it I needed to hear. Two years later, after her father and I divorced, my daughter descended into madness.
I home-schooled her, then sent her to a series of private schools while we tried every possible drug combination. At night I lay awake in a house stripped of anything sharp or toxic, knowing that if she really wanted to commit suicide, she would find a way. At work I waited for the call I feared would come. And it came, many times. But she never succeeded in killing herself. Throughout all this, I had only one certainty: I believe my daughter warned me, with uncanny prescience, at the age of ten what would happen to her.
Stay with me. Bring me back. Why is my boyfriend of sixteen years stuttering? He fixed this malady in elementary school twenty-five years ago. Worried about the return of this problem, I suggest some possible causes: Is something happening at work? As the days progress, his stuttering becomes more pronounced. Our friends start to notice and whisper to me. I consider calling a doctor for a professional opinion.
I talk to his mom, my parents, and my closest friends, hoping that someone can give me some insight. His frustration is increasing each time he opens his mouth, and my annoyance, previously well hidden, is coming out. There are no other ailments, and he keeps insisting that nothing is wrong. During a break in the action our friend pulls me aside and tells me he thinks something is going on between my newly stuttering boyfriend and the female half of the couple with whom we have been spending most of our free time.
Wintrich, who attended Bard College and could even now pass for a brooding student at the famously liberal school, smoked a cigarette near an open kitchen window. In April I traveled to northwest Oklahoma to meet Colton Buckley, a year-old gay cowboy in the midst of a Republican primary campaign for a seat in the Oklahoma House. Of the 1, county residents who voted in the presidential election, only backed Clinton.
That was good news for Buckley, one of the youngest Trump delegates to the Republican convention and one of more than 20 Republican L. Five of these candidates won. Buckley, who came out publicly after the deadly terrorist shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, told me that his primary opponents were trying to use his sexual orientation against him. I watched Buckley give a short version of his stump speech to three men in their 30s sitting around a table drinking. The man looked confused.
Before long, in fact, he almost seemed ready to play matchmaker.
Any fellas? Buckley offered him a choice. Would he prefer a candidate who is straight but who wants to raise taxes, as Buckley suggested one of his opponents did? Buckley turned toward me. Buckley turned out to be wrong about that — he finished in third place with just 26 percent of the vote. He suspected that had he been born five or 10 years earlier, he would have run as a closeted candidate.
Three transgender women, including Jennifer Williams, a year-old government contractor from Trenton, walked around the Gaylord holding an L. Proud to be Transgender. Proud to be American. They knew they had their work cut out for them. White nationalism is bad. I could think of few lonelier identities than that of transgender conservative activist, and I wondered whether Williams considered leaving the party after she transitioned in Like many L.
Jimmy LaSalvia, the longtime gay conservative who left the party in , told me that he had watched several waves of gay conservatives have similar hopes dashed over the decades: Egan, a political scientist at N. Diffuse his masculinity at all costs. Never question a trans person. That seeming lack of compassion also struck Alexander Chalgren, who for a time was arguably the most famous young Trump supporter in America. Among some L. In the midterms, in fact, 82 percent of L. The same polls show a decline since in Republican Party identification among L. A leading proponent of the Democratic-flight theory is Brandon Straka, a gay year-old hairstylist and longtime liberal from New York who became disillusioned with the Democratic Party and announced in a YouTube video last May that he was walking away from it.
The WalkAway hashtag became a sensation on right-wing social media, and Straka organized a WalkAway march and rally in Washington 10 days before the midterm elections. Though it was raining, about people the crowd would later at least quadruple, by my estimate gathered for a premarch rally at a park. Some came bearing signs. As I spoke with Lynzee and Michelle, another lesbian walked by and said: We love Daddy!
The most interesting conversation I had that morning was with a married lesbian couple in their 60s who had until recently lived in San Francisco. The evangelical wing of the party would keep me away. Old-school Democrats — we fought for the right of people we disagreed with to be able to speak, even when we thought their positions were offensive and wrong. Among the gays and lesbians I spoke with at the rally, there was a prevailing belief that while the L. As many gay conservatives see it, most L. Whether L. He believes that as L. Jewish voters, who have by and large remained loyal to the Democratic Party as they have assimilated, or non-Hispanic Catholics, who gradually shed their partisanship.
He suspects that will depend partly on the degree to which L. Egan notes that marginalized groups can feel insecure even when protected by law, as L. Until that changes, Egan suspects L. The L. Longwell, the Log Cabin chairwoman, agrees. Though Longwell can envision the day L. In October, Ben Holden sat with three other conservative students at a table in a student center on the campus of Suffolk University behind a banner promoting their chapter of Young Americans for Freedom Y.
The four club members were white men, a stark contrast to the diverse students at tables around them. Holden recognized the optics problem while also lamenting that he had to think that way. In April the group invited Christina Hoff Sommers, a critic of contemporary feminism, to campus. The reporter was referencing a short video Holden and Y.
Not that that really matters anymore. Despite making the Coming Out Day video, Holden played down the relevance of his sexual orientation to his politics. Nearly every time we spoke over the past year, Holden lamented this polarization, which he said had an impact on students on his campus, cable-news commentators and seemingly everyone else. Benoit Denizet-Lewis is an associate professor at Emerson College and a longtime contributing writer for the magazine. He previously wrote a feature about teenage anxiety.
Supported by. A version of this article appears in print on , on Page 54 of the Sunday Magazine with the headline: Open in the app.