For all the broken and unbroken promises that surround the incoming Trump administration - trade agreements, tax changes, keeping jobs at home, immigration issues, women's rights, LGBTQ equality - there's a dark truth that no one is talking about. It's not obvious, but it's literally the white elephant in society and no one notices it sitting in the corner.
The subtle chanting of "Don't ask, don't tell," has already begun to catapult us backwards to the dark days where fear of oppression, and ill appropriated shame, causes decisions to be made that will hurt people...innocent people. All because uneducated, ill-informed, right-wing bigots (many who are probably closeted homosexuals themselves), have piously deemed being gay as abnormal, a sin, and a behavior that can be cured through "conversion therapy." And thus, the slippery slope of people stepping into heterosexual marriages under false pretenses will once again be on the rise.
Critics of those of us who hid our homosexual truth in a mixed orientation marriage often fling "liar, cheat, coward" labels onto us - and rightfully so - to a degree. Yet, all one needs to do is look at the current Republican platform (yes please go read it for yourself, starting with page 38), and the onslaught of proposed anti-LGBTQ bills on slate for 2017, to get a glimpse as to why someone would surrender their authentic self and simply try to live some modicum of a happy life rather than identify as being LGBTQ.
Imagine for a moment if the tables were turned. Your heterosexual "lifestyle" was deemed by society, religions, politicians, radicals, etc. as abnormal. Everything you do as a heterosexual is impacted by your abnormality. Your ability to hold down a job, rent a home without discrimination, to love the person that you love, to raise children who need loving parents, to travel freely without fear of retaliation, to shop where you desire, to use restrooms, to walk down a street holding your partners hand without fear. Just imagine none of this was possible because, YOU ARE NOW DEEMED A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN!
How do you now feel?
Trust me, those of you who are about to jump into the comments section and start casting stones at this viewpoint, I feel your pain and sympathize with you being sold a false hope of happily ever after by your spouse who finally came out of the closet and turned your world inside out, upside down. It sucks, it hurts, and it isn't right. But look at the facts of what is potentially going to unfold in the coming year with Trump and his LGBTQ witch hunt cabinet.
Fact: In 2016 more anti-LGBT legislation was proposed in state legislatures across the country than in the past 10 years. From Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) and First Amendment Defense Acts (FADA) making a rousing comeback, to marriage exemption bills and God-Doesn't-Want-Gay-People-To-Raise-Kids-Bills, any logical person would wonder, why anyone would come out of the closet to say, "Hey I'm gay, let's celebrate!"
Fact: HB2 (The Bathroom Law) in North Carolina did not get repealed, leaving transgender individuals no choice but to use bathrooms that are not aligned with their sexual identity.
Fact: Republican platform blatantly refuses to recognize marriage as anything other than between one man and one woman.
Fact: In Alabama HB24 is on the legislative table which would allow adoption agencies and foster care facilities to refuse, on the grounds of religious objections, to place kids in certain homes - read between the lines - gay or lesbian homes.
Fact: Vice President Elect Mike Pence is one of the most homophobic political leaders in society.
Fact: Missouri, the show me state is showing it's true colors with HB205 that would permit government and religious officials the right to refuse to perform marriages because of religious objections. SB98 aims to make transgender kids in school use an individual bathroom instead of the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Tennessee: Many will soon be singing the blues if SB1 passes which would give mental health counselors the ability to refuse service to LGBT patients on religious grounds.
Texas: SB92 if passed will standardize nondiscrimination laws across the state, effectively preventing localities from passing stronger protections. Just proves once again that everything in Texas is bigger, including their bigotry and hate.
For those who are not living the life of the marginalized LGBTQ individual, it's often easy to sluff off these kind of political maneuvers as, "Not my concern!" Yet in a flash of an honest, transparent moment it could become your concern if your spouse, child, or grandchild make a deliberate choice to hide their sexual orientation or their sexual identity out of fear and then reveal it to you at a later date, or even worse, take their life because they've felt the sting of societal rejection. Like it or not, in that moment you will feel the shock, pain, and despair similar to what they have felt hiding their truth for a lifetime. Ironically, you both share very similar feelings and paths, once the truth is revealed.
While this is no reality TV show, this is reality. People will make rational, irrational choices to keep the peace, avoid rejection, and to live up to others expectations at the cost of their own well-being. Look at your own life and consider how many times you've made similar choices to play by the rules of society in order to not rock the boat. Granted, you may not hide your orientation or gender identity, or enter into a marriage of deceit, but you'll hide pieces of yourself all in the name of acceptance. In those moments, your moves and your motives are just as rationally, irrational as someone who chooses to knowingly step into a mixed orientation marriage. So what do we do in light of these societal pressures, anti LGBTQ laws, and to stand up to an administration bent on normalizing bigotry, hate, and homophobia? We band together and fight.
This is a big ask for you spouses who've had your dreams shattered, your lives torn apart, and your own self-worth shaken to its core. It's more than a favor to ask you to consider taking a stand, even when you're hurting, feeling betrayed, and not sure of how your own life is going to turn out, post a spouse coming out of the closet. Yet the overwhelming truth is, the world we just stepped into with the incoming Trump administration has the explosive possibility of breeding lies, deceit, and hurt as men and women make rational, irrational choices to step back into the closet and live silent, deceptive lives in mixed orientation marriages unbeknownst to their unsuspecting spouses.
Wouldn't it be great if we, those who've traveled this road already, could band together to build bridges, rather than tear each other down through bitterness and hate? That's already on the new administrations agenda so let's not contribute to their agenda, let's fight and fight together to protect future generations of individuals from going through the pain that we've endured. We may not be able to save everyone, but we can sure give it a humanitarian try.
After all, together we're succeed, separate we fail.