Last year at this time, I was "excommunicated" by a man to whom I was once so close that I called him "my gay husband." Heck, even my husband called him that. This man is a hardcore Randian Objectivist, who believes that anyone whose opinion on Certain Truths does not coincide directly with his needs to Reform Immediately or be banished.
Now, I'm peculiar in a lot of ways. I neither expect nor require my friends to hold the same beliefs I do. My "crimes," according to this man, primarily consisted of failure to accede to his demands. In brief, I refused to remain silent about my belief in the need for health insurance reform (he's against it), marriage equality under civil law (he says marriage is religious only), and I furthermore refused to stop attending the local Metropolitan Community Church (he's an atheist). So, our friendship "no longer met his needs."
He did it to me once before, more than 20 years ago, when a man he was dating told him that straight, female friends were proof of internalized homophobia. So, I was dumped.
Last year, I told him that I forgave him once for his actions, but it wouldn't happen again. If he didn't want me in his life, that was his choice and I accepted it.
Since that time, he posted on newspaper fora where he knows I comment, being so ugly about me that even people with whom I do not get along told him to lay off. I did not respond.
He posted malicious, personal attack-filled "reviews" of my books, which he has never read (his commentary was proof of that). I did not respond.
I realized a number of things over the course of this year that came together in one startling conclusion: he is jealous of me. I don't understand that, but it's the only logical result of my observations.
When we first started talking again, in 2006, he asked if he was the only gay person I knew. C'mon, dude. I live and work in a very cosmopolitan area. Of course I know LGBT people.
"Well," quoth he, "I'd better be your 'main gay,' as Kathy Griffin says."
I laughed about it at the time, but I don't anymore. He eventually proved himself to be Most Indignant that he was not the only gay person I knew.
About my acquaintance Byron (about whom I am worried; his health is poor and I haven't heard from in in a while): "How come you know a gay man in Palm Springs and I don't?"
About my friends at MCC: "They're only nice to you because your husband is cute."
And the topper, when we went on vacation together in 2008 and the bartender at Toucan's (a Palm Springs gay bar) chatted with me and made me smile: "How come the gay bartender flirted with you and not me?"
I don't get it. I may never get it.
That trip to Palm Springs was one that I should not have gone on, in retrospect. We were splitting expenses, but I debted (with his encouragement) to make it happen. I got sick and my "travel companion" was furious that I kept him from sleeping. We checked out early from the hotel and came home, he furious about missing the New Year's Eve party at Toucan's and me sick as a dog.
He didn't like that I had gay friends separate from him. He didn't like that I failed to beg forgiveness, promise to Correct My Thinking and plead with him to remain in my life -- as was evidenced by his subsequent behavior with my books, etc.
In hindsight, I can see very clearly what a sad, bitter person he has been for many years. At the time all of this happened, I was far more hurt than I would ever let him see. When I realized that it had been a year this week, I became aware of one other thing: I haven't missed him.
Causes Sharon Cathcart Supports
Shadow Forest Authors, Operation eBook Drop, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS