It took 40 years to write Neither Here Nor There that is a chronicle of my struggle to reconcile being gay and being a Christian. One reviewer described the book as brutally honest, which I interpreted to mean that I didn’t make any excuses or leave out any of the emotional crises that I faced in dealing with this struggle. I was neither here to be comfortable as gay because of my guilt nor there as a fully committed Christian because of my fear of exposure. And thus I strode the fence between two lives without being honest to either. I repressed my true nature and hid my anger at the discrimination of society so I took a long time to fully accept who I am and why I am that way. There are lots of coming out stories, and my mine doesn’t pull any punches in describing the physical longing, the emotional loneliness or the spiritual emptiness of denying my religious beliefs. I tell names and have photos as well as set the context of the times in which I lived.
So what makes you think your story and your experiences are unique?
Many homosexuals have struggled with their identity with varying degrees of success and acceptance. The cultural traditions and social mores of American society make than difficult, particularly when those who use the Bible as a weapon rather than a guide weigh in. My conflict has never been fully reconciled although I came to rid myself of my internalized homophobia and came to know a richer and deeper faith in my slow steps to become a better Christian.
Why do you have commentaries at the end of each chapter?
The text of the chapter follows a chronological sequence that is easier to follow without interruptions. At the end I try to put my experiences into the context of the time, where I was in my own development, and some explanation of what impact my experiences had upon me. It took a decade for me to come out that was partly due to the homophobic society in which I was raised, but mostly it was due to an internal conflict within myself. I never liked stories that jumped back and forth in time so I kept with a simple timeline. I just said "pause" after each sequence to offer my explanation of what happened and why. The reader may not agree with my conclusions, but at least I've stated my case.
A memoir of a 7-decade struggle against guilt and fear to accept myself as both gay and as a Christian. It was a long journey with numerous detours and dead-ends, but in the end I gained some insight of what it means to be fully human and willing to take risks.