Today I enthusiastically continue to share the story of Roger Brown. If you haven’t yet read part one, I recommend doing that first. Here is part two, in his own words.
“Lorraine thought JT was just a good friend. She and I only discussed how confused I was about my truncated journey to the priesthood. We didn’t discuss my sexuality. She did though see how tortured I was with relating to JT’s angry or manipulative moods and his intellectual dullness.
My final journey to find myself was planned just as that —final. I had been going on journey after journey, here to there, and wanted closure. I decided to spend three months at a yoga center I had learned about in a brochure. The seminar was run by Jack Canfield, now famous for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
The yoga place was Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. I wanted a place NOT Catholic so my decision would NOT be tainted by my persuasion to that direction. I went. I spent three months working in the kitchen chopping vegetables, doing daily yoga classes and evening Kirtans. I got thin and limber!
Just before I left I had the most liberating breakthrough in a yoga session where it was so clear to me I didn’t have to give up ANYTHING to please God. I could accept my boy self and my current self and be led to oneness as me. It’s difficult to explain, but it was profound. And I knew I loved Lorraine.
I left Kripalu at the end of my time and went home to my mother’s apartment. The Sound of Music was on the TV. Until that night I had always viewed it as a light musical. THAT night it was profound to me as Maria accepted where her heart led her!
I called Lorraine. We talked for hours and I proposed over the phone. Wisely, she said she had to SEE me. After all, she had just let me go to maybe finish my studies to the priesthood.
I drove back to California a few days later than planned, when freezing weather let up enough for my car to start! Lorraine looked me in the eye and said, “Yes!”
We married. JT was my best man. An ex-nun was Lorraine’s maid of honor. JT and I had our “last” encounter the night before the wedding. On the wedding tape, I’m crying with my arms raised at the Lamb of God after the KISS of Peace because NOW… I have MY vocation! Husband!
Lorraine and I lived 34 ½ years together happy. We never fought. I didn’t want children, selfish I guess. She said if she was younger it would have been an issue. She was 7 years older than me. We didn’t have sex for that long or often. It was soon non-existent and that didn’t seem to bother either of us.
JT remained in Encinitas and we moved around over the years for Lorraine’s work in human resources and later school administration. I became a teacher and, soon, a special education teacher. I always loved working with a population of students with all sorts of abilities.
For a few years JT and I had sporadic meetings on his occasional visits and shared hidden, silent orgasms in my house. That ended when Lorraine and I parted ways with JT due to our inability to continue to finance his house, that same damn house. We financed it for many years, but eventually it was impossible for us to fund one and a half houses.
I became fully celibate about 18 years ago. I’ve heard it said that you can be celibate cold turkey or gradually through marriage. How do I survive? Occasional masturbation to porn videos. Mostly gay. Sometimes bisexual just to see if the women turn me on or add anything… they don’t! Never have!
I truly loved Lorraine. I loved her intelligence and her open heart for everyone, rich or poor, young or old. She and I both actively and vocally supported our local Visalia LGBTQ+ community. Lorraine loved to give gifts. She was a fantastic decorator. Our homes were always beautiful and interesting. Her human resources and benefits expertise put her at the top of her profession. She helped me find my talent to teach and supported me in every way as I grew in my profession.
Lorraine’s life story was very interesting to me and we shared so many interests. She loved and supported me in every way including encouraging me to sing wherever an opportunity presented itself. Her health slowly presented challenges to which she adapted bravely. Her favorite line was always “this too shall pass.” My background as a corpsman and contemplative personality helped me provide her all the help she needed as dialysis and other health issues challenged her fighting spirit. She fought until the very end.
I was blessed to find her, marry her, adventure with her, become fully faithful to her, help care for her needs, be able to have her fully aware and capable to the final day, and finally release her into the arms of Her Father on New Year’s Day!
I miss her. I loved her. I did the best I could, gratefully gave it my all.
Now, I’m still me, but it’s important to me to be FULLY ME.
I’ve read that your name is very important to your identity. I’m Roger. I’m uniquely and wonderfully made. I’ve had a roller coaster joyful life adventure. And I’m gay.
A freedom to call myself what I’ve been through this entire process has opened up for me. I am a gay man who tried desperately not to be. I wanted to be, but I couldn’t find how to be a good husband and love myself in the judgmental world I had been raised in.
Decades ago it was certainly NOT even considered possible to BE gay. From my conservative small community NO ONE thought there was ANYTHING to do BUT hide...from almost anyone: friends, neighbors, family, clergy, etc.
I loved my wife and our decades together. I miss her. She said she wanted me to be happy. I’m trying to allow myself to be open and at peace and with my truth.
What I want to tell everyone: Do not be what you KNOW you’re NOT for ANYONE! Not everyone has the blessing of the length of days that I have. I’m blessed, grateful and free.
I’m me. I’m Roger. I’m gay.
P.S. I recently returned to see JT. He’s almost 80. He doesn’t hold a grudge over the house split up. He said that my talk about naming, about labeling myself made him excited. He still doesn’t think naming yourself is called for. He said we’ll get together sometime. I left it at that.”