This is in regards to Ruth Holladay’s recent column on the Georges murder tragedy. (excerpted below)
I think we as a community, and Ruth Holladay, need to separate our issues here, because we’re talking about several different issues as though they’re a single issue.
- We’re talking about people, regardless of their orientation, being honest with their partners (and themselves) about health-related issues.
- We’re also talking about people being monogamous within their relationships.
- We’re also talking about people being honest about their sexual orientation.
- And finally we’re talking about people finding ways to live together with other people’s orientations.
How any given person (gay or straight) in any kind of relationship (same sex or opposite sex) chooses to handle each of these four issues individually will determine the success of their relationship.
I can show you PLENTY of gay/straight marriages where there’s no dishonesty whatsoever — AND vice versa, lesbians married happily to straight men!
And there are PLENTY of relationships of all kinds where people are not honest — that’s the issue, really, not gay/straight but honesty/dishonesty.
And as far as the Georges go, we DON’T KNOW how they chose to handle each of these individual issues. It may very well be the case that:
- Lloyd Georges was completely honest with his wife about health concerns; his own and hers.
- Lloyd and Judy may have had an agreement that non-monogamy was okay as long as there was honesty about health, emotional, and safety concerns. Or Lloyde may have been completely monogamous — we don’t know that he ever had a sexual encounter with a man.
- Lloyd may have been totally out to Judy, and to their family and friends as well.
- Lloyd and Judy may have been happy with their arrangements.
****And this tragedy could still have occurred even if each of the above four assumptions were true. ****
The tragedy was a ROBBERY gone wrong, and nothing more. It was sad and unfortunate, but it had NOTHING to do with the fact that he was gay and she was straight. Lloyd could have met and befriended some shady characters at a gas station, rather than the Unicorn club. People, gay and straight, trust the wrong people every day.
We CANNOT sit around and make generalizations about all gay/straight relationships and marriages, any more than we can about gay/gay relationships or straight/straight ones.
There is no reason that we can or should assume that gay men married to straight women are always dishonest about their health issues, about their orientations, about their emotional and safety concerns.
We can, and should, strive to be honest and concerned about our own health and emotional well-being, and the health and emotional well-being of the people around us.
I think Ruth Holladay’s article was homophobic, even if unintentionally. She suggested that Lloyd Georges was dishonest with his wife because he was gay, that gay people live unsavory and dangerous lives, and that this alleged dishonesty was the reason they both were killed.
None of these things are true.
Ruth Holladay, May 25, 2000, Indianapolis Star:
It was not Lloyd Georges’ homosexuality that caused his death, said the veteran cop. It was his indulgence for guys with criminal histories, his fondness for men with mean streaks.
So the retired 60-year-old educator is dead, a victim of bad choices and worse company. But so is Georges’ 58-year-old wife, Judith, who had taught third grade and collected dolls and was, by all accounts, a quiet woman who left their Greenwood home on weekends so her husband could take part in “Saturday night fever.” That phrase refers to the personal ad Georges placed in an alternative newspaper; it was his invitation to party.
This is a tough one to make sense of, by anybody’s belief system. It’s even tougher in the context of conservative Midwestern family values. But it happened. It happens.
Specifically, what happened is this: The Greenwood couple, wed 32 years, were stabbed to death last Friday in their home, then their bodies were set on fire. In a community that averages one murder every six years, it was shocking. In a community where normal is the norm, it was a bombshell.
Police Chief Robert Dine liked Mrs. Georges. He’s a past president of the PTO at Isom Elementary School, where she taught for 35 years. “She was a dedicated teacher,” he says.
So he made a promise to the couple’s son to find the killer, and on Monday, he might have delivered: Detectives arrested Fernando Griffith, 22, also known as Valentino. That’s his stage name at the Unicorn, a private Indianapolis club where he worked as a stripper. The retired teacher and his friend had known each other about a year, Dine says. Sometimes, Dine says, both Mr. and Mrs. Georges invited Griffith to their home for dinner. But the relationship soured last week, police say, when Georges refused to play sugar daddy.
So much for the allegations. Now, for an effort at insight.
In the past, gay men often married: Peter Tchaikovsky, Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton and Cole Porter come to mind.
But that was then, when just being gay was a crime. Given that the only exit from the closet was jail, it’s understandable that gays hid.
While we haven’t created utopia yet — don’t hold your breath, and keep in mind that everybody’s utopia is different — we have changed. Gay men and women can live together openly.
Despite this, old patterns and fears continue, says Amity Pierce Buxton of El Cerrito, Calif., a 71-year-old founder of the Straight Spouse Network. Buxton speaks from experience: Seventeen years ago, her husband of 23 years told her he was gay.
Now, she uses her pain to help others heal. She understands the double-edged stigma, both from the perspective of gay partner and straight spouse. She understands that gays still marry — less so today, but it happens. And it doesn’t take a degree in gay studies to realize that a teacher, like Georges, would be fearful of exposure, especially during his career.
But the bigger the lie, the harder the fall. When the truth finally comes out, as it always does, everybody gets hurt — especially the straight spouse.
As stated, it’s tough to make sense out of this. But if one message should come through, it’s this: Intolerance exists — look at Matthew Shepard, who paid with his life. Still, if you are gay or bisexual and married to a straight person, be honest. If you are absolutely petrified by that, keep your vows: Don’t have sex outside marriage.
And if you are a straight person who suspects she is married to a gay, you need to know that your choice could carry a cost.
Get out. Life is too short.