When Sexual Orientation and Identity Conflict …
Men May Marry, Yet Carry-On Clandestinely with Other Men
Many older and middle-aged men are intimately involved with other men. Married or not, most of them tragically choose anonymity over acknowledging their true selves to others and, often, even themselves.
Why are these men so secretive and afraid of revealing their sexual orientation?
Because they grew up at a time when culture and society exorcised homosexuality, treating homosexual men and lesbians as lepers: sick, reprobate, reprehensible pariahs.
So their sexual behavior, orientation, and identity conflict and increasingly collide.
That’s the thesis of Bruce H. Joffe, a college professor and church pastor whose new tell-tale book is a memoir about myriad masked men supposedly “straight” but actually same-sex oriented.
Square Peg in a Round Hole follows the author’s attempts to delude himself and loved ones, tracing his experiences rejecting, confronting, and ultimately embracing the man he now believes God meant him to be all along. For Joffe and many men like him, the challenge required reconciling religious beliefs with his innate disposition.
An enigma within an enigma, Joffe is a Gay Jewish-Christian whose academic focus for the past ten years has been on Gender Studies. The connection enabled him to meet many men from the baby boom generation still struggling with their sexuality—online, in support groups, at churches, and through other social networks.
“We tried to deny ourselves, hoping the burdensome secret would disappear,” he shares. “But, of course, it never did. So we turned to prescription drugs, self-inflicted voodoo, and pejorative prayer. Mostly, though, we married … expecting that wedding rings and children would add legitimacy to our lives and help keep the demons at bay. Inevitably, other people got hurt as we woefully dealt with a painful identity crisis.”
Married with children or still single, politicians, celebrities, sports figures, and even evangelical leaders are now coming out and confessing … or being forced to do so.
“Guilt, shame, and remorse plague many homosexual men but, especially, those who are married and lead hypocritical or duplicitous lives while cringing in the closet,” Joffe says.
“Denied equal rights, respect, and even their religion, how could people with same-sex orientations lead legitimate lives?”
All too often they couldn’t, because they wouldn’t come to grips with what they thought was wrong: to be born a homosexual … or to love someone of the same sex. The author maintains that we can’t control one and the other is a natural expression of the birthright.
“Homosexuality almost always has meant second-class status, or worse. It shouldn’t. Gays in society have harmed themselves – and others – long enough,” insists Bruce Joffe who, in writing this book, realized that he would pay the piper for coming out publicly.
Square Peg in a Round Hole (Hardcover: ISBN 978-1-4257-6918-5 & Softcover: ISBN 978-1-4257-6908-6) is available from amazon.com and most online booksellers in all formats: hard cover, paperback, and eBook.