Sara Whitman

The Gay Divorcee

Filed By Sara Whitman | January 15, 2008 5:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: boundaries, LGBT families, love, marriage, struggles

The Gay Divorcee
Being a gay divorcee is not much fun.

Nothing like what you see in the movies.

The reality is it’s hard on you; it’s hard on everyone around you. If you’ve had the fortune of being married a long time? It just makes it harder.

I spent yesterday listening to a couple who are divorcing explain they did not understand why they were being asked to stop coming together to gatherings.

They have been coming, with their children to a group of lesbian moms for 13 years. We’ve shared the anxiety of pregnancy, the joy of birth, endless sleepless nights. Diapers, teething, potty training- some of us more than others. Some couples stopped at one, some went on to have three (no, I am not the only fool).

We’re family.

A dysfunctional family, in many ways, although we are trying so hard not to be.

They don’t understand why we want them to come separately. I don’t understand why they would want to come together.

Isn’t divorce about creating separate lives?

Everyone wants to be supportive. They feel singled out. The reality is, they are getting divorced and that is different from anyone else’s experience.

Where do you draw the line? When do you say, hey, I love you, but sitting here while you sit nails at each other really sucks?

Nothing about being divorced is fun. And gay people don’t do it any better than anyone else. Sometimes I think, we try so hard to push boundaries and lines, we do it a whole lot worse.

I sat with my friend last Friday and she told me that 60 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Twenty percent of the remaining people married are only married because they don’t want to be divorced.

So a mere twenty percent of all married people are happy. Great.

I wonder how much of the struggle, when a social group is faced with a divorce, is about our own discomfort around our own marriages.

I’m not sure but I know the image of the happy divorcee is only in Hollywood.


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For TS people, divorce may not be about separation, it may be what the state does to them. See for example the Gardiner case.

In Australia, the situation is different. The forming of a same-sex marriage is extremely illegal indeed, and any form of "civil union" is right out too. But once a marriage is formed, minor details like one partner "changing sex" are immaterial. Divorce requires true separation.

We're still married, though neither of us are Lesbian. Our little boy needs both of us, and a marriage is about a lot more than just sex anyway. But while married, my UK Birth Certificate will always say "Boy", which is, to say the least, inconvenient.

We celebrate 27 years together in a month. Until or unless one or the other of us finds a guy worthy not just of being a husband to one of us, but a father to our little son, we're likely to remain so.

Unless we move to the US, where some state courts take it upon themselves to dissolve such marriages in accordance with their own peculiar moral ethos. As the "Gardiner" case showed, "full faith and credit" in such matters as birth certificates, not just marriage certificates, doesn't apply to us.

Jerame swears I'm a lesbian since I'm friends with all my exes.