Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What If You Are Both Bisexual and A Public Figure?

Being a married bisexual men is a tough path no matter what the other circumstances of one's life. Unfortunately, more men mishandle their bisexuality than come to exercise it wisely and rationally.

In spite of the tremendous gains that homosexual men have made in gaining acceptance for themselves as individuals and for their relationships, very little of that acceptance and understanding has trickled down to bisexual men. In the public mind there is a perception of a lack of honesty and a lack of integrity on the part of bisexual men. That makes acceptance from the public at large harder to garner. Add to that the fact that most bisexual men choose to remain in the closet rather than live openly as bisexual men and the perception of dishonesty and a lack of integrity is only intensified.

I've talked to thousands of bisexual men over the years. I've never personally talked to one who felt he made a choice or who was totally happy with the sexual orientation he seemed to have been issued. To a man, the men I have talked to have struggled all their lives with their "differentness." Most of them are struggling still. Life never seems to get easy. There is alway a challenge.

For men who are public figures, the challenges of being a bisexual man are only magnified and compounded. I know because I was such a man. For 35 years, I was a public figure.

When we think of public figures, especially in election years like 2012, we think of state and national politicians, and these guys are certainly high profile public figures. But they are not alone. There are many of us who are also public figures on a smaller stage. These men can be local political figures, pastors, well known business men and business executives. I was a public figure in a way similar to these. My job put me in front of tens of thousands of people throughout Texas and the rest of the United States. All of these tens of thousands of people knew my name and recognized me on sight. In comparison, I knew very few of them by name or sight. When my kids were small they never could quite understand why people would call me by name and speak to me in public places and I didn't know their names or anything about them other to suppose they knew me due to the public nature of my job.

When I came to the realization that I had to confront my bisexuality and exercise some of the demands it made on me, my situation as a public figure increased my fears significantly. Exposure to the wrong person could expose my bisexuality to hundreds if not thousands of people almost overnight. The burden of this knowledge was significant and daunting.

Well over 100,000 guys have read my blogs. Several thousand others read my blog each week. I am sure in that number of guys, there are bound to be men who are public figures. In fact I know a few of them who have made themselves known to me. One of them, in fact, suggested that I post something on this topic.

Don't Get Caught
As in any dilemma, there are things one should do and there are also definitely things one should not do. The things one should not do tend to be known to anyone who pays attention to the news because public figures are often outed through their own missteps or by deliberate action on the part of someone they trusted all too carelessly. The names are well know. They include Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, who messed up his life in a public restroom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Ted Haggard, a well known evangelical pastor, Senator Mark  Hatfield of Oregon, actor Richard Chamberlain and Governor Jim McGreevey are just a few of the hundreds of public figures who have been publicly exposed for their private sexual behavior with other men. All of these men's lives were ruined or significantly affected by their having been outed. Some men have faired a little better after allegations of their homosexuality or bisexuality were made public. Among these are Charlie Christ, former Governor of Florida, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and former Louisiana Representative Jim McCrery.

Some gay activist such as Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Kirby Dick, Documentary Film Maker contend that outing public figures who publicly work against LGBT Rights while privately engaging in LGBT lifestyles is justified, and they have purposely outed public figures whom they felt fit the profile.

The lesson is clear. If you are a public figure on the national, state or local level, you must be very careful in how you carry out your private life, especially if it includes sexual activity with another man.

So what are such men supposed to do to protect themselves besides putting aside their male/male sexual desires and rigidly trying to cling to heterosexuality? The answers to that question are not easy to carry out and their are certainly no guarantees of success; but one thing is for sure, such a man should not try to put his male/male sexual desires aside. That is a sure recipe for disaster. Ted Haggard and Larry Craig are prime examples of such disasters. Both were caught engaged in bizarre circumstances that any rational man would have known could, and more than likely would, lead to being outed. As a private citizen, not to mention a public figure, I would never even think of initiating sexual contact in a public restroom as Senator Craig did. Though I would never hire a male prostitute or escort even as a private citizen, many people do; and as private citizens, they can more often than not get away with doing so. One would think any pubic figure would know he couldn't get away with such behavior in a day and time when cash speaks loudly and quickly. Yet, Reverend Ted Haggard seemed to have no such knowledge when reportedly he repeatedly engaged the services of another male for cash.

I have no way of knowing for sure, of course; but I suspect that both these men's downfall was the result of trying to deny their desires for male/male sex. Such desires can be denied. They can be denied for a long time, but eventually they take control and they explode into unsafe and often less than discreet behavior with the wrong people at the wrong time. I've seen it happen in the lives or ordinary guys often. It is much like a time bomb that sits quietly for some time and then suddenly explodes bringing destruction to everyone around it.

So if one should not deny his male/male sexual desires and risk an explosion of risky and conspicuous behavior, what should he do to safely exercise his desires and his needs?

There are simply no guarantees in life that always avoid the possible negative outcomes of risky behavior, and in the society in which we live, sex between two males when one or both are married is risky for any man and are particularly risky for men who are public figures. But with that caveat here are a few things which can help one protect himself and his family.

  • Know yourself and your needs - you'd probably be surprised at how many men don't really know themselves or their needs. This happens because for a man leading a supposedly heterosexual life, thinking about and closely examining his homosexual needs and desires can be painful. It can also simply be an admission that such desires exist. Some men, actually many men, will do almost anything to avoid the mental anguish that can result from thinking about their bisexuality or their homosexuality rationally and in great depth. Thus they do not know their true needs and desires. Again, I do not know Ted Haggard; but I doubt that his real desires were satisfied by the type of sexual acts he engaged in and which led to his outing. Men simply do not enter the ministry to get rich. They do so because they care about people and want to help people lead more abundant lives both on a secular level and a spiritual level. While I don't know Ted Haggard, I do know many preachers who are either gay or bisexual. I've never met one who wanted to satisfy his sexual desires by paying for sex with another man. Instead, what these men want is to be on the other side of the room. They spend their lives ministering and caring for others. Those who are gay or bisexual simply need a male person in their lives who can minister and care for them. In short they need a friend in which they can confide anything and have the confidence respected by the other person. Had Ted Haggard taken the time to know himself and his needs he'd have never gotten involved with the person who helped to out him. Instead like two ministers I know personally, he might have found another minister with whom he could have safely and respectfully expressed his need for a male/male relationship.
  • Don't rush into relationships - As a public figure myself, one thing I would never do was to rush into a relationship or even a meeting with a guy who I thought might turn out to be the other half of a relationship. I knew what I wanted and I knew the type of guy I wanted to find. I also knew I would never find the perfect guy, so I had a list of what I would accept and what I wouldn't accept. I would talk to a guy on Yahoo Messenger for some time asking him questions about himself and his wants and needs. I would ask the same questions over and over in different ways to see if I got the same general answer. If a guy didn't have the time or the will to talk to me over a period of weeks on line, he wasn't the guy I was looking for. If he was eager and willing to rush into a relationship he wasn't the guy I wanted or needed in my life. If he met the test of time, meeting in a public  place was the next thing on the agenda. I found both good guys and bad guys at such meetings. I found guys I liked but who did not excite me sexually. I found guys I liked and whom I thought would fit my needs but who did not feel I would meet their needs. Such things did not bother me. If it wasn't right for both of us it wasn't what I wanted or needed. Guys with whom I've shared a relationship have always been guys who were very much like me. They shared my general social status and my general philosophy of life. Like me they pretty much were at peace with their sexuality. Only one of my relationships has been with a man who was also a public figure. This was a plus for the relationship in many ways but certainly not necessary to a good relationship.
  • Don't take unnecessary chances - When one finds the right guy he often feels his problems are over. After all finding the right guy is such long difficult work, but in reality when one has found the right guy, his problems are just beginning. Where do you meet and when? I know guys who meet at one or the others homes, and I admit I've done that sort of thing on occasion but it is never a good idea and it is one I have not often done. One can be tripped up in so many ways. Once I left my jacket hanging on the back of a dining room chair. Luckily my buddy found it before his wife got home and found it. The safest place to meet is a neutral private place. Usually this will mean a hotel or motel room. It can be expensive but it's worth it for the privacy and the lack of risk. For the man who is a public figure, the hotel or motel room must match his status. A U.S. Senator cannot just check in to the local Motel 6. To do so is an immediate indication that something unusual is happening. The man who is a public figure must always check in alone or if possible have his friend who is not a public figure take care of checking in. Great care should be used to make it appear that only one person occupied the room. That is not a big chore. Just takes a little careful tidying up.
  • Be careful at work and at home - Men who are public figures often have two families. They have their wives and their kids for sure; but they also have another family at work that is more often than not somewhat curious about his private life. In particular, if you are a public figure who has a secretary, you had better understand she tries to know and wants to know all there is to know about you. Part of this, on the part of a good secretary, is so she can serve you better; but part of it is just plain curiosity. It is imperative that you understand she or he knows you well and will notice any particular change in your behavior or in your habits. Be careful with your mail, the phone, your calendar and your computer. Any of these things can trip you up before you know it.
  • Never compromise deniability - In this era when everyone you pass on the street is carrying a camera in their cell phone you simply must be careful. You must assume that anything your doing will be observed unless you've taken great care to make sure it is not being observed. That means no public displays of affection with you buddy. If you're a nationally known public figure you should be careful to look for hidden cameras that could be carried by even those you trust. Remember that all too often these days enough money can buy almost anyone. What ever you do never ever for any reason allow a picture of yourself to be taken which you would not want to show to your wife and family. If you do, it is likely to become public. Even if you do something to cause someone to suspect, as long as there is no proof, as long as it is your word against theirs you are in good shape. Give them proof and your dead. If your accused, be ready for it. There are hundreds of good reasons for renting a motel or hotel room. Have an answer ready in your mind for every possible question. Never let them see you sweat over a question or get up tight over a question. To do so is to put blood in the water with the sharks.
  • Don't engage in promiscuous sex, find a buddy you can trust - one night stands are more often than not lacking in satisfaction. What most men want is a friend with whom he can, on occasion be sexual. Such a friend is hard to find, but I've never personally had problems with finding such a friend for long term relationships. My friends have always been married with families and thus as much to loose as myself. There is safety in that sort of thing. There is also less likelihood of contracting an STD than from one night stands.
  • Always be thoughtful and considerate of your partner -  You may be a big shot, but that does not mean you can treat your sexual partners as objects. If you treat them badly, it is not only ill mannered, it can sometimes bring retaliation in a form you will not appreciate.
  • Never give in to blackmail - it is rare for public figures to be blackmailed, but it does happen. If someone threatens to blackmail you, go to the police immediately and seek their help. Having sex with another guy is not illegal in the U.S., blackmail is and you cannot allow yourself to be caught up in it. It will never end.
Just because you are a public figure does not mean that you will have any better luck trying to lock down your same sex desires and needs than the ordinary Joe. It does mean that being sexual with another guy will have to be carried out with great care.

You may be a public figure, but you are entitled to a private life. To ensure your right to privacy you must do all you can to protect yourself and your privacy.

Be careful out there.

Jack Scott


  1. Thanks, Jack, for this thoughtful reflection. It strikes me that we are all public figures when it comes to being in the closet or not public about our private selves. This country is so behind the curve on tolerance, and we have to be careful, you are right, because not everyone has our best interests at heart. You do, and I thank you again for that. So sweet to have this place to express these very intimate thoughts. Let me just repeat what you said, know what you want and who you are and don't settle for anything less.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Jack. I really appreciate them.

    You are correct, in a way we all are public figures in that we are leading private lives that many of us want to remain private.

    The path is not an easy one and that is why I try to give a few pointers along the way.

    Best wishes to you.

    Jack Scott


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott