A - Retired Policeman | Culemborg "I was born in Amsterdam and I worked in the Police force for 46 years. I knew I was gay from a very young age. As a child, on the beach, I would stare at men's crotches, not at women's breasts.
Growing up, I'd often hear my father expressing how disgusted he was by gay men. Be it for a news on TV that mentioned the word "gay", be it for seeing two men on the street holding hands. I also had a gay uncle he'd constantly badmouth. Therefore, I obviously couldn't talk to him openly about my feelings. I grew up in constant fear. I was terrified that he could find my secret. I had to watch my every move and word.
The pressure to get married and have kids was so strong, that I ended up marrying my high school girlfriend when I was 21 and she was 19. People often say that they don't understand why gay men marry women. It's because of the incredible pressure of family and society. That's why. Because we are told that it's not "normal" to be attracted by the same gender. So, trying our best to fit society's norms, we think that giving up who we really are can be the solution.
Soon enough my son - who's a policeman too - (he's now 42) and daughter (she's now 40) were born. I was extremely happy to have two great kids but extremely unhappy to be unable to live the life I wanted. So, 8 years into my marriage, my wife and I divorced. For the first time in my life I felt free to be who I am.
When I told my father I'm gay and that I had a boyfriend, he was extremely angry. He told me he's sure that it's my boyfriend's fault... that he made me gay. He also told me that I will have to pray so I will be straight again. He accepted me as his son, but never accepted my homosexuality.
He never welcomed my boyfriends. He wouldn't shake their hand or engage in conversations.
I'm now happily partnered with the man I love. We've been living together for 30 years. My children and grand children love V, and for me this is the most important thing. I'm happy, I love who I am and I'm not ashamed of being gay." #NAKEDinCULEMBORG #nohomophobia #noplumofobia #noxenophobia #noracism #fightstereotypes #fightbodyshaming #fightageism #NETHERLANDS