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“Homeward” is Chapter 6 of the book Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship Across Sexual Orientation (AltaMira Press, 2001). Here I present events that took place during the spring 1997 semester and that summer. An issue that comes to the forefront is the binary (gay-straight) construction of sexual orientation and identity. I ask what it means to say, “I’m straight,” or “I’m gay,” and what options and experiences such a claim opens up and closes off. By exploring an attraction between myself and one of my participants, I question the popular wisdom that friendships between straight women and gay men are free of the sexual complications often associated with straight, cross-sex friendships. Moreover, I begin to lament the lack of female companionship in my life. In contrast to the “gay” sensitivity and intuitiveness described in some literature, I find my friendships with these particular gay men remarkably similar to those I’ve had with straight men: active and stimulating but seldom as emotionally intense as female friendships.This chapter also shows one way these connections impact my marriage. In a key scene, someone tells me that the group is worried that Doug has “gay tendencies.” Hearing this, I realize that my husband’s level of comfort with gay men sometimes had triggered anxieties in me. These return in full force when Doug and I talk through our friends’ concern.
Tillmann-Healy, L. M. (2001). Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship Across Sexual Orientation. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship Across Sexual Orientation [book]