Questions for the Author

Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight
1. I’ll begin with one of the two questions you say you are asked the most: How could you not know you were gay until you were 40 years old? 2. And the other question: Wasn’t your first marriage just a sham designed to protect you at the expense of your wife and children? 3. What can mental health professionals learn from your book about the struggle with sexual identity and how gay adults are understood? 4. In your lifetime gay rights and societal norms for homosexuality have evolved dramatically. When you survey the landscape, what surprises you, what disappoints you, and how is society still not meeting the needs of the LGBT community? 5. What counsel would you offer someone who believed their friend, sibling or child was a closeted gay about to enter into a heterosexual marriage? 6. We’ve all heard news scandals about politicians involved in same sex affairs yet who deny they’re gay. Many of them were at the forefront of anti-gay politics. Can you explain this phenomenon? 7. Your ex-wife recently told you that she and her husband-to-be wouldn’t get married in a church that did not welcome homosexuals. What do you think she has learned through the lens of your experiences? 8. Not long after you came out, a close friend was murdered. Hate crimes still exist as a real threat to homosexuals. Are there situations in which you think remaining closeted is still the most sensible option? 9. You say in the book that gay men and women “waste a lot of energy hating a homophobic culture and blaming it for the guilt and shame they feel.” Aren’t they justified? What is the alternative? 10. You say “Where tolerance of gays is higher, HIV rates are lower.” Please explain this and discuss the public health implications of men who have sex with men yet deny they’re gay—even to themselves. 11. Today there are between 2-6 million gay boomers entering their senior years. What challenges do aging homosexuals face socially, economically and with regard to access to healthcare, and why? 12. One of your daughters is a conservative Christian. How does she reconcile her religious beliefs with the fact that her dad is gay? 13. You have six grandkids under twelve. How would you advise dads and granddads of young kids on the best way to come out to them? 14. What advice do you have for men who are contemplating coming out but fear losing the people and things that matter most to them?
On Coming Out:
“The struggle for men & women who come out in midlife is more complicated because they have been passing as heterosexual in a heterosexual world.” “Letting go of the need for approval allows the coming out process to begin.” “Coming out requires coping talents, otherwise consequences may include depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, or suicide.” Loren A. Olson is a psychiatrist in private practice in Des Moines

Contact: Leslie Wolfe Arista