5 questions with John R. Selig
John R. Selig is a writer and photographer who devotes his free time to GLBT activism. He focuses on GLBT youth and mixed-orientation marriages. He has one son from his previous marriage. He and his husband, Rudolfo Arredondo, were married two years ago in Canada.
1. As a gay man once married to a woman, what is your opinion of “Brokeback Mountain”?
I think it is a great movie. I think it did a very good job of showing how painful it can be for everyone who is involved in a mixed-orientation marriage like I was. And I think it is one of the first films that has allowed straight people to empathize with us and really understand what it is like to be gay and love someone.
2. What part does heterosexism play in creating mixed-orientation marriages?
I had feelings toward others guys probably as far back as kindergarten. But I was raised to be the perfect, good kid. I got married because I was expected to, because that’s what perfect, good kids did. But even though I really loved my wife, I could not give her the emotional nurturing she needed. I think that is one very important message in “Brokeback Mountain”: Until society stops sending such hateful messages about being gay, there will continue to be mixed-orientation marriages.
3. How common are mixed-orientation marriages?
Amity Pierce Buxton, the author of “The Other Side of the Closet,” estimates that there are about 2 million gay and lesbian people who are or have been in mixed-orientation marriages. That means there are 2 million spouses and all the children born to those relationships that are victimized by right-wing hatred.
4. What are some of the organizations you have been involved with?
The first group I was involved with was the gay parents’ group. I helped my ex-wife when she helped start the local Straight Spouses Network. I’ve worked the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, in P-FLAG and with a telephone counseling group called Gay Line.
5. What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?
My son is the biggest success of my life.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 3, 2006.