Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender » Coming Out -- A Gay Man's Journey with an Ostomy


11-14-2013, 05:14 PM   #1
nogutsnoglory
Moderator
 
nogutsnoglory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: New York

My Support Groups:
Coming Out -- A Gay Man's Journey with an Ostomy

In my quest to find other LGBT Ostomates or information on such, I came across this nice story. I figured id share for anyone interested or who may be in a similar predicament.

"Coming Out -- A Gay Man's Journey with an Ostomy
by Fred S. -- USA

I was 4 years old when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Trying to cope and live with UC meant every day was filled with the necessity of making frequent trips to a toilet.

This need to use the toilet didnít stop just because I left the house. Even as a child, I can remember when venturing away from my home, the first thing I looked for was the nearest restroom. The urgency was always thereóat school (teachers had been told of my disease, so permission to leave the room to use the restroom was not necessary), at play, or when out with my parents.

Having UC caused many other medical problems too. With each change of the season, I was guaranteed to catch a cold. With lowered resistance, a simple cold resulted in two to three weeks in bed and out of school. Life was not fun since I couldnít do the things that my brothers and sister did, or go to the places they could go because I didnít want to be far from a toilet. It was always so much easier just to stay at home where the toilet was always available.

As a child, I also can remember that my wish was to be healthy and free of UC and to be able to lead a normal life. Naturally, my parents had the same wish for me. Every year when I had a birthday and had to make a wish before blowing out the candles, I always wished for good health.

I lived with UC for 13 years before I discovered that there was an operation that would allow me to live a ďnormalĒ life. The operation was unlike anything I had ever heard of before. It entailed the complete removal of my colon and rectum. The most obvious advantage of the operation was that I would be able to lead a normal life. However, there were several disadvantages to consideróthe most obvious being that for the rest of my life, I would have to wear a bag that collected my waste matter. Another consideration was the fact that, at 17 years old, I had come to the realization that I was gay. Would the guys I wanted to be intimate with find the bag offensive? I didnít even know if I would find it offensive. There was also the matter of anal sex, and this operation would end my ability to engage in it.

It was decision time. Being so young, I had probably never made a serious decision in my life. The surgery decision was all my own. If I decided to have the surgery, it would most certainly change my life forever. If I decided not to have the surgery, the rest of my life would remain as miserable as the last 13 years. At the time, very little was known about UC; there was no medication or treatment of any kind that was really effective. I was told that UC could eventually turn to cancer.

My initial conclusion was not to make any hasty decisions and to consider all aspects of the two possibilities. I had already missed a lot of high school because of illness and didnít want to miss any more. As it was, I was already scheduled to graduate a year later than the other kids my age. I had never had surgery before and didnít look forward to it. I considered the possibility that I could die on the operating table but, decided that if I did, I would be better off than living with UC. I felt there was no other choice. I decided I would have the operation, but it would have to wait until after I graduated from high school.

The surgery took place in July of 1957. I spent 10 days in the hospital and several weeks convalescing and healing at home. It was over! Eventually, I resumed my activities. When I entered college that fall, I started feeling like I was finally having a normal life. I feel that my life has been normal ever since. Iím able to go out, shop, travel, and basically do whatever I want without consideration of ďthe toilet factor.Ē

Sex, you ask? How did my ostomy affect my sex life? Having the ostomy, I feel that it is a part of who and what I am. Nevertheless, I didnít want everyone to know about it. I became very discriminatory about sex. In more casual circumstances, I didnít have to take off my clothes and reveal my innermost secrets. But with more personal encounters, which I preferred, it was making love in the privacy of my/their home with no clothes onójust the naked bodies of two men who wanted each other (if only for an hour or a night).

I soon discovered that wearing a pouch could be a drawback because it instantly makes you different from your chosen partner. There is no way to make it disappear. However, I found that concealing the pouch with a pouch cover is an acceptable solution. Wearing a pouch cover adds a layer of camouflage that tends to lessen the differences between your two bodies, and it certainly does make a difference. Although the pouch cover helped, I always felt it was best to ignore the pouch as much as possible and not make an issue about itótrying not to let it get in the way. I wear a narrow support belt and tuck the tail closure under the belt so it doesnít flop around.

To me, the most important part of sex is the intimacy preceding the actóthe erection and orgasm are just a few parts of sex. Iíve always felt that the prelude to sex or intimacy was the most important partókissing, stroking, caressing, and exploring the erogenous zones with your hands, tongue, or genitalia. Although anal sex is no longer an option, there is also oral sex and mutual masturbation. These other forms of sex or intimacy have always been sufficient for me.

Being clean is an important factor for people with ostomiesóregardless of sexual orientation. When looking for sex or anticipating sex, I always made sure of three things: 1) I bathed before going out, 2) I made sure my pouch was new and had an effective deodorant inside, and 3) I took some additional deodorant in the event that I had to empty the pouch before actually engaging in intimacy with someone.

When presented with the opportunity to get intimate with a guy, I always made a point of telling him I had an ileostomy and wore a surgical appliance. There was one occasion when I didnít tell my friend in advance, and he was turned off to the extent that nothing could be consummated. He made it perfectly clear that he was only looking for anal sex and nothing more. Therefore, things came to an abrupt end (however, that was the only time it happened).

There were times that I wanted to see someone again and occasionally it didnít happen. I am almost sure it was because of the ostomy. I had to consideróif I didnít have the ostomy, a second encounter still might not have happened. Thatís the way it is in the dating world. If youíre not perceived the first time as the knight on the white horse, youíre just another frog who didnít turn into a prince. I developed a positive attitude about the whole situation. My ostomy is part of who and what I am, and if I met a guy who couldnít see his way clear to being with me, there was someone else who would.

Sex is an important part of my life, but an even more important part is having a relationship. I had been in a relationship for 18 years, but there were many problems and it definitely wasnít healthy. We seemed to have a symbiotic dependency on each other, however, and so it went on and on. I finally had the nerve to end it.

About a year later, I was fortunate to meet Sean. He had been married, but his wife had died of cancer two years before. Even though Sean had been happily married, he had always denied the alternative tendencies of his life that had been with him since childhood. Thankfully, he finally decided to act on them. Not only did Seanís wife have cancer, but she also suffered from UC and Crohnís disease and had had an ileostomy for many years. Sean was thoroughly familiar with my situation and totally comfortable with a partner who wore a ďbag.Ē

Sean and I are both retired now. We enjoy traveling, good restaurants, entertaining at home, and classical music, to name just a few things. Since retiring, we have been on several trips together. Our travels have taken us to the East (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, the Canadian side of Niagra Falls, and Detroit), to the West (Arizona, Kansas, Denver, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and St. Louis), and to the South (Cozumel, Mexico and Montego Bay, and Jamaica). Prior to retirement, I traveled extensively to the Caribbean. We have been together for 11 years, and I am very lucky to have found him.

If you are a gay or lesbian ostomate and are looking for more support, below is some information about the Gay and Lesbian Ostomates Network (GLO Network). Iíve been a member of GLO for eight years.

The GLO Network

The GLO Network was formed almost 25 years ago. Its primary goals are to address the unique needs of gay and lesbian ostomates, assist them in living more positively with an ostomy, and assist healthcare professionals and UOAA volunteers in serving gay and lesbian ostomates. It also strives to provide information and resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered ostomates, their family members and their caregivers.

Needs and Concerns of Gay and Lesbian Ostomates

Gay and lesbian ostomates, like all people with ostomies, are confronted with a variety of concerns during their recovery. These concerns are universal throughout the ostomy community and can pertain to diet, odor, ability to work, enjoyment of recreational activities, relationships and sex, and the reactions of loved ones.

Many gays and lesbians are concerned with the actual, perceived, or anticipated prejudice they may experience. Therefore, many are reluctant to reveal their gender preference or sexual orientation to health professionals and ostomy visitors. This can limit the effectiveness of the caregiver, particularly where intimacy and sexuality issues are concerned.

Creating a Climate for Discussion

Perhaps the most important step that can be taken on behalf of a gay or lesbian ostomate is to establish a comfortable, non-threatening environment in which he or she feels free to talk openly about sexuality and intimacy issues.

GLO offers aid and support through telephone or personal contact (U.S. and Canada), as well as informational programs and social events for gay and lesbian ostomates at United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) national conferences.

The GLO Network has no local chapters, but keeps in touch with its members through the publication of a newsletter issued three times a year. The articles are geared to gays and lesbians. The newsletter offers an extensive listing of gay and lesbian resources and connections. In addition, it offers a Contact List that enables an ostomate to contact other ostomates and seek answers to questions and concerns.

The GLO Network is affiliated with the UOAA but is an independent and separate entity. Their website is http://www.glo-uoaa.org/"

https://www.c3life.com/ostomy/commun...iew.aspx?id=17
Reply

Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender » Coming Out -- A Gay Man's Journey with an Ostomy
Thread Tools


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:33 PM.
Copyright 2006-2017 Crohnsforum.com