Spare a thought for Mrs Blunt today, and the little Blunts. Whatever she feels like, whatever she really thinks, despite the public utterances to friends and family, despite the carefully chosen expression, she starts today firmly in a closet that her husband fashioned for her.
There is no self determination for her. No expression of a hard won freedom to be the person she always thought she should be. There are no ‘Rejection Pride’ marches snaking through city centres in celebration of her new lifestyle, no Fireman will be threatened with the sack for not handing out leaflets admiring her ‘choice’ in life – for she did not make a choice.
However good and supportive her circle of close friends are, and I sincerely hope they are the most supportive circle of friends that ever existed, they will not be inside her head as she examines her thoughts in the early hours. They can only suggest what would be best for them in her position as she wrestles with the thorny question of how best to protect her children. She must now live with the fear and loathing that we are told was the ‘unbearable’ lot of homosexuals in another age.
The media and the blogs are full of supportive messages for the ‘agony’ experienced by dear Crispin, as he steps out into the brave new world of elegant soirees hosted by dual income partnerships, of ‘inspiring’ week-ends in Morocco, perhaps even a civil partnership celebrated in the august surroundings of Westminster, attended by the immaculately groomed people of his brave new world. Yes, even Westminster has a document specially commissioned to market the opportunites of this brave new world.
Meanwhile, Victoria Blunt must wrestle with the knowledge that her husband does not believe himself to have been driven to this decision by ‘nature’, for in his own words:
Mr. Bradshaw: The hon. Gentleman perpetuates the myth that being gay is a life style choice. It is no more a life style choice than is his sexual orientation.
Mr. Blunt: I am afraid that I cannot accept that.
It is not just men who make Crispin’s acknowledged ‘lifestyle’ choices. I knew a woman once who made a similar decision to leave her husband. She too had teen-age children. If they were surprised by the new presence in their household of their Mother’s muscular female friend, they did not discuss it publicly. It was indeed a private matter, as it should be.
However, their Mother was quite a little celebrity, and one night was invited to appear alongside the ‘sisterhood’ on national television. The opportunity was too tempting to resist; a chance to outdo the sisterhood in their age old rejection of men – she ‘came out’ to much acclaim. What a brave soul she was! How the sisterhood eagerly clasped her to their ample bosoms as evidence of their hard won freedom to be ‘themselves’.
The next day her daughter had to face her school friends, alive with the gossip. Too many sentences started ‘My Mum says’, ‘My Dad reckons’. Children haven‘t yet grasped the intricacies of politically correct thinking. Her daughter turned to the village Doctor, the one person she could trust and let be known her real feelings about all this. The Doctor did their best to alleviate the pain she felt, but to no avail,; one day she returned home and hung herself from the stair rails.
We were all supportive of that woman in her tragedy, it is a terrible thing to come home and find your daughter dead. She, however, spent years campaigning against that Doctor, trying to get them struck off for ‘failing’ her daughter, I never once heard her express any remorse for her public declaration of homosexuality and the effect it had on a teen-age child. Her son went on to become a drug addict – that too was apparently the Doctor’s fault, he turned to drugs because he was ‘devastated over his sister’s death’ – he probably was, but I would have respected her more if she had ever acknowledged the damage she had done to her children at a vulnerable age.
Mrs Blunt will know all this, and it is she who will find the strength to support her children, she who will feed them several times a day when she would much rather stay hidden under a duvet, she who will listen to her son’s fears that perhaps ‘Dad’ is not right, perhaps homosexuality is not a life style choice, perhaps Dad had used his entire family to protect himself from the difficulties he would have faced in the military and politics if he had been man enough to face up to his proclivities. She who will listen to her daughter express her fears that perhaps she too is not feminine enough to keep the attention of a man.
She will do so whilst trying to retain faith in her own femininity, perhaps in learning to trust another man when he says he loves her. I hope so. If she succeeds, it will be because she is a real woman, a woman who puts her family and the youngsters she is responsible for before ‘choice’.
As we celebrate the right of all individuals to make their own choice, to ‘come out’, to have that transgender operation, to take up that same sex partner, to wear the gender based clothes that they feel most appropriate in, we must not forget that for every one of them who is married, there is another married person who has had that choice thrust upon them – that so many do and manage to retain love for the person they married and support them in their choice, and continue to keep their family together, is a source of amazement to me.
They are the people whom we should truly be celebrating, and supporting with love and admiration – yeah – and column inches too, an unsung army of unselfish real men and women.
Edited to add: For anyone reading this in a similar position, whilst there are many organisations and pressure groups in existance to support Crispin and his colleagues, the Beaumont Society appears to be the one and only body which has a section devoted to supporting the partners of people currently making drastic lifestyle choices. They don’t seem to attract any government funding in this work.