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Should I bring my uncle out of the closet?

MaryP

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
 

justabubba

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In my opinion, it is not good form to out someone, even the deceased. He had the opportunity to come out of the closet and chose not to. It was a different time but he still chose not to.
And yes, your post is respectful of him
 

dairyair

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
Are you giving the sexual preference of all other's in your report?
If not, why single out 1 person?
 

noonereal

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
I hope to God you are not serious with this post.

If this post is on the level may I recommend YOU get counseling.

The things you read on the internet.... good grief.
 

dirtpoorchris

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If hes dead I dont see any problem in mentioning it. As long as you arent trying to profit off it. If it genuinely makes you feel bad and you wish to share it then do whatever u want.
 

MaryP

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Are you giving the sexual preference of all other's in your report?
If not, why single out 1 person?
He's the only one I know of that wasn't heterosexual. Thank you for the input.
 

MaryP

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I hope to God you are not serious with this post.

If this post is on the level may I recommend YOU get counseling.

The things you read on the internet.... good grief.
What did I say? Help me out here, explain.
 

Moot

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I wouldn't do it.
 

RAMOSS

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
if it is done gently and honestly done, it can be used as an example for teaching your future generations. He can not feel injured by it.
 

Chomsky

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
My opinion is if he didn't do it, and he's not around to do it, his actions and wishes should be respected. It's not your business to make this personal decision for him, nor to try to judge what he may or may not want in lieu of him present here - and act upon that.

Not trying to be harsh, but I would never make a personal decision in lieu of someone else. I'm super big on privacy - both mine & others'.
 

Dayton3

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
It is none of your business. Not while he was alive and not now. If he didn't want it revealed, no matter his reasons then it shouldn't be revealed.

I wasn't aware that "genealogy forums" included things regarding sexual orientation.
 

d0gbreath

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Nix the idea MaryP. People may out themselves, but you have no right whatsoever to do so.
 

MaryP

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Thanks, everyone! Good advice, and I'm going to take it and keep mum.

I tried posting this a day or two ago, but it didn't save, I guess.
 

TheParser

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I feel, Mary, that you should add this information to your report about your late uncle.

To exclude it is to buy into the theory that being gay is something that one should be ashamed of.

You say that he probably led a "lonely" life. Maybe your honest report about his life will show people how pernicious the stigma of gayness can be.

Of course, as you said, the fact of his sexuality should be gentle and brief.
 

Aunt Antifa

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I've been doing a lot of online genealogy lately, and when I knew the person, I've been adding a personal bio that tries to paint a picture, such as I know it, of what the person was like. Always with love.

I'm to the uncle I was closest to, who I loved and deeply respected. The problem I'm struggling with is that he was gay. In those days, in our neck of the woods, anyway, these things were NOT discussed. You would never have guessed to meet him, and he certainly never came out of the closet, although when he had a 'friend,' it being a tiny town, I'm sure everyone knew, but it was never brought up. Of course, family knew he was gay, but like everyone else, it was quietly tolerated without ever being talked about. Sort of a 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' scenario. He was discreet. He taught in the far end of the state from home, perhaps partly for that reason, coming home on school vacations. Where he taught, he was just a bachelor boarding with a decent family for many, many years, and I'm guessing no one there knew a thing about it. If word had gotten out in those days about his predilection, he would have been fired immediately, ending a highly respected career.

But damn it, in the end he was lonely. No partner, no kids, and this great big secret, this big piece of who he was, buried under a lifetime of hiding.

Do I continue to keep the secret or do I be honest and gently include it? I come from a big family and there are probably some who knew him, respected and admired him who don't want to hear it mentioned, or others, like some of his old students, who might be shocked and think less of him. My intentions aren't to add it for scandal value, but in giving it to a genealogy forum, I'm sending it out to the world.

My own values say include it. It pisses me off to be part of the coverup, especially since genealogy is a message in a bottle to the future, introducing the young to those who came before. But I don't know how others might see it. And I have no idea what he would say. He died before the Gay Liberation movement began.

I'd really like some input here.
It’s none of your business. Zero. Nada. Nothing. It wasn’t a cover up, it was his life.

If you love this person or at least respect their privacy you’ll see *your* thinking is about making *you* content, it has nothing to do with him.
 

MaryP

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I feel, Mary, that you should add this information to your report about your late uncle.

To exclude it is to buy into the theory that being gay is something that one should be ashamed of.

You say that he probably led a "lonely" life. Maybe your honest report about his life will show people how pernicious the stigma of gayness can be.

Of course, as you said, the fact of his sexuality should be gentle and brief.
That's the way I was thinking, exactly, but I don't want to ... well do any of the things others have warned me about. I think Antifa is right in a way; it is more about bringing MY feelings about it to bear, rather than considering his, or his privacy.
 
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