I am a gay man of 61. When I was 29, I was living in Canada (I was born there) and had been in a relationship with the same guy for 7 years, dealing with untold numbers of infidelities and charades for most of that time, thinking that as a gay man, that was to be the norm. I had never heard of a well-functioning gay relationship that was monogamous and I believed that this was all I could expect. However I knew that I was not happy with this as I came home time and again to find that my partner had a new friend (albeit temporary) and I was expected to tolerate this. In an effort to “save” the remnants of romance that I had known at the beginning, I suggested a European summer tour that included all the well-known gay “meccas” that we might experience as a couple. Unfortunately, this turned sour from day one as my boyfriend found the scenes much more interesting without me. We saw each other only on trains and planes. I know where and what he was up to but decided to enjoy the trip anyway. I made friends in each of the cities we visited but did not “hook up” with anyone as this was not the purpose of the trip and also I had no desire to be unfaithful to the man I loved. This was altogether one-sided.
Our last stop on the trip was Copenhagen where we spent the last 6 days before flying back home. I did not see my boyfriend in Copenhagen either. On my first evening there I found myself alone again and on the suggestion of the hotel manager, I decided to investigate the town, starting with a walk through the local park where it was know that mega-cruising occurred. It was a very busy place and for an hour or so I was satisfied to watch the traffic…until, that is, I saw HIM! Long story short…I struck up a conversation with this stranger and we managed to charm one another completely. We spent the next 5 days together and I was given a thorough tour of all the gay bars and clubs. At some point we started making out a bit but it never turned into sex in spite of the thoughts that were running through my head. This was not who I was! By the time we flew home, I was COMPLETELY in love with this person. I remember being very quiet the entire trip and at one point my boyfriend asked me what was wrong. Once home, I realized that if I could be that much in love with someone I had just met and with whom I had no hope of establishing a relationship, then I did not need to tolerate this mental abuse any longer. I left my boyfriend with the house, the car and the dog. I moved to the big city of Toronto and set myself up as a single gay guy in heaven. However, my new love decided to join me there as he had come to the same realization as I had on the plane and decided that he could not live without seeing me again. We did what was the norm for the time: we married him off to a lesbian girl-friend and set up housekeeping. Unfortunately this did not work for us and he ended up in jail at which point I decided we should try our luck in Denmark instead.
In spite of the fact that laws in Denmark had been amended over the years to eliminate all references to gender, this had not caught up to the rule books and I was summarily invited to leave the country after having had my application for residency denied. We sought assistance from the national gay and lesbian organisation and they were enthusiastic with the prospect of having a gay man granted residency solely on the basis of an existing relationship with another man. To this end they provided us with a lawyer who was equally enthusiastic to argue such a case, should the need arise. It did! It took 3 years during which I was not allowed to work or leave, although they invited me to leave on 3 separate occasions. But in the end, I became the first person in Denmark to be granted residency solely on the basis of my relationship with a person of the same gender. Since then, of course, many have had their applications “rubber stamped” as the precedent had been established. That was back in 1980-83. I have lived here ever since although after 16 happy years together, my love passed away in 1996.
Of course the story is a great deal more complicated and longer than this but you get the idea. My point is that if you know you are right and you want something bad enough…you have to fight for it!