My name is Ken Henderson and I’m from Globe, Arizona.
I dated girls in high school, I noticed boys a lot but being gay wasn’t something that really seemed an option to me at that point. So I grew up thinking, “Do what you’re supposed to do.”
And in college I met a really lovely, wonderful young woman. We ended up getting married, expecting that we would have kids and do what married people do. I was, I tried to be the good husband and who I should be.
Well I was in the Navy, I was stationed at the Naval Hospital at Oakland and there was a lot of gay people that were stationed there. I was around them, I knew they were gay, so I was friendly with some of them but I, I didn’t feel like that was me, I just felt like they’re not what I thought they were.
When I came back, Kathy was my wife’s name, had met a number of gay people she had become friends with who lived in the same apartment complex. And she wanted to hang out with them. We started going out to gay bars and doing a few things with them. It had sort of introduced me to that culture.
We had a swimming pool at our complex and we had been swimming and whatnot and we’d come back and we were hanging out in the room. Most people had left. I was laying on the floor listening to music with one of the friends. The next thing I know is his arm’s over me and his leg sort of throws over mine and I’m like, “Oh my God, what’s happening? I’m not sure, but I think I like it.”
It really was kind of like the lights going off, the whistles ringing, the emotional, mental bells that go off and you just go like, “This is right. This is me.”
Over time I started, the feelings grew stronger I guess, basically. I still loved my wife and I didn’t want to hurt her. I didn’t really know how to bring it up to her, how to talk about it. One night we were having dinner. She looked across the table at me and she said, “Not that it matters, but are you bisexual?”
And I went, “Oh, um, yeah, as a matter of fact.”
And she said, “Oh, okay. Well I guess I could be too in the right circumstance.”
And I go, “Oh, well.”
That seemed like a door opener. She was a really wonderful woman but I saw this kind of retreating within herself. I continued seeing other guys. She’d go to bed and I’d go out. I wouldn’t say I had a lot of relationships, but I wanted a relationship.
There was a particular young man that I was really attracted to, really liked, we’d been going out. I was kind of pushing more for a relationship I guess. But with this guy, his name was Mark, he looked at me one day and said, “You’re great. But you’re married and I can’t compete with that, so we really can’t have a relationship.”
I was thinking at that point that I could have both, the best of both worlds kind of thing. And I realized I can’t. And it wasn’t fair to me, and it wasn’t fair to her. I needed to break it off at that point so we could both move on. We separated. We didn’t divorce right away.
When I met Joe, my current partner, we were still officially married. She thought Joe was great and we all became friends. I think that was the impetus though for her to finally to decide that it was time to officially divorce and try to move on because she, I think at that point she knew I was on a different path. She eventually moved to Atlanta. She never remarried, she never had another relationship.
It was hard for me I think in the sense that I thought she would move on and meet somebody else, have the life that she wanted to have and the life that she really deserved to have. Unfortunately she passed away a couple of years ago.
I think we’re a product of everything we go through in our life. And Kathy was a great part of my life. She taught me a lot about how to be a grown-up, how to be a young, responsible person. I’ve been with my partner Joe now for 22 years. He became that soulmate I guess in many ways. And it helped me become who I am today. And I like who I am today. It was not easy to get here but I’m here and I’m really happy with where I’ve, my journey I guess.