"I tried not to be gay by getting married" — Tomlinson

MAURICE Tomlinson, who sought refuge in Canada after he received countless death threats following news of his marriage to another man earlier this year, says there is no cure for homosexuality as it is not a disease.Jamaica Observer.

Tomlinson, who in earlier days struggled with his sexuality, said he, like Reverend Dennis Jernigan, was a part of a group designed to remove his homosexual feelings.

Jernigan has come out against homosexuality and claims he is completely cured after 22 years of leading a gay lifestyle and is now happily married with nine children. But Tomlinson is adamant that gays cannot be cured from their same sex urgings.

"There is a movement which alleges they can cure you of homosexual feelings, it involves a lot of prayer, meetings and counseling with the idea that you will be cured," he said,"For several months I had one such group meeting in my home, long and short of it, I realised that it was not working. I remained attracted to men and even ended up having sexual relations with two men in the group, one of whom is now clinically depressed and the other has left his family."

Tomlinson said the support groups geared at curing homosexuality actually do more harm than good in many cases. He said the group tried to teach him to deny his feelings when it should have helped him to make better decisions.

He insisted that such groups may help to continue the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"They teach you to be deceptive and hide who you are. Many men carry on with the down low life because they cannot be honest with themselves and their women. They end up taking chances with other men, often unprotected, because they cannot have condoms without explaining them to their wives and end up taking STDs home to their families," he told the

Tomlinson said he tried everything possible to suppress his urges, he even got married to a female friend who knew of his homosexuality.

"At the time, I was trying to deny my feelings and after a particularly bad relationship with a man, I took to talking to her and she understood. We then decided to try for a relationship. We were married for four years, but I cheated on her with men and I just could not do it anymore, so we got a divorce. I am now happily married to a man," he said.

A son was born from this marriage and when we asked how he will relay his story to his child he said, "This is not something I wish to do now, when he is old enough to understand and begins to ask questions I intend to be very honest with him".

Tomlinson said after reading several reports about persons claiming to have been cured of homosexuality, he has yet to see any of them distinctly point out that they no longer experience sexual attraction to men.

He said in his experience, he has found that it is impossible to change the mental capacity of someone attracted to the same sex. He says the fact that a gay man can function in a heterosexual relationship and no longer see men because they are married to, and are having sex with women, does not mean they are straight.

"They could be engaging in sexual activities with women while thinking about men, that does not make them straight. Maybe they can only function sexually while thinking about another man, does that mean they are cured?" he asked.

After revealing that this was how he was able to carry on in his heterosexual marriage, he said he knows this is how it is for other men and it is in fact, wrong.

Tomlinson argued that though he may not be a man of science, he understands a "cure" to mean the absence or non-recurrence of a “disease”.

"So if these men were in fact cured why do their homosexual feelings persist?  One doesn't say they are cured of cancer when there are still cancer cells present," he argued.

He argued that he did not choose to be homosexual and actually cannot give the exact moment he realised he was gay.

"That's something I wish I could pinpoint. I always knew there was something different about me. When I see myself in pictures as a child I realise I have always been a bit flamboyant," he said.

Tomlinson, who grew up with both parents and three brothers, said in pictures with his brothers he was always the one with the flashy poses, or dolls, while his brothers were always more masculine.

"I was never molested, did not suffer any physical or psychological trauma, it was innate. I grew up in a two parent christian home with my parents, attended church every Sunday, I had a normal childhood," he said.

Tomlinson said he married his husband in August last year and without his permission, a photo of his wedding day was published. As a result of this he began receiving death threats and fled to Canada where he now resides with his husband.

BY CANDIESE LEVERIDGE Online reporter leveridgec@jamaicaobserver.com

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