The mission of the Hominum is to offer informal support to help gay, bixesual or questioning men with the challenges of being married, separated or single. We offer members an opportunity to discuss their concerns and share experiences in a safe atmosphere.
We hope to help men in developing healthy self-awareness and meaningful personal relationships with women, children and other men that move beyond the limits of masculine stereotypes and social patterns that have divided men historically.
We seek to engage men in a quest for emotional and social literacy, in the practice of respectful attitudes and treatment towards others, and in the development of constructive means of conflict resolution.
We are committed to enhancing men’s leadership and partnership with others in order to promote models of positive masculinity and individual integrity, while dismantling patterns of personal and societal violence and fostering social equality.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST
(From an ANGLES ad,. APRIL 1985)
`I am interested in getting together with gay men who were previously or still are married. My feeling is that those of us in this position may have particular concerns around coming out, separation, loss of intimacy and commitment, handling of relations and friends, and fitting into the rather casual lifestyle of the gay world. Please write if you share this feeling and perhaps we can get together to discuss these issues and provide some support for each other. Box 2497 c/o West Ender.’
Because Andrew Butler had the guts to reach out, 60 gay men in Vancouver now (1985) support each other in making the transition from the heterosexual world into the gay community. Butler, who first placed the ad in 1982, was married in 1975. He struggled with his gay feelings until he came out to his wife, Julie, in September of 1978.
“Her reaction was horror, disbelief and revulsion,”
Butler said. He and Julie worked on their marriage for six months until she decided the marriage couldn’t work.
“I was devastated, frightened and very lonely.”
Butler joined Toronto’s Gay Fathers for support. “I found it a very useful tool for me even though I wasn’t a father,” he said. Butler left Toronto to travel and finally settled in Vancouver in June of 1980. “When I came here I felt incredibly isolated.” Butler said. “ I finally decided after floundering around here for a while that I had to get to know some more gay people.
I went to a meeting of Gay Fathers here but found it didn’t meet my needs. I decided to do it on my own. I really needed to form my own social network for support and fellowship. There was a real need to provide some ongoing support for gay marred men.
“I felt that if there had been some such support network for me, my coming out would have been much less traumatic ,” he said.
Today Butler feels comfortable about his sexuality. His acceptance of his homosexuality has helped him in all areas of his personal psyche. “The more I accepted myself the less guilty I felt towards Julie,” Butler said. “I had carried around a lot of guilt for a long time but my wife finally said to me, `You’ve got to forgive yourself because I’ve forgiven you.’
Finally, three years after we’d split we ended up really caring for each other again and realizing what we had was really important.” Even though Butler had come out to his wife and gone through the grieving process without group support, Hominum has been valuable to him.
“The first thing Hominum did was to give me some stability,” Butler said.
I found out immediately that there were many other gay men just like me. All of them had not necessarily been married but it was a group of men with whom I could relate. It’s also given me a very strong sense of identity as a gay man. It helped me feel very comfortable with who I am. It’s also given me some very dear close friends, which has been very important.