J.L. King had a life most would envy. He married his high school sweetheart, had two healthy children and was on the fast track to success. But, unbeknownst to his family and friends, he had a dark secret—he was living on the down low. "This desire I had kept creeping up on me," J.L. says. "Deep down inside, I had a desire to be with men. The desire was so strong that it overrode everything that I knew. It created this whole secret life that made me make up stories and try to cover up my tracks. A life that destroyed my family."
For J.L., the attraction to men started when he was a young boy, but he says family pressure made him keep his feelings buried inside. "I can remember having the attraction or the desire for the same sex probably when I was 10 years old," J.L. says. "But I grew up in a house with a father who insisted that his sons would be good men. [He said]: 'You will get married. You will go to school. You will serve your country. You will take care of your wife. You will be the perfect gentleman.'"
Published on April 16, 2004