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Gay Mormon author interviewing for book on coming out later in life

by Mark Smith

Author Lester Leavitt with friend and former wife Barbara.
Lester Leavitt was a married 45-year-old with four children and in the process of finishing his second novel when he finally found the courage to admit that he was gay.

“As I fleshed out the main character in my novels, I realized what was happening,” Leavitt explains. “I could no longer deny I was gay, so I went looking for a book that might help me come out with dignity. I found nothing that applied to my set of circumstances. There were a hundred books to help me with the typical fallout of coming out, and a couple of books which promised to help my wife pick up her life if I were to dump her for a guy. However, there was nothing to explain how I could keep my friendship with my wife and minimize the impact on my children while still being true to myself.”

Now, two years later, instead of publishing another novel, Leavitt has published a non-fiction work entitled “Forbidden Friends,” a memoir of his coming out period.

“Mine was not a typical coming out,” he explains. “My wife Barbara and I actually grew closer. Because I had been dealing with my feelings through this character in my novels, I didn’t actually have to go out and experience sex with men to know that I was undeniably gay.”
Through a book reviewer in Manhattan, word got out about the uniqueness of Lester and Barbara’s situation. In March last year a producer contacted them about doing a documentary on mixed orientation marriages for the A&E Network and suddenly Leavitt’s family found themselves in front of a camera. “My Husband’s Secret” aired on Dec 30.

The feedback from the book and the documentary inspired Leavitt to begin work on an expanded edition of “Forbidden Friends” to make it into a guide for coming out later in life. Leavitt hopes to interview several hundred gay men who married before coming out and has already started interviews in Southern Florida.

Do you have a story to tell that could benefit others in similar circumstances? If so, visit Leavitt’s web page at www.quintonreedbooks.com.

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