How best to move forward through life is one of the questions author, life coach, and non-profit CEO Paul Boynton asks and attempts to answer on a daily basis. As author of the inspirational Begin With Yes and the host of both its accompanying Facebook page as well as the Facebook page Being Gay, Becoming Gray, he helps others take big issues and distill them into manageable bites. Unique to his beliefs is that while having a positive attitude is helpful in creating change, it isn’t an absolute necessity.
Boynton recently took the time to share with me more about his thoughts on initiating change, as well as on being gay, aging, and other aspects of negotiating life.
Kergan Edwards-Stout: Paul, I’ve been looking forward to our chat! Before we get into your book and Facebook pages, tell me a bit about your backstory…
Paul Boynton: Well, my story is very similar to that of many other gay men of my era. I was married for many years to a wonderful woman, with whom I had three amazing children—and now four grandchildren. As I grew older, however, I realized that I needed to deal with myself in a more authentic and honest way. Consequently, my wife Susan and I eventually separated almost 15 years ago. Happily, we were able to maintain and even expand the best part of our relationship as dear friends and parents, and she and my partner Michael had a wonderful friendship too. Sadly, she passed away 3 years ago.
Edwards-Stout: What led you to marry Susan? (more…)
As the tide of marriage equality begins to turn, with same gender nuptials becoming a reality for increasing numbers of couples, along comes a perfectly-timed guide to provide insight into what elements to consider before taking such a step. Pamela Milam, MA, LPC, a counselor in Dallas, TX, has just released an essential primer for any LGBT individual considering matrimony, Premarital Counseling for Gays and Lesbians. Drawing from her many years of experience as a therapist, Milam lays out common areas of potential discord couples may experience, and shares scenarios, gleaned from her patients, which demonstrate how such issues have played out for others.
While targeted towards those considering marriage, the issues she discusses are equally applicable for anyone interested in bettering their relationships, as the book touches on such considerations as religion, sex, monogamy, open relationships, degrees of “outness,” having children, and much more. Recently, Milam graciously sat down with me to discuss the book, her personal journey, and issues within the LGBT community.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk.
And you as well. I am a big fan of your novel, Songs for the New Depression, so getting the chance to chat is an added bonus!
I really appreciate that–thank you! But I want to talk about your book. After many years spent counseling individuals and couples, what prompted you to write a book–and why this one?
In my career, I’ve done plenty of premarital counseling with straight couples. I’ve listened to straight couples discuss their dating situations, their feelings about commitment, and eventually their plans for marriage. I’ve helped them understand each other better and move toward their weddings feeling stronger and more prepared for what marriage entails.
During much of that time, I was an unmarried lesbian. It was not lost on me that while I was spending many of my waking hours helping to launch and/or save heterosexual unions, I could not legally marry the person I loved most in the world.
Then, laws started changing.
Exactly. And as they did, I began receiving more and more phone calls and emails from gay and lesbian couples who were planning weddings and requesting premarital counseling. It’s a relatively new phenomenon.
That’s great that they’re seeking that out…
Yes, it is. But I knew that for me to recommend a book to a gay couple, that resource needed to be tailored specifically to their situation, as there are particular issues gay couples routinely face which straight couples do not.