Abuse survivor, DOMA, Domestic Violence, ID, In Session, LGBT, Sexual Assault, Stacey M. Kananen

I chose to be gay

If you’ve read my book, Fear of Our Father—a true story of abuse, murder and family ties, then you know that I am openly gay. You will have read that I chose to be in a romantic relationship with another woman because of the sexual abuse inflicted upon me by my father, and that I’m perfectly comfortable with that choice.

Unlike people who have always known that they’re gay, I didn’t feel attracted to my own gender as I was growing up. In fact, I was engaged to a boy in high school (he, I have heard, is openly gay now, too, so I must have been subconsciously attracted to a sexually non-threatening male). Until I met Susan, after my father was murdered when I was 22, it never occurred to me to be in a relationship with a woman—all I knew was that I could never be in a relationship with a man. I was perfectly content to be single.

Stacey and Susan  (photo courtesy of Margot Roberts)

Stacey and Susan in 2010
(photo courtesy of Margot Roberts)

When Susan and I met in 1988, and became best friends, we were both surprised to eventually find that we were falling in love with one another. She had been divorced, and wasn’t looking for a relationship with a woman, either. We got together because it just felt natural. I was content to find someone to have fun with, be myself with, to live with and love, and who wouldn’t traumatize me sexually. It was only society’s prejudices that made it feel wrong. Otherwise, my relationship with Susan felt happy, safe and perfectly right.

Many people who are fighting for gay rights use the argument that we are born gay and, therefore, have no choice in the matter. They say we should have equal rights because we can’t help being this way. I agree that this could be true in many, if not most, cases.

However, I believe there is room in the gay community, and the global community at large, for those of us who cannot stomach a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender as the person who tortured us. Who would deny that we, too, deserve to have loving relationships? Otherwise we would be doomed to live our lives alone, because of damage inflicted upon us against our will. Where is the fairness in that?

I would like to think that I live in a world where my fellow humans wouldn’t begrudge me, after the two decades of sexual torture I experienced, a happy and loving relationship with the person of my choosing, no matter his or her gender. I chose “her” because of the injuries inflicted by “him”. I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I’ve suffered too much, for too long, to allow anyone else to tell me how to live my life or who I can marry.

Yes. I did choose to be a lesbian. And I’m okay with that.

Stacey M. Kananen
Advocate, Author, Abuse survivor
Co-author of the best-selling book Fear of Our Father—a true story of abuse, murder and family ties,

Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded.

Now that her personal life is no longer private, Stacey is using her story to make waves. She and co-author Lisa Bonnice have written her life story, Fear of Our Father, published by Berkley Books in June 2013. The book immediately shot to the top of Amazon’s various best-seller lists, where it remains.

Fear of Our Father – Berkley Books, 2013

Media Experience
Emmy-nominated BBC Documentary: America’s Child Death Shame

Investigation Discovery series Catch My Killer — episode title “The Dearly Departed”

Tampa Bay Times article: Hudson woman finds new life after years of abuse, allegations of murder

Radio interview: On The Grid with Debbie Barth



11 thoughts on “I chose to be gay

  1. This is a perspective that I’ve never given much thought to. I don’t know why I am bisexual, and I don’t care why I am. I am simply glad to be in love with my husband, as I am glad you two have found love. To paraphrase a bit of social wisdom that I agree with “who cares if being gay is a choice, people choose to be jerks all the time and they’re allowed to get married.”

    Posted by Curtis H. Folts | July 29, 2013, 10:33 pm
  2. Thank you Curtis. It is always nice to have your support.

    Posted by Stacey M. Kananen | July 29, 2013, 10:40 pm
  3. God does move in mysterious ways. I was happy, living a Christian life in Long Island, NY until September of 1987, I instantly felt to move to Florida. While working in Burger King as a Manager in 1988, Stacey & I met. We instantly were compelled to be together. I was to be the person she needed to heal and learn that Love doesn’t hurt! As a Born Again Christian, I have been taught that Homosexuality is a sin. With much prayer, and the love in my heart I felt the answer to be ” God said to Love one another as I love you”. So, trusting in God, we allowed our relationship to grow. Here we are now 25 years later. You just do not know who, or how God is going to use you. I am ever so grateful that God put us together for life!!

    Posted by susankcowan | July 29, 2013, 11:07 pm
  4. I think that this is a very timely and important statement to make, with marriage equality laws being so actively discussed. Florida is not there yet, but Equality Florida is working on it. http://eqfl.org/

    Posted by Lisa Bonnice | July 29, 2013, 11:20 pm
  5. TOTALLY PHENOMENAL POST!!!! I am thrilled to hear you speak to this topic!! Bravo!!! I am huge into feminist and gay rights and this is such a brilliant point….YES! 

    I will talk with you on the phone tomorrow around 10:30am unless you tell me another time works better.


    Posted by Jessica Deeb | July 30, 2013, 5:44 pm
  6. Love your sayings miss you both see you in nov Gerry n Rita

    Sent from my iPhone

    Posted by Gerry Fortier | July 31, 2013, 12:07 am
  7. I read your book, and I was very touched by it. I hope you are able to find peace, and enjoy your life and your future. You deserve it. I am sorry for all you have been through, and I hope you find peace. You have been through more than anyone should have to go through, and I find your strength amazing.

    Posted by Trish A | August 16, 2013, 12:24 am
  8. Stacey, this is a great point of view. Most people (myself included) would not really think of it this way unless they have been in a similar situation. It was great to hear a totally different side. Great post! 🙂

    Posted by E. Sullivan | August 27, 2014, 9:25 pm

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