Officer Wes and Tom's 2008


Tom suddenly and intensely felt like his head was spinning and he would get very nauseous.  His sense of balance was way off.  He’d weeble, and wobble, and -- if we weren’t careful -- he’d fall down.  It was especially spooky because the sensation was similar to when he lost his hearing in his right ear 20 years ago.  We went to urgent care, pronto.  Twice.  The short of it was it didn’t appear to be an inner ear infection, and that prescription-strength Dramamine was quite helpful in the interim.  We lined up audiologist and ENT appointments, but despite the severity of the symptoms the soonest we could get in his health system were a month away. 

Meanwhile, cold and flu season cycled through the family.

When the audiologist appointment rolled around, it showed that there had been a 10% hearing loss in the audible range since July.  Scary.  The ENT found no ear disorder causing the balance problem, but could at least provide symptomatic relief for the vertigo through Dramamine II.  It helped, but also made Tom sleepy and constipated.  Use sparingly if possible.

February saw Officer Wes preparing for the annual trip back to Texas to see bio & Leather family.

March brought Tom’s annual disability medical review.  We have no problem with the insurance company wanting one.  What was weird this time was they slotted it with a doctor in Los Angeles, 126 miles away.  Exhausting on Tom.  We’d let them make an unreasonable request -- once.

We made followup appointments for the audiologist, the ENT, and other doctors.  And rested.

Things quickly got weirder in April.  In addition to the vertigo, Tom noticed Wednesday that his left eye vision was worse.  We got in to see the ophthalmologist Thursday.  He noticed something called “nystagmus”, where the eyes are twitching up and down.  So, he made a referral to a neuro-ophthalmologist.  On Friday, the vision in Tom’s right eye was worse.  We went to the emergency room and got CT and MRI scans.  The folks there didn’t notice anything unusual.  On Monday we went and got a DVD with the scans, and brought them to the Tuesday neuro-ophthalmologist appointment.  The sum of our 3-hour appointment:  “Your nystagmus is ‘upbeat nystagmus’, where the eyes drift down and then bounce back up.  It’s rare, and almost always in the brain stem.  I’m about 75% certain that this spot [in the upper part of the medulla or pons section of the brain on the MRI] is not supposed to be there.  It’s in the general location that could cause this.  We should have a radiologist confirm the impression.  If correct, we’ll have a neurologist do a spinal tap to get cerebral spinal fluid to look for infection or tumor cells.”  Tom asked if this might also be the source of his vertigo.  “It’s in the same general area that controls that as well, so it’s possible.”

In the meantime, there are three or four medications that may be helpful with the nystagmus symptoms.

[Two weeks later]

Oh my goodness what a difference a day makes…
:  )

The radiologist said the spot on the MRI was normal.  Later the spinal tap results came back with no signs of cancerous or infectious cells.

The medication for Tom’s nystagmus REALLY helped the symptoms.

And, at one of the appointments for Tom’s hearing we heard two joyful things:  1)  The hearing in the good left ear had returned to normal, and 2) there was a device called a BAHA (bone-attached hearing aid) that could make Tom hear on the deaf right side.  We were able to borrow a trial clip-on version for a weekend, and it was indescribably joyful:  Tom was able to hear on that side for the first time in 25 years.

Meanwhile, Officer Wes slogged through the most debilitating depression he can remember February 26-June 14.

June also brought a trip to Texas to see beloved nephew Jordan marry Rose.

July brought lots of change.  dog bobby moved back into his home in Florida after trying unsuccessfully to sell it for the last two years.  Tom had his implant surgery.  And Officer Wes and jay ended the LeatherMaster/leatherslave aspect of their relationship after nearly five years, but continue their close friendship built on mutual deep respect, trust and love.

Change continued in August as we decided to exercise our newly-affirmed right to marry.  Here’s what we sent to friends:


Wes and Tom get married…




Dear friends & family,


The State of California now treats all couples equally in marriage matters.  So, we are getting married.  Your love and support has helped make our years together as a committed couple possible.


This has been a long road for us.  It's taking our nation a long time to manifest “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” from the preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence.  The history of the civil rights movement is filled with brave oppressed people fighting for their God-given rights:  blacks, women, gays and many others.


The California Supreme Court ruled in May that people have a fundamental “right to marry” the person of their choice and that gender restrictions violate the state Constitution's equal protection guarantee.  The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, declared that any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will from this point on be constitutionally suspect in California in the same way as laws that discriminate by race or gender, making the state's high court the first in the nation to adopt such a stringent standard.  Giving a different name, such as "domestic partnership," to the "official family relationship" of same-sex couples imposes "appreciable harm" both on the couples and their children, the court said.  The ruling cited a 60-year-old precedent that struck down a ban on interracial marriage in California.  Nationally, Massachusetts also recognizes the right to marry.  Internationally, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and Spain recognize gay marriage.


We have worked toward this for years.  In 1980 Wes rallied with his first partner, Rodney, and many others for gay civil rights in Dallas' Robert E. Lee Park.  In 1982 he was co-chair of the Gay Students' Association at the University of Texas.  In 1984 he was interviewed for Newsweek on Campus' cover story “Gay Students: Pride and Prejudice.”  Wes continued participating in civil rights actions in the years that followed, including the 1989 March on Austin, the 1993 March on Washington, the creation of Gay & Lesbian Americans and the Stonewall 25 celebration in New York in 1994.  Tom supported these efforts and others like them, after we met in 1991.


But it was together as a couple that we had our most personal and enduring impact for public understanding of gay issues when we, along with Wes' large family, engaged in what later became nicknamed “The Letter Wars”.  In 1991 a fundamentalist aunt in Oregon had the rotating duty of writing the annual Christmas letter for Wes' family.  She did not mention that Wes had gone on disability with AIDS nor that he'd met the love of his life, a man named Tom.  The whole family knew he was gay, so there was no privacy reason to leave out that he was in love.  Wes resolved that the next year the family would get the truth about his life:  We would issue our own Christmas letter and send it to the family so that the aunt would not succeed in erasing the gay man with AIDS and his partner from the very large extended family's knowledge.


In 1992 the radical right in Oregon began working to enact anti-gay legislation by putting “Proposition 9” on the ballot.  Our letter the next year includes this statement by Wes:

“In April, I went to Washington D.C. for the 1993 March on Washington for Gay/Lesbian/Bi Civil Rights to do my part to counteract the lies, hysteria and hatred being promulgated by the so-called ‘religious right’ in its push to eliminate civil rights for homosexuals.  As a Federal appeals court ruled November 16 about the old rules on gays in the military, ‘A cardinal principle of equal protection law holds that the Government cannot discriminate against a certain class in order to give effect to the prejudice of others.’  To which the Right will likely say that homosexuality is a choice, and therefore not a true minority worthy of protection.  I think Patricia Ireland, the president of N.O.W., said it best.  ‘We march today because oppression is simply wrong.  Whether it's oppression based on immutable characteristics like race or ethnicity, or accidents of birth like class, or matters of lifestyle choices like religion.  Discrimination is wrong."

The aunt responds.  More letters ensue.  But it's when we are coming to the family reunion in 1995 as a couple that things really heat up.  The aunt states that Tom is not included.  Wes states that, as his partner, Tom is included.  Then the aunt goes off about NAMBLA, fecal matter, and the homosexual threat to children.  An explosion of letters begins.


Later, we realize something historic has happened:  We've walked through a fairly common issue that gay people face – discrimination – but this example is written.  We publish it on the Internet as “The Letter Wars.”  It wins awards.  USA Today covers it in ’97 and The Advocate covers it in ’99.  People worldwide get a glimpse of what gay people endure.  College professors begin using The Letter Wars in Sociology courses.


In this last decade, we embraced building a family of choice with other loving people around the shared values of respect, honor, trust and love.  Deputy in San Francisco arrived in ’98; boy tim of Austin in ‘99.  Jay joined the family in 2003.  Wes met Barry in 2003, and asked him to be his Leather Daddy in 2005.  bobby joined the family in 2005 as well.  Most still bless our lives in some fashion.  It has been a rich time.


August 14, 2008, we get our license and have a small civil ceremony.  Daddy Barry will be our witness.  We are keeping November 24, 1991, as the anniversary we celebrate:  The day we first said “I love you.”  As an established couple with everything we need we request that there be no wedding gifts.


Thank you for being in our lives, loving and supporting us all these years.



Wes & Tom


Here are some pictures!

Description: wedding_pics_Aug14th2008_01_with_mark_deputized_wedding_commissioner

Our friend Mark was deputized to perform the ceremony.

We chose to give a nod to the night we met in 1991
when Wes was in his cop uniform and Tom was in leather.


Description: wedding_pics_Aug14th2008_02_with_Daddy_Barry

Daddy Barry holding us.
Note Wes’ wedding ring.


Description: wedding_pics_Aug14th2008_04_smooch

Note Tom’s wedding ring.
And the BAHA implant post healing behind his ear.



…and then Tom’s actions create a split after nearly 17 years


Here’s what happened.

Back on March 18th, Officer Wes caught Tom huffing/inhaling/sniffing what turned out to be ethyl chloride.  Wes made it crystal clear that this was absolutely unacceptable in the relationship.  Tom made an explicit promise that he would stop immediately and never do it again.  Officer Wes gave him a second chance.  Here’s the longer version.

August 22nd, Tom broke his explicit commitment by huffing again.  Officer Wes left the house and wrote for four days, gaining ever increasing clarity, and then returned.

Officer Wes told Tom that he did not want to move forward in a relationship with someone who had broken a trust agreement fundamental to the relationship.  He was done.  He also said he wanted Tom to leave the premises in 90 minutes, and remain gone until Wes was out of town about a week later.  Then, return and move Tom’s things out during a 4-day period of the trip.  Wes would manage an even split of assets, as we’ve always agreed.

Tom said he would not vacate.  Wes said we can do this the easy way, or the hard way.  Tom asked “What’s the hard way?”  The hard way, Wes explained, was for Wes to utilize Tom’s father’s help in the situation; as his father has always committed to help if Wes ever needed it.

Tom said “Let’s do it the hard way.”  Wes asked “Are you sure?”  Tom said yes.

The short of it was Dad asked that Tom have more time.  Wes explained that he’d already given Tom a second chance but that Tom could have more logistical time.  Tom insisting on the phone call had one very special silver lining:  It got his drug use out in the open with his 89-year old father with whom he visits daily.

The next day, the magnitude of what he’d done finally hit Tom deeply.  He was checked in to a place for his own safety.

But Tom kept insisting that he would return to the condo when he was released.  Wes was clear that Tom had violated his trust and that it was absolutely unacceptable for him that return while Wes was still there.  It got, um, testy.  Finally Wes had to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order to gain some time to move out.  But Tom kept doing strange things.  Here is what Wes wrote to the host where Tom was staying, who was acting as intermediary:



Tom violated Temporary Restraining Order DV-027825 on September 5 by removing $6,000 via Javier Leyba at Bank of America, Hillcrest branch.  The restraining order is quite clear:

1.    #13. Property Restraint:  "...must not transfer, sell, hide, or get rid of or destroy any property, except... for necessities of life." 
$6,000 is wildly beyond necessities of life, given that Tom has credit cards, access to our online banking for bill payments, is staying for free at your beautiful condo , possesses an ATM card to our joint accounts, and our usual ATM withdrawal per a Quicken report for 9/11/07-9/12/08 ($2,160 less a $400 adjusting entry=$1,760 / 12 months = $147/month / two people = $74/person/month.  Tom withdrew 6.75 YEARS worth of cash ($6,000/$74 per month).  I can only think of three instances in the last 6 years when we have spent more than $2,000:  One was a luxury cruise, one was for the luxury big-screen high-definition TV + surround-sound setup in the living room -- and the other was our condominium.

2.    Item 13 continues "In addition, each person must notify the other of any new or big expenses".  Tom withdrew the money September 5 and I discovered his action September 9.

3.    #25.  Arrest Required If Order Is Violated:  "If an officer has probable cause to believe that the restrained person had notice of the order and has disobeyed the order, the officer must arrest the restrained person."  I have proof of notice of the order.

The violation must be remedied within 24 hours or I shall report it to the police.








A mediator sounds like a good idea.

August 22nd I walked in on Tom using drugs again.

Tom blew the 2nd chance I'd given him March 18th when I walked in on Tom using drugs and he promised me he would stop and never do them again.

He betrayed my trust.

Despite this, I have acted with CONSIDERABLE restraint.

To date it feels like:

1.    I've tentatively given in on points important to Tom.

2.    Tom has tentatively rejected points important to me.

3.    I've continued with trusting actions.

4.    Tom has continued to violate my trust.

Here are some examples:

1.    Points important to Tom

1.    I wanted Tom to move out immediately.  Tom did not want to.  His father asked if Tom could have more time.  I tentatively agreed.

2.    I wanted to remain in the condo over the next 5 years until the real estate market improved.  Tom said he wanted to sell now.  I tentatively agreed.  $100,000+ right there.

3.      Tom indicated displeasure if Wes were to take the car, even being paid for half its Blue Book value.  I tentatively agreed to let Tom keep it, though I haven't had a chance to relay this to him yet.  (He stopped talking to me after our August 29th joint session with the psychiatric hospital social worker.  Then the September 2nd Temporary Restraining Order limited communication until after a hearing September 24th.)

2.    Points important to Wes

1.    After Tom checked himself into Sharp Mesa Vista psychiatric hospital, he remained insistent that he return to the condo.  I told him three times that after violating my trust that I absolutely did not want him in the condo; that we had friends he could stay with or joint money to be situated in an extended stay place with a rental car while I worked on moving out.  (This morning I learned that the apartment next door I was working on was rented to someone else.  I suspect the unstated reason is the $1,634/month Chase mortgage creditor, though I added the comment that the mortgage is paid by both Tom and I and that we are moving to sell the condo.)  Tom refused, saying "My name is on the condo and there is nothing you can do." So Tom's actions obligated me to obtain the restraining order to protect myself emotionally.  Even in moving toward that action, I gave Tom advance notice through Tina Howell so he wouldn't be blindsided.  August 30th I told her I was going to file the order to obtain some breathing room to move out and she conveyed this to Tom.  He did not change his position.  The order was filed 3 days later.

2.    Tom started to consult with an attorney August 27.  I reminded him that we have always been in agreement on our finances, that we should be able to do this simply, and told him I would perceive him using an attorney as some kind of attempt to skirt our previous agreements:  I would perceive that as a hostile move; such an action would nullify our previous agreements; and I would be compelled to respond in kind.  Tom said he would not consult an attorney.  September 5 Tom meets with an attorney.

3.    Trusting/loving actions by Wes

1.    Giving Tom a 2nd chance when Wes walked in on Tom doing drugs March 18th.

2.    Telling Tom August 22nd that his drug/inhalant use affected me and I was no longer going to remain silent about it with anyone.  I believe this is part of what finally shook Tom out of his denial, as my consistent firm mirroring seems to have reduced his extensive minimizing of his drug problem and how it impacts him, me, our dog, and more.

3.    Vacating the premises August 22-27 after Tom's betrayal of the explicit trust agreement; journaling for four+ days and getting clear about the magnitude of this to me.

4.    Driving Tom to the psychiatric hospital when asked August 27th.

5.    Bringing our dog, Opa, and friends, to the psychiatric hospital for Opa's 3rd birthday August 28th.

6.    Waiting until the gathering with the hospital social worker August 29th to share my sense of INTENSE betrayal at realizing Tom's drug use was PRE-PLANNED; that he had bought the can of ethyl chloride at work in the afternoon for a date that evening.

7.    Making sure that Tom's computer had a current copy of our Quicken data and our Access contacts database.

8.    Telling the police who were overseeing the Temporary Restraining Order's "Move-Out Order" -- which limits items to "only personal clothing and belongings needed until the hearing..." -- that Tom could take the second computer.

4.    Trust violations by Tom

1.    March 18 I walked in on Tom inhaling drugs.  I trusted Tom when he promised that he would stop inhaling drugs and never do them again.  I gave him a second chance.  I willingly made myself vulnerable.  He betrayed that trust August 22nd when he sent me out of the house to get dinner and I returned to find him doing drugs again.

2.    September 5 Tom violates Temporary Restraining Order DV-027825 by removing $6,000 via Javier Leyba at Bank of America, Hillcrest branch.  The restraining order is quite clear:

1.    #13. Property Restraint:  "...must not transfer, sell, hide, or get rid of or destroy any property, except... for necessities of life." 
$6,000 is wildly beyond necessities of life, given that Tom has credit cards, access to online banking for bill payments, is staying for free at your beautiful condo , possesses an ATM card to our joint accounts, and our usual ATM withdrawal per Quicken 9/11/07-9/12/08 ($2,160-400 [an adjusting entry]=$1,760 / 12 months = $147/month / two people = $74/person/month.  Tom withdrew 6.75 YEARS worth of cash ($6,000/$74 per month).

2.    Item 13 continues "In addition, each person must notify the other of any new or big expenses".  Tom withdrew the money September 5 and I discovered his action September 9.

3.    #25.  Arrest Required If Order Is Violated:  "If an officer has probable cause to believe that the restrained person had notice of the order and has disobeyed the order, the officer must arrest the restrained person."

3.    Tom and I had agreed August 26th that I would handle the disentangling of finances.  In addition to violating the Temporary Restraining Order, his action in 4.2, above, violates our agreement.

4.    September 5 Tom meets with an attorney, making the choice to void all previous agreements as per our August 27th conversation.

Tom's actions are quickly driving me where he does not want me.

1.    I have not yet sought spousal support, though Tom makes $557 more per month than I do.

2.    I have not yet laid claim to the $35,308.28 of separately inherited funds that I invested in this condo on December 11, 2002.

3.    Tom is undergoing an age 55-65 disability review and he's been working under the table at Pleasures and Treasures for about two years.

4.    I have a kick ass lawyer ready to take my case.

I've asked for simple things:  Time to move out, not involving attorneys, letting me manage disentangling the finances, and an uncontested divorce/annulment.  My preference is for us to handle this in a manner which respects our nearly 17 years together.  A mediator may help us arrive at that point, since we are presently prevented from talking directly to each other.  Tom may pick the mediator.





The mediator didn’t last long.  It felt to Wes that he kept advocating for Tom, so Wes brought that up.  The mediator acknowledged the point, saying “You have all the power.  You have possession of the condo, the car, the dog, the money.  Tom needs advocacy here.”  Wes felt that the mediator wasn’t being neutral -- addressing his issues in addition to Tom’s -- and ended the mediation.

Fall was hard.  Wes did his best to find a place and move out October 1 so that Tom could return to the condo.  It was exhausting.  He got the flu, bronchitis, then a cold.

We put the condo on the market.

Tom overdosed in November.  He was in the hospital three weeks.  His physical problems returned.  But with that, when the fog lifted, came the a-ha for Tom:  His drug use was causing his physical problems.  He saw it was a problem.  He continued footwork to address it.

December 12th, Tom apologized.  “I’m sorry for all of this.”  Wes could tell he meant it.  With that, a wall of irritation and anger largely evaporated.  Profound sadness took its place.  With Tom admitting a problem and also addressing it, Wes began pondering the idea of reconciling.  He kept close to friends and family through Christmas and New Year’s Day.


Description: C:\Users\Officer\Documents\My Webs\officerwes\coolsite\_themes\travel\trahsepa.gif

Back to previous year | Forward to next year


Description: C:\Users\Officer\Documents\My Webs\officerwes\coolsite\_themes\travel\trahsepa.gif

Wes & Tom's Cool Site
The Letter Wars (aka The Homophobe Hellhole)
Things From Wes' Nose | Things From Wes' Mind

Description: C:\Users\Officer\Documents\My Webs\officerwes\coolsite\_themes\travel\trahsepa.gif

© 1996-2009 by Officer Wes