atricia Cornwell is no longer in the closet, says Cassandra Jardine in the London Telegraph.
The best-selling novelist knew as a teenager that she was attracted to girls. But such relationships were taboo in her community—a conservative evangelical enclave in North Carolina, just down the road from Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth. “I was the only child of divorced parents in my entire school. We were made to feel like sinners coming from a broken home.” Soon after marrying and divorcing one of her male college professors, Cornwell had her first gay encounter. “But I kept dating men, hoping that I just hadn’t met the right one, because I didn’t want it to be true. I had been taught that homosexuals would go to hell.’’ Eventually, after she had an affair with a married woman, she was publicly outed. “My mother, God bless her, said, ‘You’ve disgraced our family.’” Two years ago, Cornwell married again—this time to a woman, in Massachusetts. “I finally feel rooted somewhere,” Cornwell, 51, says. She admits, though, to being self-conscious when she’s out in public with her partner, a psychiatrist. “It would be so different if I were to turn up with a big, strapping husband. But I figure that if I’m honest about it, perhaps society will change.”