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McGreevey Book Passages Detail Gay Governor's Pain Coming Out

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McGreevey Book Passages Detail Gay Governor's Pain Coming Out

by The Associated Press

May 21, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Newark, New Jersey) Recently released excerpts from his upcoming book tell the story of a troubled man resorting to anonymous homosexual trysts at highway rest stops as he wrestled with desires frowned on by his Roman Catholic faith and his family.

But former Gov. James E. McGreevey _ who shocked the nation in 2004 by proclaiming himself "a gay American" while announcing his impending resignation _ said Saturday that he was "doing great" during an appearance at Book Expo America in Washington, D.C.

"I'm in a good place," the 48-year-old McGreevey told The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark.

ReganBooks, a division of HarperCollins, is paying McGreevey up to $500,000 for the 384-page memoir. After the book's expected September release, he will engage on a national promotional tour which includes an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's television show.

The newly released book excerpts do not mention the former aide whom sources close to McGreevey have identified as the man he had an extramarital affair with.

Nor do the excerpts detail his two marriages, or even the scandal which became public knowledge during an Aug. 12, 2004, televised news conference, in which McGreevey acknowledged a gay affair and said he would resign in coming months.

What the book passages do describe is McGreevey's struggle with his own homosexuality and his efforts to be a straight man: staring at Playboy centerfolds, praying, reading psychology texts, frequenting go-go bars, and becoming "as avid a womanizer as anybody else on the New Jersey political scene."

"I knew I would have to lie for the rest of my life _ and I knew I was capable of it," McGreevey wrote. "The knowledge gave me a feeling of terrible power."

According to McGreevey, what he always wanted was a relationship with a man, but since that would ruin his chances of success as a politician, he instead engaged in secret encounters.

"So, instead, I settled for the detached anonymity of bookstores and rest stops _ a compromise, but one that was wholly unfulfilling and morally unsatisfactory," McGreevey wrote.

The excerpts do not mention whether the activities extended into his time as governor.

McGreevey says he became an avid student of human behavior during his rise from the state Parole Board to Woodbridge mayor to governor, and that allowed him to keep up the charade.

"I studied the moves, figured out what worked and what didn't, practiced and perfected my perfect inauthenticity," he wrote.

McGreevey on Saturday seemed at ease as he sat down, black marker in hand, a line of people waiting to meet him. With some, he posed for photos. With others, he exchanged handshakes or hugs.

The book, McGreevey said, is "painfully honest."

"A lot will resonate with readers," he said.

©365Gay.com 2006

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