Sexuality and Love

Richard Chase’s letters to Dean Trivette frequently turned to the subject of their relationship. Chase often attempted to define their behavior as if he was processing it himself through writing to the one person he felt would understand.

“You are the one real truelove in my life…beautiful and clean and ‘Greek.’”

Chase frequently characterized their relationship as exemplifying “Greek love,” which readers can safely interpret to mean homosexuality. Here, a desperate Chase cited ancient and modern men who he understood to share the same kind of feelings that Chase believed he had with Trivette. 

“I never really was a ‘husband’”

While we can note a clear same-sex attraction between the two, Chase and Trivette do not explicitly label themselves in terms of their sexual orientation, and therefore, historians must refrain from doing the same. Complicating matters is the nature of Chase’s marriage to Katherine Gay Stout. While Chase attempts to evade the subject here, the two were married from 1929 until 1950, when he was officially divorced for reasons of desertion. Their marriage resulted in the birth of a daughter, Ann Gay Chase, who is referenced here in this note.

“The nearest I have found to understanding, out here.”

This letter provides key insight into Chase’s sexuality, the challenges he faced, and his relationship to Trivette. In a later audio recording to Trivette, Chase confided that he felt alienated by the younger generation of gay men, who were more open about their sexuality and more flamboyant, and with which he perceived a stark contrast to the nature of his relationship with Trivette. To Chase, their love was pure and respectable. He could retreat to the comfort of the memory of their "simple" lives among the mountains at King's X, or their reunion in California after Trivette fully entered adulthood, when the rapidly changing culture became too much. In this sense, the nameless man could help Chase better “understand” “the problem” of homosexuality, but Chase could not see “long-hair” as an acceptable partner.

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