Was Robert Wone secretly gay?

Speculation about Robert’s sexual identity has surrounded this case from its earliest days.  What was Robert Wone doing spending the night on a weekday at the home of three gay men when he was happily married. He must be secretly gay and that was why he chose to stay at 1509 Swann Street on the night of August 2, 2006.

I am not sure if this hyposthesis holds much weight in light of the available evidence.  To draw some conclusions, let’s examine what we know about the case.
First, Robert Wone was married to a woman.  This suggests that he is not gay.  But that still doesn’t tell us much, because many married man are gay.  There are organizations that have formed to support gay men who have been or still are married to women.
Second, he is staying as a guest at a home owned by a friend from college, who lives with his domestic partner (Zaborsky), and his dominant master (Ward).  All three are gay men.  Now, everyone has stayed college friend’s house. This doesn’t have any reflection on whether we are straight or gay.
Third, Kathy Wone, Robert’s widow, has testified that “her marriage was happy.”  This infers that Robert was straight.  Of course, it does not answer whether or not Robert was secretly gay.
Fourth,  and I think this carries the most weight, if Robert was secretly gay someone who slept with Robert prior to August 2, 2006 would have come forward by this point. This case has recieved an inordinate amount of media attention, and Robert’s photograph has been all over the web, and in the media.  The fact that not one single person has come forward in the past two and a half years speaks volumes.  Of course, that still doesn’t mean he wasn’t gay. Maybe he never acted on his desires.  True, but if that was the case, do you think a closeted married man who wants to stay that way would act on his desires for the first time at the house of three gay men, and his wife knows he is staying there?  To keep his secret safe, Robert, more than likely, would have pursued his desires in more clandestine settings, such as an out of town trip where he would not have been noticed.
Of course, there are several unknowns here.  For me, one of the biggest is the e-mail traffic between Joe Price and Robert Wone prior to his staying at Joe’s house on the night of August 2, 2006.  This might reveal more than we know as to why Robert chose to stay over in Washington, DC that night.  
Maybe Robert was secretly gay, and if so, that would be a contradiction in his life, just as the contradiction in Joe Price’s life.  But even so, I don’t think Robert’s sexual orientation has nearly as much do with why he is not here as many people would like think.

– Posted by David

28 comments for “Was Robert Wone secretly gay?

  1. 06/06/2010 at 2:50 AM

    I have heard from a very reliable source in the Asian-American DC community that Robert Wone was basically living in a sham marriage (as many gay men do) in order to please his family. This is especially relevant to Asians, as familial ties take a lot more precedence than here in the West.

    According to my friend, it was a sort of accepted “open secret” among DC Asians that Wone was living a palatable lie while totally queening it up on the DL. Sadly for him, his last gay sex party took a horribly tragic turn.

    • Bob
      06/06/2010 at 3:49 AM

      1. If that is true, then why have no statements from third parties surfaced in the past four years?

      2. Does it matter? Regardless of the details, he was murdered, and it wasn’t as such a result of his sexual orientation. Give him his dignity in death.

      3. If it is “said to be known” among DC Asians that he was “living a palatable lie”, why has nothing to that effect been published?

    • Hoya Loya
      06/06/2010 at 8:08 AM

      If true, this might raise questions about Robert’s relationship with the defendants, particularly Joe, or the much disparaged “bad trick” theory. The email trail btw does not support a tryst with anyone that night (it was introduced by the defense last week).

      Agree with Bob — why is this the first we have heard of anything from the Asian community (or any source)? None of his close friends have come forward with any suspicions (Joe Price, his roommate Jason, Lisa, Tara, etc.). Also, if the marriage was a “sham” (and friends’ testimony is quite to the contrary) wouldn’t Kathy be in on the sham and why would want to risk exposing it? It doesn’t make sense for Kathy or the defendants to keep his secret for purposes of “honor” under the current circumstances if it means letting his murderer get away (or for the defendants, ruining careers and going to jail).

      We had a poster here until very recently who was a DC gay activist who was very familiar with the DC gay Asian scene who said that not only did he ever encounter Robert but also that his gay asian friends had never seen or heard of him being on the scene, DL or otherwise. He reported that this was a small close-knit circle in DC and that if Robert was on the DL he or one of his friends would have known. Robert S., are you still around?

      Nevertheless, I have always been willing to consider this possibility if we had evidence to back it up and up to now we’ve had none (having long-term gay friends and staying at their house one night doesn’t count, sorry Det. Wagner). Can you be any more specific about your source(s) while preserving any necessary confidentiality? Can they be more specific on how/where he was allegedly active (cruising, private parties, discrete hook-ups, steady down-low relationships)? If he was so careful as to keep this from coming out until now, how could the “secret” have been “open?”

      But in the end, even if true, it doesn’t mean he deserved to be murdered. And it could be true and have nothing to do with why he was murdered.

    • Bill Orange
      06/06/2010 at 9:32 AM

      First off, I don’t believe this. If he was “totally queening it up on the DL”, I think that we would have seen something in his phone records or his e-mails to suggest it. We haven’t

      Second, if your theory IS true, it means the defendants are all guilty of the current charges. Do you honestly think that three prominent gay activists are willing to go to jail so that a dead man can stay in the closet?

    • Bill 2
      06/06/2010 at 9:56 AM

      If he had been seeking a gay encounter that night, his e-mail to Joe Price would have been the only thing that showed he wanted to stay there that night. We know that when Robert planned to stay overnight in the city, he e-mailed two people seeking a place to crash, Lisa and Joe. Joe replied first and that’s why he planned to stay at the house on Swann Street.

    • Anonymous
      06/06/2010 at 2:06 PM

      What a way to throw fat on the fire during the week that there are no court proceedings! I would love to find out who your reliable source in the AA DC community is, because I know a lot of people who knew Robert and heard nothing about this. No rumors, nada. What does it mean to be “queening it up on the DL” anyway?

      The portrayal of Kathy Wone and their marriage in the Washingtonian article does not scream “sham marriage” at all. So Robert was soft-spoken, kind, gentle, witty, liked to work out, smart, and neat. Maybe he had no other girlfriends before his wife. Does that make him “queeny”? All the defendants were adamant that he was straight and Joe said he was like a character from a TV show, didn’t smoke, drink, or curse.

      So throwing in a conjecture that he was on the DL, maybe had a trick he was meeting with at Joe’s house, flies against all evidence we have seen and heard so far. You or your source are also assuming he would have a “sham marriage” to please his family. They aren’t a bunch of right-wing conservative old country types. Lastly, ultimately Robert did not ask to be assaulted and murdered. The end.

    • Pshep
      06/06/2010 at 2:35 PM

      Why does it take you to theonion.com when you click Raven’s name on his post?

      • Bill 2
        06/06/2010 at 3:13 PM

        The Onion is fiction so it’s probably fitting that Raven’s post be considered fiction.

    • Craig
      06/06/2010 at 6:02 PM

      Raven: If you”re so certain about this allegation, please reach out to us offline so we can vet it.

  2. christy love
    06/06/2010 at 2:59 AM

    Wow! What brought this on?

    btw, I don’t know if anyone else has done this, but I made the .pfd’s searchable per hoya loya’s request.


    As you can see the files are MUCH larger. I don’t have anywhere to upload them to. Yousendit, will let the first 100 people download them.

    • Hoya Loya
      06/06/2010 at 7:43 AM

      Don’t remember asking — might have been someone else. Are these all the pdfs from this site?

      • christy love
        06/06/2010 at 10:36 AM

        Yes, they are from here. I went back and looked and it was Craig(not sure if it was editor Craig) from the Dylan Ward Third Degree post in the comments.

  3. christy love
    06/06/2010 at 3:01 AM

    oops. pdf’s.

  4. 06/06/2010 at 9:09 PM

    Well, all I can say is that there is no real proof that he was 100% straight (his marriage notwithstanding). Why are so many people quick to assume he was, as if it might be so outlandish to even speculate otherwise? He certainly could have been gay, and there is nothing to indicate beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt that he was not.

    Why hasn’t it been published or publicly stated? My guess is that people would rather leave him some remnant of dignity in death. I still find it odd that he chose to spend the night in such a ribald venue, when he could have just as easily booked a hotel room or grabbed a taxi back home…it’s not like he lived in Ocean City or anything.

    In the end, he was murdered, which is indeed a heinous crime. Let’s hope that justice is finally served. Oh, and for those folks who honestly believe the 3 Amigos who were shacking up in that dungeon of doom are somehow innocent of this crime, I have some oceanfront property for sale in Kansas for you!

    • Pshep
      06/06/2010 at 9:18 PM

      Whether he was gay or straight, whether he was sexually assaulted or not has little bearing. Giving the defendants the benefit of the doubt, he was at least “accidentally” killed in some way. The intruder theory holds zero water. Worst-case for the defendants is that one or more of them intentionally murdered him. At a minimum all three have and are continuing to cover up the events that took place that night.

      • WhatACase
        06/06/2010 at 9:24 PM

        Amen, Pshep.

    • Liam
      06/06/2010 at 10:05 PM

      “he chose to spend the night in such a ribald venue”

      I also recall someone (maybe you) posting that the Swann St. townhouse was party central. I find this difficult to believe. I’m not defending these guys, but it’s difficult to become a partner at a major DC firm without putting in a lot of hours (Price). Also, I’ve read that Zaborsky travelled a lot for his job.

      I’m just wondering when they found the time to be “ribald”?

      • 06/06/2010 at 10:29 PM

        I never posted anything about the place being party central, but the three men who lived their certainly had a rather adventurous “family”, as it were.

        No time to be ribals? Just look at the inventory of what the police found there…explicit books, multimedia and no shortage of various items designed for purely for restraint, torture, auto-ejaculation, etc. It sure wasn’t Kansas anymore, Toto!

        • AnnaZed
          06/06/2010 at 10:36 PM

          I don’t think Robert had any idea what Joe and Dylan were doing in their spare time. Kathy Wone testified that she thought Dylan was just a tenant.

        • Bill 2
          06/07/2010 at 1:23 AM

          Your name links to The Onion, Raven, well-known for fiction and now you cite more fiction regarding Kansas and Toto. I think it’s safe to say, that you have no facts to back the fairytale you posted in the early hours of Sunday morning.

          If you had been following the case, you would realize “the inventory of what the police found there” isn’t half as interesting as what’s missing.

    • AnnaZed
      06/06/2010 at 11:25 PM

      “…Well, all I can say is that there is no real proof that he was 100% straight (his marriage notwithstanding).”

      Wait, you said:

      “…I have heard from a very reliable source in the Asian-American DC community that Robert Wone was basically living in a sham marriage (as many gay men do) in order to please his family.”

      Which is it? You “know” or have heard something or there is no proof of Robert’s orientation?

    • Greg
      06/06/2010 at 11:45 PM

      I think people would be perfectly willing to accept a gay or bi Robert, if there was some proof, even the slightest rumor. But in all these years–as has been stated–NOTHING has surfaced to that affect. So yes it is outrageous to think that Robert may have been gay or bi because there would be some proof. Robert was from New York City, not Tulsa, not Taipei, so even if he was a closet case I think he’d have had ample opportunity to act upon his desires, and there would be someone with a story, an email, something. More importantly, I think the guys wanted to rape Robert because he was straight and thereby unattainable. If he was gay they probably would’ve all had sex and there would’ve been no need for a date rape drug, and so on. Raven’s theory is without merit. My guess is if someone in DC’s gay Asian community had proof they probably would’ve been all over this site, contacted the editors ages ago, etc. Why keep it secret now?

    • ccf
      06/07/2010 at 1:46 AM

      “Well, all I can say is that there is no real proof that he was 100% straight (his marriage notwithstanding). Why are so many people quick to assume he was, as if it might be so outlandish to even speculate otherwise?”

      On the contrary, I suspect most people, when they first heard the news, would not be surprised that Robert was gay. I did; one of my first questions was whether Robert was gay. But without any evidence I now believe that he was straight.

  5. steve
    06/06/2010 at 10:58 PM

    Raven, this is America. Just as the defendants are innocent until proven guilty, so is the married Robert straight until proven gay. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  6. Robert Chambers
    06/15/2010 at 6:15 PM

    No straight man will leave his wife alone to sleep in the house of a three gay men. In a marriage to leave your wife to sleep in another house will enough to have a reason to divorce.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      06/15/2010 at 7:30 PM

      That is a sociologically genius statement Robert Chambers. Did you think that up yourself?

    • Tarfunk
      06/15/2010 at 7:53 PM

      No literate man will write like you do.

  7. Wulfila
    06/15/2010 at 7:56 PM

    Can’t we put this to rest once and for all? My partner (yes, we are a gay couple) is an Asian-American lawyer who knew Robert and Kathy well. Robert had gay friends. I am gay and have straight male friends. My straight friends know I wouldn’t make advances on them if they slept overnight at my house. To think that every gay man wants to sleep with every straight man is simply homophobic, and quite frankly, ludicrous.

    My partner has said he has no reason whatsoever to believe that Robert was anything other than completely heterosexual. Robert had no reason to hide the fact if he had been gay–he knew quite a few well-adjusted gay men, including Asian-American gay friends who were lawyers.

    Why is it so hard for people to believe that a straight guy could stay over at a close gay friend’s house, regardless of how many gay men lived there? It was convenient–it was going to be a late night, and he had an early morning, so heading out all the way home to the suburbs wasn’t as appealing as staying in town. It was one night people, not weeks or months or even a common occurrence (in fact, I don’t believe he had ever stayed there before if I’m not mistaken). That doesn’t mean he didn’t love his wife, or that he planned to have a wild night of sex with his friends. He had his grind guard in when he was found–that indicates he simply intended to go to sleep (I know from experience; you don’t put those in if you intend to have sex…it’s not sexy at all…and it’s generally the very last thing one does before going to sleep).

    So, people, the guy was straight. End of story.

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