Monday, April 6, 2009
I've been thinking a lot about why members of the church are so uncomfortable with the idea of gay mormons. In fact, there are a lot of members out there who can't even wrap their heads around the possibility that there are active faithful members of the church who are also gay. Then it occurred to me... Maybe, it's because every time they turn on the TV or watch the news, this is the the kind image they are seeing:
I don't blame them for not wanting gays in their church if this is what they think will come walking through the chapel doors! Let's face it... We would ALL feel a little uncomfortable if Miss Thing in the picture leaned over to us from the pew behind us and asked us what chapter of Nephi we were on.
You see, when members of the church hear "gay mormon," I guarantee you they are picturing something a lot more like what you see in this picture than what I look like. But can you blame them? These are the gay men that are marching in their streets, speaking out on their television sets, and designing their clothes! Many of us, on the other hand, are so ashamed and afraid to let anyone in on our secret, that we blend in and carry our burden on our own. Meanwhile, the people that love and respect so many us never know who we are and what it really means to be a "Gay Mormon."
A few months ago, I was so frustrated about all of this that I told my mom, Mama SisterSomebody, that I was going to stand up at Fast and Testimony meeting and say, "I just want to thank all of you for loving and accepting me for who I am. Even though I am gay, no one in this Ward has treated me differently..." (Of course, most of them have no idea I'm gay, and I can imagine some of them plugging their little kid's ears before they catch it!) I love my mom's response. She simply said, "You should!"
And why don't I? It's crazy! The reason I don't, is because I know it would make many of them uncomfortable. It doesn't bother me, so why should I care if it bothers them? Well, that's because deep down inside, many of us are such great guys, that we don't want our burden to be a burden to anyone else. So we carry this little secret deep down inside, and bear the burden alone.
The funny thing is... those who wake up early on a hot summer day to march down Main Street in their leather thong, are the ones who could care less if they make others uncomfortable! It's just like Donny Osmond says... "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch."
Those flamers are ruining it for all of us!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
For those of you who don't know, Designing Women is a HILARIOUS show from the late eighties. Suzanne Sugarbaker is a rich, flashy, former beauty queen who is not afraid to call it like she sees it. She is the ultimate drama queen, and I love her for it!
Reruns still air on Lifetime Television for Women (and Gay Men). I would definitely recommend setting your TIVO's!
Listen up Gay Boys... Stop trying to convince yourself you're a big straighty! Come join the family!!!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Okay, now that I have given you the background story of how I became a big fat homosexual, I am determined to make this blog A Practical Guide for the Gay Mormon Man. Therefore, future posts will include helpful hints and tips that I have found make my life a little more FABULOUS!
Today's lesson is all about acronyms!
I have discovered that people in the church tend to be very uncomfortable with homosexuality. To make them feel more comfortable, they have adopted a few acronyms...
SSA- This stands for Same Sex Attraction. I think this was one of the first acronyms that people started using. Using three initials makes homosexuality seem very clinical, almost like a medical diagnosis. Just a note... You never say you are SSA, you say you have SSA or that you struggle with SSA. This way people know that you didn't choose it, but beware... you may have to reassure them that their young children can't catch it either.
SGA- The church hit the jackpot with this one! Same Gender Attraction took the sex right out of SSA. This is an acronym that even Grandma could be proud of! By saying that you are attracted to the same gender, and not the same sex, no one will ever guess that your "attraction" to men is sexual. GENIUS!!! Who knows, when you tell people you struggle with SGA, you might even be able to get people to sit next to you at church. Unfortunately, you may still need to reassure them that it's not contagious. :(
GAY- Ok, it's not really an acronym, but it is my favorite one. For some reason, saying I'm gay means "I don't care what you think I am... I know who I am and if it makes you uncomfortable... too damn bad!" There are a lot of people out there who feel like saying you're gay means that you are sexually active and living a gay lifestyle. Who made up that rule? I decided a long time ago, that if me telling my truth makes other people uncomfortable, then they are the ones that need to learn and grow... not me!
What I have discovered, is that no matter what you want to call yourself, or whatever you believe you are, find a way to make it powerful for you. If you're like me, you have lived plenty of your life carrying a deep dark secret. Be honest with yourself, and find a way to love yourself for who you really are. Embrace the good, and accept the bad. You'll be much healthier when you do.
I guess you can say I follow the admonition of RuPaul:
"If you can't love yourself... How in the HELL you gonna love somebody else?"
Ps. If you're a Tranny... your's is a whole different story!
Friday, April 3, 2009
In the story Alice in Wonderland, Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat and decides to ask for some advice.
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? Alice asked.That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.I don't much care where, said Alice.Then it doesn't matter which way you go, said the Cat.
Since denial was no longer an option, I had to admit to myself three very difficult things- I was gay, my feelings were real, and it wasn't going to go away. Those three facts seemed to completely limit my options for the future.
I think it's normal for people to go through worst case scenarios when facing life changing events. For me, facing the reality of my sexuality, left me unsure of what would become of me. When I asked myself "Where do I go from here?" I thought about what the Cheshire Cat said to Alice. It made perfect sense... It really does all depend on where you want to get to. I knew that I had a testimony of the gospel. I knew that regardless of what I was feeling, God did not intend for me to give up everything I knew was true just because I was attracted to men. I also knew that I was a stubborn son of a gun, and I was determined to figure out a way to deal with it, while still staying faithful to the things that I knew were true.
That being said, my journey has not been perfect. I've made mistakes that I'm not proud of, and I've gone through a lot of pain and heartache because of it. However, for every time I've fallen, I have been blessed with the strength to pick myself back up and move forward. If there is one thing I've learned while dealing with all of this, it's the importance of forgiving myself, and moving on. It's kind of like making a wrong turn when you're in a hurry to get somewhere. Even though it might make you late, the only thing you can do is quickly get back on track and keep on going. No big deal! The worst thing I've discovered that good little gay mormon boys do, is beat themselves up over and over again after making mistakes.
Luckily we are in no rush to get to our final destination. As long as we know where we want to get to, we can always get back on track and keep moving forward.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Over the past couple of months, I have found myself drawn to bloggers from all over the country who write about the challenges and trials that they are dealing with in their lives. I have been overwhelmed by the courage of so many people out there who face their trials with strength and determination, even when times get really tough. I've been especially fascinated by the stories of individuals who are in the fight against Cancer. Their stories almost always begin with an explanation of the symptoms that led them to wonder if something was wrong. So many of them talk about their experience hearing their Doctor declare with certainty... "You have Cancer." That final diagnosis that forces them to face the reality of their disease, muster up the courage to face the future, and find the strength to somehow continue to LIVE despite the illness that is determined to kill them.
And so I begin my story...
I guess I always knew there was something different about me. I mean, let's face it... most little boys don't throw a huge tantrum every time they play "Super Heroes," just because their sisters wont let them be Wonder Woman! Along with an unusual affinity for lady superheroes, I also loved to sing and dance with the girls, bake in the kitchen with Mom, design dresses for my sister's formal dances, and dream about all of the fabulous decorating possibilities for my bedroom.
Yes, I was a little sissy, but I didn't think too much of it until my first real symptom occured one day while on the Balboa Island Ferry in California. We had all found a seat on the benches and since I was the last one to sit down, there wasn't a whole lot of room. As I squeezed in between my sister and some man that was seated next to me, I suddenly became completely aware of the hairs on his legs touching mine. I literally felt a jolt of electricity throughout my entire body. I had no idea what it was, or what it meant, but I knew it was something... and I knew that I liked it.
Years later, in middle school, I realized that I was very much drawn to the boys. I was really good at being included as one of the girls, but it was the elusive "Boy's Club" that intrigued me. I knew there was something different about me, but wasn't able to identify what exactly it was that separated me from them. I didn't necessarily recognize any sexual attraction to other boys, but I was absolutely interested in the popular good looking boys in school and knew that I wanted to be like them.
In high school, I used humor to make me fun and popular. I learned how to make myself fit in, without really ever fitting in. I was welcomed INTO the group, but I knew I wasn't really ONE of the group. As puberty took a hold of me, I started to realize that my feelings toward other guys was probably more than what it should be, but chose to ignore those feelings. I tried to date girls, and be really interested in them, but I could never figure out exactly how that worked. I tried so hard to have crushes on girls in school, but it never really worked out. The reality is... even if I had gotten myself involved in some sort of relationship with a girl, I would have been terrified. I knew that I didn't want anything to do with them and even the thought of kissing one made my stomach churn.
My freshman year in college challenged me once again. As a freshman in the dorms at BYU, I experienced every day the awkward right of passage called... PUBLIC SHOWERS! To most guys this was no big deal, but to me it was like trying not to throw up while riding the Gravitron at the state fair. I hated the way I felt around naked guys. I was curious, confused, and at times, somewhat turned on. All the while, I suppressed any belief that these symptoms could ever indicate something bigger than just a little healthy curiosity.
After my mission, I continued to suppress my feelings the best I could. Even when the symptoms would flare up, I just kept telling myself that they were no big deal, and that they would go away if I continued to ignore them. During a particularly bad flare up one day, I remember hiking up somewhere in Rock Canyon and making sure I was completely alone. I didn't what was going on with me, but I needed to see if I could find some answers. I knelt down and began to pray to my Heavenly Father. In quiet whisper, I said... "I think I'm gay."
Immediately after hearing myself say those words, my stomach tightened, I felt sick, I was embarrassed, and I was overcome with complete denial. I knew that this reaction to what I had said was not some sort of divine inspiration. In fact, it was absolutely clear that I was unable to say to my Father in Heaven what I was not able to admit to myself. In that moment, I promised myself that I would never say those words again. I was embarrassed and ashamed, afraid of what the consequences would be, and terrified to face the reality that had stirred in me for years. I simply wasn't ready.
Just as the pressure builds after shaking up a bottle of Diet Coke, I knew that whatever it was inside of me, was building up pressure and was about to explode. As time went on, I knew that something had to give.
At this point I was no longer able to ignore the constant and persistent symptoms that I had been feeling for so many years. I knew it was time for me to admit the truth. To face the reality of what I had been feeling. To arrive at a final diagnosis, with no second opinion necessary. I had... Homosexuality.