Monday, April 6, 2009

This is NOT me!!!

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!


  1. Not that being a "flamer" is wrong, either.

    Flamboyance, extravagance, perversion, fetish etc, are not monopolized by the gay community, that's for certain.

  2. A year or two back, one of my friends was asked to give a Sacrament Meeting talk on "trials" in his Singles Ward. He spoke with the bishop beforehand to make sure he thought it was appropriate to share his feelings of SGA in the right context, because let's be honest, SGA is kind of a trial!

    "Are you going to be confessing any sins?"


    "I approve!"

    Yay! The bishop approved! When he actually admitted his attractions over the pulpit and shared some of his personal experiences and trials that came with it, he said the WHOLE CHAPEL was in tears! I wish I could have been there to see it. He said it was such a spiritual experience for everybody. The people in that ward actually became more comfortable talking about their trials with others. What a marvelous blessing from such a scary decision!

  3. "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."

    That one had me

  4. However, on the flip side. Those flamers are the only ones willing to compromise other people's comfort in order to speak out and represent. You said yourself.

    Is it the flamers' eccentricities that are ruining our image as a group, or is it people like you who don't have the spine to say anything?

  5. "Oh, give it one more try before you give up on love."

    I love me some Donny.

    You're not bearing the burden alone, there is just a time and a place for these things. When I was going to church I sure as heck wouldn't have gotten up in F&T Meeting. We need to do what's best for us individually.

    "Solider of Love" is my favorite Donny song. ;)

  6. Wow! Thanks for all of your comments. I think Colin has a great point. I am completely willing to say that if more people knew about my personal situation, their opinion of this issue would change. And yes, I am still quite spineless when it comes to being out and proud, but only because it becomes incredibly burdensome trying to explain to people that even though I am gay, I still go to church and am not sexually active.

    It's like Therman said in his comment... if people could see what a challenge it is, and hear our real stories, I think they would be pretty compassionate.

    And D, you are right, we all need to find out what is best given our own personal circumstances. Also... I saw Donny Osmond in Concert and it was seriously one of the best concerts I have ever been to. Jealous?

  7. Please stand up for who you are. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Do you fear rejection more than you fear love? How can one ever know love and intimacy in the abstract? There is a purpose in flamboyant behavior. It fulfills an affirmation in freedom. Some of us respect this concept.

  8. re: "Miss Thing", I think it would be awesome if any or all of them showed up to church. The only discomfort I would feel is embarrassment for the way many of the other members would react.

    re: Testimony meeting, you would be surprised at how uneventful the aftermath would be, I think. At least that was my experience. The biggest danger in coming out in testimony meeting, I found, is in expecting it to change people's attitudes in a positive way and then being disappointed when those expectations aren't fulfilled in any discernible way.

  9. Thanks Scott,

    I totally agree. I've learned that the only person you should ever have high expectations for is yourself! We can never MAKE anyone change, but we CAN live our lives as examples to those who who think differently about things. I'm sorry your experience wasn't what you expected.

    Keep the faith!

  10. Scott,

    I just want to let you know why I would be personally offended if "Miss Thing" showed up at church some Sunday. I have kids. Small ones. Now, it's one thing for you to go up and come out at the pulpit, not something I would do in the same situation, but props to you. It's a different thing to dress like the thing in front of little ones. I don't like them to see a bunch of chicks in bikinis either, doesn't mean I'm judging, I'm just thinking of how it will affect their young and impressionable minds. Surely you can see the the reason for any discomfort, or rage, which is what I would feel if someone like that decided to defile my place of worship.

  11. @Anonymous,

    I have children too, including small ones (or at least one small one--they grow up so fast!).

    If there's anything at all that I've learned about kids, it's that they're not nearly as easy to faze as most people think. I came out to my kids, and they took it in stride. We have regular gatherings at our home attended by any number of gay people who have made any number of choices in their lives, and our children are comfortable interacting with them.

    If "Miss Thing" showed up in church with the intention of disrupting services or distracting worshipers, I would be offended and upset as well. But if s/he showed up sincerely wanting to worship God and learn about the Gospel--regardless of what she was wearing, I would hope that she would be welcomed, and I would welcome the opportunity to teach my children about tolerance and acceptance and the fact that some people are different than we are.