What I Am And What I’m Not

I know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about homosexuals, and I want to clear that up.  A lot of this will be directed to anyone who reads this, but some will be directed towards Mormons.

The Readers Digest Version of what I want to say can be summed up in this clip:

  • I did not choose to be gay.  You didn’t choose to be straight.  You didn’t choose to have blonde or brown or red hair.  You didn’t choose to be left or right handed.  There are a lot of different theories about the causes of homosexuality and some may be closer to the truth than others.  It also depends on the person.  For me, I think it is biological factors.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to guys.  I remember having a crush on Prince Charles from the Faerie Tale Theater version (which was Matthew Broderick….really though, who didn’t have a crush on him?).  There are other things that may have contributed throughout my life, but overall I believe I was born this way.  I know saying I was born this way will rub a lot of people the wrong way.  Why would God create me like this?  Why would he make me into something that has such tendencies to go against his plan?  I have a handicapped brother.  Why did God create him the way he is?  He was born with so many problems and won’t be able to procreate either.  This seemingly goes against his plan too, doesn’t it?  And don’t we all have tendencies to go against His plan?  We all want to sin.  Having the desire to sin doesn’t make you bad or a sinner.  It makes you human.  I am just as normal as anyone else.
  • I’m not going to change.  When I first started coming out, I prayed and prayed about the possibility of change, and even started looking into reparitive therapy.  I finally received an answer by the spirit that told me that God didn’t want me to change.  He made me this way and I needed to learn from it.  He has no plans of changing me.  That doesn’t mean I don’t believe he can.  I believe he can, but doesn’t want me to change.  Does God have the power to take away my brothers disability?  Absolutely!  Does that mean he will?  Probably not in this life.  Am I okay with this?  Yes.  Furthermore, reparitive therapy tends to cause more damage than good.  One so strongly believes that if they do this and that, they will change.  After spending years and years of working the steps they were told to work, they may have become a better person with more self control, but the attractions are still they, even if they are hiding it.  Realizing they have spent years trying to fix themselves only to see little or no change brings a feeling of failure.
  • I don’t have sex in bathrooms.  I would be lying if I were to say that doesn’t happen.  It does.  And in parks.  And in other public places.  I think it’s gross and inappropriate.  But I recognize that it does happen, and maybe with more frequency in the “gay community” than anywhere else.  My personal thoughts on this are that this has come about as a result of our culture.  Let me give an example of a thought process that might occur in a mans mind that would drive him to do this:   I really want to have sex with a man but I don’t want to admit that I’m gay > what will people think if they find me having sex with another guy > if I can find a discreet place to have sex (like a bathroom, car, or park), I won’t have to worry about getting caught or about what others will think.  I also think people seeking to have sexual encounters with strangers are sex addicts more than anything.
  • I’m not a pedophile.  In fact, most gays aren’t.  That was used as a scare tactic in the 50’s and has since carried over to today.  Most pedophiles actually identify as straight.  Some with most male on male rape.  It has less to do with sexual attraction than it does with an inner struggle of feeling power over another person.
  • If you are a guy, that doesn’t mean I’m attracted to you.  You are attracted to certain people, as am I.  You might like blonde girls with long legs and large breasts.  I happen to be attracted to clean cut gay guys with dark hair that are around my same build.  I’m not usually attracted to straight guys, so you don’t need to worry anyway.
  • I’m human.  I’m a person.  I like to eat food, ride my bike, hike, learn new things, and meet new people.  I also happen to prefer the company of men.  I’m still a human, and I still have feelings.  I am just like anyone else.  You’d probably be surprised how many of us there are out there, even in your own ward.  Happy Guessing!  🙂
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Hope For The Future

I’ve gotten to a place in blogging that I don’t know what to blog about.  I don’t want to vent my frustrations here, and I already have another blog for that.  I feel like I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say as far as helping out other members of the church with homosexual attractions.  I kind of want to write to regular members of the church to help them be more understanding, but I don’t know what to say and I don’t want to come off as someone who thinks they are on expert on homosexuality in Mormonism.  All I have to offer is my perspective.

I was thinking today about my family and how well they’ve taken everything.  They have all been so supportive and will always be so supportive.  I started thinking about my older sister and her children.  They are very inquisitive, and I know that they will eventually ask why I’m not married, and when the time is right, they will have to explain that I’m gay, but that’s fine.  Who knows what other doors that will open… 🙂

As this was going through my mind, I started thinking about what I would want them to say.  This also lead me to wonder about what my family has learned (not what I have taught them, necessarily, but just learned) from having a gay family member.

I hope that when the topic comes up, they will talk openly and honestly about it.  That is how the taboo surrounding the topic is formed.  We we speak in vague generalities, people become confused and scared.  We show that we are afraid of what might happen if we tell them too much.  I trust that my family members will know the right degree of which to tell their kids.  I hope that they will be willing to talk to me about it and let me talk to them.  I hope that they will teach them to love everybody regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, belief system, nationality, etc.  I know they will, but I hope they make a conscious effort to do so.  I hope they teach their children correct thoughts.  I don’t want my nieces and nephews to be afraid of me or think I will molest them.

Even further, I hope that they will teach acceptance and to embrace diversity.  I know they will teach them right from wrong and that “acting on homosexuality” is not a part of God’s plan.  I hope they teach them to love gays anyway, no matter what choices they are making.  I hope that they teach their kids that it is absolutely unacceptable to use any derogatory or inappropriate words like fag, queer, nigger, or retard.  I hope most of all, though, that they will teach their kids to stand up for what is right.  I want members of my family to stop any kind of bashing whether it be gay bashing, church bashing, or anything like that.

I want them to correct someone when that someone says that something is ‘gay’ when they really mean to say that something is stupid.

I want them to stand up for the kid on the playground the other kids call a fagot because he isn’t good at sports.

I want them to stop the cycle of hate against people who are “different”.

I want my family to be able to talk openly with others about the fact that they have a gay brother, brother-in-law, or uncle and not be ashamed.  I’m not ashamed of it, and I hope they aren’t either.

I want them to take the time to learn the truth about homosexuality (I’m hoping to write something about the truth and myths about gays).  I don’t care if they are for or against gay rights or whatever.  I just want them to know what they believe and to let people know.  This is how understanding will spread.

I think they already know these things, but in case they didn’t, this is what I want.

A Follow Up To My Last Post

I just wrote the letter for the book about my dad.  I’m glad I did.

The last post conveyed very true and real feelings.  So does the letter I wrote.  I think I needed to get the negative out in order to find the positive.  Here is what I wrote:

I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are

This song reminds me of when I got my Eagle Scout Award, and you and Ed sang this.  I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it.  Hearing you sing it for me was really amazing.  I feel like I can relate to the lyrics well and they describe a lot of how I feel.  I think you recognize that.  I’ve always felt like you would support me in whatever decisions I make, and I’m so grateful for that.  You’ve done so much to guide me and help me become who I am.  I am a strong, independent, and compassionate man.

You’ve taught me that when there is blood on my feathers, that time is still turning and they soon will be dry.  Life has a lot to throw at us, but we can be strong and move forward anyway.

From you, I’ve learned to reach for the heavens, hope for the future, and to be all I can be.  I can overcome obstacles and reach my greatest potential.

I’m so grateful for all that you’ve taught me.  Because of you, I know how to control myself better, to stand up for what is right, and to be more loving.  I’m grateful for the countless fathers blessings and support you’ve given me when making hard decisions or going through hard times.

I love you, Dad!

Dad

My mom came up with an idea to make a book for my dad and for all of us.  Our assignment is to write a letter to him and then she’ll put all these together with some pictures and have it bound and published.  For us.

I like the idea, but when my mom asked me to write a letter to my dad, I felt kind of anxious.

There are a lot of theories out there about how homosexuality is caused.  One of them includes having a distant relationship with your dad.  I don’t think the distance between my dad and I caused my homosexuality, but I do think it probably contributed to it somewhat.

I’m having a really hard time putting words on paper.  I don’t know what to tell him.  Sure, I love him.  Of course I do.  I don’t hate him at all, actually.  We just have a very….different?  Unique?  Uncomfortable?  relationship.

I was surprised with how I reacted while my dad was in the hospital.  I never thought I would experience such an emotional response as I did.  A close MoHo friend of mine had his dad pass away recently.  As I sat in the funeral, I thought a lot about how close my dad came to dying and how hard that was for me.  If I had to give a talk at my dads funeral, I don’t know what I would say.

My dad and I have very different personalities.  He is very organized.  He is very reserved.  He is pretty content in doing what he has always done.  He likes a calm, peaceful life.

I, on the other hand, am very messy and unorganized.  I like to do whatever is on my mind in the moment.  I don’t think a lot of my actions through.  I’m outgoing.  I have a hard time staying in one place for a long time.  I plan to travel a lot, have many different jobs, and live an exciting life.

I don’t want to talk negatively about my dad.  I do want to write about my perception of our relationship, though, which has some negative aspects.

I’ve always felt distanced from him.  I was the rowdy, out of control kid in the family.  I think my dad didn’t understand my creativity and weirdness.  He is a very talented musician, as are most of my family members.  My older sister has an amazing voice, and my dad is an amazing pianist.  They performed together a lot.  I was occasionally asked to perform a song or two with them.  I would watch them practice for hours.  I enjoyed being with them, but felt like the enjoyment wasn’t always mutual because I was noisy or distracting.  I would get jealous of the relationship he had with my older sister. I wanted to feel that connection to my dad that she did.  But it didn’t ever really happen.

My dad became the bishop, and I became one of those bishops kids…   You know, the ones that get suspended from school and are a pain in the butt.  That created a larger distance between us.  I wasn’t really close to any family members at this time.  When I finally came out of that stage, I grew close to my mom and my older sister.  I felt uncomfortable around my dad, and I don’t know why.  It might be because I started realizing the anxieties I felt surrounding my relationships with men, but I don’t know.  There are only two times I can remember feeling a connection with him.  One was when I was 16 and I decided I wanted to fix up an old car.  He helped me to get it running.  I often felt frustrated with him because we communicate very differently, but I enjoyed being able to spend time with him.  The other was when I was 18, and I got my Eagle Scout award.  He and another musician in the ward who had a son getting his Eagle performed a favorite song of mine:  The Eagle and The Hawk by John Denver.  It was really cool to see him take the time to put that together for me.  My sister wrote about her memories of it here.

I can only remember a few times he has hugged me.  When I got my Eagle, when I left on my mission, and when I got home.  Those are the only ones I can remember.  And I actually only remember that he hugged me when I got home.  I just assume he hugged me when I got my Eagle and when I left on my mission.

And now I sit here, crying, because I don’t know what to make of my relationship with my dad.  I know that he loves me, and I love him.  I just wish things could be different.  I wish that we could really let each other know that we love each other.  If I could go back and change him and me and our relationship early on, I would.  I don’t want to change it now because that seems awkward and uncomfortable, and I don’t want to deal with that.  I would rather just keep things how they are.

I love my dad.  I know our relationship is far from perfect, and maybe even sucks sometimes, but I still love him and I know he loves me.  I’m so grateful for all the time he has spent working so our family can have a good life.  I’m grateful for the blessings he’s given me and for the peaceful attitude he has brought into our home.  I’m grateful that he helped shape me into who I am.

Now if I can just figure out how to turn that last paragraph into a letter.

Been A Long Time

It’s been a while since I posted.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the major two are that I’ve been so busy lately and that I haven’t felt like I have anything else to add to this blog.  I want to keep writing, but I don’t know what to write anymore.

A lot has happened in the last few months.  I moved out of my parents house (for good this time) into this really nice condo with three other guys.  One was a mission companion that knows I’m gay, and the other two I didn’t know.  I told one of them that I was gay, and had a lot of interesting conversations about it.  I agreed with some of what he said, but not always.

Shortly after I told him, he sold the condo and moved to Vegas, so the other two roommates and I found another place to live.  It isn’t as nice as the other one, but it’s still pretty good.  I’ve also been buying a lot of new furniture and I’m really happy about it.  It’s nice to feel so independent.  I came out to my other roommate (on April Fools Day….oops), and he is really cool about it.  We talk a lot about my thoughts and feelings on the matter, and he is generally understanding.  The only time I felt frustrated with it was when he asked me, “So when did you decide to be gay?”.   Yeah…it was funny…ish.  He talks to me about his girl problems and I try to give him advice.  It’s so great to be totally honest with the people I live with.

I’m working a lot, but it’s good.  I sometimes get frustrated with certain aspects of my job, but I love the people I work for.  They totally make it worth it.

I’m starting to figure out my life and where I’m going to go with school and stuff.  It’s good, but also very daunting.  I’ve started looking into grad schools, and that is intense.  I don’t feel like I’m ready to do it, but I need to.  As for right now, I’m looking at the University of Utah and a school in Indiana.  I just got started, so I’m sure there is a lot to do.  Yay.

I’m surviving.  And yes, sometimes it feels like just that.  Survival.  But I am surviving, and I think I’m finally getting to a place where I can stop swimming and start wading – for a few months anyway.

One last thing – those who are interested or who had been following information about my dad and when he got sick, here is an article published by The Deseret News that features his struggle with the Swine Flu (complete with pictures!).

To The Person Who Found my Blog by Searching For: “If I’m a Mormon, Do I Have to Stop Being Friends with my Gay Best Friend?”

Whew!  That was a really long title!

So, as you can tell from the title, someone found my blog by doing a search for “If I’m a a Mormon, do I have to stop being friends with my gay best friend?”.  I hope whoever searched for that will read this, because it is written for them.

The Answer:  No.

I kind of wanted to just stop right there, but I feel like there needs to be an explanation too.

Of course, the LDS church views same-sex relationships as wrong, and because of that, many members of the church view any form of homosexuality as evil or gross.  Because we are expected to “avoid the very appearance of evil”, many members of the church think they should reject any thing or person that has the appearance of evil….like a gay person.

I had this same mindset when I got home from my mission.  Two of my best friends had married each other in the temple, and after two years of marriage, they decided to divorce because she had been cheating on him.  She started drinking and all kinds of other things.  She wanted to hang out with me a lot, but I resisted because I felt that I needed to avoid the very appearance of evil.  I had really mixed thoughts.  I wondered what people would think about me if they saw me running around with a divorcee that drinks and doesn’t go to church anymore.  I also wondered what Jesus might do in this situation.  My Mormon instinct to “avoid the very appearance of evil” told me to not hang out with her.  My thoughts what Jesus would do told me that she was in a really hard place and to lose her best friend like that would be devastating.  I chose to leave her, and in doing so, I wrote her an email telling her that I didn’t feel comfortable around her and that I needed to surround myself with good and uplifting things.  She was devastated.  I was the friend that had stuck around the longest, and now I had given up on her.  She started doing things that she probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.

After a lot of thinking and missing her, I decided that I was wrong, and that I needed to be her friend.  I didn’t care what choices she was making.  She was still one of my best friends, and I wanted to be there for her no matter what she did.

You’re gay best friend is still your best friend, and he happens to be gay.  Stick with him.  It will only strengthen your relationship.

A New Pair of Glasses

I got a new pair of glasses today.  I have never worn glasses, and for most of my life, I had near perfect vision.  It’s kind of amazing, actually, that I didn’t get glasses until now.  Most of my family members had to get glasses in their childhood, but somehow I lasted until I was 24.  I’m proud of myself for being the last member of my family to get glasses.

Those of you that wear glasses can probably understand how it felt to realize that your eyesight wasn’t as good as you had thought.  I was amazed to see things suddenly become more clear and defined as the doctor put different lenses in front of my eyes.  Throughout the night, I would look at things without my glasses, and then with them to see the difference.  I could see things so clearly.

I started to wonder, “How did I not know that my eyesight was getting bad?”  It was so obvious!  I had been spending months squinting; I couldn’t see the lines in the road; the fine details in everything were being left out.  Even when I was squinting, I was telling myself that I just wasn’t trying hard enough to focus.

With my glasses on now (which make me look quite incredible, I must say), it is funny to look back and see how I overlooked things and talked myself into believing that I wasn’t losing my once perfect eyesight.

I thought about this tonight, and how it relates to my coming to terms with homosexuality.  It is interesting to look back now and kind of laugh at myself because of how obvious it was.  The fact that I hated dating after my mission; that I would tell myself what girls I had crushes on instead of actually having a crush occur naturally; that I was so intrigued by anything having to do with the “gay community”.  Even when I was starting to come to terms with my homosexuality, I would tell myself that if I just had enough faith, I could be straight.

Now that I am at a better place with it all, I am so happy.  I love who I am – even some of the quirks that I have.