06 December 2009

Ultimatums, part I

This is a post that I would like to get feedback on. If you have any thoughts at all, please don't hesitate to share them with me, because I'm still trying to make sense of it all and any input would be appreciated.

For the sake of this post, I'm going to label some people to try and cut down on some potential confusion. I'm going to call my middle sister Liz and her husband Jeff.

During the Thanksgiving discussion, Liz and Jeff did a lot of the talking. It pretty much opened with Liz asking me how I came to the conclusion that I was gay. So I told her about how I felt different from people around me, I felt like there was something wrong with me but I couldn't put my finger on it, and it just unsettled me for a long time. I reminded her that I didn't date much because I didn't have a desire to. Guys were always my pals, not my interest. I told her about how I thought I might be gay when I was nineteen but it scared me so much that I threw it away and buried it. I tried to be the "right" person and follow the path that had been laid out for me. I told them about how being married was no picnic, more like one big traumatic experience. And that now I was just to a point where I couldn't keep hiding anymore.

Liz said that she and Jeff had been spending a lot of time reading talks from General Authorities, reading press releases, searching the scriptures, and trying to make sense of it through their faith. She asked me if I thought I was born this way. Both of them are very adament that God would not allow us to be born this way. Jeff cited the first chapter of James, where it says this:

"13: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15: Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16: Do not err, my beloved brethren."

Jeff then went on to say that God doesn't ever give us temptations, but we open ourselves up to them. So maybe when I started thinking that I felt different, that was the first step, and then it just kept growing and building on itself until pretty soon, here I was thinking that I was gay.

He said that the more I continue on this path, the more I reject the family, the closer I will get to the day when I have to choose between where I've ended up and my family.

Liz said that she wasn't planning on not letting me see my niece and my nephew, which is one thing that I've been very worried about. Jeff said that it wouldn't be a problem as long as I didn't start supporting "the gays" and joining campaigns for gay rights or supporting organizations that do. He said that if his kids could one day get on my Facebook page and be exposed to that, then he would have to talk to me about it, because it would be a problem.

Both of them said that they don't want to ever meet the person I'm seeing, and they don't want her around at all.

So what do you think? I'm still trying to make sense of it, and I have my own opinions and responses, but I'd like to hear from you first before I get into my own feelings on the subject.


Chedner said...

I personally think the best thing you can do is to honestly answer any questions they may have (as you did with their "Why do you think you're gay?" question) and simply say, "I'm doing the best that I can do" to any "You should..."-type comments.

Then accept whatever they decide, as difficult as it may be, and live your life the best you can.

Basically, give them time, and prove them wrong by your example. With your one sibling backing you up, I think the chances are decent that things will turn around with this one.

Troy said...

I have no idea how i'd react to that. it'd be like trying to deal with people from another dimension. where to start...

Anonymous said...

I knew I was gay from the time I was six years old. I do not know how that fits into your sister and brother-in-law's equations. As a 6 year old, did I talk myself into this belief?

I do not think that being gay is a "temptation". I am sure your sister or brother in law have never tried or thought about committing suicide because they were heterosexual. What about the countless souls who have because they believed the Church was right in saying it was wrong to be gay? Yet, that same Church that said this in the 1960s and 1970s, etc., is now saying something differently, that being gay is a core characteristic? Why would people commit suicide over something they "could" change but chose not to? That is not even logical.

And, are your brother-in law- and sister more "in the know" than the prophet? Presdient Gordon B. Hinckley, in his interview with Larry King, an interview I witnessed, said he did NOT know why people are gay, just that they deserve love and compassion like everyone else.

I have had differing experiences with some of my priesthood leaders. Years ago, as I was beginning to grapple with the ramifications of a same-sex relationship I had had, and after confessing to my Bishop, I still had issues with how I was feeling. I went to my Stake President, not because I was being punished, but because I asked to see him. I told him of the feelings I was still having for the woman I had loved. He told me, "You need to still show and offer love to this woman. (She lived overseas). Remember her at special times of the year. And, leave your heart open to loving again. Everyone needs someone to love."

I am sorry that parts of your family are using their children as a leverage point to you. That is SO tough, especially knowing how you love those dear little cherubs. That would absolutely KILL me if the people in my life had told me that. Your sister and brother-in-law KNOW how you feel about their children.

I can understand that they may want to keep thier children away from certain aspects of the gay world. But, the same can be said about the heterosexual world. The should know YOU, know what kind of lady you are and how you already do everything you can to protect their children. I think they are hitting below the belt by insinutating that whom you love will be detrimental to their children.

As for them never being willing to accept any woman you may love or who is in your life- well, sounds like the lines are being drawn in the sand. Their loss?

I am really starting to get up on my soapbox, so I better step back and hold off saying any more. I feel for you. These are tough positions in which to be.

MoHoHawaii said...

I've read your blog for quite a while but haven't commented before.

I'm sorry you have to go through this. To me, it sounds as if they are going through the denial phase of grief-- you're not really gay (according to this thinking) because you chose it! It's easier to deny that same-sex orientation is a natural, reasonably common biological variation than it is to deal with it.

Wording the ultimatum as if you were doing the rejecting is very, very perverse.

I hope they'll soften their attitude over time.

shaantvis said...

Myself I knew I was gay when I was about 12 years old, when I looked across the street one morning and I saw a man mowing his lawn without his shirt on, and, uh, I remember liking what I saw.

Anyways, I can't believe they would go so far as to not let you see members for your extended family! Anyways, it reminded me a lot of a talk/ interview I read with Elder Oaks where the jist of what he said was that you can let your gay children live in your house, just don't let them expect that you will take them out with you for fear of looking like you condone their lifestyle. Avoid the appearance of evil as it were. I don't know where to find it, and perhaps I misunderstood due to the lens looking at it with.

Where then is the love the sinner not the sin?

Given, i'm not convinced homosexuality is a sin. Perhaps promiscuous homosexuality is, just like promiscuous heterosexuality is a sin.

that's all for now.

Abelard Enigma said...

He said that the more I continue on this path, the more I reject the family, the closer I will get to the day when I have to choose between where I've ended up and my family.

He has it backwards in suggesting that by being gay you are rejecting your family - it is the family who is rejecting you. While they profess that, in so doing, they are following Christ - by rejecting you they are, in fact, rejecting Christ and His teachings. To be so un-christlike in the name of Christ is the epitome of hypocrisy as far as I am concerned. Basically what they are saying is that their love for you is conditional. I highly doubt there is anything you can say or do that will change their mind.

My heart goes out to you as I don't know what I would do if I felt rejected by my own family.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Abe. Live according to the spirit that is within you, not them.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about this traumatic conversation with your sister and bro-in-law. It sounds like they are doing exactly what you said they were - trying to understand you through the lens of their understanding of the gospel. Unfortunately, they are emphasizing the sin part of the gospel instead of the love part. I agree with the other comments that recommend holding your line in a nonconfrontational way. If they push it, perhaps gently remind them that you are the same person you have always been. Hopefully, with time they will see that and become less nervous about your "lifestyle."

El Genio said...

Just a few thoughts:

* MoHoHawaii posted a Dan Savage video where he recommended that people coming out give their parents a year to adjust before they stop putting up with hurtful behavior. He phrased it better than I can, but basically he said that we have to be the parents for a bit. Let them react however they want... get angry, throw a tantrum, make demands, cry, etc.. Whatever it is, we give them a year to experience and deal with their own feelings. To me that sounds like a good idea.

* Your gay feelings are not something that you can be blamed for. This doesn't even square with church doctrine. In his Ensign talk Elder Holland said, "if you are a parent of one with same-gender attraction, don’t assume you are the reason for those feelings. No one, including the one struggling, should try to shoulder blame. Nor should anyone place blame on another—including God."

* BIL's fear of having his child exposed to "gay causes" on facebook seems rather absurd. Yes, he's right to be concerned and protective of his children, but if my sister tried to pull that stunt on me, I would just come right out and say look sis... this is ME we are talking about here. Do you honestly think I would try and teach your kids something your not ok with? Do you really think I would go behind your back like that. And if it's not your facebook page, I can guarantee it will be someone else's. You can't force your kids to live in a bubble... for crying out loud even Logan Utah has a GSA.

* And finally, their refusal to ever want to meet or deal with your girlfriend is really hurtful. I've decided that my family gets a free pass until I settle on "the one." I can understand not wanting to meet dates or even slightly more serious girlfriends/boyfriends. However, once I settle down with the one they have to realize that by refusing to allow him to visit, they are also refusing to allow me.

* Good luck, and enjoy all that snow you guys are getting up there.

Jenz said...

First of all who do Liz and Jeff think they are? I am so sure. Your parents will blame themselves at first. That's just part of the process.

Number One: they cannot tell you what to do, how to act, who to support, etc. My bet is that they are just scared as to really what you are into now that you are gay. They only know what they have seen on TV and on movies, etc. They have no idea what it means for YOU to be gay. In time they will realize you are just the same person you have always been. Do not let them tell you what to put on your Facebook. It's YOUR Facebook!

Number Two: They are the ones with this problem. THIS IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM. You don't have to do anything! You have no control over their feelings.

Number Three: Give everyone time. In reality, it probably took 2-3 years for my mom to fully come around and realize that she was missing out on my life. You cannot rush this situation. Just move back and give everyone time to soak in what has been said. You don't owe them any explanation.

Number Four: This is YOUR life and no one can tell you how to live it. Keep being your sweet self and show them by example that you are a good person, and that being gay hasn't changed who you are...only made you happier.

Just keep the lines of communication open. With caution.

BB said...

My gut reaction to the James quote is to tell him the story of Job. Sure temptation might not come directly from God, but perhaps by God allowing it to happen. Regardless, an omnipotent God allowed for you to be born Gay for some reason.