21 April 2011


In talking with some of my gay friends, I've noticed a trend.  Perhaps this isn't always the case, perhaps you have a different experience, but I just thought I'd point it out.

When you have a Mormon family and you are also blessed with being gay, coming out is a huge deal.  It can be traumatizing and messy and there are tears and sleepless nights.  In the aftermath, there is often a period of time where the one who is blessed with being gay will "disappear."

Where do we go?

I can tell you where I don't go.  I don't go to events where the extended family will be.  It's awkward and often it's difficult to tell who knows and who doesn't.  For the ones who do know, I don't want to chance a confrontation in front of those who are still blissfully ignorant.  That has a way of ruining family functions.

But not being there also means that they don't get to see how happy I am.

I'm not terribly miserable, which doesn't fit the "living in sin" model.  I should be unhappy and addicted to drugs and spiraling out of control.  That's what happens when you're gay, after all.  We party like rockstars and give each other diseases and threaten all that is good and wholesome about families and stuff.  Or something like that. *sarcasm*

I just don't know if I'm strong enough to stand up to them if they come at me.  I'm not saying they would, but I find that if I'm prepared for the worst, I can face anything that happens.  I would be overjoyed if there was no hint of confrontation or judgment or disapproving scorn.  But that's not a guarantee.  So I gotta get my emergency preparedness on.

In the beginning, that emergency preparedness mandates that self-preservation comes first.  That's why you won't see me.  I'm no martyr.  I know that I've got to toughen up my skin, find my footing, and know that there is a peaceful center within me that no one can touch with ugly words.  I've got to find a way to stop apologizing for being who I am, because there is nothing wrong with me.  I have to believe that, because there are people out there who won't, and who will try to tell me differently.

The people that I know have gone years without seeing their families because the LDS Church acts as a barrier between them.  I'm still in my disappearance phase, but I don't want that to happen to me.  I'm glad that my immediate family has not shunned me completely.  I wish that I didn't feel anxious and afraid to see my extended family.  But I do.

They're having potato salad and ham, laughing and having a good time.  I'm not there, but that doesn't mean I'm not also laughing and enjoying my life. 

You don't see me, because I don't trust you yet to see me, but I hope that one day I will.  I'm not sure what it will take.  All I know is that I hope we can both have the understanding pieces of ourselves present when that day comes.

15 April 2011

Seeing Through The Snow

(Since it's April, you may be wondering why I'm writing about snow.  If that's the case, you are clearly not from Utah, nor have you ever lived here...but that's okay.  I still like you.)

We had some weather recently.  It snowed for about three days and didn't stop.  But just because it's snowing doesn't mean that life stops.  So I was driving home from work one evening, through snowflakes that make you think of bread.  At night, when your headlights are on, snowflakes like this can make it rough to see.  Fortunately, it didn't stick to the roads.  But in weather like this, you have to know a couple tricks to make it home safely.

You can't look at the snow.  It's difficult sometimes.  After all, it's coming directly at you, all lit up by your headlights, hitting your windshield.  But if you look at it, you get distracted.  You have to see through it.

I was thinking about this during the snowstorm because I've been caught up by distractions lately.  It happens sometimes.  There's quite a lot in this world that is more than willing to kick you off the path you're on.

So I'm gay (I know, it's news, and you're all surprised).  And most times, I'm really okay with it.  But we all know that it's not an easy thing to be gay in Utah.  And there are sometimes when that gets to me.  I love my girlfriend so much.  And love is not distracting.  But the looks we get when we go out, the awkwardness that sometimes creeps into a servers voice when they ask if we're on one check, the disapproval that is so prevalent...that can definitely be distracting. 

When I think about my feelings, I know they are real.  There's nothing wrong with the relationship I have with my girlfriend.  We care about each other, we take care of each other, we're best friends.  We're lucky.  So I don't know why I get caught up in watching the snow.

So we're gay.  So what?  We know where we're going, and no amount of snow will stop us from getting there.  We need to look through the flakes, see beyond the snow, and know that we have each other so everything will be okay.  There are still streetlights to guide the way.

The good thing is that you only have to get through the storm.  As anyone in Utah will tell you, if you don't like the weather...just wait fifteen minutes.