Some of you may be asking yourselves, “But, Clint, how can I be a gay Mormon blogger?”  Why with my new patented 21 step program, you too can be blogging your gay little heart out.

Step 1 – Get baptized on your 8th birthday.
Step 2 – Realize you are gay while memorizing your high school’s cheerleader routine.
Step 3 – Have a panic attack.
Step 4 – Try to act as straight as possible for about ten years.
Step 5 – Start reading the blogs of gay Mormons on the internet.
Step 6 – Feel an enormous kinship with people you have never met.
Step 7 – Join an online support group for gay Mormons.
Step 8 – Decide that you aren’t going to participate any more in the online support group (this is best done within two weeks of Step 7).
Step 9 – Sign up for a Blogger account.
Step 10 – Start posting several times a day.
Step 11 – Revel in your new discovered gayness and feel the rush as your challenge your belief system (this is best accomplished by using words like “bubble”, “Prozac Valley”, and “Mormon Corridor” as much as grammatically possible).
Step 12 – Freak out by the “realness” of it all and shut your blog down.
Step 13 – Repeat Steps 9-12 at least twice.
Step 14 – Decide you are going to start a blog with a different tone and for a difference audience than you have previously written: an unabashedly gay Mormon blog for straight Mormons.
Step 15 – Start getting more traffic than you have ever gotten with major traffic spikes when large LDS blogs link to a post (at this point you should notice how the people who comment on your site are much more civil that they are on other sites).
Step 17 – Wonder how your post “5 Things That Straight Guys Do That Are Really Gay” still gets the majority of your search engine traffic.
Step 18 – Have the Church enter into a major political battle with gays in California.
Step 19 – See the worst sides of the two groups of people that make up a large part of who you are – this should change the way you view both of them.
Step 20 – Get one of your posts published in an LDS magazine.
Step 21 – Decide that you want your writing to go new directions.  Seeing that your gay Mormon blog has reached the end of it’s usefulness, you decide to bring it to a close.

So that’s it, that’s how you become a gay Mormon blogger.  Be sure not to skip any steps however, otherwise you have to start all over again (and Step 1 is way harder the second time around).

———-

Okay, lameness aside, yes, I’m bringing Soy to a close.  I’ll keep the site up indefinitely as it is shares server space with my other sites, but I’ll no longer be posting to it regularly.

Thanks for being some of the best readers on the internet.  Seriously.  With all the harsh words that can be thrown around with such a controversial topic, thanks for being civil and understanding.  Hmm… getting a bit too sentimental.

Hit me up on Facebook, yo.  Peace out.

Posted in Random at January 1st, 2009 by Clint. 3 Comments.

As I read about the Yes on 8’s campaign to retroactively void the marriages that had been performed from June to November I felt a pang of sadness for those involved.  No matter who you called your family, hearing a court order saying that your marriage is no longer valid would be incredibly heartbreaking.  Personally, it was hard not to feel targeted as a gay man when such actions were sought….
“How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment.”

Elder Wirthlin’s words rang in my earphones.  I had his talk from the last General Conference playing on my iPod, but I hadn’t heard a word he had said until then.  I shut my computer and started to pay attention to the gentle, understated voice.
“I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness.”

His straight-forwardness caught me off guard.  It was seemingly in direct contrast to “the Lord’s way is not hard” statement that caused me to swear in my head whenever I heard it.  Tell that to Nephi.
“But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.”

I then heard his first suggestion for dealing with adversity and it made me love Elder Wirthlin all the more.  The first thing he said we should learn to do in order to deal with adversity was to learn to laugh.  I agreed.  Oh, how I agreed.

The previous Sunday I stood in the foyer of the church with some friends and acquaintances as we complimented a fellow member of the singles ward on her beautiful performance of “O Holy Night” during sacrament meeting.  Another sister flung an arm around her shoulder and asked, “so, what does it look like, standing up there singing and seeing every guy in the ward fall in love with you?”  The singer blushed.

“I fell in love with you,” one guy said.

“So did I.”

“Same here.”

“I fell in love with you,” I said, “which was really impressive.”

There was a half second where those standing in the group were either wondering what the punch line was or were deciding whether they should laugh at it.  Is he talking about what I think he is talking about?

They won’t be crude or vulgar (well, maybe a little…but only with the people I know the closest), but I’m going to make gay jokes.  I can’t think of any right now, oh, but when I do, they’ll be hilarious, trust me.

I make jokes about everything.  It’s what I do.  Crap, I even write jokes professionally.  Laughing makes me happy and I’m going to continue to laugh about being gay.  Because if I don’t laugh, what are my other options?

So thank you Elder Wirthlin.  Like your soul-shaking (in a good way) talk, “Concern for the One”, your last discourse has changed my life by enough degrees that it will surely affect where I end up in the end (to reference the latest gospel metaphor that is likely to show up on cross stitches on the walls of Mormons across the country).

Good-bye Elder.  You will be missed.

Posted in Random at December 21st, 2008 by Clint. Comments Off.

I stood in my professor’s office.  He sat at his desk and, when no one spoke, the fans from a silver Mac computer on the floor quietly whirred.  I was nearing the end of my nonfiction film production class, which filled the requirements of my film minor.  From here, my schedule would be dominated by math, electrical engineering, and coding classes.  I enjoyed my film classes immensely, but I worried about my future in film.  Would I be able to hold on to my faith in a community that didn’t value organized religion?  Would I be able to provide for my future family with such a career path?  It was these questions that had caused me to switch my major to computer science upon returning from my mission.  But now, faced with my last class, I had second thoughts.

“It can be a tough business,” my professor said.  I liked this professor.  He was young and didn’t believe that Technicolor had destroyed great cinema.

“I worry about making enough money at it…potentially raising a family.”  I didn’t normally talk so openly with my professors (or at all, really), but he didn’t seem uncomfortable with my personal concerns.

“Well, those are good questions to ask yourself,” he responded.  “It’s not unreasonable to assume that if you are at it long enough, you’ll be able to do whatever job you want in Hollywood.  But it takes a long time of paying your dues.  But I will say one thing, you do have talent.”

Dangit.  I was a sucker for complements.

“Huh,” I said.

We talked for a while longer about movies, Hollywood, and my final project.  The class ended and the next semester I filled my schedule with Digital Logic, C++ programming, Calculus II, and Physics.

Digital logic was interesting.  C++ was hard, but kinda like a puzzle that you wanted to figure out.

But Calculus II and physics made me hate life.

I hated everything about the classes: the mumbly math professor (whose German accent didn’t help with the comprehension of what he was saying), the graphing calculator (I normally loved the robot race), the paper with small squares (I wanted to draw on it the whole time), and the friggin’ kids who asked the questions that I wasn’t even smart enough to ask.

But more disturbing, the classes made me hate my future family.  I switched my major for them.  I was giving up film to provide a more financially stable home.  That was my role as potential husband and father.  I was supposed to be the provider for my future family.  It was what I wanted more than anything.  I wanted them.

But Cal II and physics made me resent them even before “they” even existed.  I hated the computer science department.  I hated that all the CS students reminded me of people at church.  I was trying to be one of them, but only to get what I really wanted.  Two-thirds through the semester, though, I had had enough.

I went to the film department’s office and changed my major.

It was as if I had made a decision on who I was and who I wanted to be.  In college, the first thing anyone asks you is your name.  The second thing is your major.  It is a part of who you are and defines you. I didn’t feel like I was pretending to be something I wasn’t anymore simply for the sake of being a “good Mormon”.  When asked, the YSA at church were mostly engineers, administrators, and lawyers, but I chose to answer back “film”.

Liberal, artsy, future-less, faggy “film”.

In retrospect, I realize that no one really asked me to be anything I wasn’t.  Shortly after switching back to film, my parents bought me a really nice camcorder.  People at church couldn’t care less what I majored in (in a good way).  I was the only one who was so obsessed.  I learned a lot about myself that year I was a CS major, so I don’t regret it, but it would have been nice to have switched back earlier.

Cal II and Physics really killed my GPA.

Posted in Random at December 18th, 2008 by Clint. 1 Comment.

I sat across from my mission president on the sparsely decorated seventh floor of the Brazilian office building.  We were in the middle of one of the most honest discussions I had had in my life to that point.  I was close to the end of my mission and after talking about the unrelated reason my companion and I had been called into the mission office for interview, we sat talking about other things.  We talked about my sexuality (not in any direct way; we substituted more palatable words), the mission, depression, prayer, etc.  He was a kind man and I always got the impression that he was genuinely trying to help.

In the meandering conversation we talked about teaching kids about sex (we really talked about a lot of stuff).  He had a background in working with at-risk youth which helped him form the opinion that kids needed to know about sex as early as possible.  He and his wife took each of their kids out to dinner when they turned 8, shortly before their baptism, and one of the things they talked about was sex.  I’m sure he didn’t break out diagrams, but in a way that his kids could understand they talked to them about their body and what they could expect in the next few years.  As the kids grew up, they continued the conversation, adding more information and their kid’s ability to understand it increased.  It was his opinion that protecting his children from the world didn’t mean that they needed to be completely ignorant of it.  In fact, knowledge was their best defense.

And I realized that I agreed.

Many of us have had a friend or family member that we have  “lost to the gay community”.  They leave the church and take up binge drinking, smoking, and all kinds of bad behavior.  This is probably one of the biggest reasons many people still look at homosexuality as an addiction or a behavioral cult like alcoholism or the green movement.  It sure does look like the behavior of an addict and in this case, they are right.  Sex addiction is real and it can claim the gays just like it can the straights.  But sex addiction doesn’t equal homosexuality no more than it equals heterosexuality.  One of the biggest reasons that gays leave the church and immediately go off the deep end is that no one ever told them that sex feels awesome.

Say what now?

I’m not throwing all the blame on parents and church leaders.  No one forces you to be an idiot.  If you shake your fist at the LDS meetinghouse as you drunkenly throw up in the gutter after a one-night-stand, don’t come crying to me.

But take an example Mormon, who has been taught his entire life that homosexuality is perverse, disgusting, abominable, and wrong, wrong, wrong, and have him come to the stark realization that there is another reason why he likes to watch Heroes.  (Milo.  Aw.  Snap.)  He figures out that that he’s a homo and sets out to discover what that means.  In his discovery, what he learns that the queer side of the coin doesn’t always match up to what he’s been taught.  In fact, some things seem quite the opposite.  Instead of feeling unnatural, homosexuality makes our example Mormon feel more normal than he’s ever felt in…ever.  It doesn’t feel disgusting and, in fact, it feels right.  He doesn’t feel hated by God because he is gay and actually feels that the Lord accepts who he is.  Which leads him to ponder,

WHAT ELSE HAVEN’T YOU TOLD ME?!?!

If homosexuality isn’t quite like I’ve always been taught, what else is different?  He starts drinking with his new friends.  And it is fun.  Really fun.  He hated smoking but finds that it is really calming and comforting once you get used to it.  Pretty soon, just about everything gayboy ever believed in is halfheartedly examined and tossed out the window.  “They didn’t know what the crap they were talking about with their stupid bubble and their stupid faces…sheep.”

And thus, a douchebag is born.

One of my favorite quotes from a movie comes from Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor’s character talks of his heroin addiction:
People think it’s all about misery and desperation and death and all that s****, which is not to be ignored. But what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. After all, we’re not f******* stupid. At least, we’re not that f******* stupid.

Yes, he’s stupid, but he’s also right.  In all my no-drug-no alcohol-no-premarital-sex instruction from a myriad of sources growing up, no one ever mentioned the fact that all of the above feels awesome.  Guaranteed that the thought was, “well, I don’t want to talk kids into these behaviors”, but at the same time, ignorance isn’t protection.  Like all the kids having oral sex so they’ll stay “virgins”.

How very Bill Clinton of them.

Your kids will learn about these things and if you don’t talk to them about it, they’ll learn about it on their own.  By not entering the conversation, you don’t stop it, you just aren’t being heard.

As far as run-of-the-mill homosexuality is concerned, maybe you might learn something by talking to your kids, even if they aren’t gay.  Chances are, your kindergartener knows a kid in his class who has two mommies.  Your ninth grader probably has a couple gay friends from show choir.  Your Laurel likely dated a gay kid from church.  You might learn that gay isn’t what you used to think it was.  It isn’t the bar near the adult bookstore that has guys with mustaches out front.  It isn’t all feather boas and sequins (I’d look terrible in sequins, anyway).  Gay people are just that, people.  Living their normal, boring lives, the same as everyone else.  Your kids probably already know that.

Do you?

Posted in Random at December 14th, 2008 by Clint. 1 Comment.

I realize I am not alone in my situation.  Take just about any single, active Mormon male and the odds are pretty high that the only one that has seen him naked recently is his reflection.  True, it’s not unheard of for people to abstain from below-the-belt activities for religious, artistic, or moral reasons.  Mahatma Ghandi took a vow of celibacy at 37 and stuck by it (as far as we know) until he died.  Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo took a vow of celibacy for several years to focus on returning to college and getting his degree from Harvard.  Hans Christian Anderson likely never had sex during his life (although in his case, it probably wasn’t for lack of trying).  And I took a Vow of Chastity when my dad baptized me when I was eight years old.

Apparently.

Since I had little comprehension of what sex actually was, living the law that said no sexy stuff before marriage (whenever that happens) at eight didn’t seem to be all that insurmountable.  Fast forward nineteen years and I occasionally want to go back and have a frank conversation with my eight year old self to let him know what he is getting into.

To be fair, the Law of Chastity is not that hard to obey, 99%….95%….a solid 90% of the time.  There is work, hanging out with friends, reading, writing, music to lead the mind to other, less naked, things.  The fact that you aren’t having sex isn’t all that bad; what makes the situation maddening is the realization that you won’t have any intimate physical contact with anyone…for…a…long…time.

That 10% of the time does strange things to a man.

You find yourself flipping through the channels and lingering on Ultimate Fighting on SpikeTV.  (“Well that hold should be barred.”)  You realize you are completely ignoring what the male model is saying in the casting session.  (“How interesting that he is wearing a sleeveless shirt in 30 degree weather.”)  You creep yourself out a little bit by how much you enjoy getting your hair washed after a cut.  (“Why yes, Sean, I would like conditioner.”)  You lay awake, unable to sleep for several hours in the middle of the night.  (Censored.)  There are times when the world is one big Abercrombie and Fitch catalog and you’re stuck with the Wal-Mart circular.

Stupid unflattering Wal-Mart jeans.

Even when I’m heading into work with only four hours of sleep.  Even when I sit staring at a blinking cursor because other influences have taken my concentration hostage.  Even when I have to angrily sing “He is a Child of God…,” to keep my thoughts about the guy who works in the building across the parking lot from getting out of hand.  Even then, I believe in the Law of Chastity, although a hormonal surge can cloud my judgment.  (“Why, who knew there would be so many shirtless joggers in the park?”)  I still believe sex is sacred and I still believe that the physical is only a part of life (and not the most important part at that).  I know that even after the frank conversation, my eight-year-old self would still decide to get baptized and take the Vow (although he’ll likely develop a phobia of time-traveling future versions of himself with age-inappropriate conversation topics). It seems, Rivers, Mahatma, and Hans, that I’m in your incredibly unsexy club.

Now, if we could just get Diesel models to cater our meetings….

Posted in Random at December 11th, 2008 by Clint. Comments Off.

I went to the small art-house theater to see Milk, which had come to Atlanta in its limited release.  It is a biopic about Harvey Milk, who, in the late seventies, had become the first openly-gay person to be elected to major office when he assumed the role of San Francisco city supervisor.  To be honest, I wanted to hate the movie.  I was harboring some bitterness over director Gus Van Sant’s blasphemous remake of Psycho (with Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates being the greatest sacrilege).

But I’m geeking out a bit here.

About two thirds of the way through Milk, I finally allowed myself to forget Psycho and like what was in front of me.  Sean Penn’s portrayal of Harvey was honest and powerful and Van Sant’s treatment of Dan White, Milk’s murderer was non-demonzing. (I’m not giving anything way, the movie starts with the assassination.)  When when the lights went up, I wasn’t the only one who was a little watery-eyed.  There were even sniffles coming from around the audience.

For me, the climax of the movie was Milk’s “Hope Speech” given at the 1978 Gay Pride March in San Francisco.  It was unbelievably inspiring and made me change my mind on the way I saw a few things.  While I had revealed to those around me that I was gay, I felt apprehension in saying that others should do the same, but now my opinion reflects Milk’s when he said:
“We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions.  We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it.  And I want you to talk about it.  You must come out.  Come out to your parents, your relatives.”

If you seriously worry about your safety if you were to come out, then don’t…yet.  You should get out of your situation and surround yourself with better people, then you should come out.  To the rest (the majority), it is important that we come out, especially gay Mormons.  I have never really felt any negative feelings directed at me because I was gay, but I know that I am lucky.  There is still prejudice out there and we need to fight it.  The best way to do so as individuals is simply by people knowing that we exist.  People need to know that we are here.  People need to know one of us and, if by so knowing, they still hate gay people, they hate us for who we are and not for who they imagine us to be.  When we come out, the straight people will see the real “us” and the gay people still living in secrecy and shame will see that they have options and that the world isn’t as dark as it seems.  They will see that there is hope.  “Because without [hope],” as Harvey said, “life isn’t worth living.”

I’ll let him take it from here:

Posted in Essays at December 7th, 2008 by Clint. Comments Off.