In my last post I talked about why sexuality it is so important to gay Mormons and now I want to pretty much counter most of what I said. Well, not really, but I do want to talk about why to everyone else – it really isn’t all about being gay.
We mohos (laziness won out) can be hard to please. We can suffer fits of anxiety if we people are thinking of us as “the gay one”, yet we get horribly offended if people forget we are gay. I had a bishop once that did just this. I had an interview with him (it was certainly not my first time talking with him about it) and I prattled on and on about my personal life and lack of direction and uncertainty of the future (all of which I saw as a consequence of my sexuality). Soon he stopped me and, without certainty, asked, “you are attracted to men, right?” I was floored. What? He didn’t remember I was gay? He didn’t think about my sexuality constantly? How dare he?
Time has helped me realize that, quite honestly, my sexuality isn’t as important to other people as it is to me. What I saw as significant problems related to my gayness, the bishop saw as problems every twenty-something faced independent of which part of the underwear catalog they lingered on. Many of my friends have reacted to me telling them I was gay with an “oh, okay,” and little more. Our relationship usually didn’t change in the least. Part of me was a little bit annoyed. Don’t you people know that this is a big deal? I’m GAY, QUEER, A GIGANTIC HOMO! I thought I would have gotten a better reaction if I had said I had bought the third season of “Lost”. (“Lost” party at Cliff’s house, yo.)
I now realize that while they may have even been taken aback, they thought the best thing they could have done was to love me for who I was, which was true. It was the best thing that they could have done. Deep down, I think I wanted them to validate the self-hatred I felt. Part of me wanted them to reject me, so I could feel better about rejecting myself. How glad I am that they didn’t.
So, straight people, please forgive us. I know that questions like, “do I act gay?” are the queer equivalent being asked by a woman if he butt looks big an (any) pair of jeans. It is a loaded question and no matter if you pick the obvious answer, it will probably blow up in your face. We know not what we do. Especially when we are in the beginning stage of figuring out where we, our religion, and our sexuality fit in with each other we will probably be some of the most self-absorbed people you know. To you, we’ll be the same person we were yesterday, but our whole world is being flipped for the four-millionth time. Just love us, we’ll get there, it’ll just take time. (Sometimes, as in my case, we’ll be self-absorbed for completely different reasons.)
And to mohos, give your friends a break if their world doesn’t center around the fact that you can’t walk past Abercrombie and Fitch without having a panic attack. They’re there for you, of course, but don’t be overly sensitive to off-hand remarks and comments. To them, life isn’t all about sexuality and for the most part, they are right. You don’t see straight people going on and on about how life would be easier if they were gay. (I actually know one or two straight people that would probably have a less complicated life if they were gay.) Also, straight people have their own crap going on and, to them, it’s a pretty big deal. How ‘bout you take them for hot chocolate at Starbucks and listen to them for a change? Your world will seem less intense if it rotates around another axis for a while.