Monday, May 30, 2005

The Dialogue Continues! Yay!! :)

Wow! A lot has happened since I last blogged!! The dialogue between various readers is a veritable dream come true! Thanks for the comments, questions, advice, etc.! I love hearing your thoughts about the issue. It makes me think things through thoroughly.

Though I probably have too many points to address, I’m going to try my best to get through some of them right now.

First off, Scott and I have had similar experiences with telling our fathers about our sexual orientation. When I told my father, he immediately asked if I have ever had sexual attraction toward women. He wanted some glimmer of hope to hang on to, something to help him reconcile his religious beliefs with his son’s sexual orientation. I responded honestly to his question: of course, I’ve had sexual attraction to women – especially when I was in elementary school. Even now, I’ll occasionally feel sexually attracted to a girl. These moments are rare, and they usually don’t last long; nonetheless, they have happened.

But, to address your question specifically, I don’t know if I could have sex with a woman. One of my most frightening thoughts is that I’ll have to think of men while in bed with my wife – a nightmare indeed. That would squash the romance in any sexual experience. ;) It’s a huge consideration, I realize, but I think I could probably have sex with a girl. It's not an absolute repulsion for me. I doubt for me it would be as exciting as sex with a man, but I think it could work.

To C.D.’s point, I agree that being able to change some desires does not mean one can change any desire. However, though I may not have stated it explicitly, I do know gay men who have been able to “change” or “overcome” their homosexual desires – at least that’s what they tell me. They have lived with men in the past, but have decided to “change” to living with women and having a family. They say they are happy now with their families (happier than they were in their homosexual relationships), and I really have no reason to doubt these men.

Realistically speaking, I doubt I’d ever lose my homosexual desires all together. Many of you may dislike this analogy, but I would think “overcoming” homosexuality would be much like an alcoholic deciding to stop drinking. For the rest of his life, he may have urges, desires and longings to drink again, but he realizes it’s not what makes him happy. I realize likening homosexuality to alcoholism may offend some of you, but it’s not my intent. It’s just an analogy to help you understand the feelings I would probably have as a gay man married to a woman.

C.D., I suppose the crux of the debate lies in one question: How deeply entrenched is my desire to be a homosexual? Perhaps it’s just too deep. You may be right. I don’t know.

Last, but not least, I wanted to comment on your final sentence: “Marrying a woman – when you cannot give her the full measure of love that someone totally attracted to her could, and when you are going to feel more attracted to others than you would feel to her – is most likely going to shortchange the woman. And yourself.”

Don’t we all “shortchange” our partner in some way or another? None of us is perfect. What if I am completely in love with a girl, though not sexually attracted to her, and she is completely in love with me (with complete knowledge of my sexuality)? Would marrying her still be wrong? Honestly, I think that somewhere, somehow, we all “shortchange” our partners in this life. But they love us despite. Because that’s what love is: loving someone despite his or her flaws, imperfections and shortcomings. Am I wrong? Is a woman who marries a homosexual man shortchanged beyond repair? I’ll be honest: I’ve never been in love with anyone. My deepest understanding of the topic is based on a familial love, such as love between my mother and me. Maybe I am a hopeless romantic and believe that love truly can conquer all. Perhaps I need to come back to earth. Are there issues that love simply can't take on? Diseases, disorders, personality traits … sexual orientations? I don’t know the answer to this. My only point is that I don’t think marriage is easy for anyone. There will always be challenges along the way.

Moving on to Bill’s comments. Bill is a long-time blog reader, and I admire his wisdom and understanding. I must thank him for pointing out my insensitivity to the many of you who are simply being who you are. I agree that my incessant referencing of the “gay lifestyle” must be annoying, and I apologize.

That said … I want to respectfully disagree on one point. I believe each person makes a decision to live as a homosexual man. I’m not saying that person chooses to be gay. I realize I’m walking a fine line in trying to make this point, but hear me out. I believe homosexual men have been on earth since the beginning of man. Nonetheless, many cultures, civilizations, time periods, etc. were not welcoming to the idea of homosexuality, and thus many gay men married women and lived their lives as if they were heterosexual. I’m not trying to say it was right or wrong of them to have done so, just pointing out that they chose to live contrary to their feelings or identity, if you will. Fortunately, we live in a time, culture and place where homosexuality is more acceptable, and gay men can live together without intolerable repercussions.

My point is that though you may be living who you are, you still had a choice (as "nonchoice-ish" as it may seem). When I refer to the “homosexual/gay lifestyle,” I am simply trying to delineate between two different choices before me. I can either date men or date women, marry a woman or settle down with a guy, raise children with a wife or raise children with another man. You get the idea. I mean nothing negative about my reference to the “gay lifestyle;” it’s just a way for me to draw the line between two options. Forgive me if I have annoyed you or offended you. I will try to think of another way of making the distinction between my choices.

Another quick point of clarification. Scott asked how I define the “homosexual lifestyle.” For me, it would be dating a guy, falling in love with him, and spending the rest of my life in a monogamous relationship. That’s the “gay lifestyle” I would likely have – or want to have. Though I have sexual urges oozing out my eyes, I wouldn’t want more than one partner. Though probably fun, I don’t think having multiple partners would make me happy in the end. Bill’s life sounds great, to be honest. I’d want that.

Okay, it’s way late, and this blog is way long. Sorry for boring you all out of your minds. Before going, I just want to do a little foreshadowing … In my next blog, I am going to touch on a huge point that Chip made – WASTING ENERGY! (And I'm not talking about the environment – sorry, check out another blog for that type of content).

Good night.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Bill again.

I agree with you when you say we all shortchange our partners in some way. Yes, if you were totally honest with the woman you marry, it is not inconceivable that the 2 of you could be loving companions for life. I would say honesty and trust are the keys.

Secondly, you are also correct when you say that homosexuality is a choice in that you choose to act on your feelings or you don't. I appreciate the clarification you gave concerning the use of the word "lifestyle." In fairness to you, I believe you have used the term along with the word heterosexual as well. But getting back to the choice issue-- yes, a person can choose not to act on his desires. However, he is still a homosexual. If I lived on an island, all alone, I would still be gay. It still informs my thinking and dreams. I can choose not to act on my desires, but I have no choice about whether or not I am gay.

Congratulations on creating such a stimulating dialogue!

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Hi,

Well in total randomness I stumbled upon your blog whilst searching google for the term "gay mormon" (congratulations, you rank #2... i think :\ )! Anyways, I feel somewhat compelled to comment as this is a subject that is dear to my heart. (It's also not really something that I've discussed outside of the confines of my own journal)

As a bit of background, I live in the UK. I am 21 and was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am now inactive and have been for the past 3 years. The reason, as you may already of guessed, is that I am gay.

This wasn't a decision I took lightly, however after much soul-searching I decided that it was the best path for the time being. Why? Because I was no-longer growing within the Church. Although I loved the people I was with and believed in the principles of the Church, I found that I would feel the weight of judgement upon me everytime I stepped into the building. Not from my Heavenly Father, but from those directly around me. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life.

I subsequently came out to my parents who, and I do not blame them for ignorance, were highly dismissive and, unfortunatly, realised my fears when they quoted chapter and verse at me as "proof" that I did not understand my own feelings. This, as you may or may not be able to understand, had the impact of crashing a ten-tonne articulate into a small shed. My faith and testimony, in both the security and compassion of the Church and the sincerety of my parents, were severaly bashed for one simple reason. My parents, or my mum anyway, had on at least two separate occasions questioned me as to my sexuality (I guess, growing up with such "un-standard" feelings, I found myself prone to asking her about feelings and needs that possibly should have seemed natural). Each time, I denied it.. each time, I was told that it wouldn't matter and that her and my father would love me no matter who, or what, I was.
Well that wasn't the respone I recieved!

Since then, I have moved away to University. During my time here, I have made many wonderful friends, none of them in the Church, but all accepting of me, my past, my sexuality and my morals. I have also had two relationships with two very different guys. One of 9 months and the other of 2. The last one ended on Sunday (I seem to have a habit relationships end on me on a Sunday before a bank holidays).

This event has crushed me! I neither wanted or was ready for this to end. But one of the reasons it did, was because of my view of relationships.

I take great pride in the way I deal with my relationships. I see them as something special, something to be treasured, and something worth putting in the effort for. In some ways, I am often guilty of putting a partner on a metaphorical podium and making them the centre of my life. This is not something I am ashamed of, because I have made and agreement to myself that I will only date those people that really make my heart skip a beat.

This is where my rambling makes some distant intersection to what you've written.

It has often come up in conversation, with friends and partners, as to whether I would ever consider dating or marrying a woman. I have heard many different opinions on the matter and lots of differing appoaches to the situation. Everything sleeping with a woman to marrying a woman has come up. And it has surprised me the variety of responses that I've had from various gay friends. I've found that most of them, would consider sleeping with a woman, some of them have at some point or another been attracted to women, but I can't say that any of them have ever said anything about settling down with one. One person I've spoken to once said that he would like to date a woman, simply to "see what it was like".
Personally I fall short on quite a few of these opinions. Physically I could not bring myself to sleep with a woman, it just doesn't appeal to me in any form. And I also do not agree with the idea that some of my friends have that it would be "interesting" to date a woman, simply for the experience. Other than not finding them sexually attractive (and I have female friends whom I love to bits, I just don't feel for them in that fashion), the idea of experimenting my sexuality for the sake of repressing social pressures is beyond me.

As I stated earlier, my take on relationships is one of a desire for a companion whom my heart deems to be worthy of all the love and attention I have to offer. I guess my failing so far, has been to date people who have seemed to have felt that about me, and have either been lieing or have had a change of heart (a horrible, horrible turn of events!!!).
With this in mind, I've often asked myself, Could I settle down with a woman? Inveriably, the answer is no! Could I live with the knowledge that she may worship the ground that I walk on, yet all I could muster for her were the feelings of a close, platonic love? Of course not! I value the sanctity of relationships too much! More than a lot of people that I know.

But I have also found that those things that resonate in me from being brought up in the Church (more specifically, the ideals of the Word of Wisdom) have often caused some amount of friction.

I cannot remember the last person I spoke to that does not drink alcohol.. and in that respect I find myself relatively unique. Yet as understanding and "ok with it" as people claim to be, the number of people who deem my "straight-edge" approach to the matter as an 'incompatability' is astounding. My values are, aparently, incompatable! And it seems, that the harder I try to find someone who doesn't see it as a problem, the fewer and fewer people I have to choose from. So much so, that finding any gay guys out there who don't drink a near impossibility!

Is it wrong of me to have such high-standards? No, I don't believe so. I believe that, in some way, it allows me to filter out those people that are good for me, that help me understand myself better and allow me to grow. But it does make finding companionship a whole lot harder!

I guess my small word of advice would be to find another person in your situation. Someone else who holds the teachings of the Gospel dear to their hearts and yet has the feelings that you do. They are out there, as my little search on the Google as proven to me (I am here, am I not)! But I would urge you to fully understand what it is that you really want and what it is that you are capable of living with. Life, for the person who's living it, is a very long thing. All I can say is that you have to have faith in your heart and your feelings. They can guide you, through the power of the Holy Ghost, to a better understanding of yourself. But there are also some things that you can only learn from other people. These are the trials of live and these are the things that define us and help us to grow.

Matt

11:54 AM  
Anonymous C.D. said...

I just had to add that I'm thrilled with Matt's comment--the generosity of spirit and the understanding is great. I don't drink, either. But I have not had a problem finding other gay friends who don't drink (or dont drink much). I live in the New York area (in a suburb of NYC, in New Jersey actually). Most of my friends are New Yorkers. Over time, I've found people with similar tastes/interests, or some attitudes of acceptance. It may be different where you live, Matt--or it may be that over time you'll find more gayy people with smilar attitudes. C.D.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

I have only recently started posting in "gay mormon's" blog. But I have to say, "gay mormon", it appears that there are several of us out there that have successfully come to terms with this and are living productive gay lives. I was very pleased to read what Matt had to say... it is almost "cookie cutter" for all of us. I really hope "GM" can get through with this soon and get this behind him so he can concentrate on building a career, a relationship, etc., instead of having this nag at him and make him a slave to this unnecessary burden.

I don't drink either (much), but it is NOT because of the W of W. It is because I have never aquired much of a taste for it. And, as other members in my extended family who do not adhere religiously to the WofW, I have extreme hangovers so it is NOT worth it for me. Sorry, but I don't consider the W of W a divinely inspired commandment although it is probably why I don't drink now. Like several other "rules" of the church, I believe it was one of those commandments of "MAN" not "GOD."

I refuse to let any of the church's rules be driving forces in my life. Since they say being gay is "second only to murder in seriousness of sin", I tend not to have much other respect for their other less serious rules.

I am NOT a prude about not drinking, and I will occasionally have a beer on a hot day after working outside, and will toast champagne on New Years Eve. But my friends can always count on me for the designated driver.

4:17 PM  

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