Monday, August 15, 2005

What's the Deal?

As of late, more people than usual have been asking me about my marriage plans. As a newly returned missionary, it was okay for me to not be interested in marriage. However, now that it’s been nearly 2.5 years, people start expecting guys to settle down and have kids. As you know, I haven’t ever had a serious girlfriend, and when I go on dates, it’s just for fun. People are starting to notice.

Just tonight, one of my mission buddies asked me if I think I’ll ever get married (I told him that I don’t know). The other day, another friend said, “Though I’m not questioning your sexuality, I really don’t understand why you don’t date girls seriously.” (I just laughed.) Even my nieces and nephews are concerned. One of them said last week, “You’re never getting married.” (I told her she’s probably right.) She’s adorable and only 5-years old. Nonetheless, even at her age, she’s very aware of Mormon culture. She knows that I’m unique because I’m not married at my old age of 24. My 10-year-old nephew thinks I need a dog to keep me company because I’m obviously destined to a life of loneliness. (He’s a big animal lover. A dog will cure any problem in his book.) Basically, everyone wants to know what my deal is.

Needless to say, I’m sick of skirting the issue. I’m thinking about letting certain groups of people know about my homosexuality. But I still face the same question: “What purpose will it serve?” Is getting people off my back enough reason to tell them about my sexuality. Doing so will only open another can of worms – probably a much larger and more complex one.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on coming out to other people. What are the main benefits and drawbacks – especially considering my situation specifically.

I’ve created a poll for those who don’t want to leave comments (and for those who do want to leave comments). Please let me know what you think I should do. Is it worth it to come out? Is it worth the awkwardness? Is it worth losing certain friendships? Is it worth the peace of mind? Let me know.

12 Comments:

Blogger Randy said...

Good God, man, I was 31 when I got married, and my wife was 28. But we don't live in Zion. My BIL is 26, and he's catching the same kind of heat as you are. He's totally hetero, but it annoys the crap out of him to be asked about dating all the time.

Free advice--just blow it all off. Some people will figure things out; others won't. Eventually, they'll just leave the subject alone.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill here:

I have to agree with Randy. I don't think getting people off your back is a good reason to come out. You're at a big career crossroads right now, with your recent college graduation. Focus on the next steps associated with career. Then worry about the rest of it. Despite Mormon culture, 24 is very young. Don't put excess pressure on yourself!

3:14 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

No kidding. I got married at 29. 24 is just a baby.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

In my opinion, I'd say don't do anything rash. I agree with those who have posted a reply thusfar...you're not a menace to society until you're 25! You've got a whole 'nother year! (Heavy sarcasm). I've been contemplating the same thing...marriage? Hmm? Will it happen for me? A friend and I were discussing being old, mormon bachelors living in the same bachelor pad. He knows about my Same Sex Attraction, and thinks the idea would be really funny (he's completely hetero, mind). I think there are some people who might as well know...parents maybe, close siblings? Church leaders, for sure, but I think you said you have already told them?
And I think (this is just my opinion) that you're flinging around the words 'homosexuality,' 'gay,' and 'coming out' too much. At least, were I to say that "I'm gay," that'd be kind of a monumental anouncement...calling off/not wanting a heterosexual lifestyle...which I know that I at least strive for. It's not easy, the problems we face. Just remember that you're never alone, GM...at least not in this; I've got the same issues, kid. Email me, we'll talk.

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

"Is getting people off my back enough reason to tell them about my sexuality. Doing so will only open another can of worms – probably a much larger and more complex one."

Yes, telling people who cannot return one bit of support that you are gay is tantamount to telling your enemy where you store your ammo--it is self destructive. I would caution against that right now.

I want to speak to another can of worms. The larger and more complex "can of worms" that you fear to open is none other than yourself. Each of us is a can of worms and we all fear to open that can. Your family and culture and even the wider american culture value your sameness, your predictability, and your staying relatively shallow. Your true self violates their values. To the extent that you hold on to these values, you will be at war with yourself--as so many of us have been.

There is no need to push yourself to tell anyone. A general rule in this regard is to have gained the trust of several friends who know you and accept you and who you feel a deep trust with before telling those who may reject you.

Andy

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Darcy Schack said...

Telling people is a damn tough thing to do. Andy I agree with you telling close friends and family. In the end it is only those people who you need support from. I was outed when I was young and it was bad! Close friends and family are the only things that really matter to me. You are definitely not alone! When I came out it was a tense and scary emotional time for me (and everyone else who comes out). I could not continue to pretend to be someone or something that I am not. I love gay and bisexual people, I think that we have all been blessed with a different point of view.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're definitely not alone. Check out http://www.zionide.org

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Fellow said...

Friends? Perhaps. Family? Perhaps.

My parents have known since I was sixteen, and various friends have learned the truth along the way. I'm 23, and the only person from whom I've gotten questions about marriage is a former professor (who, by the way, is [probably unknowingly] quite the fag hag).

But I also have another backup statement, which my coworkers on campus know very well -- my parents are divorced, and I am highly reticent about other people marrying, let alone me getting a ring (even without my extra baggage).

Of course, I don't do well with secrets, and don't think anyone I care about should attempt to associate with me without knowing some basic background.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Dear GM: Congrats on graduating from college. I don't think coming out--in reality--is as sressful for as long a period as most of probably anticipate it will be. I mean, for me--and most friends I've talked with--it was fairly easy to get through, and certainly a lot easier than we thought it would be. Fears are often worse than reality. My family came around far better than I ever imagined. So did friends. I'm now out to everybody. And it's easier freer living like that. But you'll know for yourself when it's right to come out. Some people wait until they've ot van actual boyfriend, are in a rewarding relationship (which also mkes it harder for homophobic pople to try to "talk you out of" being gay; instead of dealing with an abstract concept (that you are attracyed to guys), they are faced cwith a fait ccompli (you are involved with a good guy you want to be with).

Mormon culture tends to make coming out harder for gays than it is for guys who grow up in more enlightened cultures. Momon culture has very messed up attitudes towards gay people, and we tend to internalize a lot of that. It take time to overcome that. In my experience, gay Mormons tend to come out at much later ages than other Americans. They tend to keep folling themselves that they can attain (or should strive to attain) a "hetersexual lifestyle." But it takes courage to be yourself, and live the life that is within you. I am glad you identify as gay. You are farther along in the process than guys who simply say "I have same-sex attraction." I hope you find a good guy and a good job,hopefully in a city where you can be open comfortably. Good luck.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous C. D. said...

Hey! I'm just happy you graduated. And I'm happy that you've met someone you kinda like, who wants to go on a roadtrip with you. I hope you do it. Life is short. And right after college is a perfect time to go. (When you get settled into a career, taking off on a road trip with a buddy may not be as easy.) All of those clues you noticed anout your friend could indeed be indicators that he is gay (although even if he is gay, there is always a possibility he could be too closeted or uncertain to do anything. But you have nothing to lose, going on a trip with a fellow you like, who wants to go on a trip with you. That is great. And your gaydar will only get better with age and experience, as you test it out more. I wish you well with that. I think making friends with gay men, and being out with them naturally, is a nice way to start the coming out experience. They're not going to give you the kind of bad advice ("Be celibate! Resist the temptation to ever have gay sex") that homophobes will give you, which only leads to loneliness and frustation. You're better off finding a guy to love, who wioll love you back, than staying celibrate, hoping to convince others you're straight. It is stupid, the way Mormon culture puts pressure on people to marry as soon as possible. People aren't all meanmt to live the same way.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right after graduation can be a wonderful time. Enjoy your freedom! Don't let those Morgbots intimidate you with their questions about, "When are you going to get married?" Follow your own heart.... Where are you thinking of living, working?

10:52 PM  
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2:45 AM  

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