So, here’s the “gay” blog post. Answering the questions I tend to get asked….just for the record
When did you first realize you were gay?
This is like asking someone, “When do you realize you had a nose?” Having always been gay, there was no single point of realization. It has always just been there. The first realization I had was that who I was had a particular name and that it was a “very bad” thing.
I was probably a pretty stereotypical young gay boy. I liked playing with dolls, playing house and messing with my Mom’s makeup and hair. Getting a little older, I had no desire to play boys’ games on the playground. I was disinterested in sports and developed natural friendships with girls. As a result I got teased and called “fag” a lot up through Jr. High School. It was at this point that I began to hear about “homosexuality” discussed in very negative ways both at church and in society in general… and deep inside I knew they were talking about me.
In high school I tried to act a bit more straight although I participated actively in the drama club and it’s really surprising that I fooled anyone. I dated and had girlfriends. I repressed even the thought that I was gay. It wasn’t until my late 30’s that I admitted it to myself.
Why did you marry a straight woman?
At a very high level, I wanted to go to heaven, which in Mormonism is referred to as “The Celestial Kingdom.” In Mormon theology, to get there you need to be married. Period.
Also of note, the LDS Church taught that homosexuality was a choice, a verb, something you DID rather than a condition, a noun, something that you ARE. Therefore it was very easy for me to reason with myself that since I was not “choosing” it or acting upon it that I was as straight as the next guy. That sort of thinking was encouraged by the LDS leaders and the general impression was that marriage and faithful LDS behavior would change my “temptations.”
If you add to that to the fact that there’s also enormous societal pressure apart from religion to not be gay, then it’s very simple to rationalize fighting your own nature with great effort. And that’s what I did. And to be honest there is something nice about heterosexual privileges in our society. It’s very alluring. It felt great to accomplish getting married in the temple and having kids. The problem was that I ended up feeling like I was living someone else’s life… A nicely pre-packaged life that had very few elements of the life I would have chosen given my own instincts. I can honestly say my kids are the one element I still would have wanted.
Why didn’t being gay help you see through the LDS Church?
I think one thing that participating in any restrictive religious group does to an individual is to make them doubt themselves. Normal, healthy boundaries are broken down from a very early age and you are taught to not rely upon your own judgment. Everything is filtered through the lenses of that religion. Any feeling or idea that contradicts the religion is taught to be faulty, bad, sinful, selfish and ungodly. I distrusted my own feelings when they contradicted church teachings.
Some men are able to come to terms with their homosexuality and move on to a healthier perspective regarding religion but for me things happened in reverse. Once I uncovered the fraud of the LDS church I immediately knew, “IAM gay!”
Who did you tell first?
Myself. It felt euphoric and at the same time depressing. It was euphoric to suddenly have all of life’s pieces fit together so well. Literally EVERYthing made sense. There’s a certain peace that can only some with having your conscious self match your inner self. It was depressing to realize how late I was at this realization, and the mess it would cause in my life because of the choice to deny it for so long.
I later saw a therapist whom I told. The next person was my wife.
How did you have sex with your wife if you are gay?
I suppose this worked the same way prisoners or other straight men have homosexual experiences in confined circumstances, but it does nothing to change their orientation in a free world. The mechanics of sex are quite simple no matter what your orientation. Whether or not those experiences are fulfilling and reflective of who you are in your soul is the real question, not where you put it.
Have you told your kids?
Yes, but I think it will be a continual process of them understanding or not. I follow the path of being open and willing to discuss things when they are ready. Their Mom actually outed me to the kids when they overheard her talking on the phone. It would have taken me years longer to do it myself. I’m actually grateful. It’s been a while since that discussion, however and it hasn’t come up in many obvious ways since then. I suppose if/when I find a partner it will.
WHAT did you tell them?
The truth. And that it is something about daddy’s character that I’m happy and content with.
Were you born that way or do you think it was your environment?
Personally I don’t really care… It doesn’t matter to me. The only thing I am certain of is that I’ve been gay as a long as I remember and that it is unchangeable. I’m certain it wasn’t a choice or a result of sexual abuse.
Are you glad you came out?
Coming out was by far one of the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Gays like to compare the current struggle for equality with the Civil Rights movement. But one difference is that nobody had to tell their family and friends that they were black.
Most people are loving and accepting and I’ve had no overt negative comments to my face. It didn’t go over so well with my wife as can be expected, and many LDS family members seem incapable of addressing it openly. There have certainly been apathetic and less-than-loving reactions. I’m just not always sure if those are a reflection of my homosexuality or my apostasy from the LDS Church, or just them being A$$#@!s… It is not discussed openly with those people and it remains an elephant in the room .
Would you rather be gay or straight?
I like who I am. To me, that question is as valid as asking a black man if he’d rather be white. Certainly there are white privileges in society and some things are much easier for a white man. Life would have been a whole lot easier if I’d been straight. But I’m not and I think my life is more fulfilling and I’m a better person, a better father when I remain true to myself. Pretense and wishful thinking are a cocktail for depression, anger and unhappiness. Been there, done that.
I like my people. I like gay men and I think the overall balance in my life is that being gay is a positive. But it is certainly not ALL of who I am. I am a man who happens to be gay. I don’t wear being gay on my sleeve. I’m neither apologetic nor ashamed. Like the curly hair that I had as a young man, there was a time that I hated it. Maturity and life experiences have taught me that acceptance of self is a wonderful thing. I love being gay because I love myself. If there were a magic pill to turn me straight tomorrow, I wouldn’t take it.