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Warning: Stereotypes and generalizations used recklessly and with unapologetic abandon below. Read with caution.

A joke passed around is that there’s a gay membership card. You earn your “Gay Card” by behaving in stereotypical gay ways such as:

• Attending a Kathy Griffin or Margaret Cho event (check)
• Owning Barbara Streisand or Celine Dion CD’s (no)
• Marching in a Gay Pride event (attended, but not marched)
• Vacationing in Greece (I wish)
• Attending a white party in Palm Springs (no)
• Any sort of involvement in musical theatre as a patron or performer…and if that took place on Broadway in New York, then you’ve earned bonus points (check)

I have an acquaintance who claims to hold a Gay Platinum Card. He is completely vagina free. He has never had sex with a woman and was born via C-Section.

Other sub-cultures have their unofficial membership cards too. Earning your unofficial “Platinum Mormon” membership card comes through following the unspoken rules:

• Get married before 25 (no I was 29)
• Have more than 3 siblings (check and double check)
• Have 4 or more children; the more kids the higher the points (check)
• Have a GA relative, or even just a Mormon last name (no)
• Women: Do canning, quilting, mending and other pioneer survival skills that are now considered hobbies (not my ex – but she did like those crafty things they would often do at homemaking)
• Men: Have a white collar job in the business, legal or medical profession (no)
• Women: Not be educated…but at least have a year or so of college under your belt so you can claim you gave it up for your family (check – for my ex)
• Men: Play basketball (no)

There are Married Card privileges. There are White Race Card privileges. There are Minority Race Card privileges. Each membership card comes with its own privilege in the specific environment it is granted.

People holding “Platinum Mormon” cards get all the powerful callings in a ward or stake. Owning a Gay Card means you have a double income, no kids and you are more than financially stable and therefore have the luxury to be OCD or anal retentive about your home.

Outside your membership group, however, you most likely earn very limited to no respectability for being such a high falootin’ powerful-card holder in your own group. I always thought it was weird how military Mormons (I mean actual military members who were Mormon) who have an overall pretty well-respected image never really seemed to hold the elusive “Platinum Mormon” cards very often. I mean, when you think about how crazy patriotic Mormons are, that is. In the wards I’ve lived in, the military members never held very high callings and they were more often considered “oddities.” Most likely they’d be the Scoutmasters or Primary Secretaries; they are the ones who gave talks on food storage or preparing for the second coming.

Gay men have the unique honor of being society’s entertainers.

Think about it. Even in the homophobic world of Mormonism I’d bet my money on the fact that the majority of men who are the organists and choir directors are closeted gay men. I was never an organist but I was always the one who could be called on at the last minute to play the hymns on piano for priesthood meeting or be the on-the-spot chorister. Need a road show director? I was your man.

Still, I don’t think I hold my newly found gay card very well. Several weeks ago I was at an event with a not very well known gay comedian and I didn’t get half of his campy gay references. I was talking to a new gay friend just the other day who referred to his “cliche” vintage aluminum Christmas tree. It’s apparently “cliche” to gay men, but I’d never even heard or seen one before.

Yes, I more than make up points for it in other areas. I watch Glee with excitement. And just last Summer at a Father/Son campout, I encouraged my 13 year old son by telling him he had done a “fabulous” job building the fire.

[pause]

[crickets chirping]

“Uh, Dad… People don’t really say ‘fabulous’ much anymore.”

Oh, in my world they do, son! In my world they do… See, here’s the card that says I can say “fabulous” all that I want to ….

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