Friday, November 21, 2008

In Quiet Desperation

As I sit here in my room, I feel more trapped in my life than I ever have before. The hot chocolate and candlelight help, but they have little influence compared to the herd of elephants I have encountered in the rooms I enter lately. John Mayer is helping too, but I still can't set aside the feelings of isolation I feel whenever I talk to a family member. The reason why I am posting this online is to remind myself that I still have a long ways to go. It's also because if you're reading this, I'm hoping you can help me out. My life has become an utter mess lately. I haven't been attending classes, and I'm not working right now, so I have no excuse whatsoever.

I do feel like I should give myself a little bit of credit. I've managed to live with my family, despite our differences, for the last 5 months. However, I need to leave. For my sake, and for their sake, we need to stop being around each other. I'm sure the pain they feel is no less acute than my own, and no less valid, either.

With the past few weeks, my will for acceptance has only become stronger. I have argued with numerous people over gay rights and marriage equality, and I think I've offended every one of them. That wasn't necessarily my intent, but in the heat of the moment, I often barreled ahead anyway. I decided over the next few weeks I would like to start a letter writing campaign. I would like to write my letter of resignation to the LDS Church first. After that, I plan on writing to a number of my family members. As soon as I can figure out a way to get out of this house, I think I am going to resign from my family. I don't think it will be permanent, but if that's the only way to find peace, so be it.

It seems that at this point in my life, I have accomplished nothing. I know my life has been worth something, but anytime I establish anything of permanence, it seems to go away.

I had a discussion with my friend Ashley, and I brought up marriage equality with her because I had just gotten into an argument with my Dad about it and I wanted to know how she felt about it. She made a remark that she was treading lightly around the issue, and I told her not to. I wanted to know exactly how she felt because I need to have friends that are completely supportive of me right now. She was angry that I am willing to throw away 10 years of friendship over something like this since we have been through so much. In my defense, I'm willing to give up my family because of this. Maybe not willing to give them up, but ready to. I don't think she understands that.

I have a lot of things to sort out and understand. The road is rough now, but I also know that in the short term, it's only going to get worse. So, if you're still reading this, and you're still wanting to be my friend, I could really use some love and support right now.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why do you care?

For those who wish to prevent Same-Sex Marriage (SSM),

I sit here on my bed trying to determine how best to approach you. The fact of the matter is, I can't come up with any kind of argument against the ones you bring that you could find valid. You seem to focus on the Bible or the harmful effects of not having one parent of each sex. I am focused simply on finding a way for me to be with the person I love (once I find them), and to have a way to know that we are secure in our relationship, that no one will be able to tell me that I had no right to his life after he dies.

I wish not for the acceptance of churches, or the opportunity to go to Heaven. As an atheist, I have no care for the other-worldly worries you entertain. I simply know that I do not fit within the parameters of what you find acceptable, and as such, have been relegated to the back of the bus. Most of you, I have never met.

I am trying to understand why you have some overriding interest in my life. I know no religion, and yet you seek to legislate your morals so that they are mine as well. You claim that I am a bad parent and will ruin children's lives if I am allowed to raise one. I thought that you were an advocate for parental rights and allowing people to choose how they live their lives and how they raise their children. You say that my relationship is meaningless and has no benefit to society. I wonder why it is that you don't consider that the person I love is the one that makes my life bearable and helps make me a better contributor to society.

While you celebrate because you have again triumphed by using your privilege to override my liberties, I will fight on. The younger generations have greater compassion and recognize that I didn't choose to be gay. They understand that there is life beyond the walls of their own religion.

No matter what it takes, I will fight for the right to be recognized as a human being that deserves the affection of another person, and that it doesn't matter what gender that person is. There is nothing for me to do but to speak and write about how I feel given the cage you put me in. I don't understand why you seem to want into my life, but I will fight to live my life free of the bonds of religion and oppression.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Unconditional Love and Support

Last night I attended a candlelight vigil that was the product of some hardworking LDS Mothers that have gay children. The Mothers are members of Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) and had put the vigil together in response to the LDS Church's overwhelming outpouring of money and volunteers in support of Proposition 8, an initiative amendment that will be on the ballot tomorrow in California. I was in awe of how much these wonderful people remind me of my own Mother's family, other than I have no idea how my Mother's family has taken the news that I am gay. I came out to my parents 5 years ago, and at some point both of my parents have disclosed my sexuality to their brothers and sisters.

The organizers spoke of how they had attended a luncheon a few weeks ago and spent four hours discussing the church's position and the implications it has had on their family; how the divisiveness of this campaign has seeped into their relationship with their church; and how they are astounded that a church that sought protection itself from persecution with events like Haun's Mill and the Missouri Extermination Order signed by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs in their past. Their attempts to sway the vote are reminiscent of the early days of the church in Illinois when Joseph Smith ran for president and the people of Illinois ran them out, in fear of the voting bloc and power they could become. At that point in history, Nauvoo, Illinois was larger than Chicago, and now is just a small sleepy town that sits on the Mississippi River.

After the speeches that helped to lift the spirits of those there, we proceeded to march around the block following the lead of those pioneering Mothers in their journey to protect their children. I spoke to a couple that was in the procession, and told them what my Mother had said as I was leaving. I had mentioned where I was going to her, and her response was, "That's a shame." My disappointment for the reaction of my slightly progressive Mother was hard to suppress and I found myself yearning to have parents like the ones I was marching next to. Their names were Marilyn and Bill (I think), and they have a son that is partnered. They hope for his sake that someday he will be able to get married and enjoy the same legal benefits that they do. After receiving the warm kindness of those who hosted the event, I only felt it proper to help take down the canopy and help load the vehicle that brought all of the materials used. I then spent the rest of the night palling around with some friends and watching "The L Word."

The point of writing this blog though is to express my concern with the LDS Church's viewpoint on the issue. I'm not worried nor depressed by their negative stance toward homosexuality in a gospel sense. I am more discouraged by their lack of appreciation for diversity in the greater environment. As a former Mormon with a highly religious family, I have found that even though I afford them respect regarding their religion, I am not afforded that same respect with my sexual orientation. Discussions about my beliefs and views are rare, as I have tried not to bring up issues that they feel are inappropriate for children. However, this simply causes me stress without achieving any progress in my family's perspective toward gay people. In my view, the Church was the ultimate advocate for unconditional love and understanding in regards to families, but I find that this often isn't the case. Church families sometimes disown and alienate members that are gay or lesbian in their effort to preserve the family's moral sense. Some put the Church ahead of their family, in order to stay on the "straight and narrow path" and avoid influences that might negatively affect their spirituality. I am a product of a family that seeks to remain close, but fails to recognize that I am different and that I might need extra motivation to keep including myself in family activities.

I really wish that they could divorce their view of religion from their familial perspective, although I understand that is akin to removing the roots from a tree. I just wonder why it is that their "eternal" perspective is so much more important than making a difference in this lifetime and accepting the people around you that you could have the greatest influence on.

There is no doubt that this campaign in California has been divisive and will have a dramatic effect on the Church population in California. I think the impact on my own relationships with my family and the people I know have been impacted as well. I am just waiting for Wednesday morning when this particular chapter will be closed. For those who may be struggling with this issue, there are many websites including Mormons For Marriage, Signing For Something, Gays and the Gospel, and The LDS Family Fellowship.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Talking to the Wrong Person

Yesterday, one of my fellow university students incurred my wrath when I learned that they had donated $200 to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. We had just walked out of the keynote address for University Pride week, and this person frequents the LGBT Resource Center where I volunteer. After they informed me of their donation, I asked them why they did that. They responded that it had been a busy week, and that many things were going on in their life, but one of their family friends had approached them about it and stated that it was needed because gay marriage is morally and ethically wrong. I asked them if they self-identified as homosexual, and they responded that they weren't sure at the moment. I then asked if they had gay or lesbian friends. They turned and looked at me, and said something to the effect of they considered me a friend. I then asked if they felt that they should have the right to be in a relationship with a person they cared about. They responded this would only be appropriate if the person were of the opposite sex.


I was enraged, livid and shocked. How could someone that so frequently interacts with the LGBT community do something so callous? I quickly went up to the LGBT Resource Center and began discussing the incident with the people that were there. I erred in that I probably should not have given the person's name, but I felt that since that person frequently visits the Center and that their donation made me feel uncomfortable with their presence in an area I thought was supposed to be a safe place for LGBT persons and their allies, I felt compelled to speak out and ask how I try to welcome that person back into the Center. I told at least 10 people, and although I should feel remorse for doing something like that, I felt justified by the fact that I no longer felt welcome in that space myself when that person was present.


Later in the day, this person approached me and told me how hurt they felt because they didn't feel welcome in the Center after that. Imagine that! They said that they had been ignorant of the issue, and didn't understand what kind of group their money was going toward. They said that school and work were really stressful, and their mind hadn't been in the right place at the time. They tried to make me feel guilty about my telling other people what they had done, when they offered no remorse for their actions, only a plethora of excuses. I know it's caustic of me, but if you don't understand an issue, learn about it. Don't donate based on the opinion of a single person. Gather your wits and intelligence and learn about the things that you are contributing to. Ignorance is no excuse for actions. It only exemplifies that maybe your grasp on life is a little loose.


I am going to the "Gay"-la dinner tonight to end the Pride Week celebration and am wondering about the response I am going to get. I feel a little alienated by some of the people that frequent the Center because of my strong reaction to this person's actions. Some people feel that I should have moderated my actions, and although I do feel that maybe I went a little overboard, I have had a number of other things going on with regards to this Proposition that have biased my outlook. I have problems sleeping at night because I am so worked up over what will happen in the 3 states with amendments against gay marriage this year. Regardless of outcome, I will be happy when this election is over!





Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To Those Opposed To “Gay Marriage”

So, this message goes out to all of those people who are avid proponents of Prop 8, and those that aren't sure where they stand. I want to focus on California and not Arizona or Florida right now because the burden of proof in California lies with those trying to take away an existing right.

First, this is a free country. You have no more of an ability to explain to me why you believe in God, than I do to explain to you why I'm gay. I can't prove to you that I can't change, but you can't prove to me that God exists. I let you worship freely, and you should let me live my life freely, period.

Secondly, there is no scientific proof that homosexual relationships destroy the family. "Traditional" families are a byproduct of the 1950's; when this country was first founded, women were basically owned by their husbands. Anyone want to go back to that? And as far as children go, there are only a small number of studies about the children of gay parents, but they show that those children are usually more well-adjusted than the children of straight parents; imagine that… The only reason why you should feel badly for children of gay parents is because of the way they are treated by kids whose parents teach them to hate gay people.

You can whine all you want about gay people changing America, but it is you who are behind the times. If you would like to hide in a cave because you feel the world is turning into idolatry and wickedness, go ahead. We don't need people to tear us down more than we already have ourselves. As a gay person living in a straight society, it took me years to accept myself; I am not willing to give that up because of some religious ideals that you hold dear, and I deem irrelevant to my life. We both have the right to our respective opinions, and normally I wouldn't harp on you all, but the fact remains that you are trying to take away my rights.

This is a difficult issue for some people, but what I don't understand is why some people want to interfere in the lives of gay people. We already exist, we already have children, please just let us live the way we choose. Do you hear a big ruckus about this in Massachusetts, The Netherlands, or Spain anymore? Spain is highly Catholic, and when it first passed, everyone was outraged. Then the rage died down and people realized it doesn't affect them. The people who are affected are the ones in the stories below.


Please remember, I am not asking you to endorse homosexuality, or to allow it into your church. We are asking for simple legal recognition, not access to temples, synagogues, churches, or mosques.

Please vote No on Prop 8 in California, Prop 102 in Arizona, and Prop 2 in Florida!



Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Introspection of Self

At a time like this, I find myself wondering where I am headed, and where society as a whole will find itself in the next ten years. We are beginning to see the economic effects of "The Decider's" policies, along with the largest budget deficit (Approx. $492 Billion) in the history of this country. Will I be able to weather a downturn in the outlook of this country and help shape the future that I hope we may see here? The answer is yes, but as I am yet young and ill-connected, I find that my influence travels short distances and is centered in the friends I keep.

Rather than moping the fate of a doomed relationship, I have decided instead to turn this blog into an endeavor of excellence, whereby I may learn how better to write, and to speak my mind on such things as politics and issues, as well as whatever goals I challenge myself to.

Over the last few months I have gone through some lengthy introspection that has produced a lot of dissatisfaction, but not a whole lot of results; I guess that just makes me part of the broader problem in America today, but hopefully I can find a way to deviate from the norm and become an exception. I don't suppose that my writings on here will do anyone very much good, but it is always fascinating to discover another person's thoughts.

I have been trying to make my health more of a priority lately; I have an appointment for a physical soon, and I just had braces put on yesterday. I've already had braces once in my life, but I failed to use the retainers properly, thus leaving me with an undesirable gap between my two front teeth. Although it is small, it is nonetheless aggravating to me, and thus, out of my sense of vanity and wanting to better my physical self esteem, I engaged in getting braces again. As a side note, I also felt that they would help in my weight loss goals, as eating food is much more difficult with braces and takes longer, thus reducing the amount of food that may be eaten in a given amount of time.

I am planning a trip to visit Columbia University in October to check out the school and meet with the faculty. I don't know how good my chances of getting accepted are, but the program is small and I'll need every bit of leverage I can muster. I know what I want out of life, at least in respect to my career, and I won't settle for anything less than I feel I can accomplish.

I think this is enough reflection for one day, and I shall be back to visit soon.



Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Beginning

Much like starting over in a new town, creating a new blog that no one knows about is somewhat refreshing. It gives you the chance to begin anew, and develop a persona that might not have been present before. The story I present to you now is one that involves myself though I will err from time to time, making this mostly autobiographical, but partially untrue.

I am 23 years young and I feel that I have a rather interesting life experience so far. Bouts of depression mixed with anxiety and rage have riddled my life, though I try to keep a positive air about me. I love to sing, and have a penchant for entertaining people, whether it be intentional or accidental. There are many intricacies to my life, and over the next while I plan to publish tales of the journeys and tribulations that have coalesced into my life story. Rather than bore everyone with details, I will attempt to intrigue with accounts of my experiences.

A number of things have happened to me throughout the course of my life, and throughout the next while, I plan to publish pieces on a most extraordinary experience I have had. I have had the unfortunate luck to fall in love with a fellow that doesn't seem to understand how deep my affection runs for him, and if he does, has decided that it is not what he wants. At this juncture, I do believe that I still love him, as I am wracked by depressive pains that leave me unable to do anything for moments at a time, but that I must absolve myself of this love through writing about my trials with him.

There is much else to me as well, but for now, I would like to entertain you with the details of an unrequited love, though not in the traditional sense.