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.