Monday, April 9, 2007

Gormans, and MoHo's and HoMo's, Oh My!

I've been intrigued by the recent discussion of the origins of the term "MoHo" on Tito's and -L-'s blogs (See Just what *is* a 'moho'? and MoHo). I feel like I'm on the cusp of history. I can envision myself one day, sitting on a porch in a rocking chair, telling all of the young gay Mormon whippersnapper's gathered around me saying [old person voice] "yeah, I was one of the early MoHo's. I remember once when another MoHo ..."

I had, mistakenly, attributed the term to -L- simply because his blog is where I first saw it used (in the context of the "MoHo Book Club"). I'm glad to be corrected in my misunderstanding. We even know the exact time the term was coined (June 2, 2006 at 3:38 pm). How many terms that we use in our everyday conversation can we say that about? (I just had this visual pass through my mind. A sort of Iwo Jima scene, only it's a bunch of guys in pink shirts raising a rainbow flag. Oh, and the flag has has the Moroni statue superimposed on it. Sorry, I hope nobody is offended - that's just how my brain works sometimes as it processes information)

Although, I will have to admit that I'm disappointed that "MoHo" is intended to refer only to true believing Latter Day Saint homosexuals. I mean, how am I supposed to refer to all of my friends here in the Mormon queerosphere? My MoHo, FoMoHo, HoMo, and CuMHo friends? (OK, scratch that last one. I was thinking of Cultural Mormon Homosexuals, but ... well, nevermind)

Personally, I think we need a term that is more inclusive. One that includes homosexuals who are:
  • True believing Latter Day Saints
  • Cultural Mormon's
  • No longer associated with the LDS church, but who value their Mormon heritage

I liked Moho. It's concise and it's catchy. And it doesn't bring to mind preconceived, and incorrect, notions when people hear it (like "Gay Mormon" does). But, I will respect Tito's wishes and try to only use it in the intended context.

So, I guess it's back to the drawing board. Gormon doesn't work for me. MoHo & HoMo doesn't work for me. Maybe trying to derive a term from other words is too restrictive. Perhaps we should just invent a word (like 'glirk') and then define it however we want (or, then again, maybe not)

This requires way too much thinking for a Monday morning. Is there an Etymologist in the house?


playasinmar said...

I can think of ten words right off the top of my head that, today, have new meanings. Definitions that are far different from their original meanings.

That's the nature of the English language. The history of "MoHo" is interesting but history, as they say, is in the past.

drex said...

We could consider MoHo the true original term, and Moho the adapted and evolved form (referring to all cultural Mormon homosexuals). Because evolution of terms is an accepted occurance, and it has certainly happened here.

drex said...

Also, I laughed at this entry. A lot.

Mormon Enigma said...

Let me guess: Gay, faggot, queer, pansy, fairy ... - am I close?

Even the word 'gay' has taken on a new meaning among teenage males ("it's so gay when teenagers use that word").

playasinmar said...

"Gay, faggot, queer, pansy, fairy"

Yep. I suppose there are all sorts of things homosexuals of days past have co-opted. Even refracted light is part of the cause.

"Faggot used to mean a bundle of wood, fags were cigarettes, queer used to just mean strange, and fairies used to grant us wishes and turn our pumpkins into racecars." -Seanbaby

Mormon Enigma said...

I suppose there are all sorts of things homosexuals of days past have co-opted

Did the homosexuals co-opt these words? Or were they co-opted by the homophobes of the day?

Tito said...

The thing is, there already IS a term that seems to refer to all three of those demographics: gay Mormon. That's the term that's been used for years up to this point. The problem Ren and I found was that it's all-inclusiveness--even though it seemed to more often imply those who were living contrary to Church teachings--was confusing. The term that is generally used to refer to those who are committed to the Church is "SSA struggler," and, again, that term makes my body hurt. Just like "gay" was the moniker originally adopted for those subscribing to the gay socio-political ideologies and identities, we needed some other non-"strugger" moniker for committed LDS. And "moho" made the break. It's pretty simple actually; I don't think it's been that complicated up to this point. "Gay Mormons" is all inclusive, and "moho" the faithful, believing niche.

Tito said...


words *may* evolve, but they don't *have* to. It's not inevitable. If we're not sloppy with the meaning, they can easily retain the originally intended connotation.

Mormon Enigma said...

gay Mormon. That's the term that's been used for years up to this point

I liked the term "MoHo" because it doesn't have the word "gay" in it (which I don't personally mind, but it carries with it all sorts of negative connotations in some people)

playasinmar said...

"words *may* evolve, but they don't *have* to"

That's true.

"It's not inevitable."

That might be true. (Spanish was Latin at one point.)

"If we're not sloppy with the meaning, they can easily retain the originally intended connotation."

I don't think it's a matter of being sloppy, at least, not anymore. The connotation has changed. It happens to words throughout languages all over the world across history so it isn't an attack on your creativity. It certainly isn't an attack on you.

But the original connotation isn't the only definition anymore. If "MoHo" makes Websters' it might not even be #1 or #2.