The idea started out as guidelines for gay youth; however, I personally feel it needs to be more inclusive to be applicable to everyone of all ages. Someone also pointed out that if you are producing something targeted at people under 18 then that opens up a whole can of worms that we probably don't want to get into.
Personally, I feel we need something that is produced by those of us who live with this every day. There are many questions we've all asked ourselves. For someone who is just starting down this path, what is it we want them to know so that they can learn from our experience?
In an effort to get this discussion back on track and to move forward, it was suggested that we first need a list of potential topics. So, I want to throw out a few.
OK, you have finally accepted that you are gay. Now what?
- Reconciliation with church doctrine
How does one reconcile being gay with church doctrine?
- Activity in the church
How does a gay person remain active in the church?
- In or out of the closet?
There is no one size fits all answer to this question as everyone's specific situation is unique. However, I do think that a discussion of things to be considered when making such a decision would be helpful. Also, a discussion of who you should come out to and when is the best time to do so:
Related to this topic, how do you respond to people whom you do not want to reveal that you're gay but who ask questions and/or make comments?
- Brothers & sisters/Children
- Extended family members
- Anybody you meet on the street
- Are you dating? Do you have a girlfriend? Let me introduce you to this girl I know.
- You're so domestic, you'd make a good wife (I've gotten this before)
- Homosexuals are just a bunch of selfish perverts
- "that's so gay"
- ... and the list goes on and on
- Acceptable relationships with other people of the same gender (gay or straight)
Often, a gay person feels a need to bond with members of their same gender in some way.
- How does you find someone to be a companion?
- How much should be revealed to a close friend?
- How much touching (hugs, pats, etc.) is acceptable?
- What are some good activities to engage in?
- What are warning signs that things are going too far?
- If the friend is straight, how do you make sure they don't get freaked out?
- Heterosexual marriage
A lot of gay men (and women) are, or have been, married. Some are successful, but many end in divorce. What considerations are there for a gay person contemplating marriage?
- What needs to be disclosed? And what is best left secret?
- What should be disclosed before marriage?
- What should be disclosed to parents and/or family members?
- Intimacy between a husband and wife when one of them is gay
Sometimes a marriage just isn't working and a divorce is the best option for all concerned. What considerations are there for someone who finds themselves in such a situation. How can such a separation be amicable? If there are children involved then how can both parents remain involved in the lives of their children?
Is it possible for two gay people of the same gender to be 'boyfriends' or 'girlfriends' while maintaining a platonic relationship? Personally I believe it is. The problem arises when it is viewed as unacceptable in the environment where they live. This forces them to seek out companionship in secret which invites temptation. A heterosexual couple would face similar temptations if they were forced to keep their relationship secret.
If we accept the premise that a platonic dating relationship can be acceptable then what are the boundaries? Can it include things like:
- Hand holding
- Sleep overs
That should be enough to get this ball rolling.