Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In or out of the closet?

Gay Mormon's can often face questions and/or be involved in discussions with others who do not know of their proclivities. These questions/discussions can lead to discomfort when you are completely closeted. For example:
  • "That's so gay."
  • "How about those [insert favorite sports team]?"
  • "You're so domestic, you'd make a good wife" (I've gotten this before)
  • "Homosexuals are just a bunch of selfish perverts."
  • Etc.

Those who are single can face additional questions/discussions that are difficult to respond to when closeted. For instance

  • "Are you dating?" "Do you have a girlfriend?"
  • "Let me introduce you to this girl I know."
  • "What's wrong? Don't you like girls?"
  • Etc.

How do you respond to people to whom you do not want to reveal that you're gay but who ask these kinds questions and/or make comments?

Situations like these can make gay Mormon's feel like they are being dishonest with themselves and others? And so the question arises "Should I come out of the closet?" There is no one size fits all answer to this question as everyone's specific situation is unique. However, it is worth discussing:

  • What are some considerations when making such a decision?
  • Who should you come out to?
  • When and how is the best time to do make such an announcement?

Commenting initiated ...


Sean said...

part of me wants people to know. you think that since i have a table cloth for EQ meeting when i'm teaching people would kinda get a clue. Or that I avoid sports talk in general. i mean i drop fairly basic hints like "i listen to broadway music" all the time.

one day maybe someone will guess. i just hope they talk to me about it.

Gimple said...

I found that it is good to be out to a few close friends. They can give you support you need and can joke with you about it. They are also there when you need to talk to someone. Just make sure you choose friends that will be accepting of you no matter what.

I don't think that it is good for everyone to know that you are gay, because being gay is only a small part of who you really are. There is so much more to you! Plus, most girls like gay guys better than straight guys (we actually show them attention and we can talk with them about serious topics).

About the whole question of people trying to set you up, I think that you should take the chance, unless you aren't working towards marriage. You can't stay in the closet of dating women if you want to get married! Get out there and meet women!

So I guess what I am trying to say is that there needs to be a balance in your life. Come out to a couple of friends and stay closeted to most everyone else. You should also try to engage in talk with straight guys and maybe introduce them to better things in life than sports. Go on dates also! I think that's all...

Kengo Biddles said...

You know, I wonder if it's easier for the single mohos to come out to select friends than marrieds. I've only really told other Moho's and Eileen. I've thought about telling Hyrum on a number of occasions, and I haven't, and I don't know if I could ever bring myself to do it, either.

Abelard Enigma said...

That's a good point. The thought of telling my children terrifies me. But, should it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, gimple, for reminding us that being gay is only a small part of who we are. I would agree that any challenge we have in life is only a small part of who we are. Yet, how often these challenges can so profoundly affect us as we receive the blessings that come from dealing with them!

In or out? Well, I guess the question is best asked, "What is served by coming out?" I think your reply implies that we should follow the spirit on this one. It is a highly personal matter. It is a matter that can affect those around us, including family, deeply. Do we want those around us affected so deeply by something that is, as you say, only a small part of who we really are? Please don't get me wrong -- I do not mean to downplay the challenge of being gay in the church.

I don't go about telling my other, and just as private challenges to many around me. I have a few close friends I vent to. I do engage in such discussions when the spirit directs me. Personally, I feel sexuality is a very private affair, no matter what the inclination in this area. As such, it requires the direction of the spirit as to when and with whom we will discuss sexual matters. So, the question for me becomes, am I living in such a manner that I can be directed and guided by the spirit in such things? I think our church leaders are a good example of how we can discuss sensitive topics in a sensitive manner. Thanks. Anonymous

Max Power said...

I'm starting to not agree with the staying closeted or only coming out to a few people. I used to feel that way, but "times they are a changin'."

I'm more in favor of disclosure because the general populus of the church is never going to learn how to deal with homosexuality in the church unless they are confronted with knowing someone who leans that way. As Mohos, we can talk all we want about being more accepted in the church, better guided in the church, blah, blah, blah. But unless people (the majority of members in the church) are forced to give that love and acceptance, they will never learn it. Personally, I'm becoming more and more in favor of lots of people knowing that I am gay.

Max Power said...

(I pushed the publish button too early on the last comment)

If you/we are sick and tired of hearing the phrases:

That's so gay.
You'd make a good wife.
Homos are just a bunch of selfish perverts.

then people need to know who we are and that we have feelings that get hurt when they make thoughtless statements. I have several friends at church that are the worst of the worst for making gay jokes, and personally I'm getting sick of it. Gays are people too!

Kengo Biddles said...

Gays are people too, but is it worth being ostracized and possibly hate-crimed by the imperfect saints who won't see past your sexual preference to the fact that you're a worthwhile human being and son of a God, just like them?

Blasting out of the closet is not good. Helping people understand us over time is.

playasinmar said...

Max is 100% right. We can't change peoples hearts and minds until they know who we are.

Abelard Enigma said...

I understand what Max and playasinmar are saying; and, I'm starting to agree with it.

But, I also agree with Kengo. We shouldn't blast out of the closet and be in-your-face gay. Perhaps we need to accomplish this one saint at a time rather than one ward at a time.

Besides, it is so warm and cozy in my closet. And the world on the other side of the closet door is scary.

Max Power said...

Agreed. I am not an in-your-face type of person anyway. I'm pretty laid back. I don't believe in forcing the issue on anyone.

I kind of look at it more like how we're taught to spread the gospel, not be force or loud ranting and such, but through making friends with people and when the time is right, sharing it with them.

I can't decide if it's more scary to invite a friend to listen to the missionaries, or tell them I'm gay. :P

Abelard Enigma said...

I can't decide if it's more scary to invite a friend to listen to the missionaries, or tell them I'm gay

Hmmmm, I don't think I can decide either.

Or how about inviting a gay friend to listen to the missionaries?