Now, I know, he was just being a smart aleck; and, I just ignored his comment and moved on with the lesson. But, this isn't the first time I've heard him say little comments like that. Not really homophobic per se, but homo-centric. And, I hear these kinds of comments from him much more than I do the other young men in our ward. As I was driving back home this morning, I got to wondering if we have another MoHo in the works - he does 'fit the profile' in some ways.
- Not real sports oriented. He likes playing church basketball; but, he jokes about how bad he is at it.
- Sings in the high school choir.
- Gets along well with girls; but, to my knowledge, has never had a real girlfriend nor been on a real date. Mind you, this young man will be turning 19 in a couple of months (his parents held all of their children back a year; so, he'll be 19 when he graduates).
- Is the youngest child in a large family and has several older brothers. According to "Medical News Today", Having An Older Brother Raises A Male's Chances Of Being Gay.
- Statistically, at least one of the young men in our ward is gay.
I know that none of this really means anything. He could be straight as an arrow - and just happens to have an affinity for rainbows. The thing is, if he is gay, he may not even realize it yet. His little homo-centric jabs may be him subconsciously trying to convince himself, and others, that he isn't gay.
If I were to express this to anyone else in my ward, I'm sure I would be met with vehement denials. He is one of our stronger youth and is well liked by everyone. He is already having discussions with the bishop and stake president about how soon he can put his papers in so that he can leave on a mission soon after high school graduation. But ... how many returned missionaries do we have here in the Mormon queerosphere? [raises hand] And, how many of them accepted they were gay before they left on their mission? [puts hand down]
I feel kind of bad thinking these things about him. I work a lot with our youth; and, I just don't look at them 'that way'. But, on the other hand, if he, or another of our young men, does turn out to be gay - I want to be there for them. I want to be the church member who will befriend him, even if no one else will.
The reality is: I'm probably not the only queer in my ward. According to Ron Schow, statistically there are 5-6 of us in each ward (I suspect the rate is even higher in singles wards). But, other than the fact that we like people of our own gender, we are just like everyone else. If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
OK, so I'm getting a little melodramatic - but I'm gay, I can do that. Oh wait, am I flaunting my gay attributes?