"and these days it seems they all have to have a gay character too."The thing is, until that last statement, I was pretty much in agreement with everything being said - we have a bazillion channels and nothing to watch. About the only thing I watch on network television these days is the local news; most of my TV time is spent with the Food Network and SciFi channel.
So, why does that closing comment bother me?
A couple of years ago, while still in deep denial, I very well could have said something similar myself. But, now that I've accepted my gayness, I am bothered by comments which besmirch fellow members of my gay family. So, I really cannot blame him for his comment - I can only pray that the Lord will forgive him for he knows not what he does.
We have a young man in our ward, who recently received his mission call, come to a ward activity dressed in shorts, knee high striped socks, and bowling shoes. When someone commented that he looked gay, he smiled and said "I can't be gay - I'm going on a mission." I wanted to correct him to say that you can, in fact, be gay and still serve a mission, you just can't act on your gay attractions. But, I didn't, I just sat there in silence, like I always do.
While we are generally not as blatantly homophobic as some other churches, it is part of our Mormon culture to diss homosexuals. But, I find myself wondering how might the saints change their tune if only they could come to know the people I've become acquainted with over the last 18 months here in the Mormon queerosphere (both those who remain active in the church as well as those who have chosen to leave the church behind). It's easy to denigrate homosexuals when they are this amorphous group of people defined by their proclivity for promiscuity and generally hedonistic lifestyle. But, once you put a face to us then you begin to realize that most of us are not like that. We are the person living in your neighborhood, the guy standing behind you in line at the grocery store, the person in the car next to yours at the traffic light, even the person sitting next to you in church. We are real people - real people with real feelings.
When I hear comments by my fellow saints disparaging homosexuals, I don't feel anger; I don't feel resentment. The emotion which best describes my feelings is sadness - I just want to look them straight in the eye and ask "do you really hate me that much?"
I am also saddened when I read comments by visiting general authorities in California saying things like "same gender marriages is one of his [satan] greatest evils." Is same sex marriage really that bad? Is it worse than abortion? More degenerate than child and spousal abuse? More evil than pornography? I'm sorry, but I just can't accept that - so I disregard such statements. What else can I do? Am I supposed to accept, at face value, statements which leave me feeling a stupor of thought? Are our leaders really so out of touch that they don't realize how many of us are sitting in church each Sunday, how many of us are attending stake conferences? Do they not know how much it hurts to hear them say such things - even for those of us who choose to not participate in that part of our gay heritage? Do they not understand how we have to constantly reaffirm to ourselves intellectually that certain things are wrong - knowing that, in our hearts, they don't feel wrong - and that hearing them say such things serves only to weaken our resolve? Or perhaps they do understand ... and losing us is merely collateral damage in the fight against evil.
So, I'm feeling a little melancholy this week. Perhaps it is exasperated by my recent expenditure of hundreds of dollars to fix the A/C in my office, or because my nearly brand new car is in the shop being fixed having been rear-ended by a driver who then fled the scene, or because it's June in Texas and it's just dang hot. But, I'm praying for my fellow saints and for my leaders, that God may touch their hearts so that they can feel a little compassion for the queers in their midst.