Saturday, July 18, 2009

Embarrassed

In my pursuit to become certified as a math teacher in the state of Texas, I've been attending training all this week. We're meeting at one of the area high schools, in the cafeteria, sitting at tables with 5 people each. One of the guys at my table set my gaydar off. As soon as he sat down and we exchanged introductions I began wondering about him. Now, my gaydar isn't all that reliable; but, there is just something about him - his mannerisms, speech patterns, I don't know what - that just gives me these strong feelings about him. As I've gotten to know him better throughout the week, these feelings have intensified
  • mid 30's and never married [ping]
  • fit, looks like he works out regularly [ping]
  • not at all interested in sports [ping]
  • was a theater major in college [ping]
  • good looking [ok, that's just a bonus :)]
There are other good looking guys in the room that don't set my gaydar off - but he does. In talking with him throughout the week, I've realized is that I don't want to tell him that I'm a Mormon. He is, presumably, family - and I'm ashamed to be a Mormon around family.

I'm not really quite sure what to make of this - this is a new experience for me. There have been other situations where my shyness has kept me quiet about my religious affiliation - but this is different. Not that I'm one to tell people about my Mormon-ness at every opportunity. But, it often comes out in regular conversation - such as not drinking coffee, or or my experiences working with teenage youth at church, or my wife and daughter being BYU alumni and a son currently attending BYU-Idaho.

It's not that I'm afraid to let him know, I don't want him to know - I don't want him to think less of me.

A year or so ago - before the LDS church got involved in proposition 8 - I don't think I would have felt this way. In fact, I know I wouldn't. A member of the, now defunct, photography club I once belonged to is openly gay. We met before all of that proposition 8 brouhaha - and I was very open with him about my religious affiliation. Although, I haven't been open with him about my sexuality - which I feel kinda bad about. As far as I know, he still doesn't know about me being gay - even though we still meet up once in a while for lunch to talk photography.

Again, it's that affiliation thing - I can be Mormon, and I can be gay, but I can't be both at the same time. Think about it. I have one, presumably, gay guy whom I'm embarrassed to let him know I'm Mormon - and I have another openly gay guy who knows I'm Mormon but who I'm embarrassed to let him know I'm gay. I just can't mix the two - it's like oil and water. Being gay and Mormon is an enigma.

Here I am thinking I've made tremendous progress - overcoming the shame of being homosexual and accepting myself as a gay man. And then this - maybe I haven't progressed as much as I had hoped.

6 comments:

Evan said...

I hear you. I have gotten more and more careful about revealing my religious background....

The fact is is that there is more and more frustration and anger against the Church from gay communities over something I, and many others, feel had no need to get into.

I haven't told the gay flag football team I participate in that I'm Mormon... I try to avoid it when i'm meeting any gay guys for the first time. But once you throw in something like alcohol into the mix (in a social atmosphere), or once they want to know about your background or your family, it's nearly impossible to avoid.

MoHoHawaii said...

If it ever comes up, you could just say "I'm Mormon, but I disagree strongly with the Church's recent political activism in California." If you keep that in one sentence you defuse the anti-gay assumption.

Maybe you're not really an enigma. You might be an oxy-Mormon. :-)

Silus Grok said...

You _are_ the church to anyone you meet. Why not just say you're Mormon. They'd meet someone that might really break down some assumptions.

:)

Grant Haws said...

"Embarrassed" is definitely the word that comes to mind when somehow my religious upbringing comes up. I think being embarrassed about claiming Mormonism has more to with the church though, and less to do with you.

Bravone said...

I understand you feelings, but tend to agree with Silus. Be the example of a Mormon that the world needs to know.

TGD said...

Many of the people I told generally didn't register it as important. Then I told them I was gay and they either completely forgot about the Mormon part or they felt sorry for me.