May 31, 2013

Get Your Pride On!!!

Pride is here. It is a good time to celebrate--a few years ago I never imagined that I would get to celebrate, let alone participate in any kind of Pride events. Thank heavens that has changed. I posted a link to Seth Anderson's blog on my Facebook wall as a means to get some attention and possibly conversation going, it hope it helps a little--I did get someone at Zumba ask me about it and from the comments, it appears that their impression of Pride are still the debauchery, sinful and sex-driven attitudes--I get it, I used to think the same way so I don't blame them, but I also asked them to give things a chance and see for themselves--we'll see...

I was also talking to someone online who is getting his own wings at being gay and he asked me about what things I thought were important for coming out. I don't know if the things I said meant much to him, or others--those of us who have been out a week, a month, a year or a decade--but today this means a lot to me-but I told him some of the following as one of the things to remember in the process of coming out:

In this day and age, people have a wonderful world and global community at their disposal. Being gay isn't the taboo that it was 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. There are gay people on TV, government, movies, sports, media. More US states have passed gay marriage in the last six months and we are even waiting for decisions to come from the US Supreme Court.

However, it certainly hasn't always been that way and lots of people in all walks of life have fought, lobbied, suffered and have even died (Milk, Stewart and others-- some of whom we might only read obscure references in daily obituaries, or might even mention a partner in an awkward way) have all paved the way and allowed that for us--we need to celebrate them and we need to honor them equally.

Maybe it is just my point of view--but we are living in the best of times--or the worst of times, depending on the side of the fence one sits when it comes to gay issues. I see it as a good thing, if being vocal helps people be aware of the good things that being true to themselves at any of the L-G-B-T-Q (or as someone said: "Whatever") labels or conditions attached to their identity and if it helps someone gain better understanding and awareness (and why not, even gain respect) then it is a very good thing.

So get your rainbow on, celebrate, make good of this great time and just


May 22, 2013

No Place At The Table...

Yesterday afternoon I was riding trax (the lightrail system in Salt Lake City) home and at a certain station, a bunch of missionaries heading out to their assignment got on the train dragging big suitcases. Turns out that instead of being bussed from Provo to the airport, they're pretty much handed a train ticket and sent to catch their flight at the airport on their own--interesting change.
Anyway, once they managed to get in and set their stuff down a couple of them sat nearby and a conversation started almost immediately: where are you going--(these ones are assigned to Cambodia), where are you from, etc, etc, etc. One missionary asked me where I was from and after the normal formalities he asked if I attended church. I said that I don't; he asked if he could know why? I answered "I'm assuming if you're asking me why I don't attend the LDS church and I'll tell you it is because I'm gay and there's no place for me at the table..."
The look on his companion went from friendly to a little guarded to serious, but they both still kept the conversation going, it wasn't many stations before I got off the train, but the one chatty elder kept asking some follow up questions and my answer kept revolving around: "there's no room for me at the LDS table, I don't fit in as a gay individual, much less with a partner on your Plan of Salvation elder, think about it--how do I fit in when all the talk is about mom, dad, 3.2 kids and all happily ever after each Sunday in church?".
I don't think he was prepared to hear that, but he still managed to say, "God still loves you" and I think he was surprised to hear from me that I know that, I've felt God's love and care for me and that my life is good, I manage to live a full life, I contribute to society, I told them I realize that the LDS church is leaps and bounds from where it was even years ago when the only answer I could get to deal with my situation was to get married hoping to heal it, but lots more needed to be done and I told them: "when you two are apostles, please make it happen so I have a place at your table, until then, there's not a lot that interests me there" at which time they smiled, my stop came, I wished them well and got off the train.
I thought about my encounter for a while. Even a few years back I would have never dared tell a complete stranger, let alone a set of LDS missionaries that I am gay and feel as confident expressing myself as anything in life and I honestly don't feel the anxiety I used to feel before talking about it. To me that is a good thing and I've come a long ways; but the bottom line is that indeed there's no place for me at the LDS table--I know a lot of people try to find a place in their own terms perhaps, or based on whatever the church is willing to give them--not me, no thanks--I will NOT fight for a place where all I can hope to do is a figurative place as a server, a cleaner or licking the crumbs that fall on the floor (in the figurative sense again--I don't want church scraps).
It is what it is and I'm quite content with my life to beg for full recognition in a place where it doesn't exist, regardless of what people may want me to believe otherwise and well, I've made a life outside that is just as worthwhile without needing their validation--that is a huge thing for me. I know staying in the church helps a lot of people change it from within and hoping something will change sometime and that is great, but I find no use in is what it is.