Playing victim

Yesterday and today I have viewed hundreds of posts from Facebook friends and others complaining about yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions. They are all crying that they are losing their rights. They are playing the victims in this fight for equality. While I do believe that most of them deep down believe that they are being persecuted, I would like them to try practicing a little bit of empathy for a day. Imagine being harassed your whole life for being queer. How would you feel if you were reminded on a daily basis in your local newspapers that you are a genetic mistake? What would life be like for you if you were told that you would never be allowed to spend your life with the person you love?

I am disappointed that the Deseret News is leading the charge of playing the victim in this historic time of human rights. Here’s a sample of some editorials that the newspaper published today:

DN1

I can’t help but cringe at the title of the first article. It’s disingenuous to cry about stereotypes when a lot of the rhetoric against “the gay lifestyle” is saturated with stereotypes. I was hoping that the LDS church and it’s media outlets would take the higher road after yesterday’s announcements. Unfortunately, my expectations of a call for more civil dialogue and better treatment of all of our neighbors has been absent from the comments.

Being passive aggressive on Facebook

If there’s one characteristic many LDS faithful share in common, is their ability to share an idea in a passive aggressive manner. So many of my LDS friends posted links to the church’s Proclamation to the World on their wall. All of those posts made me chuckle, but the comments that accompanied many of them made were like secret punches in my gut. The comments like “… so there,” “‘Enough said,” “They’ll get there’s on judgment day,” and “I’ll live by the higher law!”   Those comments have a subtle, prideful tone and convey a disdain for their homosexual neighbors who are doing their best to live good lives and wish to be treated with the God-given dignity they deserve.

So much good being spoken

On the flip side, there have been so many comments of support to match or even outnumber the negative that I have seen. So many people are coming to the realization that homosexuality is not a choice, and it’s time we start doing what we can to get rid of the stigma of being gay. The winds are changing direction, and it’s an exciting time to live.

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My friend Noah

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1061350162/noah-clean-prison-or-dead

This is my friend Noah. He is coming to terms with substance abuse and searching for help to overcome his demons. He desperately wants to find a good set of gay friends who don’t turn to drugs for their escape or entertainment. I hope I can help.

When young gay men come to terms with their sexual orientation they search for others with whom they can relate.  Too often, the only people they can find that they feel are accepting also spend a lot of times drinking, smoking, and illicit drug use.  These young men feel like they have to choose between sticking with their church and feeling doomed to a lonely life or becoming an alcoholic, drug-using party animal. Too many pick the destructive option. Why do we leave them just the two choices?

I haven’t known Noah for long, but I do consider him my friend. I want to welcome him to my friend circles and help him find a healthy group of friends who aren’t on that destructive path too many go down. I may be setting myself up for heartbreak, but I can’t not reach out to him. After all, he wants those same healthy relationships that we call crave.

Waiting

I will tell you the truth, I expected to come home from work today and hear about a monumental decision declared by the United Supreme Court. It didn’t happen, so I guess I will have to wait until Thursday. I am tired of waiting.

While I want a decision made now, I am still mixed on what I want their ruling to be. I am torn between what the the LDS leaders say about the issue of gay marriage and having a ruling that will eventually lead to an end of the bigotry and hatred that I and millions of other men and women have endured because of our sexual orientation. Laws obviously won’t put an end to all of the hate, but it can accelerate people toward better understanding and healing.

 

I want to find someone who want to spend the rest of his life with me. I am at that point in life when I have accepted that that person should be a man. Right now in the United States, that cannot legally happen and allow me to follow my moral conviction of having such a relationship outside of marriage. I am ready for the nation, my community, and my church to allow me to enjoy that highest and holiest of relationships. It’s time.

Chapter 10 – Outed at Eleven

As we progressed to the upper grades of elementary school, recess increasingly became the time for boys to show off their athletic skills while the girls watched and gossiped on the sidelines. Occasionally, the girls would organize their own games, and a few would work their way into the boys’ competitions. I was never fortunate enough to be picked to play on any of the teams, so I spent most of my recess time with the sideline girls.

Late March meant that we were soon going to participate in the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge. I wanted so badly to reach the top level this year–something that had never happened in the past. I did pretty well on most challenges, but it was the 40-yard dash that had always held me back. No matter how hard I tried, I was always about two seconds slower than the requirements.

I was sitting with Kathy and Tiffany; we were talking and watching a softball game. Corey Wood hit a fly ball far over the reach of the boys playing in the outfield. He casually tossed the bat behind him and started with a slight jog to first base. As he turned past each base, he picked up speed until he was sprinting towards home.

“He’s so fast,” Kathy said.

“I wish I could run like that,” I said, not thinking the others were listening.

“You can,” Kathy replied.

“What?”

“You can run as fast as Corey.”

“Nah.”

“Sure you can,” she gave me a small punch in the shoulder. “You just need to practice.”

We argued for a little while. Kathy insisted that if I practiced enough, I could get faster; I told her I didn’t believe her. She told me I need to believe in myself; I told her I believe that I am too slow. The truth is, I enjoyed her encouragement, and I kept arguing to keep her going.

“I can’t even do the 40-yard dash in less than 20 seconds.”

“Sure you can,” Kathy said. “It just takes practice.”

“But…”

“Why don’t you two go practice right now,” Tiffany interrupted our banter.

Kathy and I looked at each other and laughed.

“The start and finish lines are right over there,” Tiffany said, pointing to the blacktop area behind us. “You can race each other.”

line divider

“But we don’t have a stopwatch,” I yelled at Tiffany, as she turned around and faced us from the finish line.

“Doesn’t matter. You’re just practicing, right?”

“That’s right,” Kathy punched my shoulder again. “Just a practice. Let’s go.”

Kathy pulled her dark, black hair into a ponytail, placed her hands on the starting line in front of her, and put her feet in a racing start position. I awkwardly did the same.

“Ready!” Kathy yelled to Tiffany.

Tiffany raised both hands and yelled “Ready… set… go!”

She dropped her hands, Kathy started running, and I followed a split second behind her. I ran as fast as I could, but every time I thought I would catch up with Kathy, she would pick up speed just a little. I think she crossed the finish line a full two seconds before me.

“Nice race,” she said. “Let’s do it again.”

The look I gave her was meant to say no, but she just smiled and skipped back to the starting line. I felt obligated to follow. We assumed our starting positions, and Tiffany started our next race. Kathy was even faster this time, and Nick was waiting with Tiffany at the finish line. How did he get there so fast?

“Way to go, chump,” Nick said in between laughs. “Get beat by a girl often?”

“Shut up, Nick!” Kathy said.

“I’m not surprised, though. After all, you are just one of the girls.”

“Let’s go,” I said to Tiffany and Kathy. I hated confrontations, and it was easier for me to just walk away.

I started walking to the outside drinking fountain with my friends, and Nick followed. He continued laughing.

“Where you going?” he asked. “To paint your fingernails? That’s what girls do together.”

“Shut up,” Kathy said. She turned and stepped between my persecutor and me.

“He’ll never be your boyfriend, Kathy. You know why?”

“I don’t want him as a boyfriend!”

“Well, that’s good, because it will never happen because he likes boys.”

I froze. Did Nick really just say that? How did he know? I wasn’t really sure if I knew. I mean, I had noticed some strange habits when I watched a football or basketball game. In the past I paid attention to the games, but recently, I had started thinking about how muscular and handsome the athletes were. I told myself I was just admiring the types of physiques I would like for myself.

“I told you to shut up, Nick!” Kathy said. This time she slugged him in the shoulder.

“Let’s go,” I said. “It’s not worth it.”

“Just like a faggot to run away!” Nick shouted as we went through the doors to the school.

The three of us walked in silence until we reached the restrooms. We stopped. Tiffany and Kathy looked at each other, hoping to come up with something to say. I looked down, held out my hands, and pretended to inspect them.

“I need to wash my hands,” I said.

“Okay,” the two girls said in unison.

I surveyed the room once I entered to make sure I was alone, entered one of the three empty stalls, shut the door, and cried until recess ended.

 

Fathers’ Day 2013

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad. I have learned so much from this man, and I love him for all that he has done and sacrificed for his family. As he gets on in years, I worry about how much time I will have left with him, but I hope to make the most of the days, weeks, and years we have left.

Three articles on Father’s Day

The Deseret News had three articles that caught my eye today. I couldn’t help but share my thoughts on the various topics.

Does anyone really not believe in the importance of fathers?

The first article, In our opinion: Why fathers matter, reminds us of how important fathers are in our lives. I agree with the basic ideas that were mentioned in this article, but I couldn’t help but think about the hidden agenda of the editorial board‘s words. As SCOTUS is coming close to declaring their opinions on Proposition 8 and DOMA, this article is one more reminder that the editorial board and the owners of the newspaper are against the legalization of gay marriage.

Their real message comes in the opening sentence; “As parts of our society attempt to redefine what a family is, the concept of Father’s Day may appear to some as a quaint holdover from a simpler time.” It’s insulting to claim that proponents of gay marriage don’t care or recognize the importance to fathers. I agree that stable fathers and mothers in the home are important to a child’s emotional, spiritual, and physical development. What I wonder about is if one father in the home can be so good for a child’s healthy growth, couldn’t two fathers be even better? What if those two fathers made sure the children had a regular female, motherly figure in their children’s lives? That would be an even stronger benefit to the children, wouldn’t it?

News Flash! Most Men Aspire to be fathers.

I have always wanted to be a father, but the reality is that opportunity has probably passed me by. It’s a loss that I feel every day of my life. I am reminded of what I do not have every day at work and every weekend at church. It almost feels like I am mourning for the family that I never had a real chance of having.

Are gays and lesbians really less religious?

I couldn’t help but question this article, which shows how much less religious the lgbtq population is. I still consider myself quite religious, and I still attend church every Sunday. I know other gay and lesbian friends who do the same thing. The truth is, we aren’t as open about our orientation, so our numbers weren’t likely counted in the poll.

I know there have been many times when I have been tempted to just give up and leave my church. Every Sunday I hear somebody make an uninformed and somewhat hateful comments about those radical gays who want to ruin families. I haven’t given up yet, but I can understand why so many others have. What this poll did not cover was how many of those who claim to not be religious came from a religious background. I think the numbers would be alarming, and churches need to know what their congregations are doing to lose such an important number of members.

Revisiting my thoughts on Fathers’ Day

Perhaps you noticed my differing use or absence of he apostrophe when mentioning today’s holiday. It was a conscious effort on my part. I used the plural possessive some times because the day belongs to all fathers across the nation. I used the singular possessive, because I think the day can be extremely personal for each father enjoying his day with his children. Finally, I used the plural Fathers Day because it is a day for us all to honor the great fathers in our lives. Thoughts?

Visit last year’s blog post to see my thoughts about the day. I think I feel an even stronger yearning to be a father this year. I can’t mourn what I don’t have, and I will enjoy my day with my own father, mother, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. I will cherish that time with them, but a little bit of me will feel alone while there.