Monday, August 20, 2012
This Anti-Gay Culture Has To Stop!
Sorry I haven't written in a while. I've been busy with acting projects and some freelance writing I've been doing for an online marketing company. I guess that's a good thing that I am busy and working, but I just have been too exhausted to blog.
My current acting gig ends in three weeks (and, yes, I am counting the days) which means I will soon get too weeks with Jonah, after which I have another six week gig. It's great to be working, but I sure miss my husband, which is why I actually decided not to audition for any Christmas shows so that I can actually spend the holidays with Jonah for a change. We'll both be unemployed, but I really feel it's what I need to do, and I'm keeping faith that we'll be covered financially
What I really want to talk about today is this culture that leads people to believe it's wrong or a bad thing to be gay and the damage that it does. This week I found out something about a friend of mine that I went to high school with. When we went to school together and I was deeply, so very deeply, in the closet, I always thought my friend seemed gay.
We lost touch after high school, and years later when I worked as a substitute teacher I reconnected with him when I substitute taught for him. He was, by all accounts, a very popular and well-loved teacher. He still seemed very gay to me, so I was kind of (sad?) to discover a photo of him and his wife and kids. He'd followed the traditional Mormon path, and I wondered if he was happy and fulfilled, but I shrugged it off.
This week I discovered that after 12 years of teaching at the same school, he'd resigned a few months ago after the police questioned him about some inappropriate texts he'd exchanged to a male student soliciting sex. The police also discovered pornography unrelated to the texts on his school computer. The pornography in and of itself was not illegal, but because it was on school property, it was.
I have little doubt my friend is guilty of the charges. Interestingly enough, I also have a friend who's in my current show who was once my other friend's student, and he said he, himself, after he had graduated, was a recipient of an inappropriate text from the teacher asking my friend to perform a sex act on him.
My actor friend, who's straight, but who liked and admired my teacher friend very much, was not offended by the text, but was concerned that my teacher friend was acting out in an unhealthy and potentially damaging way, and when he text back telling my teacher friend that he should talk to somebody about his sexual inclinations, my teacher friend wrote back and tried to dismiss the whole thing as a joke or a misunderstanding.
My actor friend also said he was not surprised by the allegations concerning my teacher friend, saying that my teacher friend had always been maybe a little too chummy with some of his male students.
That being said, I don't think my teacher friend has ever crossed the line beyond innuendo or inappropriate communications with his students. I mean to say that, as far as I know, he's never had a sexual relationship with any of his students. Still, as a teacher, he should have known better than to even send inappropriate messages to any of his students.
But I guess my point is that it makes me sad that my friend has risked his career, his reputation, and his family because of his actions, and I wonder if being gay was considered a normal, acceptable life in LDS culture if my friend would have felt the need to marry his wife at all or to seek out ways of satisfying his same-sex cravings.
This week I also came across a fellow gay Mormon blogger who wrote of possibly committing suicide, and a day later another gay friend of mine who grew up Mormon posted similar thoughts on his Facebook status. At this time, I don't know how either of them are or if they are alive and well. And I am worried.
Jonah was worried enough about the blogger that he felt inspired to write Josh Weed, who I have talked about before, and Josh wrote a very heartfelt plea to the blogger and many of Josh's readers have sent words of encouragement as well. Hopefully, our blogger friend is okay and will find the help he needs.
My Facebook friend has had a history of drug problems and has had a difficult relationship with his mother and, like I said, I don't even know if he's still alive. I wonder if all these issues could be avoided if there wasn't such a stigma in LDS culture (as well as other religious cultures) over being gay or acting on gay feelings.
Another dear friend of mine was telling me a story the other day about a gay friend of hers who went to Seven Peaks water park with some friends simply to have a good time. Instead they were bullied by some homophobic guys who called them names and physically threatened them. My friend was so upset by this, and while she wasn't blaming the LDS Church for what these homophobic guys did, the incident did make her tired of being so passive about defending gay rights and made her second-guess her membership in a church culture that creates antagonism against gay people.
My friend hasn't been active in some time, and gay rights issues has been a large reason why, but now she is considering formally resigning from the Church, and I feel sad that the Church loses a lot of good people because of this issue. My friend even expressed anger that the Church had excommunicated someone like me. She said, "You're somebody who actually makes Mormonism look good to me still, and yet they kicked you out, and that pisses me off." I know Jonah feels the same way.
I have another friend who's family kicked him out because he was gay. He now doesn't even seem to believe in God. And he's no exception. I know many friends raised in the Mormon Church who have antagonistic feelings toward their families, religion, and God because of the way they have been treated with regard to the issue of homosexuality.
I have another friend who's active in the Church, but losing faith in it largely because of the homosexual issue. She's really struggling between wanting to remain an active member and how she feels about gay rights issues. She is also bothered that her tithing is going towards an organization that actively fights against gay marriage. Will the Church lose her, too?
Because of this issue, too many good people are losing faith in God and faith in religion. Too many families are being torn apart. Too many young people are homeless or taking their own lives. Too many people are acting out in inappropriate ways - doing drugs, engaging in dangerous or promiscuous sex, drinking too much, viewing pornography, hooking up behind their spouses' backs, etc. Too many people are entering into marriages hoping it will fix their problems, and then so many of those marriages are left in heartache and destruction.
It has to stop! I've seen more problems than good result from the Church's stand on this issue, and I fail to understand the "sin" in monogamous gay relationships. I really don't see it. Heaven knows every gay person I know, including myself, feels that being gay was never a choice, and that trying to not be gay caused more problems and damage than coming out of the closet and embracing their homosexuality has. Unfortunately, what has happened is that their experiences within the Church have left the residual consequences of damaged self-esteem, a lack of belief in (and sometimes a hate) for religion and God, depression, family estrangement, and acting out in unhealthy and destructive ways. Anti-gay people sometimes put the blame on being gay, but I think a lot of it comes from how the gay person's religion and culture has treated them and what they've taken away from it.
I've been lucky in many ways. I had very good and compassionate religious leaders and a supportive and loving family, but many of my friends have not been so lucky, and while many are happy, religion has left a bad taste in some of their mouths, and I think it's sad that the very people and organization that are supposed to be loving and nurturing them have left them feeling empty and unloved. And I, too, have certainly had my years of depression, self-loathing, angst, and feelings of suicide.
There is nothing wrong with being gay or two people of the same sex loving one another. I fail to see the sin. I don't see how mutual love can be wrong or wicked, and as I've stated many times in my blog, I am much happier where I am now than I was when I was trying to fight against my sexuality.
The sooner we stop believing homosexuality is wrong or evil, I think the healthier gay people and their families and relationships with God and religion will be.