Friday, December 18, 2009

The Experiment, Part 2

Part 2: The Mormon

For the first time in a long while, things were feeling oddly natural despite being terrified at the possibility of a same-sex relationship my entire life. (When I was 10, this homophobia caused me to stop watching Ellen’s sitcom when she came out). Giving Marcelo my number was a huge step.

While I’d never had the gumption or the desire to do the same with a woman after 23 years of mental and emotional conditioning, this felt like a step in the right direction. He gave me his number and we’ve kept in touch although we’ve never managed to be in the same city at the same time.

Gate SignI saw him off to his gate and made my way over to mine only to find that it had been delayed a few hours. This being the first time I’d ever flown alone, I became a little apprehensive. Making some effort to be social and distract myself, I entered a couple of conversations and put myself at ease when the woman at the ticket counter made the announcement, “Flight 816 to Canada has been cancelled please form a single file line to the ticket counter so that we can resolve this issue and get you home.”

As travelers tend to do, a swarm of passengers immediately accosted the counter, leaving the more laidback behind.

“I can’t believe this,” I heard. “Now I have to let my husband know I won’t make it to our anniversary dinner.”

“Well, Steph, at least he won’t miss the Maple Leafs game now,” a man said chuckling to himself.

“Cut it out, Carson.” Another man cut in, “She hasn’t seen him in three weeks.”

“And this kid’s probably got a girlfriend waiting for him,” Carson said, pointing at me.

Aware that he’d noticed my eavesdropping, I said, “No. Nobody’s waiting for me….anymore.” I laughed awkwardly and they left it at that.

Carson and Steph (on their way back from Ecuador) along with Wallace (a quiet executive in the Cayman Islands) introduced themselves and expressed their delight that I was visiting their country to conduct research.

“Where are you from?” Steph asked.


“Ah. Mormonlandia, eh?” Carson joked.

The time had come to be open about another part of my identity. “The last time I was on a plane, I was actually coming back from a mission in South America.”

They had their fair share of questions regarding polygamy, the Word of Wisdom, and mission life. They also shared admiration for their Mormon neighbors and the temples they had seen. Over Queens Court Hotelthe next 12 hours, I answered these questions as we enjoyed a series of adventures—finding a cab, getting a hotel (see left) at a reasonable price, chatting over dinner in Chinatown, and making the 4 am run to another airport.

And, as a gesture of their Canadian hospitality, they refused to let me pay for anything. “You’re our guest,” Steph assured me. Regardless of my race, religion, or sexual orientation, they would have treated me the same way.

As we bid our goodbyes and went in four different directions, I realized

  1. That I was in love with Canada


  2. That just as I felt at ease with being gay on this trip, I was also content with my identity as a member of the Church.


Rob said...

I love Canada too. No place is perfect, and Canada has its issues like any other place, but the country is beautiful, there's lots I love about the culture, and I have some great friends there.

Kurt Peterson said...

I never felt freer than I did one afternoon in Seattle--in a city I don't live in or know anyone in, when I just took off the "veil." Beautiful feeling.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@Alan: Thanks for speaking up for Canada, a truly underrated place. Canada may be a part of my future. I'm applying to grad school in Ontario and British Colombia.

@Joe: Now I want to see Seattle. Also, the 'veil' image you use is so appropriate I might have to steal.

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