Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Series of Sundays, Part 4

April 5, 2009

Bit by bit, Putting it together
Piece by piece, working on the vision night and day
All it takes is time and perseverance
With a little luck along the way


“Stu’s twenty-seven, totally loveable, and not married? What’s wrong with this guy?” jibed one of his counselors. 

“He must be gay,” called a young twenty-something from the back of the classroom. 

Another teased in melodic tone, “Better go see the Bishop!”

I let out a frustrated sigh drown out only by the Elders’ Quorum’s laughter around me.  Do they realize how alienating that is?  I looked around curious at who was laughing at me and many of my friends simply for being different.  While it was entirely alienating to face the “them” and “us,” “good” vs. “evil” implications staring me in the face, I found some consolation in the fact that not everyone was amused in homophobia. 


No one displayed the outrage I felt inside (including myself), though there were pockets of sensitivity and liberal thought.  A headshake here, a hand over ones eyes there, and a couple of other men gauging reactions in their vicinities. Was the alternative better?

After a year of knowing and accepting my homosexuality, I was forced to come to terms with the complexity of the matter, and while I’d nearly finished a degree in dissecting complex systems of thought and language, I felt unprepared to do so in a real-life situation.  That said, I felt more and more that those around me didn’t have the answers I sought either. 

That night, I sat at my desk multi-tasking.  I’d escaped my Usual Sunday funk.  I was smiling and as energized as I’d felt in months.  Between the class readings, general writing, and comic strip doodling on some graph paper, I noted a chime from across the room.  I walked across the room and stooped over my laptop in the windowsill—the one place in the house I could log into an anonymous unsecured network in the neighborhood. 

facebook message blurred

“You have a new message from Cliff:

“Hey GMB,

“So, I don't really know how to go about this without possibly being awkward, so let me just get straight to the point.

“I'm gay, and I know that you are too. You may have already figured that out about me, but if not....there you go! Ha ha!I knew that we had a few friends in common that are gay, and so I wondered. Then i saw your profile on connexion and obviously I knew for sure. Anyway, I don't know how you are feeling about things and dealing with it all, but I have a really great group of friends up here and around Utah that have been great for me in helping me come to terms with this and live as much of a normal life as I can. I just want to let you know that I'm here if you ever need me for anything. Call or text whenever!…”

Cliff was one of the guys I noted took exception with the joke this morning.  He sat with Abel and Marty, two guys I’d suspected were gay.  All four of us had grown up together, and now I knew I wasn’t alone in the ward.  Certainly, there was a great deal of consolation in Cliff’s outreach. 

However, something felt off.

I thanked him sincerely for the offer and had no doubt that his offer was one filled with love and concern for a fellow gay Mormon boy.  The support he offered was definitely what many people needed.  A tightknit group like Cliff, Abel, and Marty needed each other to work through the complicated situation we all faced at that time. 

That was not what I needed in that moment, however.  I was starting to make sense of the spiritual side of my life, and the answers I sought would only come from within. 


El Genio said...

Ok wait, now you tell me there were at least FOUR gay people there?! Man, high school could have been so much different.

Carla Schmidt Holloway said...

I always feel like such a coward if I don't speak up in situations like that. Trying hard not to let my fear get the better of me.

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