...so intense it would bring me to tears if I weren't furious.
A lot has been going on lately. The day started off in first hour Seminary. A substitute teacher gave an off-the-cuff lesson on how the swine flu epidemic was designed by conspiring men and facilitated by caffeinated soda, and how airplane exhaust causes other outbreaks of sickness ('How do I know these things? My wife is in health and wellness.' Talk to me after class about how you can buy our amazing health smoothies, or sign yourselves up for our pyramid scheme today!...). He then proceeded to somehow launch into homosexuality. It was like, "Running out of things to say? Fill the extra time with a perennial favorite: ripping on the gays!" A wonderful way to begin the day: music and the spoken venom.
After school, my dad (he's not my bio-dad, and I don't usually live with him, but he's like a dad) was waiting to take my sister. Before they left, though, he sat down with my mother and I to talk about "you-know-what". Apparently my sister told him; I expected as much.
Ignorance does not feel like a strong enough word--I would sooner describe his state as a dogged, almost fanatical commitment to irrationality. The man was in a frenzy: he refused to even consider that sexuality might not be a choice, and when I asked him why someone would choose to be hated and despised, his answer was, "Why do people kill people? Look at serial killers..."
Then there was a heated theological debate that touched on Biblical references to homosexuality, sin, modern revelation through prophets, personal revelation, and the Church's position(s). Facts, logic, common sense...these meant nothing in the face of such vehement bigotry (which, in his defense, he was raised with). Desperate, I tried a different route--telling Dad that I had prayed and fasted myself and had had to find my own answers--but it was equally futile. I was told in very plain language that if I "chose this lifestyle", I would destroy myself, physically, through AIDS, and/or spiritually, through sin. I would be giving up happiness in this life and the next. I could not go to heaven--much less the Celestial Kingdom--and would ultimately burn in hell. "Sin against nature" was a frequently-used term, as were "abomination", "off-the-wall thoughts", and "temptations". The issue was not even homosexual actions--it was just being gay. The thoughts alone, I was told, would ruin every aspect of my life and being.
In the end, I was told that I was loved no matter what. For this, at least, I am extremely grateful. Bless him for that. As for the rest, well... I have to go on "a few" dates with girls, go at things with an open mind, this sort of thing. In short, my parents think that my dating a few cute girls will turn me straight. (Actually, my mom more or less accepts me as I am, but she is at the same time hopeful that I am just...confused.)
I am lucky to have the knowledge that I do. I am lucky to have the support of people not blinded by insane bigotry. I am lucky to know myself. I am lucky to still be accepted by my family.
The concept of re-orientation is alluring (not the least to the parents and loved ones of gay people), but the failure of re-orientation is obvious.
People wonder why gay Mormons are killing themselves off? People wonder why LGBT teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight teens?
The only thing I wonder about is how people can still be so ignorant. It is frightening, and to me it is a strong case for coming out. The only way to educate and hopefully change the prejudiced, as I see it, is to show them that someone they know and love is gay. At this point--and this is more or less my answer to Abe's question "Where are you in your journey?"--I am a few straight dates away from coming out. Unless the sparks fly during this, "the Great, Straight Experiment", I am finished. I am finished living a lie. I am finished being afraid to be myself. I am finished with Seminary. I am finished with being a pathetically spineless people-pleaser, losing myself in my efforts to placate others. I am finished trying to sit on a fence that is painfully sharp--jagged, even.
If I were someone reading this blog, going through the archives, my response would probably be, "Poop or get off the pot, you wretch." And my answer to such an imperative, if it were posed to me today, would simply be, I am finished. I am almost finished. I'm just now washing my hands, in fact.