20 September 2007

Hotels and Projections

you can check in but you can never leave

There are many roads that lead to homosexuality. There are at least as many ways to get here as there are ways to deal with having arrived. “Infinite” would be my best estimate.

One of the ways to deal with being here is straight-marriage.

I think it’s a foolish thing for me to assume I can remain emotionally attached to a spouse (attached to the level that a good husband must be) because I’m gay. My wife may well be the most Christ-centered, understanding, and empathetic person ever born but how dare I put those amazing qualities to the test every single day of your lives. What has she done to deserve that kind of stress?

Did you catch that? I said, “for me.”

It does work for some. Not everyone, mind you, but it does work for some. I think we, as bloggers, have a tendency to believe everything about ourselves applies to everyone around us.

Rather than be Defenders of Our Choices we become Projectionists; we assume what works for us works for others and what hurts us hurts others.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing.* It would be unfortunate to confuse our situations with the ideas of those around us. Although it is slightly ridiculous to think that could ever truly happen.

I guess what it boils down to is this: maybe we should take a breath before attacking one another for suggesting to us what we wouldn't suggest to ourselves.

*Which is just fine as it can’t really be helped. Human nature and all that jazz.

+++

good tune
http://djpretzel.web.aplus.net/songs/Street_Fighter_2_Freestyle_Dojo_OC_ReMix.mp3

33 comments:

Kalvin said...

Who is to say that there aren't many ways that lead to straight sexuality? Your assertion that sexuality is arrived at like a journey suggests that you could arrive anywhere: heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, queer, asexual. Honestly some people have suddenly had shifts in their sexual orientation from what I've read, but I've never read of it in the religious miracle kind of way. What I want to know is why all these Moho's are about having a husband. Heck even Joseph Smith was banging 14-year-olds. Actually, I don't really like younger guys at all, but I'm saying, why don't we return to polygamy. I mean, the ancestor after whom I'm named had nine wives. I don't see why I shouldn't have as many husbands. The funny thing about so much of this postulation that I see among Moho blogs is that everything has a Mormon lifescript. There's the temple marriage life script, or there's the leave the church and end up in a van down by the river life script, or the living in sin with a man in almost the same way as Mormons. All you Mohos seem so obsessed with getting the right meaning to life that you forget something very central to what you've talked about in this post. We're all individuals. Everyone could have their own meaning. You're ultimately the one who decides. And why not think about this more often, "what if this life really is all there is". Do you really want to spend it like you are?

Chris said...

playasinmar,

Mostly, I agree with you. Mostly. What troubles me is that many gay men who end up in straight marriages get there because they think they have no other choices. They have been raised, taught, indoctrinated and scared into thinking that there is no fulfillment outside of heterosexual marriage.

And that's just not true.

So as long as there are institutions that demonize and pathologize homosexuality, there will be gay men who will feel like they have no other choice. Some of them will make it work with their wives; some won't.

playasinmar said...

Kalvin,

I'm sure there are many ways to end up straight, asexual, bisexual, etc as well.

I'm focusing on homosexuality because I am, myself, gay.

And you seem concerned about something when you say, "What I want to know is why all these Moho's are about having a husband," but I don't understand the question so I'm not sure how to respond.

+++

Chris,

I think we do agree. I'm saying that straight-marriage may work for some men (statistically, it must) but it's not the catch-all solution it's often pushed as.

Abelard Enigma said...

I don't see why I shouldn't have as many husbands.

Gay Mormon Polygamists Flocking to Massachusetts

Switch said...

"What has she done to deserve that kind of stress?"

There was a girl I spent all my time with before I left Utah and came out. We were best friends for over a year.

When she "wanted more", I had to tell her. She's the first person I ever told. It had certainly crossed my mind that I could maybe marry her and get by. I really loved her, and still do. But when it came down to decision time, I knew I could never be the husband she deserved. I'm one of those with *zero*, perhaps dipping into negative numbers, attraction to females. Sex with a woman.. I don't think I ever could. On top of that, I've never felt a romantic emotional response to any woman I've ever met.

I knew my heart would always wander with my eyes, and that's just not what's etched into my soul as part of a real, honest, and successful relationship. To constantly yearn for something else, your spouse always knowing she'll never be what her husband's body and mind were wired for.

She's married now, five years into it - and her husband treats her with all the frills of a Utah-born southern gentleman. She has a level of attention, caring and intimacy with him that I never could have given her. They're cute together. They're happy. And now they've got twins on the way.

So, what do you think? Is she better off with him, or the withered, walking corpse I was slowly becoming?

Obviously, my motives aren't entirely selfless - I wanted what's best for me too. The ultimatums the church presents had me just as dire as most of the gay lds bloggers around - weighing lonely church life vs., as Kalvin so gracefully puts it, "[leaving] the church and end[ing] up in a van down by the river".

I think this is already long enough though. We'll finish that thought some other time.

Abelard Enigma said...

What it all boils down to is that there are essentially three options available to a gay man in the LDS church.

1. Stay active in the church in a mixed orientation marriage.
2. Stay active in the church and live a life of celibacy.
3. Leave the church and pursue a gay relationship.

The sad truth is, each of these options suck in one way or another. Each of these options also have their benefits. As to which option is best - that will be different for each individual, there is no 'one size fits all' answer. The rest of us just need to respect the decisions made by others.

"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? - Rodney King

playasinmar said...

I agree, Abelard. Every choice has a downside and we're fools to think that someone else's downside is inferior to our own.

Also, "2." is a mythical solution.

Beck said...

There is a choice no. 4 of "leave the church / pursue a gay relationship / return to the church in a gay relationship" that is honorably and uniquely followed by one of our fellow MOHOs.

Beck said...

"What has she done to deserve that kind of stress?" Since you bring me up as an example of your rhetoric, I admit this one has bothered me tremendously. She HASN'T done anything, and that is what hurts so much. But, it would hurt more, in my case, if I were truly deceptive. I wasn't. I was innocent, stupid, in denial, etc., but I was NOT deceptive, so we've been able to work this "stress burden" out with each other.

"I think we, as bloggers, have a tendency to believe everything about ourselves applies to everyone around us..." I hope you're not implying me. I blog to project my story in a way that I cannot project or portray in any other way or in any other forum. My blog is not to preach to anyone that I know that "this is the way for you to go". It is a record of MY path. I write so that I can come to terms with the choices of MY path. That having been said, I do feel strongly that the path I've chosen is viable and should not be dismissed out of hand by those who think that I'm a delusional moron to stay married, to make my wife "suffer" at my side, and to rob myself of ever knowing true happiness that can only be known by being true to the way that I am "wired" - GIVE ME A BREAK!

"...maybe we should take a breath before attacking one another for suggesting to us what we wouldn't suggest to ourselves..." I concur wholeheartedly, but I suggest that goes for all - both ways. Please don't attack the mixed-orientation marriage outright as a laughable and deplorable option for anyone to take and dismiss it without further consideration.

Chris said: "many gay men who end up in straight marriages get there because they think they have no other choices." May I add that some gay men choose straight marriages because they feel it is the right choice.

Kalvin said: "what if this life really is all there is". Do you really want to spend it like you are?" Thank goodness for a belief in something bigger than just this life. Thank goodness for personal convictions that motivate one's choices to be for more than just here and now! If this were all there is, I presume we'd all be making different choices. Thank God there is a hope for the future!

This isn't easy. I try very hard to not judge others choices. In fact, I marvel at the options that are being explored by various community brothers and sisters here and I try to be open and be respectful and accepting of each one's path and I search and seek for ways I can learn from YOU.

playasinmar said...

"I think we, as bloggers, have a tendency to believe everything about ourselves applies to everyone around us..."

Of course I'm not implying you, Beck. I'm simply saying that we, as bloggers, tend to believe everything about ourselves applies to everyone around us.

I don't think your marriage is a mistake! the reason I site you as an example of a person for whom straight-marriage works is because you are a person for whom straight marriage actually works.

It's in this spirit I'll continue to attack the option to straight-marry outright as a laughable and deplorable option for ME.

Beck said...

"you are a person for whom straight marriage actually works."

Silly you! Haaa...That's what you think! It sometimes works well but a lot of times it sputters and quakes - like most relationships - they don't work, they need work! If it "actually works" would I be blogging????

I'm just asking for the space to try to make it work...

Switch said...

I'm feeling a stab of 'maybe I shouldn't have posted that comment' now.

Things are very different than they used to be - even just within the last five years. Making a choice to pursue a same-sex relationship over a, um, different-sex relationship isn't as brutally packed with opposition as it once was.

In different times, I may have made a different choice. It's hard to say. With just a tiny tweak of timing, Beck, I could be standing right next to you wearing the exact same hypothetical shoes.

drex said...

I'm not saying that mixed-orientation marriage is the be-all end-all solution, but I do say not to rule it out, even in your case. Certainly given your own understanding of yourself, you might not want to put many eggs in that basket, if any. Just keep the basket around. There's always a chance that you'll find a girl that you can love enough to make the most important parts of a marriage work, and that she will refuse to let you go because she loves you too. It's entirely not fair to her, from our perspective, and yet if that connection exists, it's less fair to deny it simply on the basis of whether or not sex will work easily.

Again, it might not come about. Just keep the option at the bottom, but still on, the list.

I'm 99% sure....98%.

playasinmar said...

It's rather brave of you, Drex, to quote Dwight in the first person.

This post is more about the "for me" verbiage than the words that followed it but since you brought it up...

I'm not going to end up with a women anymore than Salad is going to end up with a women. that's not to say I will end up with a man but if I do end up with anyone it can't be a female. I'm just not wired to care for them on that level.

"Care for them on that level" means more than physical intimacy. Sure, sex would be a hassle (and who doesn't like Hassle Sex?) but so would communication, affection, and happiness.

I hope that clears my position up a bit. Let me reiterate this is just me talking about me and not really what this post is about.

J G-W said...

Thanks, Beck, for the honorable mention. I was sort of feeling left out there by Abe.

The problem is not that we cannot be what we want to be. The problem is, that there is no place for us as we are.

I am a Mormon by faith and testimony, and I strive to live that faith the best I know how. I am also gay and have been in a same-sex committed relationship for 15 years now. Others may choose to define me by saying "You're not really a Mormon" or "You're not really gay, because your eternal spirit is heterosexual, trapped in a gay man's flawed body." That's how others choose to define me.

The same is true for Beck and Abe and the other married Mohos... Some people will tell you, "Oh, those feelings aren't the real you." And I've heard you say, "Hell yes, they are part and parcel of the me that I fully embrace, even as I embrace and am true to my wife."

I agree with Playa. We need to stop trying to paint other people into corners.

We are all people striving for love and dignity and truth... We just have to have patience with ourselves and with each other to see how the details work out.

Ron Schow said...

Playa

Thanks for starting this great discussion. You have generated lots of comments!!!

I really honor those like Beck, Abe, Drex, and L who are sharing their journey in a MOM. I honor John GW for sharing his journey also. I find it interesting that you, Playa, don't feel you can manage marriage to a female. There seem to be a number of others like you of similar age. I really think this blog sharing is a good thing because everyone can share those things in their experience that they feel may be helpful to others. Providing support for all options is really a good thing, because everyone needs support as they try to sort out what is feasible on a personal basis.

I suppose you probably know I am on record as saying I think there are 3 general considerations in trying to decide about an MOM.

1) How homosexual are you??? this goes from 0 to 6 on the HH Scale.

2) How much can you sublimate your feelings (channel them into other pursuits) and how much libido do you have??

3) What is the level of your maturity and compatibility with a assuming you can find a potential spouse.

Even a 5 or 6 might manage a marriage if libido is low and there is great compatibility with a spouse. On the other hand, a 6 with a high libido, and low compability would seem to be a recipe for trouble.

I am sure everyone has to take one day at a time and it may be hard to know exactly about things like sublimation and libido and even compatibility until you are in a marriage for a while, but I suspect you can get some clues by being observant and hanging out with a few different guys and gals.

I am sure others can make longer lists, but these 3 issues seem to me to be helpful and you can get your mind around all 3 pretty easily.

All of this is within the context of being Church members and wanting to do the right thing. I like how your post suggests you are trying to consider your feelings and those of others and be considerate.

Everyone finally has to do what they think is right and make the best choice possible.

I really like Elder Holland's new article in the October Ensign. He says something similar to what you say.

"...recognize that marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same gender attractions run deep,a nd trying to force a heterosexual realtionship is not liely to change them. We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness. But other attempts have resulted in broken hearts and broken homes." p. 44

Kengo Biddles said...

A little late to the commenting game, but Abe, does every option suck? I don't know that I agree with you. Life is what you make of it, and guess what, honey, there will always be disappointments. There will always be things that are less desirable. What difference does it make if it's sexuality, or unfulfilled career dreams, or a missed opportunity to do/be/see something? Regret is part of life.

And for that matter, how are the gay active members of the church put upon to be celibate? What about our family friend Eileen who is straight and going to be an old maid? Is she somehow put upon by the church because they expect her, too, to be celibate?

playasinmar said...

With all deference to our planet's, kind-hearted, faithful, and celibate spinsters...

...playing the relationship game and suffering defeat is different from being told to accept defeat without being allowed to play.

Kengo Biddles said...

The end results are much the same, both types of people end up alone. Alone, and wishing for companionship. Yes, the causes of it can be argued, and I concede, they are different on a fundamental level, as far as causes go, but the end results are just as miserable.

playasinmar said...

And both groups, the tried-and-failed ones and the forbidden-from-trying ones, are left waiting for death to see their fortunes improve.

Ugh.

drex said...

I still wouldn't rule it out. Don't bank on it, don't count on it, maybe don't even work towards it. But don't rule it out, because you never know. I had completely ruled out a relationship with Salad based on how I felt over the course of years, but things worked out.

I'm not saying they will work out. I'm no prophet. Nor am I saying you have to allow for it. I'm just saying, from my perspective and from my experience, ruling out the highly improbable doesn't always work.

And Kengo, I don't think they're saying that all options suck, period, so much as all options have some serious downsides that mean there's no all-happy option. Every option has a sucky side.

Chris said...

Elder Holland wrote: We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness.

Why can't Elder Holland and his Brethren also be thrilled for someone like Scot, who has been able to marry, raise children and achieve family happiness--but with a man?

Why can't they be thrilled for John Gustav-Wrathall, who has found happiness and fulfillment for 15 years with the same man?

It's nice that y'all are happy with the progress the Church is making (and it is progress), but make no mistake about it--any attempts to normalize homosexuality are unacceptable. The recent kind words for those who struggle reveal some small advances in understanding, and a whole lot of pity.

Chris said...

Beck: Chris said: "many gay men who end up in straight marriages get there because they think they have no other choices." May I add that some gay men choose straight marriages because they feel it is the right choice.

True. But I wonder how many would think it the right choice if they hadn't been taught that having a relationship with a man was the wrong choice...

I understand where you are coming from, Beck. And I know as well as anybody that might choices are just that--mine. They apply to me and my circumstances, not someone else's. I honor you for your commitment to your family and your continued efforts to do what is right for them.

Kengo Biddles said...

Drex, that's my point. LIFE has a sucky side.

And Chris, I don't see why you keep expecting the church to condone your choice. Do you need their approval that badly?

You've made your choice, you've found someone you can be happy with and have otherwise weathered the storm of coming to terms with who you are; why do you want a stamp of approval from an entity that you no longer really believe in?

playasinmar said...

Before this delves deeply into what we assume each other's beliefs to be...

...actually, let's just not assume we understand someone else's faith enough to know what they truly believe in.

Let's keep "What I Believe" statements in the first person.

Chris said...

kengo,

I don't need the Church's approval. The LDS Church can do what it wants. But I gave 20 years of my life to the Church, and I'll be damned if I just drop caring about it or having opinions about it, particularly when it comes to homosexuality.

I don't comment on your blog, or the blogs of others with a take on the issue similar to yours because I know that my criticisms are generally not welcome. playa has always been very welcoming of my point of view and so I have always felt comfortable sharing it on his blog. Should he decide that he'd prefer not to hear from me, I'm sure he'll make it known one way or another.

If you want to engage me in the specifics of my comments, please do. If you want to know more about what I believe or why I continue to be engaged in gay Mormon discussions, then let's have it.

playa, sorry...don't want to ruin your thread here.

Kengo Biddles said...

Chris,

I'm sorry if I made you think I was calling into question your welcome here. I wasn't.

And I understand your having opinions about a church you gave "20 years of [your] life to." I'd be very surprised if you didn't, as that's a significant piece of your life.

My motive in asking about your seeming desire for approval stems only from my observations of your comments. You understandably would like to see the church change with regard to homosexuality; I agree with you on that surface point.

I don't think this tangent has detracted from the thread, per se, but rather underlined the disconnect in the support the church has offered to its membership over the years. With that, I'll leave off on this tangent, and wish you well.

playasinmar said...

If both players are game, the ref is going to call this ball fair.

Forester said...

I wonder where I fall? Am I considered as one who is making a mixed orientation work, one that is failing or maybe yet to be seen? Personally, I think it's working wonderfully.

playasinmar said...

You're the judge of that, Forrester. I'm glad it's working out for you.

Chris said...

kengo,

Perhaps I misjudged, but I detected a certain snideness in your first comment to me. To reitereate, I'm not looking for LDS approval of my choices. I'm no longer LDS. But I think the LDS Church continues to harm its gay members with its attitude and its rhetoric, and I will continue to raise my voice about these issues.

Now I'll let it drop.

Beck said...

Chris said: "I honor you for your commitment to your family and your continued efforts to do what is right for them." Chris, I have loved every word you write. I have read with earnest your entire story and have been fascinated with the evolution that has occurred over the last 18 months. I respect you with envy and am thrilled at the positive ways you've made your choices through this evolution! You should be praised and applauded for the heart and passion and integrity you show toward your choices, your loved ones, your family! Thank you for being a voice here. I only regret that you don't feel to comment as frequently on my blog. I'd be thrilled if you did and I want you to know that your comments are always welcome, even if I've taken a different path from yours. I want to meet you and learn from you. I think we all do (including Kengo)! I thank Playa for opening this dialogue and look forward to more!

Kengo Biddles said...

Chris, I can only attribute it to our rough start in the past.

Thanks for the clarification of your position. I obviously let my own filters cloud my understanding of your posts. I suppose I've become jaded toward many ex-members of the church because many (including the 4 I work with) have a predilection to want to change the church to somehow condone their choices in life.

That you're concerned about those of us who choose to remain with the LDS church and the treatment of us speaks to your humanity, and I am grateful for it.