Thursday, April 17, 2014

Counterfeit

It's a common understanding that there are many points taken about homosexuality that some of us who are homosexual consider to be myths. Sometimes I think if we could eradicate these frustrating ideas, we'd all get along fairly well and stop spending so much time and energy keeping people from getting married and forming legal families.
  • Homosexuality is a choice. 
  • Homosexuality is a disorder. 
  • Homosexuality is the result of trauma or poor parenting. 
  • Homosexuality is the result of sin or bad thoughts. 
  • Homosexuality is counterfeit. 
  • Homosexuals are selfish. 
  • Homosexuals will destroy traditional marriage. 
  • Homosexuality is a danger to children.

I just realized that if we take out the word "homosexuality" and replace it with "fear", we have a much more clear picture of what's the root of society's ills.  It isn't me and how I love.

I saw a quote today.  
“The world is filled with too many of us who are inclined to indicate our love with an announcement or declaration.
“True love is a process. True love requires personal action. Love must be continuing to be real. Love takes time. Too often expediency, infatuation, stimulation, persuasion, or lust are mistaken for love. How hollow, how empty if our love is no deeper than the arousal of momentary feeling or the expression in words of what is no more lasting than the time it takes to speak them."
~Marvin J. Ashton

This was shared by a person who teaches that homosexuality is a myth and there are only two appropriate ways to deal with it:  celibacy or marriage to opposite gendered people. Him sharing this quote reminds me that so many people feel that my love for a woman is counterfeit and fake. If I fall in love with a woman, it's because I want it now, I'm swayed by infatuation, I've been turned on, and I lust.  Not because I love, because I can't as a homosexual. I have no capacity for the depth or the permanency that only heterosexual people can have.  

I am here to tell you from the bottom of my very soul and the depths of my being, that is a lie. It would make sense to some that the Church is only asking us to walk away from that which can never fill us.  But that's not what homosexual love is.  It is quite filling and quite deep.  It is true, it calls for action, it continues, it is lasting.  It is the same love that you feel for your spouse.  Know this, feel this, internalize this.  Then realize what you are asking of us.  Could you do it?  Could you have walked away from your love because someone else told you it was wrong, no matter what your own heart was telling you?  Could you do it?

Would you? 

I've now come to such a place that not only would I not walk away, I can't.  To do so would lead to emotional, mental, and spiritual death.  I know this outcome because I did walk away for the sake of morality and rightness.  I did give it up.  Several times over the years.  But now I'm much more interested in living.  Deeply and fully.  Just as Abraham Maslow discovered about self actualization, this requires deep and intimate relationship, which I can only find with a woman.  We all need this relationship, this connection, and this intimacy.  I see such closeness with another human being as a gift and blessing from God.

I bet you do, too.  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Making Sense

The other day a friend posted to her facebook an article, "8 signs you're in the right relationship". There are good points there:  you know what your partner needs to feel loved, fight productively, confidence boost from mutual attraction, on the same page on important matters, family and friends approve, adventurous "between the sheets", "we" before "me", and missing your partner.  All good points.

Number 3 struck me:
3. You get a confidence boost from your mutual physical attraction.
“Feeling sexual attraction and sexually attractive is a life force like nothing else,” Iris Krasnow, author of Sex After…Women Share How Intimacy Changes As Life Changes said. “That person who ignites you from within, boosting your self-esteem and also offers external pleasures is definitely a keeper.”

Sometimes these kinds of things are harder for me to process. Not because it doesn't make sense and I don't agree, it's because it absolutely does make sense and I do agree.  It's because my church (and others who believe homosexual affection is a sin), not only expect me to go without this benefit, natural to an abundant life, but they think it's entirely possible to do so with faith, hope, and charity in my heart.  "A life force like nothing else."

Even Boyd K. Packer said “Romantic love is not only a part of life, but literally a dominating influence of it. It is deeply and significantly religious. There is no abundant life without it. Indeed, the highest degree of the celestial kingdom is unattainable in the absence of it” (BYU Fireside, Nov. 3, 1963).  "No abundant life without it."

Many of us are expected to go through our lives without experiencing "a life force like nothing else" and to forsake an "abundant life" and go without experiencing something "deeply and significantly religious" because we have been blessed with something through no fault of our own.  Even the church has stated on mormonsandgays, "The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions ..." Yet, even though I did not choose this, I'm to live with such a lack and do so faithfully for all my days.  How does this even make sense?

I wonder if people really realize, on a deep level, what this means.  What this might be like to live.  One straight man understands it this way:

“. . . because of how you were born you must live your mortal existence denying yourself one of the most fundamental basic components of human happiness . . .”

Again, this makes sense how?  Are you going to say, "There are a lot of things we don't understand here.  It will be made right later."  Or maybe "We don't know all things, we just know we are to be obedient."  Or discuss how the law of chastity applies to all and we can't question it.  How does that answer this? How does that make this okay?  Could you live your days applying the law of chastity in the way in which LGBT people are asked to do?  Given that I've attempted for at least 25 years and may have another 40, could you do this for 65 years?  65 years.  Who else is asked to do this?

Being gay has sometimes been equated to people with disabilities.  They have to wait until the next life to be made whole and to be married as well.  If we are equating this to disabilities, this is how it would be:  those who are perfectly able to walk, run, and enjoy physical activities are being told they need to spend the rest of their lives confined to a wheelchair.  Not that they can't do those things cuz they're not capable, but because to actually walk and run like your neighbor is immoral, and to do so puts you in jeopardy of losing your eternal salvation.  Because of something you have not chosen, this is your life.  You can choose to leave the confines of that chair, but when you do, you lose your religion and blessings associated with that.  How does this make sense?

A bishop said once that this situation puts us "in the same boat" as singles in the church.  No, this isn't the same boat.  Singles in the church are hanging out on this huge cruise ship, encouraged to date, and there are dances and parties, even entire congregations, with the intent to connect with others.  We're out here in a row boat and we're not even allowed to use the oars.  But visitors are welcome, come aboard any time. And how many single people do you know who have found the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, but who are asked to refrain?  For the rest of their life?  No, this is not the same. 

Part of my journey in learning to love myself and see myself as worthy of goodness, meaning, and even abundance, leads me to fight against these notions.  The gift I have been given in trusting God as a loving, merciful, and kind being leads me to disbelieve these notions.  My life is indeed not meant to be spent lacking, void of intimacy, nor does God intend for me to eschew abundance, life forces, or experiences intended to be "deeply and significantly religious".  Because the option for such is there, in my life, vivid and clear, and each time I've taken part in it, I've experienced something akin to "coming home".  If that was not something God intended for me, first he would remove the inclination from me considering the years and years of fervent prayer, fasting and righteousness spent in trying to rid myself of it.  Second, he would lovingly stop putting this opportunity for affection in my path coupled with a feeling in me that he approves.  And third, the feeling of being sublimely, spiritually, and deeply connected to another human being who happens to be a woman would feel much different than "coming home."

A loving God approving of me having such joy?  Now that makes sense. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Going Both Ways

I really do have the most amazing people in my life and I imagine they have no idea how they help me on many levels. A good example follows.

I posted an experience on my status:  A guy in church came up to me today asking me if my 20-year old son was going to go on a mission. I said I didn't think so, but he'd have to ask him. The guy then said, "Are you okay if he does go?" I told him I wasn't sure what he meant. He said, "I just don't know if he's being discouraged about going." I laughed and said, "Of course I don't discourage him. I'm not apostate, I'm just gay."

A few of my friends posted a reply, some not so happy with this fella. I had to remind a few times I did not post it to lash out at him, but to just share the experience.  A few other friends commented who understood a bit where he was coming from.  One in particular stands out to me: 

Please don't be harsh abt this man's question! For many of us who are straight and raised in the church and have limited experience with gay people (esp the small demographic of gays who are still attending lds church), this would come from a place of honestly trying to understand where Kim is coming from. Kudos to Kim for being a person people feel comfortable asking such questions to! Being in her ward, I know there are MANY people who truly love her and are just trying to understand this new ground.

It's been running around in my mind since I read it. Something struck me and I'm not sure why I never considered it this deeply before. There is a deep and real need for LGBT people, maybe particularly members of the LDS church, to feel heard and understood. It's huge. We can be easily hurt, not because we're overly sensitive, but because there have been some tangible wounds, some very recent, we have received while attempting to reconcile our religion and our sexuality. Feelings are already raw, like a healing wound, and someone comes along and pokes it, innocently, for the most part, cuz they have no idea you are wounded, but it keeps hurting, all anew. I'm not disregarding any of this. 

I am wondering, though, if we are really giving people in our church and our wards a real chance. Are we being as forgiving and understanding as we hope them to be? Remember it took us years to come to terms with this, and some of us are still working on it. We need to give others a chance to work it out, too. As my friend pointed out, they have such limited experience with us, and if they do have some experience with the LGBT community, we need to understand it hasn't always been uplifting and rewarding. It's so important to see them as trying to understand, and they won't always be perfect at it.

Now I know from experience all are not trying to understand, and there are some out there who don't want to understand at all. I'm not ignoring that. Yet I know there are those out there who are willing to try. Another comment was:  Kim, thanks for your kindness and putting up with us. We are all walking on unfamiliar territory. And so many of us know your heart. Thanks for looking into our hearts and being willing to give us the benefit of the doubt.

Ellen Page said, "... this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another."  It goes both ways.