28 January 2009

Rant Number Two

Having cleared some of the vitriol out of my system with Rant Number One, it's time to revert to type (I hope) and be a little calmer, more pensive. Rant Number Two is also the product of some frustration, but my purpose is not to bust heads, it's to point out positives.

No gay Mormon who's remotely serious about his faith will deny that he faces unique and daunting challenges if he stays in the Church. Believe me, I get it. I wish I didn't.

But the purpose of Rant Number Two is not to belabor that. In fact, I'm not even sure I should call this a rant. It's more like a pep talk, I hope. Prompted by lots of genuinely angst-ridden discussion about the difficulties we face, I thought it was about time for a counterbalancing look at some of the positives. I think there are lots, and seems to me we should be reminded of them once in a while. So here goes. I know not all of these will apply to everyone, but I'm speaking in general categories here.

1. We get to have all the fun of being guys while also having (in most cases) a capacity for increased sensitivity to thoughts, feelings, and the finer things in life to a degree that often escapes the straight. We can play and appreciate sports, whip up a six course gourmet dinner, discuss fine art, music and literature, decorate our own homes to a professional level, work and compete hard in our jobs & professions, instinctively know who needs hugs and kisses and not hesitate to dole them out. On average, I doubt this type of balance is as common among straight guys.

2. Coming out can mean instant community and family. Not in every single case, but there's a good chance if you know where to look. I can still scarcely believe my good fortune in finding so many almost instant friends after I took my first furtive, nail-biting steps outside that door. The relationships I've found, almost for the asking, have become among the most important in my life and are a continuing source of happiness and strength. I wish I lived closer to so many of you and could express my love and appreciation in person every day with big backbreaking rugby-strength hugs. How many straight guys are lucky enough to have this kind of thing in their lives?

3. Chances for unique service. Nobody but us can bring the insights we have to others in our group. We get to help, support, encourage, uplift, and love each other in ways the Church and its straight members can never do. I know that a huge amount of private one on one counseling, encouragement, commiseration, backstopping, crying together, back-slapping, venting and listening, and just being there for one another goes on in real life throughout the MoHo community and in private correspondence, out of sight of the Queerosphere. I am sure God smiles as He watches and is pleased as we care for each other. How common is it for Mormon straight guys to have time for such stuff when they are burdened to exhaustion (but too proud to admit it) with work and kids and wife's demands (wives of MoHos who know and stay married are classed with the angels and thus outside this comment) and Church callings and mowing the lawn and being guilted nearly every Sunday for not doing more of everything else on The Mormon Boy's Life Map? Not very.

4. Every sports event is eye candy. It's everywhere and practically thrust in our faces with no apologies. Woot woot! Straight guys don't have anything like that and usually get slapped if their wives even think they're looking at a cheerleader for more than half a second.

5. We know how to dress for everything from formal occasions to extreme hiking adventures without having to run like a 6 year old to wifey or girlfriend for instructions.

6. We know what we're doing when we pick our own colognes, thank you very much.

7. We have the fun of presenting an impossible theological dilemma to a Church whose culture thrives on cut & dried answers.

8. We are automatically exempted from any Church calling that requires lots of thankless hours or sitting on the stand pretending to be awake and alert all the time.

9. We can sing under our breath alternative hymn lyrics like "Behold a royal army Of blue shirts and green ties, Who keep the faith while none suspect They're all in love with guys" or "Praise to the man who attracts my attention, Chiseled and buff, with a voice as smooth as silk," etc.

10. We will never find Arnold Freiburg paintings outdated or boring.

11. We are eager to serve missions for even more than all the right reasons.

12. Being misunderstood and sometimes ill-treated ourselves, we can more easily develop charity and the pure love of Christ for others of our Father's children whose hands hang down and whose knees are weak. We are more often forced into circumstances that give us the opportunity to render the kind of service that will be the subject of everyone's Exit Interview: Not what church callings did you have or what was on your resume, but what did you do in your life to show My love to My other children?

There's more, but this is enough for now I think. Amidst the challenges, let's not forget that we have a lot to be grateful for.

7 comments:

Bror said...

Wow, you are so right. I have never thought about most of these things in such a way. It is good to be us.

hiddeninthelight said...

Wow, this was awesome! I really liked all these points!

Ezra said...

Thanks for helping us keep our blessings in the forefront of our minds.

Bravone said...

Alan, You are so awesome! Thanks for reminding me of the blessings associated with my gay nature. I am grateful for them and you nailed so many of them.

Thanks again.

Beck said...

Though full of stereotypes that may be applicable more to some than others, your point is well taken that we need to be more aware of the blessings that come with being "us" and the end result will be based on what we've done with what we've been given...

Alan said...

@Beck:

Absolutely right, hence the disclaimer: "I know not all of these will apply to everyone, but I'm speaking in general categories here." Inherent in any generalized list, of course.

Grant Haws said...

My favorite is: "We will never find Arnold Freiburg paintings outdated or boring."

So true...