Saturday, May 30, 2009

GSA and High School Memories

Reading Sarah's post about the GSA at her school got me thinking about how homosexuality was viewed when I went to high school in little ol' Provo, Utah.

During my senior prom I overheard the administration arguing with two girls, one girl wearing a dress and the other wearing a tux. The girls were lesbians who wanted to promenade with the rest of the students and the administration was not going to let them. I heard students around me asking, "How did they even get tickets to come to the Prom? I thought that wasn't allowed!"

I don't remember whether the girls were eventually allowed to promenade or not, but I don't think they were. They later joined with the ACLU to make the issue more public and it was in newspapers all over the state. Of course I didn't see a problem with them promenading, even though I was in extreme denial back then, but it's interesting to think about how the administration and a majority of the students were outraged that a gay couple would want to join in the promenade at Junior Prom.

I was in the student government at my high school for a couple of years, and each year the faculty advisor would go over the school constitution (i.e. how clubs are formed, the rankings of student government offices, etc.). He used examples of clubs that could be formed and clubs that could not. He mentioned that a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) would not be allowed at the school. I wish I remembered the reasoning behind it, but I don't. It might have been that we weren't allowed to have political clubs or something like that. All the same, everyone in the student government acted like GSA was a ludicrous idea that should be avoided like the plague.

When I got home from my mission I heard that a GSA had been formed at my high school, and it was a major source of controversy in local newspapers.

I'm not sure what my point in remembering all of this is, but it is interesting to see how normal intolerance of homosexuality seemed to me back then. It did not seem odd to me that GSA should be viewed as a terrorist organization. It didn't seem odd to me that a gay couple at promenade would be a problem. If I were to go back to high school today knowing what I know now, I think I would be outraged at the intolerance I would find there. It surprises me to realize that I was even drawn in by that intolerance back then.

It wasn't until the last few months of my mission that I decided it was okay to support gay marriage. Until that point, I always felt that as a Mormon I was not allowed to support certain political movements, even if I was very liberal. I had decided long ago that I was pro-choice, but for some reason I wasn't sure what feelings I was allowed to have on gay marriage.

Then on one P-Day, we were sitting around on the grass behind a church and one of the sister missionaries said to me, "So I hear you're a liberal." My liberalism was legendary among the missionaries, even though the ONLY thing I had ever said regarding my political affiliation was that I would vote for John Kerry. Somehow all the missionaries had gotten it into their heads that I was Michael Moore in their midst. Anyway, this particular sister missionary was rumored to be liberal as well.

"Yeah, I'm liberal," I said.

"I doubt that," She said. "You're another Peter Priesthood like all the rest of them. Prove to me that you're liberal."

"How?"

"Okay, tell me this... when I was back in Michigan we had to vote on whether to allow gay marriages or not. Which way would you vote?" She asked.

I thought about it for a second. I wanted to prove to her that I was liberal. For some reason it bothered me to have her think that I could be a conservative Mormony bastard like some of the other missionaries. I'd never said that I supported gay marriage, but all my feelings were that it was good. So I told her that I would vote for gay marriage.

"Good," she said. "That's how I voted."

From that day forth I wasn't as afraid to own up to my beliefs. I didn't feel like I had to conform.

Anyway, I'm rambling now, so I'll end here by posting a video of a song I really like. It's called "No Hole In My Head" by Malvina Reynolds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One More Time With Feeling...

I don't have anything profound or even anything specific to say tonight. I just haven't posted in a while, so I though I should at least post something. So here's a video of Regina Spektor singing "One More Time With Feeling," possibly my favorite Regina song of all time. I don't really have a reason for posting it, but I'm in that kind of mood where this song just feels perfect.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Defense

I didn't write a Mother's day post. I love my mom very much, but I'm not one for writing sentimental posts about her. My sister did though, and something she wrote just barely hit me. When I read it, I didn't think much of it, but the significance of it just hit me. On her blog she thanked my dad for always teaching us to treat my mom right. If we ever said anything mean to my mom and my dad was around, he would immediately say, "Don't say things like that to your mom!" and you could tell he meant it. My parents were never the type to threaten or anything like that, and my dad has always been very calm. He was very passionate about making sure we treated my mom with love though.

It used to bug me when I was younger. I thought, "Let mom defend herself. If we say something mean, let her deal with it herself." But tonight I realized that I love and respect how my dad defends my mom. She is perfectly capable of defending herself, and he's not fighting her battles, but he loves her and if he hears someone treat her less than kindly he will make sure to let them know that's not okay. And that's not just because she's a woman. I think my dad would do that for any of his kids if someone were mean to them.

My realization tonight was that this mentality has been deeply embedded in my life. Without realizing it, my dad's example has taught me to care what others say about the people I love. If someone ever says anything mean about my boyfriend, I'm going to let them know that's not okay, and I would hope he would do the same for me. My boyfriend is completely more than capable of fighting his own battles, but the point of it is not to fight someone else's battles. I think the point of standing up for them is to show your love and respect. You don't talk shit about someone I love and get away with it. I'm not going to turn a blind eye and say, "It's not my battle." If it involves someone I love, you'd better be sure as hell it's my battle, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Walking to BYU

Since my gym is closed on Sunday, I decided to go on a walk tonight as a form of light Sunday exercise. I started by walking to the Provo temple and then to BYU campus. I'm glad I'm not going to school at BYU anymore, but I still kind of miss it. I did have some good times there and some great professors. I just wish the honor code office didn't exist. Anyway, it was a long walk, so I had a lot of time to think and listen to my iPod. It was really peaceful and really helped me relax. I also took the time to do stupid little things I'd never done before on campus. I didn't do anything big, I just sat down on stairs that are usually really busy, I went into little nooks I'd never been in before, etc. The biggest thing I did that I'd never done on campus before was touch Massasoit's taint. He's probably my favorite statue on BYU campus, and I considered it an honor to briefly poke under his skirts (I mostly did it because I figured that's probably the area he's less likely to have been touched by other BYU students. I like being unique, I guess). Anyway, my walk tonight made me want to go visit BYU some more during the summer. I miss the campus, especially when there's nobody there. Sunday night around nine o'clock is perfect.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Acceptance

As Austin pointed out to me today, it's been a while since my last post. Now that school is out, I'll try to post more regularly.

Last night my bf and I went to my mom's house for leftover fajitas. We had a Cinco de Mayo party on Monday (so it was actually Cuatro de Mayo) and had so much food leftover that my mom decided to have a repeat on Wednesday.

My sister was there with all her kids, and my brother was there with all his kids. Neither of their spouses could come, so they were a little overwhelmed with their kids. As usual, I took turns holding babies so my sister wouldn't go crazy with stress. It was crazy; all the babies wanted to be held and the kids kept fighting over everything, so the parents needed a lot of help. My bf, who usually feels awkward around my nieces and nephews, actually held one of the babies and played with the kids.

On the drive home, my bf said he wasn't sure if my brother and sister would be alright with him holding their kids. He felt like it might be weird for them to have a stranger holding their babies, and he especially thought they might not like it after they find out he's my bf. I assured him that they wouldn't mind one bit.

Then today my mom talked to me about last night. She said it looked like my bf seemed more comfortable last night with the family, and I told her about his worries from the night before. She said, "Oh of course he should hold the babies!"

It made me feel good to talk to my mom like that today. We didn't specifically mention me being gay, but she knows I am, and she knows I'm with my bf. It just felt good to have a normal conversation about my relationship that didn't focus on how my mom is sad I'm not active in the church anymore. For the first time it felt like my bf and I are becoming a normal couple in her eyes.

I don't know how accepting of us she really is, but the conversation today still showed progress, and I can just keep hoping that things continue to get better.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Late Night/Early Morning Thoughts

It's nearly five in the morning and I haven't been able to sleep. I just re-watched "C.R.A.Z.Y." and it got me all inspired to do stuff. Haha. I tried going to sleep, but I felt like writing my coming out letter to my siblings instead. I wrote a good chunk of it and I think I have some good stuff. I'm going to come back to it later to finish it though. Maybe I'll have fresh ideas or a new perspective tomorrow.

I wrote my mission president back the other day. I decided not to mention being gay at this point. I answered all his other questions from his email, but simply ignored the one about marriage for now. I'm not afraid to discuss the matter with him, I just didn't feel like bringing it up at this point. If he replies to my email, I might begin a discussion.

After working on a draft of my coming out letter tonight I decided to finish writing an email to my aunt. My aunt is the coolest aunt ever. My mom describes her as a free spirit. I like to think of her as my own version of Auntie Mame. I just wrote her an email to update her on my life. She and her family basically knew I was gay before I did, and they've always been waiting there to support me. It does feel good to know that I have family out there who are completely supportive.

Anyway, I'd probably better try to sleep. Ugh.