Monday, March 1, 2010

Mommy May I?

One trend I have noticed in Mormon gays during the coming out process is the intense fear of making parents unhappy or disappointed. Many gays I have talked to have said that they wish they weren't gay because it's so hard on their mothers. The ones that haven't come out to their parents yet are often terrified that they will be major disappointments. Many fear they will not be loved anymore.

Some of these gays have also said that they can't pursue a gay life because of this fear of making parents unhappy. They have said that if they got a boyfriend, their parents would never truly be happy for them, even if they came to accept it. They feel that it would be better for them to be closeted and miserable but have their parents be happy than have them be out and satisfied but have their parents be disappointed.

All I can say (and I hope Sarah Palin can forgive my word choice) is that this reasoning is retarded.

The happiness of my family is, of course, a major concern for me. I would do most anything for them. However, when I was 23 I came to the decision that I was tired of fighting who I really was, and I wanted to find a boyfriend and live life as a gay man. I knew that my parents would not approve of this decision, but I knew that I would never be happy if I didn't pursue it. I don't say this to be dramatic, but if I had not made that choice, I would most likely be dead today. In this one aspect of my life, I put my desires before the desires of my family. I don't regret that decision.

Now that I am out to my family and they know that I have a boyfriend, I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been, and my relationship with my family has never been healthier. Have I made my parents incredibly sad through this process? Definitely. Even though they accept me and my boyfriend, do they wish I weren't gay? I'm sure that is the case. Do I care that they would wish that? Not at all.

The fact of the matter is, I am gay, I have a boyfriend, I am happy, and I don't think that I am selfish for being happy about it. I don't worry if I have disappointed my parents by pursuing who I feel I really am because it's really not up to them whether I like boys or girls. Just like it's not up to them whether I'm born with brown eyes or blue. They could rail against me for feeling that I am right handed if they felt left was correct, but that wouldn't change the fact that I am right handed. Allow me the use of the cliché "we can't please everybody." There are many thing we should do to please our parents/family. We should always treat them kindly and strive to serve them. We cannot, however, fight our sexual orientation in order to please them.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is something that I needed to hear right about now.

Todd said...

My two cents, for what it's worth:
My relationship with my parents is awful. But I don't regret me decision to come out. I met Austin and quickly realized that my love for him was far greater than anything I'd ever experienced and as sad as it sounds, greater than that of my family. That doesn't mean I don't love them too. But the happiness I feel with Austin is something I cringe to think I would have ever passed up. As bad as things are with my family, I couldn't be happier.

Rev. Dennis said...

Bless you Captain. Keep up the big gay work!

boskers said...

I really know what you're getting at. Today my mom called and asked me if I was going to church. I thought about what to say and decided to just tell her the truth. I knew she'd be sad. I think a lot of gay Mormons make it as far as they do only because of the love and respect they have for their parents. Their parents' pride and happiness comes before their own. That's how I was and still am to some degree.

But like you say, it's not fair to one's self. It's more difficult for some than others to get out of that mindset, but I think it's the only way to ever move forward with one's own happiness.

D-Train said...

I was just discussing this the other day with Max. I was considering posting on a similar subject.

I think one of the best tactics that the LDS religion has to keep people in the closet is this immense pressure of "disappointing the parents" or making you think that you are being "selfish" somehow for having a relationship with someone you love.

I know what this pressure feels like, and I know the liberation of putting that self-imposed anxiety away forever, and being honest and true. I know it is difficult and challenging (and in the Mormon-paradigm, "wicked"), but doing what is best for yourself, is the best thing for most moho's.

And for those who think their parents will never accept them, give them a chance. It might take them years, and you they may fully never accept you, but that is fine. We all need to stop living according to their desires, and do what is best for us.

El Genio said...

This was a great post. For what it's worth, I believe being untrue to ourselves is also bad for our parents. Most of them only want for us to be happy, and a life lived in shame, fear, or dishonesty is not the way to bring that about. I think most of them will eventually come around.

Anonymous said...

The parents will be happy only if their sons are also happy.

So, I agree with you that the gays should accept themselves and be open to their parents.


Butterflies and hand-grenades said...

Haha As serious as this blog post was, It was very funny in the Sarah Palin remark and the post before with the Glen beck comment...Golden!

But, on the topic of the actual content of the post. You are absolutely right about there being nothing wrong with having happiness, even if it isn't contingent with the happiness of your, and other gay's, parents. As much as they may wish it differently, we can never be happy th the degree that we could be alone, or in a Hetro. relationship. And as for the selfish argument.

Being with someone may seem selfish, but it is inherently not. When you are in a really great relationship both you, and your partner will be much happier than you would have been alone and that applies to both of the participants.

In situations like this the truly selfish one's are the parents, because in more ways than one their love, and "approval" is conditional.