Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Why Am I Gay?

Why does this question matter?

Do straight people ask themselves, Why am I straight?

What if I get to decide if this question is important, and if so, why it's important?

Because when other people ask this question, it typically has something to do with rationalizing...

Why they think I need to go through some sort of therapy.

Why they think it's OK to exclude me from their church.

Why they think there should be laws on the books that make my relationship with my partner illegal.

Why they think my partner and I shouldn't be allowed to marry, or adopt, or raise children.

Their favorite answers to the Why am I gay? question are things like:

I chose to be gay because I hate God and want to rebel against him.

I'm sick and I need to be cured. Though my failure to be cured is usually my fault because I didn't try hard enough.

I was brainwashed by the gay rights movement to think I'm gay when I'm really not, I'm just confused.

This is a test. God is testing me to see if I can endure loneliness until I'm dead.

The answers usually don't have anything to do with any of the real facts on the ground.

The only answer that really makes much sense to me, based on the data is that I was more or less born this way. I don't ever remember not being gay. I only ever really remember becoming aware that what I was, was not what people expected me to be. I know that what I am enables me to love and to receive love from an incredible man, and to have a relationship which has become one of the greatest sources of true joy in my life.

But why, why?

When I put the question to God, the only answer I get back is Love. Love, love. God loves me unconditionally and is proud of me, and wants me to do the best I can in life. The family I am building is a very, very good thing, something I need to nurture with that sacred gift of love. My family is a sacred trust. My whole life is a sacred trust. The greatest sin would be to turn away from love, to forsake those trusts, to do anything less than to love with my whole heart.

Is not this gift of intimacy a nurturing, good gift? When we are able to experience it, do we not feel more whole?

We could ask, Why did God give us this gift?

It seems like a self-answering question. The answer, I think, is because we must all be interconnected. Because humanity is not just an aggregate of lonely selves. Humanity is a family, every member connected to all the others through the links we forge with each other. Göran links me to his family and I link him to mine, and the nurture we provide Glen will some day link us to others that he cares for. Humanity is this. We are made to be more than just our lonely selves.

Which is why it can feel like we are dying inside not to at least be able to try to connect ourselves intimately. Why that hunger for intimacy can drive us mad if we are forced to deny it.

I don't know all the whys, but I know that this gift is very, very good. And I know that we owe it to each other to honor that gift by helping and caring for each other.


bill mca said...

I always fall back on Ether 12:27 (which I think you personify, John) and come to the conclusion that it's not the "why" that's important, it's whether or not we are going to humble ourselves because of our weaknesses and tendencies and allow God to make strengths out of them.

Stephen said...

the only answer I get back is Love. Love, love. God loves me unconditionally and is proud of me, and wants me to do the best I can in life.

That is important to know, most people never do.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

When I put the question to God, the only answer I get back is Love. Love, love. God loves me unconditionally and is proud of me, and wants me to do the best I can in life.

It's amazing to me how long it took me to accept that answer, despite getting it over and over for years. It really is that simple, and I think that trumps every single argument, ever against homosexuality.

MoHoHawaii said...

You're gay because otherwise Göran would be very, very lonely.

backandthen said...

"Do straight people ask themselves, Why am I straight?"
I have!
But on the other hand I must admit that I am often told that I am "sooo random". I guess this is only one of my other little weird ways to be.

I have found your blog by clicking and clicking and clicking on different links from different blogs. I love how the net can make us connect so easily and read from people we could never have a chance to meet in real life:o)

J G-W said...

Bill -- There have been so many times in my life when I have wanted to be perfect in every way -- without flaws, without weaknesses of any kind. You know what I was like in high school, how perfectionistic I've always been. But in my best moments, I understand that my weaknesses force me to look outside of and beyond myself, to see my dependence on God and on others, to see myself as part of a larger family on whom I can rely. There is such incredible strength in the kind of self-acceptance and forgiveness that comes with realizations like this one in Ether or that of Paul in II Cor. 12:9...

Stephen, [kɹeɪ̯g̊] -- This is true, there is a difference between knowing this in our heads (or remembering that people once told this to us) and knowing it in our hearts, in our whole beings. This is the simplest concept in the world, and it takes a lifetime to appreciate the full ramifications of it.

Mohohawaii -- I could comment on this in much more depth, but suffice it to say I believe that Göran and I are together for a reason.

Backandthen -- I'm so glad you found me. And so glad I've found a straight person who randomly wonders. Welcome!

Maraiya said...

I too have wondered why I'm straight - it would be so much easier to love my BFF than my husband. Too bad I think men are hot. *sigh*

I wanted to say how much I love your blog, your honesty, your compassion and your love for your family and God. If one of my sons is gay, which I do think about, I am so sending him your way.

J G-W said...

Maraiya -- Wow, thank you so, so much! Any member of your family is welcome my way any time!

I've occasionally had straight friends wistfully suggest that marriage would be SO much easier if one spouse was not from Mars and the other from Venus. But, ya know, I personally am from Mercury and Göran is from Jupiter. So I suspect there are always challenges trying to build a common life... :)

Years ago, I saw a great Matt Groening cartoon. On one side of the cartoon was a same-sex rabbit couple and on the other side was an opposite-sex rabbit couple. The caption was "Gay or Straight: Which is Better." On each side of the cartoon was a list of the advantages and disadvantages of heterosexuality and homosexuality. I think everything was identical, except among advantages on the straight side was "Social acceptance" and among advantages on the gay side was "Able to share wardrobes."

MoHoHawaii said...

I should clarify that I wasn't being flippant in my previous comment.

Seriously, what would Göran's life be like if you were not part of it? How about Glen's life?

How about the lives of countless others, including me?

We are here in this life together and for one other.

J G-W said...

Oh, I didn't take your comment as flip.

He helped me through a major depression in the mid-90s... I was there for him when his mom died, and then trying to help him sort through the big identity mess she left behind... There's other stuff I can't really talk about.

Without the strength and stability this relationship has provided, I really can't see how I would have accomplished most of the things I really value in life.

Ironically, I feel certain that if it hadn't been for the strength and peace our relationship has given me, I'm not sure I ever would have spiritually progressed to the point of wanting to return to the LDS Church. How's that for strange twists?