Day 5: Do not go into a Lavender Marriage

Hello Readers!

I am in one, yet I tell couples not to do it… LDS gay men should NOT go into mixed orientation marriages (M.O.M.’s), otherwise known as a Lavender Marriage: a marriage meant to cover up or fix a persons sexual orientation.

For me, this is an awkward conversation because it is one where my thoughts and my actions did not go into the same direction. Many people assume that because I am in a Mixed Orientation Relationship that I think that it is what EVERY gay man needs to do, that they should do this to “fix themselves,” and that this is what God wants of his children. This is entirely not the case and is the exact opposite of my opinion and actions on this issue. When asked, “Do I think that a gay man should be married to a woman?” Almost always I would answer by saying, “no!” Here are my thoughts on this issue:

When someone finds out that I am gay and engaged to a woman they almost always ask me, “How does that work?”, unless they are LDS (Mormon), then I am usually congratulated and told something that means: “Good, I am glad you did the right thing.” The first response is easy to answer and the second makes me very sad and sometimes angry. The interesting thing about these two reactions is that I almost always answer with the same goal, to get them to understand that I did not expect or seek out my relationship with Anna to please God, I did it because eventually I realized that I had somehow fallen in love with a woman (an amazing lady at that!).

Before Anna and I decided that we were going to get married we discussed the harms that we had seen happen to other relationships like ours, both of us were worried that the same fate would befall us a few years down the road. We read blogs and heard from soon to be or were long ago divorced M.O.M. couples where the relationship sent both spouses into a downward spiral of depression and attempted suicide, into sadness and broken families and into anger and hurt. In these situations no one was spared, children, parent, spouse, family and friends all suffered. Anna and I did not want this for our future, and we were concerned that this would happen. To prevent this hurt from happening in our relationship we talked, and talked, and talked about what we would do if the relationship was harmed do to me being gay and her being straight. When would we know when to end the relationship, if needed.

We eventually decided that we were not going down the path of self-destruction and decided to get married.  Soon after this decision was made I came out to Anna’s parents. My soon-to-be Mother-in-law, unknowingly sharing our past fear, asked us to see a counselor. She was worried that we were setting ourselves and our relationship up for failure, it is unnatural for a gay man and a straight woman to be together. The counselor cemented our past decision, that Anna and I were making the correct choice.

For us, our M.O.M. works. We realize and try to let others know that this is not always the case (in fact, very rarely!). For Anna and I it just happened, I was searching for a Man and so was she. I just happened to find a woman instead! We are also not in  a M.O.M. forced by religious belief, which I think is absolutely horrible and should never be done. civil_disobedience_gender_identity_Ekthesi_fotografias_kai_video_art_apo_to_gitv12

Suffering as a gay man in LDS culture and beliefs I learned and do not understand HOW the majority of LDS culture tries to convince gay men that they need to be in a heterosexual relationship. Religion forcing someone to be what she/he is not is a very cruel and horrible thing to do to ANYONE who identifies as being LGBT. I by ACCIDENT fell for Anna, and was intensely shocked when I realized I was in love with a women. The internal struggle of this realization was one of the hardest in my life, it was a choice of being honest to my sexuality or Anna’s and my  happiness. Eventually, after months of watching our relationship and having MANY conversations with Anna made the decision that it was ok for us to be together. As I said above, it took us thinking A LOT and seeing a therapist to make us fully comfortable with continuing our relationship.

Being in a Mixed Orientation Relationship is not a joke, and can end VERY badly for the couple if they go in thinking that the relationship is “commanded by God” or that it is something that they should do because religion tells them to do it. Do not EVER go into a “Lavender Marriage,” do not ever go into a relationship because God or religion told you to. Make sure YOU know your self in your own skin, as a gay man, before you commit to anyone else. This is especially true if you are thinking about entering into a mixed orientation marriage, where you and your gay may affect the relationship in ways you may not want it to.

For those of you thinking about going into a Mixed Orientation Relationship and even a Marriage, make sure that it is the right thing for you. Ask yourself if it will make and KEEP you happy. If you are going into the relationship for you or her, only because God has “told you so”  (I have heard many men say that the revelations telling them to marry a women were false), and/or that your bishop, parent or someone else is making you think it is your only choice. If you say “yes” to any of these I highly recommend that you rethink your commitment before you hurt yourself, your spouse/potential spouse and your future children.

I cannot say more than this without getting redundant, but I do recommend the following blogs that talk about the pro’s and con’s of being in a Mixed Orientation Marriage:

http://aaronandstephanieslife.blogspot.com/

http://www.joshweed.com/

http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon336.html

http://mtagm.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html?zx=176f65e617a3901f

ex-gay

I am in a happy and successful Mixed Orientation Relationship, but I would not recommend to other gay men to do what I am doing. If I did I would fear that they would face the same fate of depression and hurt that so many other gay men have unknowingly gone into.

Also, I have a message to those of you who are considering fixing your gay through marriage, instead of trying to pray your gay away and seeking for God to fix you, pray and ask if He wants you to be gay. While doing this, ask for yourself and not for what others want from you or because you have been told you are supposed to be straight. Pray and ask if it is ok for you to be gay, then define for yourself what being gay means to you. Being gay is not a light switch that you can turn off, it is part of you and always will be you. God made you as you are for a reason. As Bruno Mars says, “You are beautiful just the way you are!” 🙂 (check the music video out here)

Sincerely,

-thatboyleroy and thatgalanna

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My Gay Travel: from socially engrained self-prejudice to love

As I write this I am locked in my bedroom awaiting my damsel to set me free… She is trying on her wedding dress and new shoes, in following tradition I am to avoid her at all costs until the dress is back in its cubby and hidden from my prying eyes.

While waiting I thought I would announce my next posting series. This series will be covering Mixed Orientation Marriages and relationships and will be discussing why some are successful and why some are not.

This is the first post in this series, this post is very much about me and parts of my life journey that have led to today’s reality. I felt that it is necessary to show the beginnings of my journey into a Mixed Orientation Marriage (M.O.M.) so that you know who I am and so you can see what Anna and I see, which is something different and honest.

Here is a little bit of my story, how I got involved in the LDS LGBT movement and the very beginnings of Anna’s and my relationship:

My journey down my life’s road was not an easy one. It, as I now refer to it as, was long, both uphill and down, windy, hot and made of gravel. Some people asked me, “Why are you doing this to yourself?” I always answered, “Because of my faith.” My faith is not defined as a religion, instead I define it as knowing that everything has a purpose and a meaning that effects the future. My faith is my story, and is the causality of what I call my life today.

"I became immersed in the opposite of tolerance, intolerance."

“I became immersed in the opposite of tolerance, intolerance.”

I grew up in the majestic rain forest wonders of Western Oregon and Washington, where the giant fir trees, huge lakes fed by aquifers and runoff from glaciers hidden in mountains that I hope to one day climb and cities neighbored by small towns that mostly respected personal choice and diversity. All of this made me into the reality I am today. It was here that seeing two men kiss in public was part of my normal day. While at church it was common to see gay men sit in sacrament, partaking of sacrament, and passing the sacrament. Then I moved to South West Idaho, where the barren desert landscape mimics that of the conservative insanity which seems to harbor homophobia and racism. I moved from a culture that did not care, but loved, and into a culture where not caring was no longer an option. I became immersed in the opposite of tolerance, intolerance. I soon learned that I was required by my peers to be either a
farm raised gay bashing hick, or an all-loving assumed to be “you-are-obviously-a-sinner” liberal who was socially ostracized and constantly judged by those who make up his very religion and social group. I took the second path, and began a God guided journey that ended after four long hard college years and then renewed itself in messages of action, with an inspired group called Mormons Building Bridges.

Through my experiences as an exploring college student I learned that not caring is one of the most important lessons a person can understand. By not caring about another person’s life I was able to rid the judgmental attitude that I gained from those who made me think it was a requirement of being Mormon. Along with this I was able to be honest with myself about who I am!

As a teenager I was too busy to date, but I kind of knew that I liked guys over girls. In college I learned more about the Gospel and as I progressed through my religious studies program at the wonderful College of Idaho I soon learned that I was a phenomenon in the LDS Church. I was chivalrous, I dressed well, I knew how to make my hair look good, I shaped my eyebrows, and I had a successful and meaningful future planned. As I became more engrossed in the emotionally harmful social group of my singles branch I hid who I was and I started dating LDS women who were more conservative then a straight line. After a year of this social pressure induced trauma I decided to back away and out of this group. I then sent myself into a promise, two years of no dating so I could answer one question. How can I be gay and Mormon? I also found solace in a group of ‘liberal’ Mormons, who could care less if someone was gay.

"I learned that I did not need to "pray away" the gay, I did not need to "fast the gay gone," these practices are not religious belief in action this is self inflicted torture engrained by social bias and prejudice."

“I learned that I did not need to “pray away” the gay, I did not need to “fast the gay gone,” these practices are not religious belief in action this is self inflicted torture engrained by social bias and prejudice.”

The next two years were easily the hardest of my life, so far… I read the scriptures more than a bookworm could in its lifetime. Soon my scriptures contained no margins; they were overly filled with notes about personal revelations, questions and thoughts that begged the question, “is being gay ok?” I prayed, I Prayed, I PRAYED. AND I PRAYED. I also fasted, often. These two years made me realize that I am who I am for a specific reason. I have my experiences and gifts so that the future could benefit from them. I learned that I did not need to “pray away” the gay, I did not need to “fast the gay gone,” these practices are not religious belief in action this is self inflicted torture engrained by social bias and prejudice. I also learned that it is ok to like guys over girls, and I also learned that my beliefs, my faith and my eternal purpose were just as needed as honestly acknowledging who I am. Once I did this, once I said I am gay, my life changed and God took over. For the first time in my life I was in balance with both my spiritual and personal selves.

To my surprise, about six months after this self exploration ended, I went on a date with a gal who I am now planning to marry. Somehow the gay man inside of me fell in love with a wonderful woman who is my yin and I her yang.

Some of you who are reading this may be thinking that a gay man gone straightish is a Mormon excuse to fit into the norm, for me this is not the case. I promised myself that I would not marry a girl unless I knew I loved her and that my attraction to men would not harm our relationship. I take this VERY seriously! Not only is this the case, but our relationship is not the “Mormon norm,” Anna is Unitarian. We are very open about my sexuality with each other and for some reason I am more attracted to her then I have ever been to ANY man. Now that you know that I fell head over heels for on our first date, let me share how I got involved with Mormons Building Bridges.

"I am a Mormon gay man who is marrying a beautiful woman"

“I am a Mormon gay man who is marrying a beautiful woman”

A year and a half ago I began to gather information from interviews and online sources and was soon SHOCKED at how many people in the LGBT community had been negatively harmed both emotionally and/or physically due to the negative social occurrences that have come from LDS social groups. This was my motivator; this information was what triggered an earthquake in my life. I began doing silent activism and helped those men who I could, I told my leaders about what I was doing and offered my time. I did the Mormon thing and prayed for opportunities, and I received many. Day after day I met LDS LGBT members. I heard story after story about how social pressure(s) had caused depression, feelings of being ostracized, and humiliation. When the word got around that I was doing this research and I was an openly gay member of the LDS Church the backlash began towards me, and I soon experienced the homophobia and hate that is common here in Idaho and Utah LDS social groups. These experiences shocked me and forced me into a meditative deep prayer.

From this prayer I emerged a new being with new motivation. Personal Revelation taught me to be prepared for an opportunity to change the homophobic behavior that had taken over much of the LDS social culture. I prepared myself through reading literature and creating presentations that I could use for action. I also wrote a monthly column called ‘Ask a Mormon’ for the College of Idaho’s newspaper where, along with other religious issues, I discussed Mormonism and homosexuality. It was in these college newspaper articles that I “officially” came out. I also worked within my singles branch in showing that yes, it is possible for someone to be Mormon and gay! I kept myself in this circle of initiatives until Mormons Building Bridges came into the spot light, what I had been waiting to happen finally happened! I took this opportunity to build a Mormons Building Bridges group here in Boise, Idaho, the first group to branch itself off of the main MBB one in Utah. We are still young and in the planning stages, but we will and have been creating opportunities for the LDS social mindset on issues of LGBT to change in Idaho. I am also involved in Mormon Allies.

To end I would like to share a scripture with you all which helped me along the way: 3rd Nephi 27:9 “Ask and Ye Shall Receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” I would not have been able to help others as I have if it were not for the advice this scripture gives. This scripture has been the teaching factor to me that without God, nothing can be done.

-thatboyleroy

Fashion Faux Pas: A Gay Guy’s Fashion Advice for the Mormon Feminist Going to Church in PANTS!

https://i1.wp.com/www.thegloss.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Wear-Pants-via-jezebel.jpg

You cannot even type “Church Suit” into an online search engine without getting what SHOULD be considered a “Jacket with a Skirt,” the average blind religious American society just does not know what Female fashion is… I know what you are thinking, “Oh, G[censored for sensitive ears]!”… What ever you do, DO NOT FREAK OUT! I am here to help! I am here to help you take that “so-called” fashion disaster of a God out of his Orthodox box and retrain Him (Or Her?) and make your God want good fashion in His (Her?) Church.

Before I give you my Fashion Tips you need to understand why all this fashion Pish-Posh was started: All Enlisted, a brilliant LDS Feminist grass-roots organization has declared THIS SUNDAY, December 16th, as “Wear Pants to Church Day!” as a protest against the negative Mormon social attitudes that do not respect Women as human beings who have autonomy and free will.

Being a boy I am “asked to” wear the same-old-same-old black BORING pants to any LDS service I attend. Instead, I wear my pants as a sexy fashion statement that makes all the hot Mormon boys jealous! In an effort to help the Mormon Feminists who have lived a sheltered life of no pants, this gay boy is offering you some fashion advice!

Tip One: No rips!
I know that the teenage trend if fighting HARD to continue existing, however rips were an old statement that started in and should have ended in 2010. Since then a lot of more modestly priced clothes retailers have taken the fashion statement from a few years back (which had a die-hard rule of a MAX of 2-3 modest and well located rips per leg) and have turned it into a pair of pants that may as well be called the “Holy New Hipster Lingerie.” If you wear these holy pants you will not get the social change you are looking for, but some holy Mormon boy boners.

Tip Two: If you are over 50, bring the Fifties back (but with some 2012 flair!)!!
You know those really cute jackets and sleek and slim skirts? Well, they are back! However, the sleek and slim have been sewn and tucked and beautified into CUTE pants that seem to be mixed with a bit of the 20’s flair! Another good option that has made its second big debut is the Cigarette Pant, which has all of the above, plus more (If you want to show off your cute eternally sexy butt, this is a good option for you!) This sexy member of your fashion repertoire can now come out of the closet and be welcomed with open arms into the cute and HOT categories of today’s fashion critiques.

Tip Three: shoes, Shoes, AND SHOES!!!
Shoes can make you or break you, and when you are making a statement against the current harmful social trends AND a fashion statement you need a GOOD pair of shoes! I have five good rules for you to follow: 1) Keep the toes hidden, closed toe shoes make you come across to others in a way that makes them listen to you better. Also, wear a heel that is appropriate for your height. If you are 6 feet DO NOT (I repeat DO NOT!) wear more than a four-inch heel, you are already tall enough as it is, don’t make yourself come across as a beautiful version of Godzilla… Likewise, if you are shorter than 6 feet, do not wear a heel that makes your feet vertical. At MAX you should stick with a heel between 1 and 3 inches that does not make your body become unnaturally
set apart from your body. 2) NO ANIMAL PRINT! Wearing cheetah fur will NOT make
you as fast as one, but it will speed up the judgmental Mormon women around you who are thinking “Oh my [Gosh], here comes a freak!” Your statement will not make a statement, but a misunderstanding… 3) Wear CLEAN shoes. I cannot tell you how many LDS women I have caught making this mistake. If you need to, excuse yourself to the bathroom, grab some paper towels, and if you are afraid of being judged lock yourself in a bathroom stall and stand on a toilet as you wipe off all the mud that distracts from your BEAUTY (because all of you women are beautiful, and you deserve to be treated as such!)! 4) No Frills. You do not need to make your feet look like a fish attempting fashion. 5) Choose Shoes that match what you are wearing. Try and have your shoes match the jacket, belt AND pants. If you are wearing a hat make your shoes match this as well.

Tip Four: FRILLS? Wear layers instead!
Like I said above, do not make your self look like a fashion fish. Frills are bad. Stay sleek. If you think you need to wear frills imagine a fish wearing your frilly fashion statement and start picking out what layers would look good together. I included a picture of a cute layered suit for you to go off or, if needed…

Tip Five: Color Coordination
Stick with a two toned suit that shows off your BEAUTIFUL body. Here are some good color combinations that are ALWAYS SAFE: Black over white, grey over black, white over grey, black over pink, and black over purple. Just make sure that when layering that you don’t choose patterns that clash (you don’t want what could have been a beautiful idea to become what resembles a car crash…)

Tip Six: Dress for the Season
It is winter, dress for the season! Beauty is not meant to be a device of torture and regret, but one that makes you feel AMAZING. If you can prevent yourself from being uncomfortable, do so! Choose pants that are made from fabrics such as wool, cashmere, fleece (to be used SMARTLY as an inline for thinner fabrics ONLY!) and cotton. If you want to wear something underneath to keep yourself warm, wear warm stockings that are not to thick AND that match your outfit (this is a common fashion sin that I have caught MANY women making).

Tip Seven: Floral Print AND Button-ups??? Ummm, no!
Floral prints are what your great, GREAT grandma wore. Heck, floral print was even a bad choice in Joseph Smiths day! If you see yourself wanting a floral print SOMETHING choose a scarf that has lines of various widths that contain colors that would be in the floral print. One fashion statement that is a BAD choice for women is the button up… This article of clothing is one that you should NOT go near. It is a fashion taboo that creates a sin greater than Mary Kate and Ashley Olson… Stay FAR away from these two, and whatever you do DO NOT combine them…

This is a good fur scarf that would match a black pants suit.

Tip Eight: Bright Animal Prints? lol. Fashionable Fir? YAY!
When I see someone wearing Animal Prints who is NOT African I laugh. Bright and blunt animal prints DO NOT look good on pale skin. There is a reason why mink, fox and wolf firs were so popular in America, they go well with paler skin tones. If you want to wear animal fur, color coordinate it with your skin and your hair.

Tip Nine: Pastels
Unless you are as cute as the Queen of England on a bright Summer day, do not wear pastels. Pastels are for Easter, and that is it! Pastels make you look like a puckered up version of Mary Bo-Peep meets Little Red Riding Hood. Unless you want to come across as the Molly Mormon of your Ward, do not wear ANYTHING pastel.

Tip Ten: Modest is Hottest?https://i1.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-vv0F3ZdI3vM/Tigw834db2I/AAAAAAAAAhg/pXJxh7uixZo/s1600/EmmaWatson.jpg
I agree with what Mormon Feminists are saying, the modesty doctrine of the LDS Church is taken too far by the ultra-Orthodox women who teach and push this doctrine into young women’s minds. Modesty is a symbol of humility, not what you wear. What is being taught is VERY harmful to the body image of Mormon woman, this language only adds to the unjust “God-Fear” that creates a sense of false “unworthiness” in the minds of so many Mormon women.. However, when protesting this Sunday in your SEXY pants remember that no one will take you seriously if a boob is almost popping out or if you are dressed in a suit that makes the Bishop want to whistle at you like you are Jessica Rabbit… If you want to pop the modesty bubble I would suggest that you do it in a way that will not turn the statement you are trying to make into a statement that only turns people away from you. When looking at the modesty doctrine as a symbol, take this quote from Emma Watson and chew on it for a bit, “The less you reveal the more people can wonder.”

Enjoy protesting by wearing pants! And remember to look HOT, BEAUTIFUL and fashionable while doing so!

Your Feminist Ally and Friend,
thatboyleroy.