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.
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:
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)
-thatboyleroy and thatgalanna