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Understanding Homosexuality
 
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This is a difficult post in the fact that I may not be eloquent enough. I was reading the thread "Is Larry Craig Mormon?" and struck by Darin's responses. While not gay myself I was given a special opportunity to appreciate what love is and that it isn't reliant upon couples being members of the opposite sex. A friend of mine and his companion had been together for about 15 years and in those years my friend wrestled with drug addiction and the thought that family and friends did not love him because of his choices. I was initially uncomfortable with his situation, but as I got to know them better that rapidly dissipated and I began to appreciate what they shared with one another. As the years passed my friends companion made many sacrifices in order help him through drug addiction. I don't know if this is true or not but I feel that the drug addiction was the result of people not accepting my friends sexual orientation. It was his way of escape. Unfortunately drug addiction took my friends life and his companion was with him the night he passed away. On the day of his funeral, I had new perspective on my life and how we care for each other. Today I get so pissed off by individuals who state the a hetero marriage/couple is better or deserves protection under the constitution and the gay couples don't deserve the same respect or protections. Those two people really cared for one another and quite a few hetero couples will never know that level of devotion or love.
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Your comments mirror mine exactly, I agree fully... will post more when I have time.
 
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One of the main reasons I left the church was their condemning homosexuality.  I have a dear loved-one a very close friend I grew up with who is gay and was raised in the church.  The struggle for him was immense, he felt extremely low self-esteem as a youngster. He always knew who he was, but because of his belief system he was under the belief he was bad, evil, etc.  I cant even begin to describe the emotional pain he went through. He told me he literally hated himself.  This is the one of the MOst Lovable, kind and good people I know so it's so sad he went through that. 

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This issue was the first one I ended up tackling after leaving the church.  In the first months after leaving you would have heard me spouting the party lines - it's a choice, it's morally wrong, etc.  Fortunately after leaving BYU I found myself at a small college with classes that challenged me to think these things over.   I've been pro gay-rights for over a decade now and fortunately live in a Blue State which will hopefully be one of the first to recognize gay marriage.  A new day is coming.  I think back to the scenes of the first black students being escorted into public school.  The proper, white women swooning over it and pulling their children out of high school.  The men jeering.  I imagine it will be more of the same as the USA loses it's right to discriminate against our gay citizens.
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I'm so torn on this issue.  i would love to say that the mormons just missed the boat on this like so many other issues, but I just can't.  Who are we to say that someone can't love someone of the same gender.  Well who are we to say that Tom Green can't love multiple wives?  Who are we to say Michael Jackson can't love children?  Even if you remove the element of them being helpless minors, he still has an unnatural affection doesn't he?  Also, i think people make the debate silly by saying, "it's not like he woke up one day and said, 'I think I'll be gay now'."  Obese people don't wake up one day and say, "I think I'll be fat now", but they very much decide to be that way every time they put more food into their mouths than  need.   If we can decry someone having for a mate a child or an animal (they are out there)or a cousin or having multiple mates, why not someone who finds a mate in their same gender?

Someone help me see the other side on this one.  I would love to fully adopt "live and let live" on the issue, but I just can't seem to

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Phoenix, I don't think your think your thoughts are irrational. I would like to look at the two points you made.

1. Being gay is a choice, like being obese. For some people, obesity is in their genes, and the struggle to not be obese is very difficult. You can't have an operation or exercise homosexuality away. I don't think the choice is to be attracted to others of the same sex. The only choice a homosexual makes is to accept that they are gay. Imagine how you feel about the opposite sex, and then being told that you are wrong for being attracted to them and that you should be attracted to the same sex. Imagine that there are people who would legislate your right to be with whom you are attracted to.

2. The morality of homosexuality is merely a slight of hand play by conservative Christians to retain political power. What happens in the bedroom of consenting adults is really of no interest to the government, and shouldn't be of interest to anyone else. Homosexuality will not ruin the nation. Polygamy, without patriarchal theocratic dominance, could work well too. Other examples where consent is or cannot be given, should be prevented.
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nxtOracle:
1. Being gay is a choice, like being obese. For some people, obesity is in their genes, and the struggle to not be obese is very difficult. You can't have an operation or exercise homosexuality away. I don't think the choice is to be attracted to others of the same sex. The only choice a homosexual makes is to accept that they are gay. Imagine how you feel about the opposite sex, and then being told that you are wrong for being attracted to them and that you should be attracted to the same sex. Imagine that there are people who would legislate your right to be with whom you are attracted to.



But what about Michael Jackson?  Is there an operation for him.  Either nature made him that way or his unnatural attraction to children is a result of "sexually overeating".  But either way, his impulses are legally and ethically wrong.  Even if he were looking at a computer generated kidde porn (where actual shildren were not involved or harmed) it would still be wrong and is an impulse that should be surpressed.
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Phoenix:
.......

But what about Michael Jackson?  Is there an operation for him.  Either nature made him that way or his unnatural attraction to children is a result of "sexually overeating".  But either way, his impulses are legally and ethically wrong.  Even if he were looking at a computer generated kidde porn (where actual shildren were not involved or harmed) it would still be wrong and is an impulse that should be surpressed.

Hi Phoenix -
I understand your point and have to say it's more interesting than most of the questions I've heard.  (For the record, I am gay.)

I would say the difference is that Jackson's interest is harmful to children.  I know that, for the sake of argument,  you wanted to put that aside.  And the CG kiddie porn example sort of does that.  Yes, maybe in that case no child is being directly harmed.  But I'd say there is still indirect harm.  It still objectifies them, and opens them up to actual harm.  You might say that is an arbitrary line, but it's one I'm willing to make. 

On the other hand, I can't come up with what harm or even potential harm comes about due to what goes on between two consenting gay adults.  I can't come up with a good reason why it should be anybody's perogative to deny me that, or villify me for that, or treat me any differently than they would if my partner was a woman. 
Maybe I'm too close to the issue, but I can't come up with any reasons for this. 



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Phoenix:I'm so torn on this issue.  i would love to say that the mormons just missed the boat on this like so many other issues, but I just can't.  Who are we to say that someone can't love someone of the same gender.  Well who are we to say that Tom Green can't love multiple wives?  Who are we to say Michael Jackson can't love children?  Even if you remove the element of them being helpless minors, he still has an unnatural affection doesn't he?  Also, i think people make the debate silly by saying, "it's not like he woke up one day and said, 'I think I'll be gay now'."  Obese people don't wake up one day and say, "I think I'll be fat now", but they very much decide to be that way every time they put more food into their mouths than  need.   If we can decry someone having for a mate a child or an animal (they are out there)or a cousin or having multiple mates, why not someone who finds a mate in their same gender?

Someone help me see the other side on this one.  I would love to fully adopt "live and let live" on the issue, but I just can't seem to



I am not sure I understand how you can compare being gay/lesbian with Michael Jackson abusing children. What do you think your issue is that you have regarding gay and Lesbian people? Help me understand where you are coming from.
 
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Well being transgender and more attracted to males myself I can't criticize anybody for being gay, even if I thought it was wrong. If you do think it's wrong you certainly shouldn't do it, but does that give you the right to control what other people do? Sin seems to be all about power in the LDS church, sometimes. And that is wrong, right?
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elder_nomo:
Hi Phoenix -
I understand your point and have to say it's more interesting than most of the questions I've heard.  (For the record, I am gay.)

I would say the difference is that Jackson's interest is harmful to children.  I know that, for the sake of argument,  you wanted to put that aside.  And the CG kiddie porn example sort of does that.  Yes, maybe in that case no child is being directly harmed.  But I'd say there is still indirect harm.  It still objectifies them, and opens them up to actual harm.  You might say that is an arbitrary line, but it's one I'm willing to make. 

On the other hand, I can't come up with what harm or even potential harm comes about due to what goes on between two consenting gay adults.  I can't come up with a good reason why it should be anybody's perogative to deny me that, or villify me for that, or treat me any differently than they would if my partner was a woman. 
Maybe I'm too close to the issue, but I can't come up with any reasons for this. 





Thanks for responding and not being overly-sensitive (where you could so easily be with people talking about you and your life in this way-very big of you).  Even if I completely disagree, I can almost always understand the other side of an issue.  This is a subject where I haven't been able to do this, so I appreciate the input. 

Okay, I'm exhausted and can't think straight, but I really want to tell you more of where
I'm coming from and get your take on things.   Please check back and resond.  I'd love to hear what anyone has to say on this subject, but maybe especially the gay members.
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Phoenix:
elder_nomo:
Hi Phoenix -
I understand your point and have to say it's more interesting than most of the questions I've heard.  (For the record, I am gay.)

I would say the difference is that Jackson's interest is harmful to children.  I know that, for the sake of argument,  you wanted to put that aside.  And the CG kiddie porn example sort of does that.  Yes, maybe in that case no child is being directly harmed.  But I'd say there is still indirect harm.  It still objectifies them, and opens them up to actual harm.  You might say that is an arbitrary line, but it's one I'm willing to make. 

On the other hand, I can't come up with what harm or even potential harm comes about due to what goes on between two consenting gay adults.  I can't come up with a good reason why it should be anybody's perogative to deny me that, or villify me for that, or treat me any differently than they would if my partner was a woman. 
Maybe I'm too close to the issue, but I can't come up with any reasons for this. 





Thanks for responding and not being overly-sensitive (where you could so easily be with people talking about you and your life in this way-very big of you).  Even if I completely disagree, I can almost always understand the other side of an issue.  This is a subject where I haven't been able to do this, so I appreciate the input. 

Okay, I'm exhausted and can't think straight, but I really want to tell you more of where
I'm coming from and get your take on things.   Please check back and resond.  I'd love to hear what anyone has to say on this subject, but maybe especially the gay members.


Phoenix,

Thanks for being unafraid to ask some great questions.  The fact that you are open to discussion and willing to explore your own biases (which all of us have) is a healthy thing, IMO.  As another gay memeber of the board, I will definately be answering.... just don't have the time, at the moment.  Wanted to make a quick recommendation, in the meantime:

Have you read both of Carol Lynn Pearson's books relating to the subject?:

"Goodbye, I Love You" (she tells her TRUE story of her temple marriage to Gerald, a gay LDS RM, the formation of their family, subsequent divorce, her struggle with understanding homosexuality, and finally, his return to die of AIDS in their home)

and her recently published "follow up" (some twenty years later) called:
"No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around our Gay and Lesbian Loved Ones"
(she shared MANY experiences of gay and lesbian LDS members, their families, etc. A call to action to understand homosexuality and never have to loose another family member because of it).

Both can be found at www.nomoregoodbyes.com (the first two chapters of the book are there, free, to read--and are WELL worth it for those of us from an LDS background.  The book is not written TO gays.... but to straight LDS family members, etc.  She is an amazing woman...)

Will respond more to your questions, soon....

Have a GREAT Labor Day weekend, all!!! :-)

Darin
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Phoenix:... Who are we to say that someone can't love someone of the same gender.  Well who are we to say that Tom Green can't love multiple wives?  Who are we to say Michael Jackson can't love children?  Even if you remove the element of them being helpless minors, he still has an unnatural affection doesn't he?


I think you have raised some important points regarding possible "post-Mormon hypocracies."

First, though, lets agree to keep this discussion to humans (that is, "homo sapiens") and adults. The reason is that, save animal torture/abuse/neglect, our society exists for the "benefit" of people (that is, "homo sapiens") who have reached a certain age (usually ca. 18), indicating they have acquired, in theory, a certain amount of education and experience that will allow them to make informed decisions. Consequently, we are obligated to protect people who have not reached that age in the hopes that one day, they too can join the ranks of informed-decision-makers.

Now, that said, if there are consenting adults (men or women) who choose to live as part of a "harem," then I have no theoretical problem with it provided: a) they are not brainwashed or psychologically manipulated; b) they are not physically forced to be a member, and can leave/change their mind at any time without consequence beyond what might be expected in divorce. Indeed, there are very functional societies across the world that have "plural marriages," and I see it as an entirely acceptable way of living. I for one don't occupy a superior moral position to condemn it, provided it functions with the conditions I mentioned above.

In general, I think the more liberal our society (note: society means consenting "informed" adults), the better, stronger, more resilient we will be.

This is, of course, not the Mormon world view. For example: I am gay. I have been with my partner for 5 years--longer than my heterosexual brother has known his (now) wife. My larger family, however, does not accept gays, and in consequence have never met my partner. I consider this their loss. I have no intention, however, of forcing them to accept him, or me, as he and I am. They have chosen, literally, to be closed-minded. And I accept that.

The reason: "forced acceptance" demands a "morally superior" positionality in the same manner as "forced disapproval." They are both equally closed minded. Education, and a society with liberal and accepting standards is the best we can hope for. What individual people "choose" to accept, or how they "choose" to live, is NOT the concern of the larger society, so long as the decisions themselves concern consenting (homo sapien) adults.

In short, I think we should be open, in theory, to as many possible different arrangements of "human existence" as there are humans. Regardless of how we, in our small boxes of experiences, feel about any one of them.
 
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gallau:


I am not sure I understand how you can compare being gay/lesbian with Michael Jackson abusing children. What do you think your issue is that you have regarding gay and Lesbian people? Help me understand where you are coming from.


Maybe I could preface with a quote: "conservatives see something wrong with everything.  Liberals see nothing worng with anything.  Both are wrong."

Okay, there are two questions looming here: are gay people born that way or is their attraction a result of repeated actions (this including entertaining thoughts), and what - if anthing- should be done about the attraction.  let's put aside the second half of the equation where MJ acts on his impulses. This is fair because the action is where the comparison pretty much ends.  I'm simply bringing up other impulses/ urges that we have no problem decrying.  Gay people must be born that way because they didn't wake up one day and decide to be that way, right.  By that same logic, did MJ decide to have those impulses?  Was he born that way, or is his current state a result of ...Maybe he has unresolved issues from his childhood.  Maybe he found himself excited by younger people (i.e. barely legal websites).  The more time he spent mentally on this forbidden fruit, the younger his subjects became.

This concept makes a lot of sense to me and I think it can be applied to other areas.  If someone overeats, the more they want to eat.  (I've struggled with gluttony my whole life).  Their desire for food morphs  from eating to live, with enjoyment of the food as a bi-product to eating simply for the enjoyment -eating because you want to eat, not because you're hungry. 

After experiencing several huge tragedies last year, I have literally had to fight to keep my sanity.  Many times, I've been at wit's end and have very distinctly felt that if I just let go, I would slip right into insanity.  I have had to fight in order to not "wake up one day" and find myself crazy.

And what of rageaholics?  They weren't born that way, but they certainly didn't suddenlydecide to be that way either.  I've been working on my own temper and it has taken several very deliberate actions on my part - forcing myself to stop a moment when I want to lash out, asking my wife to not meekly take it, but to stand up to me (i.e. it's not fair to talk to me like that!)

This brings us to the second part of the equation - what is to be done about ones homosexuality?  We humans have many desires which in some ways are natural (kind of in a "following the path of least resistance) but we all agree, can and should be controlled or stamped out, regardless of how we got to that point. I can't buy that wahtever sexual urges a person has should be acted on (so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else).  There has to be a line somewhere.  Look at beastiality, and bizarre fetishes.  And if there are sexual urges that should be suppressed, couldn't homosexuality be one of them?

Thank you to the gays for not getting defensive.  I'm  trying hard to be respectful, but I'm aware of how easily my words could be taken as an attack.  I really just want to undrstand and I'm presenting my thought process that has led to my current opinions (not unlike the thought processes which led me from the mormons).


I guess  a third questoin would be what is the harm?  Why does what they do in their bedroom effect you.  Well obese people tend to raise obese children.  Abusive parents raise abusive children.  If homosexuality is a perversion, then children should not be around it.  In addition a gay's lifestyle does affect society by (among other ways) demonstrating to other people that it is okay (once again, appealing to the theory that it is not okay).  If if is a perversion or an "overindulgence" of some sort, then tolerance of it will only lead to more fo it in society.

Enlighten me gays.  [Edit: sorry, this was considered offensive, sarcastic, I guess.  REally didn't mean it this way.]  Tell me that your sexual preference is not a result of some domino effect of forbidden fruit.  Are there gays out there that found themselves in "gay" love (like a childhood crush) without first having experimented with this person or someone else.  (Of course, just because the experimentation came first would not necessarily mean that was the only reason for the love.)  Maybe put another way, is there a gay who could tell me of finding gay love before gay sex?  Just curious
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Let's adddress all of these topics in their proper places.

Michael Jackson. If he were a pedophile has nothing to do with homosexuality. He did some foolish things, but it was never proven that he molested any of the boys. The parents that brought suit against him had sued several other people with money over the  years. Their own son told the court he was told to say something that didn't happen. I saw him as emotionally the same age as those boys and he related to them as though they were his peers. He was a kid having a slumber party with other kids. I might be wrong and he may have been a pedophile. It wasn't proven.

Jumping to the conclusion that pedophilia has something to do with homosexuality: 93.06% of pedophiles are heterosexual. Does that make every heterosexual a pedophile?

This discussion should never had included pedophilia.

Back when homosexuals were actually arrested, I had two classmates. One was a close friend. The other was just a classmate. In the ninth grade she stopped wearing girl's clothes, bound herself, changed her name and tried to pass herself off as a boy. They put her in the reform school.

I don't think she (or he) was a homosexual. I think she was a male in a female body. It happens. I used to work in the OR in a large hospital. Surgeries were (more than you realize) performed on babies to determine the sex. At that time, they didn't have the knowledge to use gene and hormone studies to determine if those babies should be one or the other. So, if the baby had two sets of genitals, the parents decided whether the baby was a boy or a girl. That could, very well, explain transgender.


My other friend was one of the handsomest boys in the school and everyone thought I was so lucky to be going around with him. We did everything together. We never even kissed. My attraction to his friendship was he was extremely intelligent and we could discuss anything and everything. Most of the kids were dicussing the brand names of their clothes. How boring!


One day, after school, we decided to go to a little bakery next to a small park. We bought some day-old doughnuts and went into the park to study. He started crying. I was aghast. Boys didn't cry. He kept telling me he could not tell me or I wouldn't like him anymore. I finally got it out of him. He told me he liked boys better than girls. It was okay with me, but it sure wouldn't be okay with the narrow-minded community we lived in. He committed suicide in his 20's.


There have been studies that show homosexuals have a larger division between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. They also have a different  hormone makeup.


Supposedly, there have been studies that prove that certain therapies have been successful in changing a homosexual to a heterosexual. Does that person remain changed for three years or over? How many were in the control group? Aversion conditioning therapy is often used. How successful is that over the long haul?


I had a woman say, "But it isn't natural?" We have a variety of things happen in births that could be outside someone's conception of norm. I don't think it is natural for a baby to be born with his spine on the outside of his body, but it happens.


You need to ask yourselves: Why would anyone choose to be discriminated against, in the old days - jailed, ridiculed, and distanced from family and friends?

 
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magi:

Let's adddress all of these topics in their proper places.

Michael Jackson. If he were a pedophile has nothing to do with homosexuality. He did some foolish things, but it was never proven that he molested any of the boys. The parents that brought suit against him had sued several other people with money over the  years. Their own son told the court he was told to say something that didn't happen. I saw him as emotionally the same age as those boys and he related to them as though they were his peers. He was a kid having a slumber party with other kids. I might be wrong and he may have been a pedophile. It wasn't proven.

 

Fine, insert any pedophile.  I used MJ because it seems he obviously has a thing for kids beyond just the sexual.

 

Jumping to the conclusion that pedophilia has something to do with homosexuality: 93.06% of pedophiles are heterosexual. Does that make every heterosexual a pedophile?

This discussion should never had included pedophilia.

 

I'm not jumping to that conclusion.  One doesn't have to be one to be the other.  I'm simply using pedophilia as an example of a sexual urge that we have no problem decrying.  Either pedophiles were not born that way, but are that way as a result of their thoughts and actions (in which case other sexual attractions such as to the same gender are very possibly a result of the same) or pedophiles are born that way, in which case we should pity them and try to help rather than just turn up our noses at these "sickos" and this would still be the case even if children were not being harmed in the process).  My comparison is like comparing pirating DVD's to breaking into someone's house and stealing their TV.  Are they the same thing.  Of course not.  Is the Tv as bad as the pirating?  No.  But you appeal to a commonly understood wrong, to explain in what way the other debatable action is wrong.  Mormon leaders telling their members not to read anti literature is wrong like the Nazi book burnings were wrong.  Are they the same - no, but they are both examples of censorship and wrong in the same way (not to the same degree).

I don't think she (or he) was a homosexual. I think she was a male in a female body. It happens. I used to work in the OR in a large hospital. Surgeries were (more than you realize) performed on babies to determine the sex. At that time, they didn't have the knowledge to use gene and hormone studies to determine if those babies should be one or the other. So, if the baby had two sets of genitals, the parents decided whether the baby was a boy or a girl. That could, very well, explain transgender.


Good example of "abnormal sexuality" easily attributed to innate or other external factors.

My other friend was one of the handsomest boys in the school and everyone thought I was so lucky to be going around with him. We did everything together. We never even kissed. My attraction to his friendship was he was extremely intelligent and we could discuss anything and everything. Most of the kids were dicussing the brand names of their clothes. How boring!


One day, after school, we decided to go to a little bakery next to a small park. We bought some day-old doughnuts and went into the park to study. He started crying. I was aghast. Boys didn't cry. He kept telling me he could not tell me or I wouldn't like him anymore. I finally got it out of him. He told me he liked boys better than girls. It was okay with me, but it sure wouldn't be okay with the narrow-minded community we lived in. He committed suicide in his 20's.


 

but could there have been things in his actions and thoughts which led to this?  This is why
I was hoping for some firsthand accounts from gays on becoming/realizing that they are gay.

 

There have been studies that show homosexuals have a larger division between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. They also have a different  hormone makeup.


 

This is kind of a chicken and egg thing in my mind.  I believe in depressed people that chemical imbalances are often (maybe not always) caused by depression, not the other way around.  Our actions can have a profound effect on our health and even our physical makeup.


I had a woman say, "But it isn't natural?" We have a variety of things happen in births that could be outside someone's conception of norm. I don't think it is natural for a baby to be born with his spine on the outside of his body, but it happens.


 

Good point except that we ususally do something to get these people closer to the norm for several reasons.  Bad organs are transplanted to save a life.  Conjoined twins are separated to give them a more "normal" life.

 

You need to ask yourselves: Why would anyone choose to be discriminated against, in the old days - jailed, ridiculed, and distanced from family and friends?



I'm not saying it's a choice like choosing what to have for lunch.  It's (possibly) a choice like when someone chooses to be obese.  Nobody sits down and says "I choose to be made fun of as a "fat"person, but they do in effect choose it every time they have too much for lunch.  You've given me a few things to chew on.  I'd like to hear your response to some of my last post (rather than just homosexuality in general) like examples we can all agree on of seemingly innate urges that we have accpted need to be controlled or stamped out.
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"conservatives see something wrong with everything.  Liberals see nothing worng with anything.  Both are wrong."


I agree with this. All things in moderation, most of the time.

Okay, there are two questions looming here: are gay people born that way or is their attraction a result of repeated actions (this including entertaining thoughts), and what - if anthing- should be done about the attraction.


"Homosexuality" is too complex of a topic to have only one difinitive answer. It is likely the product off genetic and environmental conditions--in various mixtures, to different degrees, in different people. "Gay" is a label that references a social identity. It is chosen. And in that sense, being "gay" is chosen; but "homosexual behavior" is, to a lesser or greater degree, un-chosen.

This concept makes a lot of sense to me and I think it can be applied to other areas.  If someone overeats, the more they want to eat.  (I've struggled with gluttony my whole life).  Their desire for food morphs  from eating to live, with enjoyment of the food as a bi-product to eating simply for the enjoyment -eating because you want to eat, not because you're hungry.


This seems somehow to say that "homosexual" sex is more addictive than other types of sex. This is a difficult, if not impossible, proposition to prove. Addiction is addiction--potent in any form, hetero, homo, or otherwise--and should be treated as addictive regardless. One is not inherently more addictive than another--there are, I guarantee, plenty of straight-sex addicts.

And what of rageaholics?  They weren't born that way, but they certainly didn't suddenlydecide to be that way either.  I've been working on my own temper and it has taken several very deliberate actions on my part - forcing myself to stop a moment when I want to lash out, asking my wife to not meekly take it, but to stand up to me (i.e. it's not fair to talk to me like that!)


RIGHT! Like I said above, not all people who engage in homosexual activity are "gay." In the same way, not all people who engage in "rage-filled" activities are "angry people." That would likely be a chosen category (I'm thinking Avril Lavigne....???... just kidding)

This brings us to the second part of the equation - what is to be done about ones homosexuality?  We humans have many desires which in some ways are natural (kind of in a "following the path of least resistance) but we all agree, can and should be controlled or stamped out, regardless of how we got to that point. I can't buy that wahtever sexual urges a person has should be acted on (so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else).  There has to be a line somewhere.  Look at beastiality, and bizarre fetishes.  And if there are sexual urges that should be suppressed, couldn't homosexuality be one of them?


Done about homosoexuality? Embrace it! As a wonderful part of human existence--so long as it is practiced by consenting adults. But that goes for any type of sexual activity, as I said in my previous post.

As for the "shouldn't some be suppressed" suggestion: the answer is, whether they should or shouldn't, they ARE suppressed. And thank goodness they are. Otherwise we'd have many more rapes. But suppressing entire categories of sexual behaviors...WHY? What consenting adults do with other consenting adults is their business. None of us have a superior moral position. (Take a look at the embrace of the "Hijra" in India.)

I guess  a third questoin would be what is the harm?  Why does what they do in their bedroom effect you.  Well obese people tend to raise obese children.  Abusive parents raise abusive children.  If homosexuality is a perversion, then children should not be around it.  In addition a gay's lifestyle does affect society by (among other ways) demonstrating to other people that it is okay (once again, appealing to the theory that it is not okay).  If if is a perversion or an "overindulgence" of some sort, then tolerance of it will only lead to more fo it in society.


This sounds a bit like what the Nazi's said: the "perversion" and "danger to society" stuff. Take a look at the "gay" culture in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. It wasn't "destroying society." These folks were targeted because they were easy prey--because they were different.

I know plenty of homosexual people with children. And they are very well balanced, "normal" families. It's easy to say that things are "damaging" when you haven't been around it--to envision the fabric of society being destroyed by people who are different. That's the definition of "xenophobia." And it's often used to distract people from the really critical issues of the day.

Enlighten me gays.


This is a bit offensive.

Are there gays out there that found themselves in "gay" love (like a childhood crush) without first having experimented with this person or someone else.  (Of course, just because the experimentation came first would not necessarily mean that was the only reason for the love.)  Maybe put another way, is there a gay who could tell me of finding gay love before gay sex?  Just curious


Yes. I am an example of this. I knew I was interested in other guys long before I had sex. My relationships are not, and never have been, based on sex.

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I'm having a hard time w/this one. It seems, if I can put it nicely, that to control or stamp it out is a far less healthy alternative than acceptance. I believe for those who are gay it IS natural to them. Once one accepts who one really is--and his/her soul only knows what that is--they are able to be at peace/happiness. That seems far more natural than cognitive dissonance, self hatred, behavioral training. Saying it is not natural is only a personal judgment. Who can really determine what is wrong or right, natural or un-natural since they are all relative terms. There's plenty of gayness in the Animal kingdom, should we train those animals otherwise or let nature take its course? Food for thought, IMO
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deleuzean:


Enlighten me gays.


This is a bit offensive.



Very sorry.  I'm trying very hard to be tactful while being candid.  Did this seem sarcastic?  Not intended that way.  I really want to be enlightened by your perspective and experienences rather than just  listening to politicians and religious people spot their assumptions.  I'm trying very hard  to concede the possibility that waht I've always held to be true might not be. I would love to abandon "homophobia" with many other mormon beleifs, but I can't do so just because it's their belief.  Some of their beliefs and values are good.  I try to keep caffeine to a minimum and will probably never try alcohol - I've just seen too many devastating effects.

When I ask what (if anything) should be done about homosexuality, I'm mostly talking about one's own state, not talking about what the legislature or society should do.  Would you (
and others) be willing to share more about  your early sexual background?  I know this is very personal, but I am not treating this lightly or looking for "ammo" to use against you.  Here's what it comes down to.  Until now I have assumed that gays are not born that way, they create themselves like an overweight person creates himself (like my overindulgence in food created an overweight me).Sexual overindulgence that leads to being gay (or other things) could include any number of visual, tactile, or mental "forbidden fruit"that is not used in moderation.   I'm now probing for information, especially from gays, because I'm aware of how much my assumption of you resembles a mormons assumptions of  me in having left the church.  (The church is true so you must just be sinful or prideful or something.  Sometimes assumptions are right on, but all too often they are not.  This is why I'm sharing and asking questions because I don't want to be guilty of a wrong assumption.  As I've said, I really want to wholeheartedly adopt "live and let live" with gays but haven't, in good conscience, been able to do it.
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cancan:There's plenty of gayness in the Animal kingdom, should we train those animals otherwise or let nature take its course? Food for thought, IMO
 

Just wanted to point out the irony of your post considering that your avatar is a cat with his paw around another cat.

Seriously, though, excellent point.
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Would you (and others) be willing to share more about  your early sexual background? ... I'm now probing for information, especially from gays, because I'm aware of how much my assumption of you resembles a mormons assumptions of  me in having left the church.


No. And frankly, I find this request creepy--especially for a public forum. My "early sexual background" is not public information, nor should yours be. It's a private matter.

If you're looking for more information on the "gay experience," I'd suggest visiting the "Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays" website: http://www.pflag.org. Or the "Human Rights Campaign" at: http://www.hrc.org. Both of these are great organizations to get involved with, to meet "real" gay people.

That said, we've drifted far off the topic of Mormonism, and cultural assumptions and acceptance.

This is all I have to say on this topic.
 
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Phoenix:Thank you to the gays for not getting defensive.  I'm  trying hard to be respectful, but I'm aware of how easily my words could be taken as an attack.  I really just want to undrstand and I'm presenting my thought process that has led to my current opinions (not unlike the thought processes which led me from the mormons).


Sorry Phoenix, while I respect you as a person, I don't have to justify my existence, my sexuality, or my gender identity to you. Let me make an observation: For someone who wants to understand you do a lot of talking and not a great deal of listening. I don't ask you to justify or explain your heterosexuality to me. As far as I'm concerned you're free to be attracted to whoever you like. I have no desire to poke into your private life and I feel that it would be wrong of me to do so. It's your life and your business.

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deleuzean:
Would you (and others) be willing to share more about  your early sexual background? ... I'm now probing for information, especially from gays, because I'm aware of how much my assumption of you resembles a mormons assumptions of  me in having left the church.


No. And frankly, I find this request creepy--especially for a public forum. My "early sexual background" is not public information, nor should yours be. It's a private matter.

\.


Guess I view this as a bit more anonymous since we're all hidden behind our computer screens.  Thank you for the input and web site reference, and sorry to creep you out.
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chemonro:

Sorry Phoenix, while I respect you as a person, I don't have to justify my existence, my sexuality, or my gender identity to you. Let me make an observation: For someone who wants to understand you do a lot of talking and not a great deal of listening. I don't ask you to justify or explain your heterosexuality to me. As far as I'm concerned you're free to be attracted to whoever you like. I have no desire to poke into your private life and I feel that it would be wrong of me to do so. It's your life and your business.

Che


You certainly don't have to jsutify yourself to me or anyone.  I really haven't been trying to convince anyone of my side, but rather demonstrate the stumbling blocks I've faced in trying to come to your side, or atleast understand it.  Basically I was thinking out loud and looking for responses from somewhere outside my head which I'm sure is still tainted by the church's dogma.  Sorry I don't seem to be listening.  I've really tried to - I've read through all these posts many times.  I have given a lot of rebuttals, though, you're right.  Sorry for making you feel a scrutinized and discected.  You certainly don't need more of that.
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Hi Phoenix -
I believe you when you say you're just trying to understand.  You're stumbling a little and maybe making some folks uncomfortable, but I commend you for your efforts. 

Before I go on, a little disclaimer:  I am only speaking for myself here.  Other gays will have other ideas and opinions and feelings. 

I have to give you kudos for, IMO, asking the right questions.  I see where you're going with the "just because you're born with feelings doesn't mean you have to act out on them" idea.  Agree.  It's unfortunate that you chose MJ and pedophelia as the example, because we get all tied up in *that* and lose track of your basic premise. 

For me, the argument about being "born gay" is useful to counter arguments that it's not "natural".  If people are born gay, then by definition, it's natural.  And as someone (Cancan?) pointed out, it exists in the natural animal kingdom. 
The "unnatural" argument used to be used a LOT against gays, so it's not surprising that we are still countering it, even though it's not used quite so much anymore. 

But, as you are (I think) trying to point out, just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's "right." 
It's not so difficult to make the call between right and wrong when it involves innocent children or helpless animals.  Or when it involves physical or mental harm or forcing even adults to do something against their will. 

Now we come to consenting adult homosexuality.  Is it wrong?


[sorry have to stop for a moment, more to come]




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The most useful analogy I've found is the left-handed one.  I think being gay is something akin to being left-handed. 

It's a natural inclination, something you're born with.  But whether you act on it is something you have at least some control over.  Society once disapproved of using the left hand and even used the bible (standing "at the left hand of God") to justify their disapproval. 

It's a variation from the norm.  Society is built for the majority and so some things become a little more difficult or not as straightforward. 

You can fake being a right-hander, and in fact you can even "train yourself" to use your right hand.  I think that's what happens when mormon gay men get talked into marrying straight women.  But the natural inclination stays the same. 


Now, back to the question....

Is homosexuality wrong if it involves informed, consenting adults? 

I take a sort of libertarian approach to this.  As long as I'm not hurting anybody, I am free to do as I wish. 


Phoenix, you said.....

Phoenix: 
.......
I guess  a third questoin would be what is the harm?  Why does what they do in their bedroom effect you.  Well obese people tend to raise obese children.  Abusive parents raise abusive children.  If homosexuality is a perversion, then children should not be around it.  In addition a gay's lifestyle does affect society by (among other ways) demonstrating to other people that it is okay (once again, appealing to the theory that it is not okay).  If if is a perversion or an "overindulgence" of some sort, then tolerance of it will only lead to more fo it in society.

Substitute left handed and tell me about the logic of this...
If we allow left-handers to use their left hands, it will affect society.  Everyone will think it's OK.  *More* people will start using their left hands.  Even *children* will think left-handedness is alright. 

I'm sure you see where I'm going...
I don't see the "harm" being done, unless you pre-define it as "wrong" and I haven't yet heard anything to that effect. 

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What should we do about gays? Nothing. They should not be discrimated against in any way.

To give them the right to a legal union is not going to destroy my marriage and if it destroys yours, what kind of marriage do you have?

We are back to what I have said about any fundie or close-to fundie. Their minds are always on sex. If two people have a relationship, what they do behind closed doors is none of my business and my mind does not, immediately, go to their crotches.

If it doesn't kill me or give me a rash it is none of my business.
 
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I found this article interesting, and wasn't sure if it belonged in this thread or the Larry Craig thread.  I'll toss it here.

From the Washington Post, August 31, 2007 by Susan Jacoby:



America's Gay Fixation


Last week’s question in “On Faith,” sponsored by The Washington Post and Newsweek, [http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/2007/08/clergy_sexuality/all.html], concerned the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s decision to leave gay clergy alone if they are in chaste, committed relationships. This somewhat cautious decision by one Protestant denomination drew a huge and angry response, from both pro- and anti-gay panelists and bloggers.

Why do you think Americans care so much about an “issue” that ignites so little controversy in Europe? Why are we alone in the developed world in our intense distress about the fact that a minority of people are erotically attracted to members of their own their own sex rather than to the opposite sex?

Even as the Evangelical Lutherans were timidly saying that it was all right for a minister to be gay if he was in a monogamous long-term relationship, yet another gay-bashing right-wing Republican politician was caught in a compromising situation in a public restroom.

Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested in a sting operation in a bathroom at the Minneapolis Airport, and he says he pled guilty to disorderly conduct, without the advice of an attorney, in order to make the case “go away.” Then he held a press conference, with the obligatory stone-faced wife at his side, saying that he was not gay and had never been gay—that he only entered a guilty plea to to keep the whole thing out of the media.

It made one queasy to hear Craig describes his “wide stance” in the bathroom as the explanation for his hands and feet having wandered under the barrier separating him from the cop in the next stall.

I would have felt deeply sorry for the blockheaded senator (how could he possibly have thought he could keep such an arrest out of the papers?) if he were not one of those moralizers who wants to police everyone else’s sex life. How terrible it must be to live an entirely life at odds with your deepest desires, and how terrible it must be for a woman to know that she has been living with such a man for years.

Significantly, Republican senators immediately called for Craig’s resignation. The rush to penalize someone suspected of being gay contrasts sharply with conservatives’ tolerance for colleagues involved in corruption scandals and, for that matter, in heterosexual misconduct. Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, for example, is back at work in the Senate after confessing to having had relations with prostitutes. Female prostitutes, that is. One can only imagine how swiftly Vitters Republican colleagues would have abandoned him if he had been fooling around with male prostitutes.

Is the power of fundamentalist religion, again unique in the developed world, the only explanation for the American fixation on gays as a threat to traditional values? Perhaps this also has something to do with traditional images of American masculinity—the Marlboro Man, the rugged cowboy who would never have dreamed of engaging in the kind of activities described in the movie “Brokeback Mountain.”

All I know is that we have heard more about Sen. Craig’s bathroom encounter during the past week than we have about the continued fighting and dying in Iraq. That scares me.
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Whenever I've had a discussion with a gay individual about their realizations and subsequent "coming out" I've been able to relate to it greatly.  Why is that?  It's because the story is SO much like my own story of leaving the church.  To me the church was an all-inclusive society.  The Mormon church was my view of reality.  We had Mormon friends, we spent every day doing things the Mormon way with our Family Home Evenings and our scripture reading and our family prayer.  That was reality and everyone outside our reality was different and, albeit well-meaning, not altogether correct.

Then I got those little doubts, the admitting to myself I wasn't really happy in this reality, the depression that came along with trying to make it work and trying to look 'right' on the outside when your inside wasn't in agreement. 

Like everyone here at one point I got to the point where I said "This just isn't working out for me."  I had to make my own way at that point even though it meant disappointing my parents and being allienated in some circles.  The truth of being authentic eventually trumps what other people want you to be.

I'm old enough that the kids I used to babysit have reached adulthood.  There was one child in particular, his name was Matthew.  I started babysitting him when he was 3 or 4.  Even at this age he was exhibiting some stereotypical feminine behaviors.  He's a gay adult man now and I certainly wasn't surprised to hear about it. 

I understand the example you are trying to make with the pedophilia and the overeating and so forth.  I don't fault you for using such an example because that is certainly how we were taught to view being gay in our Mormon backgrounds.   It's a perversion, something that can be changed or abandoned with enough will-power.    I don't agree with you that it's a perversion, any more than me wanting to have sex with men is a perversion.  I don't think it's fair to compare a gay person with a pedophile.   A pedophile reaps so much trouble and is a master of manipulation.  That is on the other side of the world from my gay, monogamous neighbors that have been together for 14 years. 
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MishMagnet:Whenever I've had a discussion with a gay individual about their realizations and subsequent "coming out" I've been able to relate to it greatly.  Why is that?  It's because the story is SO much like my own story of leaving the church.


That's true. When I first came back to the UK after leaving my mission and the church, I got a job in a bank office. One of my friends was a girl in the process of coming out to her family and friends. We got talking and the similarities are striking. We used to meet up to discuss the weeks events in our repective coming out processes.

Her family were totally non-religious, so they really didn't get upset at all, which copntrasted nicely to the reactions of my family on leaving the church.

As for homosexulity etc... I think that everyone is essentially bisexual to a greater or lesser degree. Kinsey certainly thought this way. We are all somewhere on ther Kinsey scale, but our position is not static and  can change over time and with circumstance.

Yes this is Senator story is a scandal, but the real scandal is backward attitude of many in the US towards homosexuality. The whole nation seems to be stuck in a time warp where homosexual taunts are OK. Where gay people are denied various rights which if they were denied to other minorities would cause an outcry. Looking at the gay rights and acceptability in the US is like looking at the UK 20 years ago. It's sad and a testament to the political and social poweer of the religious right in Amewrica.
 
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I would like to adress a stereotype. I think labeling people causes a lot of problems. I can debunk the sentence: "Conservatives see everything as wrong and liberals see nothing wrong."

Not having been brought up in a culture that told me that conservatives were good and liberals were bad or visa versa; I have been allowed to make good friends of either party. I find most of my Democratic friends have strong conservative values in some areas and find some of my Republican friends have some liberal attitudes. No one is black or white, but many shades in between. A couple of my Democrat friends are anti-gay.

Name calling to get people to do what you want is bullying. I know you weren't name calling but repeating some slogan or other.

Remember Lenin was far left and Hitler was far right.

As for the values of either party, both of them are catering to money.
 
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Frankly, Phoenix, I'm finding it difficult to not be offended by your questions and your ignorance on the subject. When I say ignorance I don't intend it as an insult - it seems to me that your mindset is somewhere way back 20 years or more (ie, uneducated on the subject) and personally I find it shocking that you have such difficulty understanding something that to me seems so easy to accept. But then that's probably unfair of me as being one of the gay members of the forums I guess I have an advantage over you in understanding. OKay so I'm trying to be open to your questions and to answer to the best of my capability in the hope that you will understand more...here goes...

Growing up a good little Mormon girl I had few crushes. The main crush I had on a boy lasted for my entire time in young women. He wasn't great looking but cute, fairly intelligent and a nice guy. I never ever fantasised about him sexually. In hindsight now i see that I didn't want to be his girlfriend at all - in fact, he was the boy I wanted to be! Don't get me wrong, I am not and was never gender confused, but for as long as I can remember as a child my biggest fantasy, the thing I dreamed of and longed for the most was to take a pretty girl on a date. I had it all planned in my head. I would really treat her special. I have no idea why I never ever wondered why i dreamed about this. It never once occured to me that I might prefer girls. I don't know if I even knew what a Lesbian was. It wasnt part of my vocabulary. I did meet a guy when I was 19 and wondering what was wrong with me to be still single in the church at that age meant there must be something wrong. He wasn't a member but took an interest for my sake and eventually got baptised. We were married shortly after and had a daughter together and while I loved him dearly (and still do for the record) something wasnt right. I genuinely believe that I was always gay and didnt realise because it wasnt an option for me - something i knew so little about. After I decided that I couldn't be with him anymore I met a woman, as a friend, who happened to be gay, and who happened to flirt with me.  The excitement I felt (not neccessarily sexual) was so so so much more than I had ever felt when guys had flirted with me and at some point during that summer it was almost like a switch inside me flicked on and I absolutley KNEW that there would never be any going back from the things I was feeling. It was different now, the penny had dropped - I was certain, and it terrified me! I didn't want to feel attracted to another woman. No no no it wasn't right, it was disgusting, abnormal and just wrong. I knew that I had never felt that way about any man and I knew that I never would.

To cut to the chase my partner and I have been together for 4 and a half years (not the lady mentioned above btw) and for me sexuality isn't only about who you want/chose to have sex with its about the person that you ARE inside ur soul. Sex aside - I chose (yes chose!) to spend my life with a woman. I chose that because I know for 100% fact that I can feel things for a woman that I could never feel for a man. I'm best friends with my ex husband and we have a very very close bond but its not the same bond that I have with my partner - she is the woman I LOVE and bond with I don't know how better to explain it than to simply tell you that I am in love with her, head over heels, the good with the bad - I just love her, its THAT simple phoenix, it really is, and no one, NO ONE has the right to even wonder if there is right or wrong in that, no one has any right to say that I am wrong to love her or be loved by her, we are good people, we have children, we have families, we have friends, jobs, pets, a car a house we are the very definition of 'normal' if thats what you want and I know plenty of other gay people who are exactly the same. I'm bewildered that anyone could look at our lives, our circumstances n then ask themselves, "Hmmm, but is it WRONG??? What shall we do about it?" Bewildered.
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magi: No one is black or white, but many shades in between.

Name calling to get people to do what you want is bullying. I know you weren't name calling but repeating some slogan or other.



I completely agree.  I try very hard to not use labels, and I certainly didn't have anyone on this board in mind with that quote.  i guess I was just trying to say that with regards to this discussion, I trying to not be guilty of "seeing nothing wrong with anything or seeing something wrong with everything", or maybe put another way, following party lines.
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It seems that I'm the only one on this board that has reservations about homosexuality (or maybe just the only one crazy enough to voice them).  ifitmakesyouhappy I'm a little confused at how you can be shocked, bewildered and offended at my lack of understanding/acceptance when you personally experienced this.  There was a point that you found it "disgusting, abnormal, and wrong".  That said. I sincerely appreciate your sharing, and I want you to know I don't take your words and especially your story lightly.  I was hoping to get such stories rather than just get my information from politicians and religious soap boxers.
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elder_nomo:

Hi Phoenix -
I believe you when you say you're just trying to understand.  You're stumbling a little and maybe making some folks uncomfortable, but I commend you for your efforts. 





I appreciate that.  I think the left-handed analogy has some good and interesting paralells.
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Phoenix, yes there was a point when i felt the same way, you are right, and the fact that I myself felt this way is shocking to me also when I look back. I wasn't prudish in the least. The world is a much more civilized place than it used to be and I should really have liked to have been raised the way i raise my own daughter - that is to accept that all people are different and that that is ok. I was raised to feel the way i did about homosexuality because of my upbringing in TSCC. My mother told me I was on "the path to certain destruction" and I believe that it's wrong, very wrong to teach our children anything other than acceptance and tolerance of other peoples way of life. At that stage in my life, i knew no gay people - had I been aware that there were normal people living in gay relationships, doing normal jobs with normal family lives then I would have understood more about the situation. I was very young and niave then. Surely you do know of such people? If not then even the TV these days is full of it enough for anyone to see that gay people live normal lives, are normal people, and should be entitled to the same rights any other citizen is entitled to, irrespective of who they are having sex with.
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Oh Lord, please make me pure…but not yet.

 
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To clarify...i felt that it was wrong becasue that was what i had been conditioned to feel. Without the mormon tinted glasses on I do not see why someone would have a problem.
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Oh Lord, please make me pure…but not yet.

 
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To throw my 2 cents in, the topic of the treatment of the LDS church toward homosexuals was the straw that broke the camels back for me.  For Phoenix's sake I will make the disclaimer that I am what would be considered a liberal democrat but I do have centrists opinions on some things.

Anyway when the church started its Sanctity of Marriage campaign here in Nevada I was pissed that they put a sign in my front yard without asking me. I believe that the majority of homosexuals are born with strong feelings for people of the same sex. I agree with Elder Nomo that what happens in someone's bedroom is a private matter and none of anyone's damn business as long as it is with consenting adults.

I hope that as science technology increases it will be proven without a doubt that certain genes will cause homosexuality and then on that day all those churches that have discriminated against homosexuals with spontaneously combust (lol in my dreams) but hopefully they will be "christian" enought to apologize for hundreds of years of discrimination. Nice dream but I don't think it will ever happen.

 
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The way I see it...Let's assume for a minute that all homosexuals actually have decided to be so. They have chosen it. (Not my opinion but humour me). They could have gone either way but they decided by their own free will to jump onto the gay band wagon. It was a lifestyle they wanted. Men having sex with other consenting men, and women with consenting women. Still in my my mind I am asking...SO WHAT??? What IS the problem? Is it truely because people are concerned that the world wont be populated. Is it because they are worried about what will become of us in the hereafter? Or is it actually simply that thay feel uncomfortable around the whole gay thing because its unknown to them, and not something that would appeal to them (fair enough). What i really don't get, is how an educated, fair minded, civilised person could look at the average gay woman/man/family and see them as inferior or less than 'normal', or have any lesser rights than the hetro counterparts just because they fell in love with the same gender, or because they have sexual encounters involving the same gender. 2 people loving each other, caring for each other, looking after each other and being happy together. Problem? NO problem.
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ifitmakesuhappy:To clarify...i felt that it was wrong becasue that was what i had been conditioned to feel. Without the mormon tinted glasses on I do not see why someone would haveem.


"Oh, Lord, make me pure, but not yet." I read that somewhere. Is it Mark Twain?
 
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Honestly. I was born straight. I drive a Ford. I eat meat. I vote my conscience. I'm married to a woman. I'm a father for five kids. Can you understand my heterosexuality? It's not that complicated, because no one has demonized it.

While there are many, there are three specific men in my life who I adore and love without condition. They were born gay. They drive imports, are much more careful about what they eat, and vote their conscience. They're devoted to the relationships they have or had, and they are all fine fathers. Can you understand their homosexuality? It's possible if you let go of its demonization. Take away the labeled values - good, bad, moral, immoral, homo, hetero, - and it's easier to arrive at shared meaning. But that seems difficult at best due to our conditioning, especially when we try to compare homosexuality to deviant behavior. Sexual deviance knows no orientation.

It's taken centuries, if not millennia, for women to break free from their gender-demonization. Most of us here have left an institution that is still engaged in it. I hope for the sake of all of us that it takes much less time for gays and lesbians.

The more we try to understand homosexuality by comparing it to ANYTHING else, the father away we get from shared meaning.
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