Welcome to my blog. For those that don't know, I am Mormon, and I am bisexual. While I've always been open about my religious background and my spiritual beliefs, it was only in April that I became completely open about my sexual orientation. A number of factors led up to my decision to "come out" publicly about this, and I will share more about this experience in an upcoming post.
I grew up as an active member of the LDS faith, though I only started to come to terms with my sexuality in the last 15 years. When I was younger, I had a lot of fear and misunderstanding about others that openly identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Part of it was fear about being outed, but part of it was simply not really knowing anyone very well who used these labels. I was very committed to not acting on my attractions to men, and felt threatened by those who were comfortable with their sexuality.
As time went on, I met more and more gay, lesbian and bisexual people. As I did, I gradually learned that many of the ideas I had about them, how they lived their lives, and what they believed, were simply not true. I came to see that, even while abstaining from homosexual behaviors and relationships, I had much more in common with them than I had originally realized.
I also came to see just how polarized the issue of homosexuality is in society as well, on everything from what caused it (i.e.nature or nurture), to whether changing one's sexual orientation was possible, to support of gay rights. I found myself in an interesting place where I was able to see and understand the perspective of those with differing views of the issue. I also saw many of each group that really had faulty ideas about what those of opposing views believed or stood for.
As mentioned, I am a member of the LDS faith, and as such, often saw members of my church at odds with those in the LGBT community. In addition, by this time I was also closely aligned with another community.
Among those experiencing homosexual attractions, there is another group: those that choose not to participate in romantic or sexual relationships or behaviors with those of the same sex. Most also choose not to identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, but instead prefer to refer to themselves as experiencing same sex attraction (or SSA). For the purposes of this post and my blog, this group will be referred to as the SSA community. It was through the SSA community that I first found support from others that could relate to what I was experiencing.
At this point in my life, I am associated with all three groups: Mormon, SSA, and LGBT. Though due to my stance, I often feel on the fringes of both the SSA and the LGBT communities, and occasionally even at odds with them.
Perhaps brought on in part by my educational background in social work, I developed a strong desire to create dialogue between those with opposing views on the issue. I wanted to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding. At the time, I was far from ready to come out openly about my sexual orientation, though I had told most of my family and closest friends. But being in the metaphorical closet, I found myself limited in what I could do to create such dialogue. I corrected misconceptions I saw when they came up around me. I wrote letters to the editor of local newspapers using an alias when the issue came up in the media. But I found there was little more I could do.
Since I came out publicly a few months ago, I have found myself in a position to do much more. When I initially came out, it opened up some dialogue, though I found it fizzled down rather quickly. This blog is my next step to keep the dialogue going.
And so, I invite comments, questions and discussion on my blog. The only thing I ask is that it be kept respectful. My intention with this dialogue is not necessarily to change minds, but to open them. There will always be things that people will disagree on, but it is my hope and my dream that we will all be able to come to a place of mutual respect and understanding.
I want to close by sharing the following quote:
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." -Voltaire
In many areas of my life, this has become my mantra. It is my hope for all of us that regardless of whether we personally agree with others, that we will come to respect and defend their right to speak what they believe.