Acceptance


I was talking to one of my friends who is gay the other day.  I told him about this blog, and about why I needed to obfuscate my identity.  I mentioned my thoughts on being trapped in between two worlds, one that one is trying to escape, the other in which one longs to be.

I explained to him the difficulty of not wanting to let it be known that one has made the transition from gay to straight.  I compared it to the recovering alcoholic. (again, friends, its an analogy and should only be taken as far as intended.) Society is proud of those who have made the choice to stop an activity over which they feel they have no control.  At the same time however, we hang it over their heads for the rest of their lives.  They are always a “recovering alcoholic.”

When one is injured, and recovers, the recovery gets the injured individual back to the state they were in before they were injured.  If the recovery is protracted, the original state is achieved more slowly.  If the recovery never ends, there is no opportunity for growth.  Similarly, if society views the man who has decided to forswear sex with men as a recovering homosexual, that person never gets back to the point they started at, much less progress beyond it.

My friend asked why I would want to associate myself with those who would not accept me as I am.  I explained that it is not about acceptance.  I don’t know if I explained it well, but the association I have with the church is not about finding people who will tell me that I am good the way I am.  I am in the church for a couple reasons.  One is that I believe it to be the true church of God.

The other reason I want to associate with those in the church is that they stretch me to be better.  They offer encouragement to become a better person.  If they were satisfied with who I am right now, they would give me no reason to improve.

In the end, I don’t want to be accepted.  Embraced, absolutely.  Challenged, definitely.  Loved, without a doubt. Accepted, no thanks.

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4 thoughts on “Acceptance

  1. The reason for your blog is a noble one in that you are trying to let other people, who are facing the same struggle as you are, know they are not alone. As I was not raised with a particular religious background it’s hard for me to fully understand what you’re going through. However as a gay man I can understand some of the things inside your head. I think the blog is an amazing thing in both regards to helping other who might be facing the same situation and for yourself as a learning tool to air out your thoughts and ideas giving them form and being able to read over them days later and contemplate what you were thinking at the time.

    The thing that I find most amazing is your devotion to your church and your belief system in the face of obvious ridicule and possible excommunication. The church tells you that homosexuality is a sin and anyone who acts upon these inclinations is subject to the will of the church. So the people whose love you fight to obtain would toss you out on your a** if they found out you had engaged in homosexual activities. I have always felt that a religious center should provide a safe and supportive environment no matter which road you choose to walk down. Much like the role of a parent to provide support and guidance and realize in the end that it’s your happiness that matters most.

    I don’t want to attack your religion and say it’s wrong or pass judgment on your ideas and views. To be honest I don’t have an extensive background in religion so quoting scripture or anything like that would be a total farce on my behalf. However as a homosexual I just hate to see you give up on a life that could provide just as much love and challenges while you continue to push a boulder uphill never knowing if there will be a top of the hill to be reached at all. Then one day you wake up realizing you spent 30yrs of your life fighting a battle that got you nowhere.

    So many people get married have kids to avoid looking at themselves in the mirror and saying out loud to themselves I am a homosexual. Or they join the military thinking this will set them straight and the thought way be pushed out the way for awhile with life and work but the thoughts never go away. The sexual desire to be with someone of your own sex never goes away so fighting it is genetics, in the end someone will win the battle and more than likely it’s not going to be you.

    I am currently 29yrs old and a homosexual. I know who I am and I know who I want to be with. When I see myself living with someone or being intimate with someone it’s another male. In my heart I know it’s what I want and who I want to be with and no religion, short God himself showing up on my front door one night is going to convince me otherwise. It all comes down to love and who we choose to love and in what factor. How can love between two people be so dangerous?

    1. Thank you. I don’t know that I would have thought of what I’m doing as noble. I mostly just wanted to put this out there in case it could do someone some good. I also hope it can bridge some of that gap of understanding in a way that no one feels the need to be defensive. I love a good argument as much as the next guy, but I also think that this topic is one in which so many are so deeply emotionally invested that we need to have a safe forum to discuss things.
      I think I would say that I’m not fighting for their love, so much as I’m fighting to be what I feel I should be. Those in the church who need to know have been told about the things I’ve done. Excommunication was a possibility, but in my case, because I wanted to try, I was disfellowshipped, rather than excommunicated. The amount of love that has been shown t o me by the local leaders of the church has been exceptional, especially given their not understanding the situation. They too want only my happiness, and are providing me all the support they can to get me there.
      You mention fighting a battle that cannot be won. Thing about that is, I believe that men (and women of course) can and do change. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be able to believe in my religion, as it is based on that tenet. That being said, even if I’m wrong, the battle to bring my life more in line with my beliefs will certainly not get me nowhere. If nothing else, it will help me build integrity, and trust in myself.
      There are many things that people have tried to make the transition that I am trying to make. Many who are unable to do so because they have chosen a method that does not provide sufficient motivation decide that because they were unable to change, that change is not possible. Unfortunately, logic tells us that to prove a negative is impossible.
      Even if I were to believe that homosexuality was genetic, I would not change my position. We fight against genetics all the time. Gene splicing is being used to try to make cancer resistant cells, tomatoes that don’t go bad as quickly, and so much more. We fight breast cancer because we believe that in spite of the genetics, that patient deserves to live. Genetics determine where we start, not where we end.

      I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life. You want to be with men, and I am not going to tell you that you have to change that. This is not the forum for that. This is where I reach out to those who want to and are trying to change. They will usually be religious, as religious conviction seems to be one of the few things that is powerful enough to overcome the powerful draw that sex has. If others who are not religious gain some benefit from my words, I’m thrilled. If those who have no interest in changing read my words, and they decide to change, I’m here for them too. If that same person still has no interest in changing, I will continue to love them too. Some of my best friends disagree with me on a number of heated topics. I love them for who they are to me, not for their agreement with me.
      Thank you for commenting. It really does mean a lot to me.

  2. The stance “we love you for who you are, now change” sounds a bit paradoxical (like so many things in religion) but it’s kind of comforting too (like so many things in religion). The idea that you are loved unconditionally and yet, they believe in you and know that you can be better are both very nice ideas.

    If I may quote from Frank Herbert, “Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, ‘I am not the kind of person I want to be.’ It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-assured.”

    Of course, since we’re all, by definition, not the kind of people we want to be, we often fail in our goals of loving people unconditionally and helping them become who they want to be.

    I’m having a hard time describing that to my friend who is struggling with his faith…

    I realize that too often we (members of faiths) fail to love unconditionally. Too often we fail to express that love when we challenge others to live up to their glorious potential. Too often we fail to express our own flaws and our own struggles, our victories and our set-backs as we work to become who we want to be.

    Anyway, I ask for patience as I struggle to love more unconditionally and believe more firmly in the potential of others. Don’t give up on me, who fall and falter as I walk my own road toward perfection, and I’ll not give up on you.

    1. Ralph,
      Thank you for you comment. As far as I’ve seen, you’re doing pretty good on the loving people part. (Ralph is a friend of mine, and no, his real name is not Ralph, just like mine’s not Legien.)
      I can’t offer the patience of others, but you have all of mine you ever ask for.
      Thanks again.

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