In my last post someone commented and asked a few questions. While they are indeed questions that I have to find ways to answer in my real life, I have never had anyone ask me a list of questions just to see how I respond to them. I thought it was fun, so here are my responses.
“Why didn’t you go on a mission?”
This is one that I get a lot. In fact I’m pretty sure that I get it more than any other question. I can tell that a lot of people ask suspecting that I’m attracted to men and seem to be “searching” as it were. When people do that, I tell them that I had health issues. Frankly I can tell when people just care about me and want to be a part of my life and when they are just digging to find whats “wrong”. I don’t give those people the satisfaction.
Then there are the people who are actually concerned and truly care about me. I usually tell them the truth. A few years ago I would not have done so, but in the last two years I have become more open about talking about my attractions. So I will usually just say that I am attracted to men and that while I very much want to serve a mission, I have had bishops agree that the strength of my attractions and the level of anxiety attached to my feelings would make it difficult. I have been very prayerful about it. It has not been easy having not served. BUT. I have decided to do my best to live worthy of the Spirit and serve in my everyday life. I feel that the Lord accepts my personal mission and has guided me in my efforts to spread the gospel and help others learn of and come to Christ.
“Why don’t you date?/Will you go out with me?”
I’ve sort of written about dating before. It’s tricky. I find the normal excuses for those I’m not comfortable talking about my attractions with. “I’m not interested in anyone here” or “I don’t feel a push to date right now so I’m just focusing on school/friendships” and such like that. When I sometimes get asked on dates though, things are different.
I find that I am nice to all women and that sometimes I might show friendship and openness to females who don’t always get that level of attention from men. Because of this,I have found that sometimes they think that I am attracted to them. It’s a hard line to walk. So when I am asked on a date, if it is clearly a date, I will go out with her once and have a good time but try to make it clear that it is a one time thing. Sometimes I am asked to spend time with a girl, but she hasn’t made it clear that it is a “date”. I try and be excited to “hang out” and say “Oh you know, this person and that person would love doing that! Let’s invite them!” and that usually diffuses the situation. I feel like it’s the nicest way I can let a girl know that I am fine with spending time with them, but dating isn’t going to happen. Thoughts? I am definitely open to feedback on this.
“Are you attracted to me?”
I actually had a friend ask me if I had ever been attracted to him and I said no. He paused and asked, “Really? Not at all?” I assured him that I had never been physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, or otherwise romantically attracted to him. I just enjoyed his company and cared for his well-being as a friend. He said, “Ok. Cool. But…really? Not at all? Ever?” I realized that he was doubting me because at some level, I think I hurt his pride by not being attracted to him. I still have to laugh about that from time to time.
To my heterosexual friends: no. being attracted to men doesn’t necessarily mean that I am attracted to you. You are attracted to women, but you aren’t attracted to all women are you? Didn’t think so. Just like you, there are certain types of guys that I find I am drawn to, and for different reasons. I’ll let you believe that you are God’s gift to women if you need to think that so you can sleep at night, but come on. You aren’t God’s gift to everyone.
“Are you ‘out’ to your friends?”
As I talked about in a previous post, I don’t like to use the terms that are associated with a gay lifestyle, lest someone become confused about the life I want to live. I don’t like to say that I am “out”. I am open with many people about my attractions though. In fact, lots of times people who care for me will ask questions about me and it just kind of comes up. Some people straight up ask, but more often than not I can tell that they are trying to be polite and not ask. For clarity and the sake of the conversation, if I feel like the person cares for me, I just tell them. Several people in my small branch know already. A good amount of my friends know that I am attracted to men.
As I said earlier, this is a big change for me. I used to be super private and almost paranoid about my attractions. I was terrified that people would find out and use the information against me in some way. I have thankfully gotten over that. The result has been wonderful. I have found that opening my mouth about my attractions has helped me become stronger in the gospel as well as help others understand same sex attractions. I often correspond with people about this topic, whether they have the attractions themselves or are just close to someone who does. Either way, I feel that I am able to serve and help those around me, and it is worth the “risk” (it really isn’t one) of sharing this part of my life with others.
I hope these answers are satisfactory. If you have any others, I would love to hear them. I am more than happy to answer just about anything. I want people to understand this subject. Those who struggle need to know that it is indeed possible to live actively in the LDS faith and enjoy it. And those who are LDS but don’t know much about this subject need to learn about it so they can better help those around them and live as the Lord has asked us, specifically in bearing one anothers’ burdens and uplifting those who are downtrodden. Anything I can do to help, I am willing.