Gays and Mormons are among the most misunderstood minorities in the United States. In most neighborhoods across the country, if either one were to move in, they would be met with suspicion and mistrust. Gays will obviously molest your children and spread propaganda that supports their radical homosexual agenda. Mormons will obviously convert your children and spread propaganda that supports their radical religious agenda. For those reasons, being gay or being a Mormon can be pretty tough. The only thing tougher would be being both at the same time.
Casual conversations questioning a fellow classmate's sexuality that I had or overheard in high school were always amusing if the said classmate was a Latter-day Saint. "Oh, he can't be gay, he's Mormon," they would say. This ignorant comment highlighted the common misconception that homosexuality is a choice. No, wearing a fabulous purple scarf to school is a choice, being gay is not.
Gay Mormons exist. There are lots of them in fact. A quick walk through the Wilkinson Center at BYU will prove it to you. While not every fake tanned, well dressed, faux hawked male who takes a ballroom dance class is gay, the majority of them probably are.
Gay Mormons are an interesting bunch. Sexuality and spirituality are both integral parts of what makes someone who they are, and when those two parts are at direct odds with each other, there is bound to be some major cognitive dissonance. These gay Mormons grow up confused and in denial until eventually they realize this whole gay thing isn't just a phase they're going through. Some of them reach out and make friends with other gay Mormons. Their conversations inevitably revolve around being gay and Mormon.
"Do your parents know?" "Have you ever talked to a bishop about it?" "Did you have any hot companions on the mish?" Everyone has their story of self discovery and self acceptance and everyone is still trying to figure out how to balance their sexuality and spirituality and figure out who they really "are". These issues make up the majority of the conversation when you meet a fellow gay Mormon and they never seem to go away.
The only way you know that these conversations are a little weird is if you talk to someone who is gay and not Mormon. I remember my first experience all too well.
"So, do you parents know?"
"Are they OK with it?"
"Oh, wow. How did they find out?"
"...I told them...when I was 16."
Not only was he the first guy I'd met that wasn't sent to therapy, but he was the first guy I'd met whose parents knew he was gay at age 16 for reasons other than questionable websites being left on the family computer's Internet history.
The more I thought about it, the more weird gay Mormons' obsession with being gay Mormons seemed. Do straight Mormons talk about being straight Mormons all the time? Well, sort of, but you wouldn't hear a guy tell a girl on a first date about the how he came to realize he liked girls. Or how his mom caught him looking at porn. Or the juicy details of his first kiss. With the gays, it's all fair game. And I doubt our straight counterparts get into deep doctrinal discussions about why God made them straight. But again, for us, talking about God and our sexuality happens all the time.
Is it really that weird though? Being a gay Mormon is difficult. There are so many questions but not many answers. We've been dealing with it and thinking about it since puberty, but we still don't fully "get it", and for that reason, we could probably talk about it all day.
Talking about it still won't answer any questions, but we'll keep doing it. At the end of the day, there's only two things we can know. We love boys, and most importantly, God loves us. Still.