Friday, September 30, 2011

Coming Out to Roommates or Housemates

Hey friends, Justin here.  I started coming out when I was 18--first to my family, and then to friends.  I'm 25 now.  The question of whether or not to come out to roommates/housemates is important--it has incredible potential to deepen your relationship with them or to harm that relationship.  I thought I'd tell you about some of my coming-out-to-roommates experiences.

1.  I never came out to any of my mission companions.  I thought it could just be a really weird dynamic.  Since you're not only living together, but working together, recreating together, studying together, etc., it seems quite risky.

2.  I think the first roommate I came out to at BYU was Friend #8.  We didn't know each other before rooming together, but our relationship was such that we'd sometime stay up late into the night talking ("pillow talk," as it was affectionately named).  I think I told him I'm gay one of these nights.  He told me about a friend of his who is gay, and it wasn't a huge, huge deal.  After that, we'd talk about homosexuality occasionally.  He'd ask questions, I'd share experiences, and it was just great.  A few times our beliefs clashed (for example, on what a gay/same-sex attracted LDS person is to do with their life), but we got over it and are still friends.  I wish everyone had a roommate like Friend #8.

3.  After coming out to Friend #8, I came out to Friends 9 and 10, also "housemates" in that same apartment--at different times.  Or I THOUGHT I did.  Both were good about it, and I don't think they ever really expressed judgment against me (that I know of!).  They were all good to my friends when they came over, several of whom they probably suspected were also gay.  We'd often watch Modern Family together or Stefon from SNL, and it was a good way to bond; I felt like they were telling me that they were okay with how I was identifying ... and that discussion was open.  With #10, I thought I came out, but I guess I was too vague about it (why are we so vague sometimes?), and he was surprised later on when he actually started guessing/found out.  Lol.  My bad.  But he, too, was really respectful, and I'm friends with 9 and 10 today as well.

Image Source:

I can understand why straight people might be weirded out by having a gay roommate.  I can understand the worry that the roommate will do "funny stuff" or check you out or whatever.  I don't necessarily agree with the logic of it, but I get it.  I really admire those who can get over these worries and just be real.  Seriously--it's kind of a big deal.  We just expect people to (and probably rightly so), but I don't think it hurts to recognize how cool it is when people let themselves be real with a gay (or bi, trans, etc.) roommate.

4.  Others have known.  Also, I've had many roommates I didn't come out to.  That's okay, too.  You don't have to come out to everyone.  Heck, you don't even have to come out to anyone.  When it comes to coming out, you're in the driver's seat (much of the time).  You're the one who gets to choose and do what you think is best.

Anyway, best wishes for those considering coming out to roommates.  If you've built a relationship of trust with each other, and if you try to be real with them, they're probably more likely to be real with you.  Their reactions and actions just might surprise you.

(Sadly enough, not all stories are as nice as the ones I've shared above.  Maybe you've read about one of them this week.  God bless those whose situations aren't so easy.  I hope this sense of "easiness" in my post/many of my experiences doesn't minimize the pain of their experiences.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Should I Come Out to My Roommates?"

Bradley here. This week's topic is roommates, and although I'm not a college student at the moment, while I was, it was certainly tricky deciding whether or not to tell my roommates about my sexual orientation. This is mostly because we never know how they will react. For me, during my first semester at BYU, I just kindof got the feeling that my roommates would be cool with it, so I had no problem telling them. (Then again, I think it helped that I had my own private bedroom so we could all respect each other's privacy). The semester went along, no big deal. Even at BYU. The semester after that, I was with the same people, so there was no issue.

However, spring term was another story since I had to change rooms and live with two new roommates. It was a little scary at first, and I tested the waters with probing questions on gay issues (just to test how receptive they might be) and I just got the feeling that me coming out would not go over well with them. This time around, I was NOT in my own room, so I just didn't tell either of them. It wasn't too weird because we hardly talked about anything at all, let alone my sexual orientation.

Now however, I have left BYU altogether. From now on, I can expect to be open to anyone I live with without fearing how they might react to me coming out. I am living with a few friends who all knew about me long before I moved in, and all-in-all, I feel like life is going much better for me.

In general, I would only recommend coming out to your roommates if you have a good idea of where they stand on LGBT issues. Otherwise, who you choose to date on your own time is none of their business and you should feel no obligation to tell them if you don't feel comfortable doing so. As with coming out to anyone, only do it when you're ready and comfortable. If you feel like coming out would be a "Big Deal", then perhaps you shouldn't yet. In my experience, I could make it work either way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Roommate Roulette

College roommates. Many people live with people they know, friends they've made in classes, or roommates of years past that they have at least grown to tolerate. Some people I know could really care less about where they live or who it's with, because they spend more time in the library than they do at home anyway. This semester I, like many other students, played a little game of Roommate Roulette. This is where I pick a place I want to live and let chance fill in the other spots. I don't really require much, just the basics: a bed, a shower, and a closet with no door (so I can't get stuck in it again).

In the past, this has worked out for me. Like every other encounter you have with people there are likely to be a few bumps at least, but for the most part it has been good. I've been able to get close to a lot of different kinds of people and learn and grow as a person because of it. I also hope that these people walked away having learned something from me. This last year was the first year that I was outright open with my roommates about my sexuality. There were times when it did become an issue, but nothing that we couldn't ever sit down and talk about. Roommates can sometimes be awkward and painful, but they can provide really great friendships when it works...

This past summer I moved in with some friends who previously knew all about my being a lesbian and loved me for it. We could talk and joke about it all the time and for a short time I was able to find that balance between all the different parts that make up me. I was able to feel like I could embrace this side of myself without it being the part that I used to define who I was. It was an amazing summer.

Coming off of this entire year of feeling free to be me, I was quite optimistic about playing another round of roulette for the fall semester. I decided to not even try to hide who I was. In the past I have found that hiding, or even feeling like I need to, just leaves me feeling ashamed and scared even if I know there is no reason to be. I was just going to be me, and tell them when it came up (after all, they don't have to come out as straight to me). But this time the internet beat me to it. I am in a book a friend wrote called "Gay Mormons?" and when you Google my name you can read my chapter online. They knew I was lesbian before I even moved in...they never really took the time to get to know anything else about me. Within the first day they were already ignoring me around the apartment and reporting me to various BYU administration offices in an attempt to force me to do something. I'm still not quite sure what they were expecting. It didn't help that parents became involved and were disgusted that their daughter would be put in that kind of situation (living with someone who was same-gender attracted) at BYU. It wasn't a matter of not seeing eye to eye, they just hated who I was. For the first time in a while I felt genuinely ashamed of who I was, and there was absolutely no real reason for it, but that's how they treated me.

I have always been a very emotional person. I really tend to feel and react to the attitudes and behaviors of the people around me. Being in this situation where I was surrounded by hate really shows the effect that hate can have on a person. It was toxic to be in my own apartment. It became an environment where I couldn't be happy--not because I had done anything wrong, but because of the way they acted toward me. These girls were supposed to represent Christ and yet it was so hard for me to feel any sort of spirit or peace. It really tore me apart.

Long story short, I moved. Things worked out and I was able to go live with some of the same roommates I had over the summer. I've got a few new roommates even now, and I've told them I'm a lesbian and they are okay, because they see me for all of me. I'm doing much better now, and slowly recovering from those first three weeks. I've had such a range of responses from people I've come out to, but never before like this. I just hope that if any of you were to meet, let alone live with, people who are still so ignorant and choose to act in a way that (I think) is very un-Christ-like, you will remember that there are so many more people out there who will love you for everything you are.

My dad always says there are two kinds of people in this world: those you want to be like, and those you don't. You can learn from both, and in this case I have learned a lot. Life is too short to bother with trying to please everyone. I'm not going to try to hide who I am or change for anyone.

~Bridey J

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This semester I got all brand new roommates (and by all, I mean all of them are people I've never lived with before even though I already knew and loved two of them). Maybe I only really got three BRAND NEW roommates then. After two years of being "out" and two years of living with people who already knew and loved me for a few years, it was a little scary to think about coming out to three new people who share my living space.

Since I've been so busy driving back and forth between Salt Lake and Provo for work and school, I haven't really seen my roommates very much. But my few interactions with them were difficult at first. I'm not very good at being closeted. I need to have people know some certain things about me. First, they have to know that I'm a firefighter so they know just how hard core I am. Second, It is absolutely essential that we recycle whatever we can. The black can is for recycling and the red can is for trash. Third, they have to know just how much I love words and books (that was easy, all they had to do was look in my closet and on my shelves and, yeah). Fourth, they have to know that I don't like to wear clothes if I don't have to. Fifth, I'm lesbian. Sixth, everyone must do their own dishes--all it takes is a rinse and a toss into the dishwasher ( I mean really, come on now).

I think once my roommates knew a few things about me (like the recycling stuff) it wasn't too difficult for them to take in the fact that I'm lesbian. Two of my roommates told me that they had talked to each other and speculated already that I'm lesbian. I was actually really glad to hear it because that meant that me telling them wasn't some big shock that would then lead to the beginning of a new process for them. By the time I had "the talk" with them they'd already seen it coming and had already begun some sort of process on their own. That's what I get for being so open about everything on facebook and everywhere else, I guess. :)

I've been pretty lucky in terms of roommates. I've never had a problem with anyone. And as far as I know nobody has had a problem with me either. I don't discount the possibility that some had problems and never told me, but really doubt that anyone had concerns they didn't express.

I think the best way to come out to roommates or any other people who are forced into my life in some way is to just be frank about it and then assure them that they can ask any questions they want. I also like to ask that they speak to me before anyone else if they have an concerns about anything (this is especially critical because, for instance, if they went to the Honor Code office at BYU before talking to me, it might be a sticky and unnecessary situation for everyone). I try to explain my position within the LDS Church and my commitment to living the contract I put my name to when I decided to attend BYU. I think sometimes people have misconstrued ideas about what it means to be gay or lesbian or homosexual. I like to open up a clear line of communication with people I'm living with so they feel comfortable to talk about anything they don't understand or want to know more about or just want to chat about for no reason. I have nothing to hide and I actually feel better when people ask me questions because then I know they're not just jumping to silly conclusions about me that may or may not be accurate.

So far I think my roommates are pretty cool. And I feel really lucky to have some open-minded people. The world isn't as scary as I sometimes think it is. Perhaps times are changing faster than it seems.

~live your own truth~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dreams - Part One

I have never met anyone in my life that can dream as vividly as I can.

I hope to change that, one day. I wish to find someone else that can feel the grass under their feet as they walk, to smell the roasting vegetables in a big iron pot over a fire, and to feel stretches of vines splayed across the fingers. I would love to find someone whose imagination flows into their senses as they dream to where they live full and beautiful lives. If only such imagination could be shared with others, between others! The places I would create, and the wonders I would bring together for all to see...

I once dreamed an entire lifetime to myself one night, and that dream affects me deeply to this day. It reminded me of the beauty and the tragedy of life, while telling me that sacrifice for the right thing was worth more than the entire world put together. To this day, that perspective still lives on in me.

While I must make this post short for now, another is coming. I thank the readers for their patience. I also will make another post for this week, and it'll be posted up by tomorrow morning.


Friday, September 16, 2011

I Have a Dream

Hi friends,

I missed you!  Seriously, I do miss some of you (for reals).

P.S.  There's a world out there.  (Boy £5 said that.  And there's a pound sign instead of a number sign because I'm using this weird Euro keyboard and it's IMPOSSIBLE.  Imagine the number sign instead.)  [Ok, back to yours truly.]

I'm re-posting.  I know, a total blog sin, but sometimes you gotta sin.  (You actually don't.  It just sounded good in writing.  For questions about this, Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.)

See the original here.  Oh, and I'm cutting it a bit.

"For the Gays

I have a dream that society will transcend the excitement, fear, and stigma associated with this fact of our lives, as clear to us as the color of our skin.  I have a dream that we will know how to help that happen, and that we will contribute to that change.

I dream of a society where we do not fear losing the love we feel from our parents, our friendships with our roommates, and our hope in the future when we come out and confront this fact of our lives, however it is we decide to live.

I dream of the day when we who experience same-gender attractions can talk of our urges comfortably with our roommates, brothers and sisters, and cousins, and nothing will change in the relationship.

I dream of the day when every time a boy (or girl), 16, 36, or 56, talks of his urges with his father and mother, they can cry, hug, smile, and the boy feels safe.  I actually dream of the day when this happens in Mormondom, regardless of the boy intends to deal, because at least he is alive, happy, and changing the world.

I see people talking, and I love it.  I see people like Mrs. Shepherd and Ellen Degeneres working to pass hate-crime laws, and I love it.  It is right, and it is good.  This is why I believe talking about our experiences is making the world a safer place.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dreams of Jeremy

It's dreams week. What kinds of dreams do we have? I'd like to think we have fantastic dreams such as finding love, healing all pain, and having hilarious stories to tell in our old age to anyone that will listen to us. So, as befitting my habit of sharing videos with you. I will do so.

Do you have dreams of evil red heads with green skin attacking you? Favorite line in that scene? "However, there is one boy who does not have a fairy." Let us take a lesson from this dream: boys should have fairies with them at all times. But not the fairies in the game. Hot fairies.

(Can he be my Navi instead?)

All right, moving on. When I was a little boy, I used to dream of designing my own home, traveling the world, and marrying and having kids. I dreamed of all sorts of lavish things. Over the years those things have changed. I now dream of finding a career I can lose myself in, something that I can be passionate about. I dream of meeting some wonderful guy one day and marrying him. I dream of growing old together and traveling wherever we want in life. I dream of publishing my stories and of people actually liking them.

Those are dreams right now. I have ever expectation and hope that they will one day become realized. However, I do have some other strange and odd dreams that I wish to share with you...some might be naughty dreams:

1) I want to organize one of the largest capture the flag games on BYU campus and then watch the whole thing from the top of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower (I might laugh evilly during it).
2) I want one day for Hug a Lesbian Day (it's every day, fyi) to become so big that a sweet innocent gal will be running from a crowd of hetero men and women friends trying to hug her for that day.
3) I want to see every country on the planet
4) I want to date a hot Deaf boy (why am I lacking on this one?)
5) I want to one day be asked by a guy in his underwear (somewhere in Utah) why I'm wearing pants and have other people look at me funny too.
6) I want to do the dirty in every building of my college campus
7) I want to lead a parade
8) I want to be chased by a large crowd of straight people intent on hugging me
9) I want some random stranger to turn to me somewhere where we'll be sitting and go, "Wow, you have a sexy belt. May I touch it?"
10) I want to recreate scenes from Will and Grace.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back at BYU

I'm back at BYU now. Yes, I'm back from the Redwoods. No, I'm not going to show you pictures just yet. Because I'm away from my computer with the pictures, so sorry.

I love BYU.
I really do.
And it's a weird thing to say that.
But I love it because it has been my life for the past 4 years. It's comfortable here in some ways.
Mostly I love it because it's really easy to get lots of people to look at me throughout the day.
I wear whatever I want. Ranging from pink skirts with lace to cut-off paint-stained sweat pants to just a regular cute grey skirt and gray skirt and gray non-jacket jacket thing...Then I can play music as I walk/dance/glide/skip/run around on campus. I think people look at me because I'm happy. Like a different kind of happy than what I was trained to appear to be within the mormon culture. A real kind of happy. And I'm confident. I don't care if my hair is uber disgustingly greasy or if my toes are still covered with dirt from my hike three days ago...

Okay, but really. I like BYU because the grounds crew does an excellent job. It's pretty here (and I"m not just talking about all the ladies). ;)
And, I think there are a decent amount of open-minded people here--English professors for example. They're very liberal people. Which is good. To me. sometimes. It's just that they think about things. And they understand the world a little better than my 20-something counterparts. (maybe it's an age thing?)

And I love getting reactions. I like to see people squirm a little bit as they realize BYU isn't really this bubble that we make it out to be. There are GAY people walking around at BYU. Crazy notion, I know. But it's true. And I love that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I have Dreams....

Yo. Theme this week is DREAMS.

The other night I had a dream that I met Tegan (from Tegan and Sara) and we became best friends and she let me tag along to all her little signings and such.

It is my real life dream to one day become best friends with Tegan (and SARA--because I have a huge crush on Sara). And sometimes I"m disappointed when I wake up from my awesome dreams of being best friends with Tegan only to find that I indeed have never actually met her. Although I have been to couple of Tegan and Sara concerts...that counts for something I'm sure.

I'm supposed to share what my greatest dream is. But I don't know what that is. I think it's already been fulfilled. To a point at least.

My ultimate goal in life is to find love.

Okay, now you're wondering what I mean. You want to know who my lover is, don't you. Who I'm head-over-heals for. Well, don't we all? :)

I had a very wonderful personal revelation while I was sitting in sacrament meeting with my mother. It's a little complicated (and by that I mean I'm just being lazy about typing words) for me to explain. So, I'll just tell you that I'm in love with myself.

I think I'm the greatest thing ever. The most lovely soul. The beautifulest life.

So, I think if I were to project any sort of dream out there onto the life-checklist before me, I would say that my dream is for other people whom I love to find some sort of belief or love that allows them to feel as wonderful as I have felt lately. My dream is to cultivate an entire community based on understanding and love. A connected love where we all feel like the one that we are.

Now, I can't talk about dreams without mentioning what I'm doing to try to fulfill my dreams. Because I don't believe in dreaming (except when I sleep) without doing something about achieving my dreams.

I like to organize discussion panels. Because I believe in cultivating understanding (am I repeating myself here?) Breaking the Silence is what I've chosen to call my efforts. I've done two panels on understanding same gender attraction. I'm planning another one soon (but I need to get going on it--eeek!). And then I want to do more on other various topic such as self-harm, sexual abuse, physical abuse, rape (we'll see if I can actually find people willing to talk about this one!), and whatever else I can think of that we need to talk about but don't talk about because we're idiots.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in any discussion panel (addressing the topics above or any others that you think are awesome) then please let me know. Contact me in a comment on here. or send me an email at

What are your dreams? And how can I help them come true?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This makes me just a little angry...

I've got a new treat for you gayelles, gays, and bronies.

Take a look at this. Then, check this out.

There have been three attacks on gay men in the past two weeks. If you know me, you know that I swear frequently in real life, and that I'm trying really hard to stop, simply due to a wish to strengthen my character. However, here's an undiluted thought that I've been having since reading that second article.

What the hell is going on?

My first thought was violent and short-sighted and would solve things as quickly as adding a barrel of gasoline to a house fire that needed to be put out. How would it be liked if the LGBT community answered in kind, I wondered? Seeing how little has been done on the part of legislators on LGBT issues, I wouldn't be surprised that this violence kept going unchecked until we reached the level of violence seen in the Kristallnacht.

It's not the direct fault of anyone except for the people that committed the crimes. It's also the fault of the lawmakers that have no backbone and no wish to defend their constituents. There is a very significant LGBT population in Utah, and they're not going away. It's their home just as much as it is the homes of other populations, whether defined by religion, race, or lifestyle. I would urge my friends to call in to the legislators' offices and express our disgust with this lack of protection.

It could be an organized group doing this, or separate attackers. All I know and all I want is to keep our friends and our family members safe in this seeming rash of violence against LGBT people. To those friends of mine that may be LGBT in some fashion -- Watch yourselves, guys, and keep in touch with each other.

What do all of you think of this?