Saturday, December 8, 2012

I don't give a shit.

Let me just start out by saying I don’t agree with a lot of things gay Mormon bloggers say or think. I think many of them are parroting things they’ve heard, agreed with, and so decided were right. I think that if they have spent time thinking about the concepts they write about, it is only in a spiral of self-confirming anecdotes, not a critical exploration and certainly not with any desire to see if “the other side” might have a point. The blogosphere in general feels to me like the whining of four year olds coupled with the writing level of teenagers. I am a dispirited, disappointed, unhappy camper. And bitter a little.
Now, today’s topic: the gay identity. I don't think this will be my only post on the subject. I’ve lost count of the various pissing contests over “gay” versus “same sex attracted” and whatever else, and I just want to say, I don’t give a shit. Personally I think “same sex attracted” is fine, but I don’t use it because it’s stupid long even if you abbreviate it. “Gay” wins on that front even though I don’t feel it’s entirely accurate for me because “homoromantic asexual-leaning” is even longer than “SSA,” and “queer,” though otherwise my favorite, still has a negative connotation. You know. From the days when it still meant “weird.”
When I was seventeen I went to an Evergreen conference in SLC, and for about a year after that the distinction between “gay” and “SSA” was a big deal for me. It helped me acknowledge my orientation and my religious disbelief more or less separately, since there was a space in Mormonism for “SSA” but not “gay,” and at the time I couldn’t have dealt with both. “I’m same sex attracted, Mom, not gay. I’m not going to live the lifestyle.”
“SSA” let my put the whole question of liking guys on hold while I dealt with the question of “Is Mormonism God’s thing?” It simultaneously let my parents get used to the idea of me being attracted to boys without pushing the possibility of a flesh-and-blood I’m-sinning-with-this-guy boyfriend in their faces. A year later when I’d more or less decided against Mormonism and started using “gay” around my mom, she was upset a little, but nothing like she would have been if I’d insisted on “gay” right away. You will probably never convince me that there is no place for “SSA” as a descriptor. I say that if the distinction is important to someone, let them have it.
This is another way of saying that I don’t fully identify with “the gay identity.” You do? That’s great. That’s excellent! I’m happy for you, but don’t assume everyone agrees just because they’re gay. Some of us use it only because it’s the closest approximation to truth, not because it’s truth itself.
Two old blog posts pushed my mind to this topic last week: This woman kept her religion and her gay identity. This woman did not. Their writing made me think.


I passed the Navy officer aptitude test. (Mentioned it here, remember.) My score was in the top quartile, so I’m cleared to continue my application. 
Related: This week I will think about a boy who, if I go into the Navy, I will have approximately zero chance with.


In case you want to laugh / cry.


  1. Let ME just start by saying I don't give a shit about what YOU write. Who died and made you king? Let people write what they need to write.

  2. I'm flattered that you think I have the power to keep people from writing "what they need to write." I don't. But just because people "need" to write a thing doesn't make it enlightening or true or helpful or pleasant, and it sure as hell doesn't mean I have to coo over it or keep quiet.

    Also, I get this little thrill in my heart when I see you using caps. That's really hot.

  3. i give all the shits for your writing matt. all of those shits. i would give them all to you. but i don't use caps and i cant thrill your heart.

    1. Oh Nony. Your earnestness touches me. I feel your pain. I am sure that if you fast and pray and endure to the end with faith, God will change your heart and enable you to use caps, as He intended.

      Or: I never said caps were the only way to thrill my heart.

      So long, and thanks for all the . . .

    2. it's weird you used nony. thats one of my actual nicknames in real life.

      this is probably awful of me, but can anorexic people fast to have their disorder fixed; and is their perfected body in the afterlife skeletor thin?

      also:i can't thrill your heart because i'm boring. not because i can't use caps.

  4. Wow you need to get laid.

  5. Holy cow, what's with these comments?

    This is different from whatt I was expecting for a post on "gay identity." What have you seen on blogs lately that's frustrated you and made you want to address this?

    I don't believe there is a "gay identity." There is now because the group on the whole is so marginalized. I think that once equal rights is achieved and people stop privileging a certain sexual orientation or approach to sexuality then the "gay identity" will disappear. At the very least, I certainly don't think that 50 or even 20 years from now "gay" in the popular usage will be used to refer to the same amalgam of things it does today.

    Congratulations on your test! It always feels good to have an accomplishment like that, even if you feel ambivalent about some aspects of it.

  6. Bowser, sharp as always. Thanks for showing us how it's done.

    Trev, people are upset because I criticized their community, and the responses seen above come to mind faster than legitimate criticisms, which do exist and which I was rather hoping people would call me on. I suppose they might still, but these first responses just reinforce my belief that the thinking power in this community is largely dormant. Though I did think Nony's response was clever. I chuckled.

    This post isn't what I intended when I decided to write about "gay identity" either, and that's why I don't think I'm done with the topic yet. Here I wanted to talk about why I identify as "gay" instead of something else, but also how identifying as "same sex attracted" served a purpose. When I come back to identity, I hope I'll be able to speak a little more broadly.

    I hadn't thought about the future at all, though. Interesting thoughts. I would give it a longer time frame, but I agree with you.

    Thanks for your congratulations! It's nice to feel a little progress.

  7. Holy crap, some serious venom in these comments. I echo Nony up there when I give all the shits what you have to say.

    I have long ago abandoned using the term "same-sex[/gender] attracted" and its abbreviation. I find it convoluted and confusing. I'm not keen on the connotation that "gay" has, but in my opinion, it's the best descriptor for what I am, even though I am still an active LDS guy who isn't "living the lifestyle" (another blanket term I don't like). Like you, it took some coaxing to get my family to be okay with me bandying the term around, but hell's bells, it's my life and if I want to be an active Mormon who calls himself gay, then DAMN the man who stands in my way. And I fully agree with Trev that we are a nuanced and unique group of people and saying that there's a gay identity is a little like saying there's a straight identity. Someday the world will catch up with how wise y'all are...

    That Alanis Morisette video is priceless. My friend put that cover on my iPod a few years ago.

  8. I do not fully identify with the "gay identity." One of the nicest things about being with my guy in his home town is that we are accepted as a couple - not just as a gay couple.