This is not my Girls With Guns post. It's something better :D
This post is long and wordy, but there are some pictures too...
Today, or yesterday rather because of when this will actually be posted, I came out to my Psychology class. I had to give a presentation and my topic: Teen Sexuality/Homosexuality. God is funny like that...
The presentation was about applying the topic to real life, either through a personal application/story or an example from the media. Two days before the presentation, I had fully intended on using a clip from the media; therefore, I was scrolling through hundreds of videos on YouTube for South of Nowhere clips.
All fanvideos. It wasn’t really helpful. I wanted some confrontation between Paula/Spashley. Or some kind of somethin’. No such luck. I could have pulled the a clip from the videos off of AfterEllen, but that would involve getting onto AfterEllen in front of my whole class… I ruled that out. Also, I knew that if I went down that road, I’d be spending hours and hours that I didn’t have re-watching South of Nowhere.
I then thought about films. Most LGBT films are Rated R (for stupid/homophobic reasons, usually… like Imagine Me & You? What’s that about? Also, I know there are some LGBT or LGBT-adjacent films that aren't R-rated, but... who cares. Good thing I didn't find a clip in the end, right?). Mormon policy is essentially, “Don’t watch R-rated films.” And even though a lot of Mormons still do watch R-rated films, I wanted to respect the people in my class. Some people have objections towards very PG-rated scenes that are from R-rated films. That's their beliefs and I'll respect that. No need to offend someone right out of the gate...
Finally, I thought, “Hey, why don’t I just do the personal application? I’ll just talk about my ‘friend’ who is a lesbian.” This thought spiraled into, “Well, what if I slip up and say ‘me’ or ‘I’? And isn’t everyone going to assume it’s me anyway when I say ‘my friend’?”
I was at an important crossroads. Should I or should I not come out to my class. I analyzed the pros and cons. I wasn’t too worried about the Honor Code or whatever. They couldn’t kick me out because that would be terrible publicity for the school. And BYU’s policy is essentially, “Do ask. Do tell. But don’t do.” The negative repercussions I foresaw were my professor/TAs’ perceptions of me, which could negatively affect my grade. Which then I could claim "martyrdom" for "the cause"... or something like that. But really, the main issue was the fact that the Mormon world is a small one. I didn’t want someone else I know to hear it through the grapevine because I want to be the one to tell people on my own terms and time.
Of course, all of my more liberal Mormon, gay Mormon, and non-Mormon friends encouraged me to do it. But I was still unconvinced. After a day’s worth of contemplation, I went home and talked to my best friend. Since I came out to her, I thought that she felt a little awkward when the topic of lesbians or gay people came up. I found out that she only laughs awkwardly because she’s thinking, “I bet MormonLesbian thinks that I’m thinking about her right now…” And I had thought she thought I am only bisexual because of how I worded things when I came out to her. Without hesitation or awkwardness, she did refer to me as a lesbian and said that she hadn’t before because she didn’t know how I chose, or if I choose, to label myself. Basically, I learned that my best friend is awesome. Although she is fairly open-minded and nonjudgmental, she is pretty conservative. So, I felt that her perspective on my coming out to my class was a good barometer. Even she encouraged me to come out to my class if I felt it was right.
So, I had essentially resolved myself to going through with it. And all of my AMAZING Twitter followers, whom I love, were SO supportive and fantastic. I knew for sure when I went to bed that I would be coming out. I mean, I hadn’t even begun to plan a presentation where I didn’t come out to my class. So, she didn’t say this until after I came out, but the sentiment is very applicable to how I felt last night. Sasha Alexander, on Twitter (yesterday, November 4th), when asked if she had a back-up plan in case acting didn’t work out, responded, “Having a back-up plan means that deep down you think you are going to fail, so I tried not to have one of those!”
That’s how I felt. Although I’m not wise/articulate enough to have explained my feelings like that… I didn't want to fail, so I didn't have a 'Plan B.'
So, I couldn’t sleep that night! I was too anxious. In the good way, though. Luckily, my class was at 8 a.m. so it wasn’t that big of deal.
I was third person to present. The first girl talked about how the media objectifies women in advertising. She showed all of these pictures of scantily-clad/mostly naked women.
(Ale isn't the VS model she showed, but she's my favorite...)
I am so glad I didn’t go right after her. I would have felt even more awkward. Because, yes, I did enjoy looking at those women. The second girl showed a clip from Gilmore Girls. And I got to look at Lauren Graham.
Then it was my turn. I pulled up my PowerPoint. My professor saw the title slide which read, “Sexual Minority Attitudes & Behaviors.” He said, “Oh, that is an awkward and difficult subject.” I thought, “Honey, you have no idea…”
I started off by talking about the percentage of gays and lesbians in America and then the percentage of gays and lesbians on television. There were pictures of Kevin & Scotty and Calzona.
They weren’t even touching in the pictures I chose because I really didn’t want to scandalize my class in any way. Really, I wanted them to keep open minds before I dove into my personal stuff. (Side note: I was thinking of pictures of gays and lesbians from television to put in my presentation and thought of putting up Rizzles. And then I thought, “Oh, wait. Right…” But as you know, putting up a picture of Arizona is pretty much the same thing as putting up a picture of Maura.)
Then I talked about how our textbook delineated the “coming out” process. And how first, a person needs to come out to himself/herself. I said, “The textbook cited a study about gay males, saying that most gay males began to realize that they were gay when they were about twelve and a half. They usually felt confused at first and tried to deny their identity.”
Up until this point, most people (especially the guys) had goofy grins on their face. They were probably thinking, “Ooh, gay people, haha.”
“So, I’m gay,” I continued. Seriously, everyone’s faces fell serious quicker than all get out. It was kind of hilarious and awesome. “I didn’t begin to realize until I was about 19 or 20. So, I’m less advanced than an adolescent boy.” This was supposed to be funny. Did anyone laugh? Nope. Too awkward.
I said how, for me, the coming out to self process was much like the Five Stages of Grief. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. I then compared my coming out experience and order with the textbook’s order of what is most common for adolescents. When I got to ‘parents,’ I stated how I was not yet out to my parents, “…which will make for a very interesting Thanksgiving break.” (Side note: Haven’t decided for sure if this will happen.) That was also supposed to be a little funny. No one cracked a smile. I guess the thought of my parents’ impending devastation isn’t that funny for them. Understandable, I guess. I only think me coming out over Thanksgiving is funny because that’s totally something pulled from the Will & Grace playbook.
Finally, I talked about the biological basis for homosexuality. I cited a twin study of how if your identical twin is gay, you are two-thirds as likely to also be gay. I showed a picture of Tegan and Sara. Duh.
I said that, if anything, I was socialized to be straight. I was raised Mormon, and the Church focuses on the family and preparing for a family starting at a very young age. (Side Note: I had not a single lesson on homosexuality being bad, which may be surprising to some. It wasn’t talked about at all. I failed to ever consider being gay as an option, not because of any moral reasons, but because from my Mormon perspective, it wasn’t an option at all. I was expected to get married to a man, have children, etc. I’m not saying that getting married, having kids, and all that is bad. It’s just not for me. Which I know now.) I concluded that there must be at least some biological basis, or I would be straight.
After the presentation, I felt great. And kinda like a badass. After class, one boy did stop me as I was leaving to thank me for my presentation. That really made my day/week/life. In all honesty, coming out wasn’t for me in any way. Yes, it made me feel good to be honest with myself and my class. However, for some of them, I may be the first person that they know who has said that they are gay. And to get a little cheesy for a second… Every Mormons’ favorite Spiderman quote is that “To whom much is given, much is required.” Not that I think every gay Mormon needs to come out and be an example, teacher, etc., because it’s a personal decision. It’s just for me, personally, I do want to help build a bridge between the Mormon and gay community.
Oh, I also came out to another friend today. She said that she was “somewhat surprised.” And then she emphasized that she was only “somewhat” surprised.
I was going to do an addendum to this post of “10+ Signs That You’re Gay,” utilizing my own life as an example… but this post is long enough. But look for it on here in the near future!
If you made it through this post, congratulations! Here's your prize:
Coming Tomorrow: Something spectacular! (We’ll see if iTunes decides to be a dirty whore or to actually love me)