Friday, November 5, 2010

Not to Quote Diana Ross, But...

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)


Anonymous said...

You are my hero for coming out and doing it like that. I for one thought your jokes were very funny. I love you twin!

MormonLesbian said...

I love you too!
And that's what I thought! I'm effing hilarious ;)

nicole said... are brave and very awesome :) i know you hear that all the time from your twitter friends but this time i really really mean it, like REALLY. i was really moved by your courage, it must be really hard to be gay in the mormon community, i don't know if i could have come out if i were in your situation and for that i respect you more than i did before.
i'm so glad that so far you've had a positive response from your classmates and i truly hope you have the same experience when you decide to come out to your parents.
i thought your jokes were pretty good especially about being less advanced than an adolescent boy because for me that's how coming out felt like, it felt like going through puberty again but like a teenage boy because i liked boobs :)
i hope people who are in the closet and thinking about coming out stumble upon this post because i believe it will really help them :)
and i know i'm younger than you but if you need anyone to talk to about coming out to family or anyone else, i've been through it and i know how scary it can be or how exhilarating and i am always here to talk to, seriously i only have three classes and no job, so don't be afraid to ask :)
again, you're awesome for posting this :) keep being awesome...and gay :D

MormonLesbian said...

Aaah! Both of you are so awesome and I love you guys!
Seriously, the adolescent boy thing... Classic. I'm still a teen-aged boy on the inside. I mean, you know that... you read my blog :D
And thanks for being there to talk to. I mean, I would bug you even if you didn't offer, haha. But seriously, thanks.
And some time you do totally need to tell about coming out to your family, fer seriously.

Doom Kitteh said...

<3 :D Yay. And you know, it does feel pretty damn bad ass lol

Granted you're a lot braver than I am since you did that in front of a group of people and I decided to just post it on Facebook.

Which by the way, was rather hilarious. It turns out my Aunt(on my mom's side) was texting my mom, from Hawaii at that, and was mad because I posted it online instead of telling the family before hand.

I thought that's what I did? lol Granted, had Thanksgiving come around... I most likely would have chickened out.

So I think I just adore you for just poking at me for the promise I made because other wise I wouldn't have done it xD

I so would have still read if you did the addendum.

nicole said...

haha yeah i'm surprised i don't have more guy friends, i would totally fit in!
i would be happy to talk to you about coming out to the fam, it's a very tricky situation. and, seriously...anytime (i've been bored lol)
also a little tidbit, you might already knows this, but you are never done coming out cause you meet new people in life and get to do it all over again :)

MormonLesbian said...

You are amazing too! I think it's just as ballsy and brave to do it on Facebook. Because it's still a big decision and takes courage.

But doesn't it feel great?

And I think it's awesome that you made that deal with me. Although I would've done it away, I would be lying if I said that you didn't influence me at least a little to rip off that rainbow Band-Aid. :D

MormonLesbian said...

I don't think there are that many straight guy/gay girl friendships. Well, definitely not as much as gay guy/straight girl.

Mmmm, I don't plan on every meeting anyone new ever again... :)

Okay, yeah. This is happening. I want to talk to you about your life!

nicole said...

okay :D i'm still up doing art tonight :) but another time is alright :)

Anonymous said...

OMG that photo of Angie asdfgjfh

You did good! I'm glad it went so well :)

And I would have put in Rizzles anyway. Because they're so obviously gay...

MormonLesbian said...

I think I may have blown their minds enough. They would have looked at the picture and been like, "Wait... They're gay?!" Shoot, even my mom thinks they're "too friendly" to be "just friends."

El Genio said...

I love Kevin and Soctty!! I haven't caught up on their storyline yet this season, but I'm really excited to see what they do with it.

And congratulations on coming out to your class. That takes some serious guts at any university, but for doing it at BYU you should get a medal or something.

MormonLesbian said...

Kevin & Scotty are so adorable. I know their drama this season because I frequent AfterElton, but I'm still catching up by watching last season on DVD. I love how they are treated like a legitimate couple that just happens to be two men.

And thanks!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the prize! ;)
this story was/is so moving. You are so incredible brave to do it like that. I've known for over a year now and I've still only got a few toes out of the closet!
I'm in awe of you, you are awesome :)

MormonLesbian said...

Aww, shucks. Thanks.
And for you, I'm all about doing it at your own pace. This just seemed like an opportunity I couldn't pass up. It was like kismet.
And I just read through some of your LJ. You're awesome too! :D

Nicola said...

I've been following this whole saga on Twitter. How immensely brave of you.

Braziliangirl said...

That must be the bravest thing I've ever heard anyone do... Seriously, you were just freaking brave. I've always loved your blog, but now I worship it. This post gave me a lot to think about. Thank you, thank you very much.
(And Hi! from Brazil!)

Anonymous said...

wow! though i dunno anything about your personal life and am just a fan of your fantastic blog, i like to congratulate you sincerely for your coming out!

all my best wishes to u =)


MormonLesbian said...

Once again, thanks, team! All of your kind words really mean a lot to me!

P.S. Love Brazil. I went there for about a week and a half a few years back... Love, love, LOVED it

Anonymous said...

Echoing the sentiments above - and I usually only comment on your "fun" media posts (e.g. Maurizona!) - but wanted to commend you on your courage. You will not know what your impact is on your classmates, some of whom may also be struggling with being honest about their sexual/gender identities, but that makes it no less important.


MormonLesbian said...

Thanks! I'll have a "fun" post up again soon :D

Unknown said...

Good for you. I too was raised Mormon, served a mission, did it all! About 3 years ago, fell madly in love with a woman; totally unexpected. I'm a late life lesbian. Good for you to help put a face to it there at BYU! I had left the church before I knew I was gay (thought I just hadn't found the right one as everyone I dated seemed so tedious) because my younger brother was gay and I stand behind him 100%.

MormonLesbian said...

Good for you too. And wow, serving a mission? How was that for you?

Anonymous said...

I have only been following your posts for a couple of weeks, but have to say how proud I am of you. I live in Utah, I am a Mormon (for now), and yes, I am a lesbian. I know how hard it is in this culture. Thank you for your strength and courage.

MormonLesbian said...

Thanks! And yay for gay Mormons!

Dr. G said...

I feel like I am always late to post a comment on your serious blog entries. It is so nice to see all the wonderful comments you received. You are very courageous and have made a difference for others with your bravery and determination. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!