Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm A Monster & A Freak Of Nature *UPDATED*

I know. I'm back.  AGAIN.  I'm a monster!  A blogging monster.  *wheels start turning in Graham's head* and...

THE MOHO BLOGGING MONSTER A.K.A. Graham Lawrence A.K.A. Another name that you shan't know yet.
So, anyway... I blog A LOT.  Sorry about that, but like I said in my last post... it's about me.  Not you.

I went on an incredible hike today.  It was so beautiful.
I think this is the most beautiful picture I've EVER taken.  Pretty damn proud of it.  (But my phone did all the work.)
I was so out of shape.  It's become apparent that just lifting weights is NOT enough.  I need to add some cardio to the exercise mix, too.  It wasn't pretty.

Anyway, I went with a few good friends.  These friends are all LDS.  On the way up, one of the friends and I got separated and we started talking about our gay friend from high school.  My friend, (who we'll call Brent) started talking about his opinions on that gay friend (who we'll call Steve) and gays in general.  I braced myself, and made sure to remind myself to be very careful with my words.  Brent started going on and on about Steve, and how Steve had "chosen to be gay."  I did my best not to get too defensive, because, honestly, I thought the same thing in high school... that Steve had chosen to be gay, but I replied to Brent that I no longer believed as much.  "Why would any Mormon who loves their family choose to be gay?"

Steve is the gay friend who I've actually come out to.  I learned about his story, and know that Steve started having feelings for men at a very young age.  He felt awful about his same sex attraction.  He tried everything to overcome it, but to no avail.  When Steve did start coming out after high school, his parents did not react in an understanding way and they were very against the idea.  This caused Steve a lot of pain and suffering.  Brent, likely doesn't know the full story.  I tried my best to not reveal how much I know, and also to persuade Brent that Steve did not choose this.  Brent said that he felt like, yes, there were some people who were just gay, but that he felt like the majority just chose to be gay because it's either a "cool" thing, an environment thing, or they were just convinced that they were gay, when they really weren't.  He brought up the Weeds and how they have had a successful marriage despite the husband's orientation.  Brent said that that meant that marriages could still happen for guys that have same sex attraction.  I still didn't want to act like I knew too much about the subject, but I definitely knew who he was talking about.  Their story had given me a lot of hope when I first heard about it, but I've since given up any hope of finding someone like Mrs. Weed.

We eventually caught up with the other two friends, and the topic later came up again.  Brent restated his opinion for the others.  Another friend fell a lot more on my side, that no Mormon would choose it, and that we need sex to have a truly fulfilling marriage.  Brent tried to say that mixed orientation marriages could work for most gay people if they could just find a best friend.  I pointed out that the Weeds are able to have sex, but some gay men are physically unable to really have sex with a woman.  And we talked about how the mixed orientation marriage thing can be tough for the woman involved because there might not be sex, or it might not give her the assurances of her beauty that she looks for, etc.  The other friend and I both agreed that to have a truly happy marriage, there needed to be something more than just friendship. (physical friendship?)  (I don't pretend to know what mixed orientation marriage is like, and obviously some people have such marriages and make them work.  I just know that at the time of the conversation, I was thinking about myself and how I think I would find myself unhappy in that situation, and that I believe my wife would ultimately be unhappy.  Just my opinion.)   The fourth friend, who I'll call Zach was silent.  He's pretty shy, so I wasn't surprised he wasn't spouting an opinion on the matter.  But it was pretty clear that Brent firmly believed that most gay guys weren't born that way, and that I felt otherwise.  I should also point out that to everyone's credit, no one believed it was a good idea to just tell gay Mormons to just fake it and marry the opposite sex, and that if mixed orientation marriages were going to work, honesty NEEDS to be involved.  I fully endorse those two opinions.  I had a few moments where I really wanted to say, "I would NEVER choose being gay, but I AM GAY!" But I didn't dare say it.  I've never considered Brent someone I really want to come out to until I'm so gay that I'm beyond his constant advice giving.  If I told him I was gay today, I'm confident that he would try to convince me that I'm not, or that I could still have a marriage to a woman.  As he felt about Steve.  Whether he'd actually say that to my face or not, I don't know.  But I DO know that he would talk about me behind my back, just like Steve, and come up with some reason that I'd chosen this.  (Most likely that I was just sick of being unsuccessful at dating girls.  Haha!)  It was a tough conversation to have with these friends, but I was glad to get to start dealing with some of the things that will certainly be part of the conversations I have as I begin coming out to straight LDS friends and family.

I wasn't very glad to have the conversation I had with Zach (the shy one) later on tonight.  I should tell you, that Zach is a scientist.  He studies wildlife and biology.  He is someone that I've fairly strongly considered coming out to, but I know that it would be really hard for him in a lot of ways.  I have, in some ways, been a role model to him.  He has looked to my example of how I've lived my life in various situations.  I feel somewhat like an older brother to him at times.  I've actually also wondered if he's gay or at least has SSA.

So, he and I were alone and he started by saying, "It was so hard for me to listen to that conversation about gay people and not say anything!"  And I said, "Yeah, I want to know your opinions."  He then explained that it biologically didn't make sense to him that people could be born gay.  He didn't believe that they could have a genetic makeup that made them gay, because he felt that if it was a genetic trait, that it would have been weeded out over time and there would be no more gay people.  I explained to him that there have always been gay people, and that in the past they likely just got married to the opposite sex more often. To which he replied that then gay Mormons now should just do that.  I replied that they (at least on Mad Men, haha) likely just had gay affairs on the side and kept their wives to keep up appearances, or that they had really miserable marriages.  Anyway, I kind of convinced him that gay people still keep marrying people of the opposite gender and that at least his theory that they should be genetically extinct was false in that way.  He then brought up the issue of how a random person can be gay in a family of straight people.  THIS hit home pretty strongly.  He then said that he felt like it would have to be a super recessive trait for that to happen.  Then he started talking about how on the nature vs. nurture spectrum he felt that it must be nurture.  He raised the point that autism can be complicated by surroundings.  He said he was sure that almost anyone can feel same sex attractions. (I actually think he kind of admitted to me that he had had same sex attractions, but he didn't say that exactly.)  He tried to say that you could feel a very strong love for another person of your gender, and then just get confused and bring a sexual attraction into the matter.  So I asked him if he thought it was like a mental problem where people just confused their feelings.  And he said yes.  So basically, he said that he felt like the only ways you could be gay were if your environment (upbringing, etc) created it, you'd been molested, or you were just mentally confusing yourself.  I wanted to just say right there, "I'm gay, so do you think I'm just confused mentally?  I'm pretty sure it wasn't my parents' fault, and I certainly haven't been molested!"

I don't really agree with much that Zach said tonight, obviously.  I think people are born gay.  I just don't know why I am... and this made me start doubting whether I am.  I started feeling like a freak of nature after my conversation with the nature scientist.  I DO have a family that (at least on the surface) is 100% straight, and I'm the exception.  Have I just mentally confused myself?  Or is it genetics and the trait is super recessive or is the trait just hidden by mixed orientation marriages or family that just has lied and said they weren't gay when they were?  Did my parents mess me up?  Did my having multiple sisters mess me up?  Was my dad not being what I wanted him to be, the reason?  I just started freaking out as I was driving home.  I think I must have been born this way, but I don't know.  It scares me, so much, that I don't have the answers for when I have to have these conversations as I start coming out of the closet.  After we'd finished talking about our opinions on it, Zach did say that he just didn't like thinking about it, and that he didn't really know what to think.  He just likes to pretend it doesn't exist.  THAT sounded very familiar to me.  (My denial for 25 years likely sounded a lot like what Zach said to me.)  I've wondered if he is gay and if I came out it would be easier for him to come out.  Who knows?

Anyway, that last comment about him not really knowing did make me feel a bit better, but I'm still left feeling really troubled.  My conversation with Zach just made me feel crappy.  I know that I'm attracted to men, and I haven't found a woman that I'm sexually attracted to. I don't think I could ever have a hetero relationship.  I'm pretty sure that I want a homosexual relationship.  I just am filled with a weird confusion still, and I think it might just be that I don't have the answers.  I just wonder if I'm the only MOHO who has doubts about the ho part sometimes?  I guess I'm still pretty fresh to admitting to myself that I'm gay, so maybe some doubts are still to be expected.

I'm just feeling so desperate to fast forward.  Can't I just get to the part where the dust has settled from me coming out of the closet, and I've found the man of my dreams?  Please?

I had another conversation with "Zach" today.  He had done more research after our conversation last night, and had read about a study that had a very plausible genetic explanation for homosexuality, as well as the island issue (where one person could be the only gay person in their family.)  He also already seems to have come around quite a bit on things.  I really do think that I'm an influential person in his life, but I didn't think he'd change his tone so quickly.  Certainly he's still very against homosexuality as a sin, he says, but at least he's a little more understanding of a way that it could be natural.  As Matt pointed out in the comments, this really shouldn't matter for me, but for some reason, I just like that there's a scientific option or two to explain it. 

Here's a link to an article explaining the theory behind what Zach and I discussed.  ****


  1. That is an awesome picture! I'm super impressed. Also jealous.

    So, I don't know if you have read any of the (somewhat limited) research on physical manifestations of homosexuality. There are a gazillion caveats that go along with it (it identifies traits that are more common in gay populations on average rather than for individuals, much of the research has not yet been replicated, etc.), but there has been research in recent years identifying physical traits that are more common in straight people than gay people. Whether it's genetic or due to the in-utero environment is unclear, but it’s definitely evidence that most gay people aren’t making it up. Here’s a short primer ( but there’s a lot of stuff available online.

    I had a similar experience when I started college. Somehow a bunch of people in my room eventually started talking about the causes of homosexuality and one girl seemed pretty certain the cause was childhood abuse. I had probably only started telling people a week before, but I got pretty mad and said that I had a great childhood, a good relationship with both parents and my brothers, and had never been abused. She changed her mind pretty quickly and we actually became good friends.

    I can’t say for sure that this is true, but I assume that you come from a position of strength with your friends. They’ll probably trust you as “one of their own” to some degree, rather than “the other,” and you can at least give them pause in their current thoughts on the issue.

    Hopefully that made at least some sense. Likely it didn’t. Hope you’re feeling better today.

    1. Thanks Evan. I knew there were studies out there, and as I drove home last night I was definitely thinking that I'd look some of them up. I will check that link out. Yeah, I think I get what you mean, and I know that I could challenge a lot of people's opinions on gays. It was tempting to do as you did, but I'm just not ready yet. I think I need more time to be confident in myself as a gay man before I'll be ready to start having these gayology conversations. I am feeling a bit better today, thanks!

    2. Oh, no, I certainly wasn't trying to pressure or guilt you - only to suggest that they might be more receptive than you think.

    3. I didn't think you were trying to pressure or guilt me into anything. I believe that you're right, and at the time I think I knew that... hence why it was so tempting. But like I said, I just am not quite ready to be that bold. And if you've read my update, I'm now feeling a lot better. "Zach" is in a much better place already as far as his tone about everything. I actually considered coming out to him because of it. But because of the nature of our relationship (I feel like an older brother), I want to have some extra things planned out to say to him. Anyway, I think I understood your original intentions with your comment. (And your comments are always appreciated... even if you do decide to pressure me a bit! ;-) )

  2. Hey, I just found your blog late last night and then read through the whole thing both last night and this morning. I have to say that I totally relate to what you're saying about doubting the "ho" part. I know exactly what you mean about fabricating feelings for girls and getting all confused about which feelings are genuine and which feelings are made up. That's one of the hard parts about growing up gay in a straight world--your personal experiences match nothing you were taught to expect, and so you have no context in which to understand your emotions. I was taught that I would start liking girls, and so when I got to a certain age I thought that the feelings of friendship I felt for girls were what it meant to like someone. And then there were those messy feelings I had for boys that didn't fit into the picture and I had no idea what to do with them. So I think it's absolutely normal to doubt any and every part of the experience.

    One quote I love that I always go back to when I'm feeling down about things is this: "The bad news is that you're falling through the air, no parachute, and nothing to hang on to. The good news is, there is no ground." It's hard to change the expectations you've always had for your life. When I came out I felt like the person I always thought I was had died. Heterosexual, Mormon Josh who was going to get married and have a happy Mormon family died. He was replaced by gay, doubter Josh who has no idea where his life will take him. And it was so difficult because I had to go through the mourning process for the death of who I thought I was. But it's comforting to me to think that "there is no ground." There's no place I have to be. There's no person I have to be. It's my opportunity to create it--and so now a lot of the things that seemed daunting now seem exciting. Instead of despairing over a loss of faith, I get to be excited at the prospect of creating a spirituality that works for me. Instead of mourning the fact that I'll never have a "traditional" family, I'm excited at the prospect of creating a family in total and complete freedom. Straight people have to be bound down by centuries of expectations and tradition, but we get to be utterly free in creating something new.

    The hard part about coming out to yourself and others as a gay Mormon is that it feels like it destroys your life. It's absolutely demolishing. But destruction is the first step of creation. In order to create something incredible, the way things used to be has to end. And that end is incredibly painful. But just keep walking through it. You will change. Your life will change. Things will not always be what they're like now--so just keep walking through it. Anyway, thanks for blogging. Keep it up. If you ever need someone to talk through things with, let me know. My email is

    1. Josh, thank you so much for taking the time to make this comment for me. And for reading (but I'm also sorry for you for having to read my insanity. :) ) I actually reread my own blog today, too. I had to take some time to think about my response to you. I once again marvel at how quickly I've accepted the truth about myself as I've begun blogging. I think finally letting in some doubt was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. This process is pretty terrifying. I love control... and destruction is not easy to control. Things get messy, and my feelings are certainly no different. I know that I'm gay. I've discovered that much, and it's quite the accomplishment. I'm just anxious to get to my new ordinary. My new day-to-day. Can't rush it... but I wish it would rush itself. Anyway, I sincerely thank you for your comment and your willingness to talk things through with me. I added you to my gchat thingy, just in case. I can really say that joining this Moho community has definitely exceeded my expectations. While you said that it's so hard because we don't have a framework for these experiences as they don't match what we're taught to expect, I at least feel like the blogs of other men (and women) in similar circumstances have helped me sort a lot of this out. So thank you to you, and thank you to Moho bloggers in general!

  3. Thanks for this post and kudos to the above comments.

    I can't really add much to what was already said, but here's a little test that I discovered that definitely cleared up any confusion I had growing up:

    When a girl showed interest in me, it was pleasant. I was happy inside, but never felt fulfilled. When a guy showed interest, I felt joyous, giddy, happy, and about as close to fulfilled as I could get. We're talkin' butterflies. That comparison just put everything together for me and cleared up any confusion I had left.

    I know you're still new at the whole realizing and accepting, but pay close attention to your feelings when someone from each gender shows an interest in you.

    And I'm only going off your story, but I'm catching a gay vibe on your friend Zach. Before coming out to him, I would test the waters a bit more.

    We've commented on each other's blogs now. Are we like Blog BFF's now?

    1. LOL, Zurdo... I sure hope we're Blog BFFs. I know exactly what you're talking about. I have to tell you a story. I recently was visiting a female friend who had a brand new roommate. This roommate and I had a mutual acquaintance. Once she found that out, she started gushing to me about how much she adored him and everything about him. She went on and on... and I started wondering if she was literally crazy. After the conversation ended and she left, I talked to my friend about her and my friend said that her roommate was just acting like most girls do about boys they like. She seemed nuts to me, as an outside witness. Fast forward to when I started having a shockingly real crush on my roommate. I think, to be honest, I started turning into that raving girl over him! I might have tempered my explanations on my blog, but I think I know that I was (am) honestly as crazy about him as that woman was about that man. And that just seems moronic to me. Because in both circumstances, the man who was crushed upon was SO unavailable. Anyway, I don't know that I've ever turned into a real raving girl about any of the girls I've liked in the past. I did some really good convincing... but I never made things happen. I actually kind of went on dates with my roommate as secretly as I could arrange them! Ok, anyway... I get what you're saying, MOHOBBFF. As for Zach... we'll see. I might kind of bring up the uncomfortable gay subject again because I found out that I actually told him some things that weren't true. Maybe that will help me further gage the situation.

  4. Great post and comments. Reading this post was actually pretty frustrating for me--I feel your pain! Your comment leavers have said some wise, useful stuff, though.

    Josh, you should turn that comment into a blog post of your own. It's perfect "regular post" blog length.

    1. Are you implying that blog posts are not usually "regular post" length ;)

    2. Trev, I agree. Josh should make that into a post, and I've gotten some great advice thus far. Thanks for the empathy! Sorry you had to feel it though! :)

    3. Josh, i keep my posts to a strict 700-750 word limit.......


  5. I'm not an expert on genetic things, but Richard Dawkins has some applicable insights about traits that are not good for individuals but are good for close kin groups in The Selfish Gene.

    More importantly, does it matter to you whether there's a genetic component or not? Would you live your life differently if you weren't " born this way"?

    1. Yes, for some reason it does matter to me. I guess it's just a matter of wanting to know if I did this to myself somehow, if my environment did, or if nature did it to me. Not because I'd be making different choices NOW, but more just because I am curious about what is the cause for the situation. Does that make sense? So, no, it's not really a big deal whether it's genetic or not in the grand scheme of things, I just really want to know what makes me who I am. (It likely also stems from my present steps away from the church... I don't know if I believe God created me... so what did? Etc. etc.)

  6. 2 resources for you to check out with the whole nature v nurture deal.

    Mormon Stories #212: Dr. William Bradshaw Part 4 of 5 - Homosexuality and the LDS Church


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