11 February 2008

Greatful For Your Gayness

An email discussion from the North Star Men's group started today with this message:

So, here's a question that I've been struggling with the past several

How do I accept and love myself when I don't accept and love the fact
that I am attracted to other men?

The best illustration I have of this concern is when I'm out in
public, I feel attracted to a guy, and then I tell myself, "You
shouldn't feel that way. It's wrong to feel attracted to men." While
that isn't the same thing as saying, "You're bad because you feel
attracted to guys," the effect on my self-esteem is the same. How can
I seperate what I do from who I am? How do I allow myself to dislike
the fact that I feel attracted to guys WITHOUT letting that affect how
I feel about myself as a whole person?

I think that this is an important thing to work on. I believe that
it's the Book of Mormon teaches us that "men are that they might have
joy." So, how do we experience joy, and learn to love and accept
ourselves, in spite of feeling things that we would rather not

I figure that this is a struggle that other men face. I was hoping
for your insights about what you've done that has and hasn't helped in
accepting who you are and loving yourselves while also experiencing
attractions to other men.

My response:

Personally, I think that saying "You shouldn't feel that way. It's wrong to feel attracted to men." is wrong and just as destructive as telling yourself you are a bad person.

According to what has been revealed to us by the leaders of the church, the only thing wrong about homosexual attractions is acting out on them by breaking the law of chastity. Other than that, it's just something you have to deal with in your life. Stop telling yourself you are bad for feeling the way you do. You aren't. Stop bludgeoning yourself over something you have no control over. You are attracted to men. Accept it. When you see a hot guy, acknowledge it but then move on. Just don't dwell on it to the point where you act out on it.

And you start to love youself more when you sit back and recognize all of the wonderful traits you have that straight guys usualy don't. For example, I love that I am a much more sympathetic person than 99.9% of the guys I know. My female friends love that too, because they know they can talk to me about their lives and I'm actually listening to them. Be greatful for your gayness. In spite of the challenges, there are some good perks. :)

It's important for everyone to realize that nobody is under any sort of condemnation just because they are attracted to members of the same sex. I think that the sort of self-belittling that the original poster seems to have problems with are just the kind of thing that lead people to desperate acts such as suicide. There is nothing sinful about having those feelings. I reference Elder Holland's Oct 2007 Ensign article as support for this.

Be greatful for your gayness. I honestly have come to see many great things that have happened to me, and many great personality traits and qualities that I have because of my sexual orientation. It has shaped my life in a way that would never have been possible any other way. I used to think that if there was a pill I could take to not be gay any more, I would do it in a heartbeat. But now I'm not so sure that I would want to give up portions of my personality and character to become a SSG (Stupid Straight Guy).

Or is it spelled Stoopid Straight Guy...?


A.J. said...

awesome post hopefully at some point in my life I will be grateful for being gay.

Neal said...

Thanks for those thoughts.

Each of us - straight, SSA, whatever - has to accept the reality of who we are. I think its important to understand that all human beings have parts of their identity they would like to be different. We seem to always look at the grass on the other side of the fence and think somehow it looks better. But if we take a closer look, its not always what we think it will be.

I believe each of us were given very specific things we need to learn in this life. God knows each of us individually, and I believe our lives are fashioned to present opportunities to discover and learn those lessons. I also think we are given challenges and experiences that will teach others the lessons they need to learn through us. One of the most profound stories in the New Testament is where Christ and his Disciples come upon a blind man begging at the gate of the city. A Disciple asks if this man or his parents sinned, to cause such an afflicion in his life. Christ answers, "neither did this man sin, nor his parents, but that the glory of God might be manifest in him".

Although I don't consider SSA an affliction, it does present some unique life challenges. And, as was mentioned, it has given me unique insights and sensitivities others may lack. Could my extra compassion and empathy make the difference in the struggles of another? Will my faithfulness in spite of what some may see as an "affliction" humble someone else? Cause them to shed un-Christlike prejudices? Build their own faith? Will I allow the glory of God to be manifest through me? I hope I can answer "yes" to that question, and be grateful for the opportunity!



Felicity said...

I love your response. Awesome.

Kengo Biddles said...

Max, you and I are on the same wavelength here. I was one of those that bludgeoned himself. Still have to fight the tendency, for that matter. I've learned to understand myself, though, and know that I'm not something abhorrent because of the thoughts in my head. I just need to acknowledge I am who I am, but who I am doesn't mean that's who I'm trying to be. The Lord said "Love thy neighbor as thyself," so how can we love anyone unless we love ourselves in a Christlike way?