If you've checked my "profile" you see that I don't publish much information about myself, not even an email contact. I used to, but found I was more transparent that I desired. When some had put together who I really am in the real world, it began to freak me out - not so much for myself but for my family. I wasn't ready for that. So, I pulled back. At some point, maybe I will be, but for now, I prefer privacy for them.
I've been reticent to be more open. In reading Bravone's blog comments this morning about a dear mother (Alanna) of a gay teenage son, I was deeply touched by this thoughtful plea to all of us:
"...The only way we are going to begin to change the church members' perceptions is to give a face to the name. When the word homosexual brings to their minds the picture of their best friend, brother, father, son, cousin, etc instead of the flaming, drugging, drinking maladjusted guys who are so often associated with the name, nothing will change. It's changing. I know it is....little by little. In twenty years, we'll be surprised by this dialog we're having and the need for it. At least, that's MY prayer!"
Alanna asks Bravone (and all of us still hidden in the closet) why we don't give voice or give face of the "faithful gay Mormon". As Alan so eloquently responded:
"...for all these reasons many of us are probably going to stay right where we are—hidden--because it's the safest thing for us and for our families spiritually, socially, and emotionally. "
I wonder if my voice matters, and am I doing a disservice (such as to Alanna's son) by being so quiet, so private, so hidden? I feel deeply Alanna's plea for her son to have positive examples to look up to. I see Scott's incredible steps to come out to his family and ward in positive but very bold ways. I see the tension of the gay community at large focusing their frustration against the Church - and all things Mormon - and I realize the pull within me that aches for this battle and me caught between the fighting sides - and remaining silent.
Who am I to speak up? What voice do I have? Who am I to think of myself as any kind of example for others? for younglings coming up? A face of a married MOHO?
This blogging world, in a certain way, has helped me to come out of my thick shell. I've been slow to open myself personally to others even in this community where it is safe and there is a spirit of camaraderie and support. I've "chatted" occasionally with some, but even that has been brief. And I've enjoyed the brief but meaningful face-to-face encounters of several. I'm slowly becoming more comfortable as time goes on.
Today, I sat down and wrote down those of you I now know in person. Over the course of the last year or so, I've met in person ten of you! And as of this week, that number increases to eleven with Abelard joining the ranks of those who have seen Beck in person.
All the other encounters have been at their request. Not thinking less of them, but this time, it was me doing the requesting to seek out Abelard to give him a hug. That's a step, to be the seeker instead of the seekee, right? It was a wonderful visit and a bonding time of friendship and brotherhood between us. Thank you, Abe, for being there for me!
NOTE: If anyone wants to receive the warmest, biggest bear hug (and I should know as I'm a hug affezionato) then they need not go any further than Abelard to have their bear hugging needs met!
Someday, I may have more willingness to open up, to give voice and provide face for who I am, and what I stand for, beyond this little circle of friends in the queerosphere corner of the universe. We all need support. We all need friendship. We all need love. If there is something you suggest I can do more for you, please let me know...