I’m not homosexual, although part of my disorder has involved strong sexual attraction to members of both sexes. I’ve chosen not to act on my attraction to women, but it’s still there, so I guess, officially, I’m bi.
But that’s not what the post is about. Aside from the sexual attraction thing, I really resonate with GLBT music and the way they depict their struggle in society. I connect it to my mental illness in the LDS community. Both are kept under wraps, and it is often shameful to admit a problem; both open you up to judgment you’d rather not have to face. I hear songs like “Philosophy of Loss” by the Indigo Girls and the words, “the doors open wide to all straight men and women but they are not open to me,” really resonated with my situation. What had I done wrong to be excluded? All I’d done was have a mental illness and I could feel the exclusion all around me. This was especially true in YSA wards, where I often felt as if I was treated as a diseased member of the herd, even though very few knew about my struggle.
I love Utah—it’s my home—but it’s a tough community to be very different in. I don’t think Utah isn’t diverse, but there’s a plateau effect of complacency that comes over people very quickly. There’s a big push to go along to get along and not cause any trouble. But I am troubled and self-troubling. I rankle under the gazes of my successfully married and childered friend’s mothers. Again, I can see in some of their faces the question, “What did Folly there do wrong?” Or, “Why can’t she be more like Tammie—who gave up her dreams of being a doctor to be a Mommy?” Or being told, “Don’t forget motherhood in all your ambition!” “I know someone your age! You’d be perfect for each other!” Always trying to fix what can’t be fixed or being vulgar and querulous about the situation. I imagine LGBTs feel the same way.
So, as a closet case, I think I get a little bit of that world. I don’t necessarily condone it, but I understand the attraction and I understand bridling under the judgment—cruel and kind—of others, who just don’t get it and never will. Sometimes I hate them; sometimes I hate myself; but it’s usually a combination of both. Only the patience of my mother, who I think suspects my “other” sexuality in consonance with my mental state, the kind words of my bishop, and, especially, the words of Jesus salve the sting and make the mess endurable. For Him, Otherness isn’t a byword. As He said, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” I have hope in that promise.