Friday, December 17, 2010

Calvin Thompson and the Pseudonym

I am a homosexual Mormon man. I have to hold my breath after saying that phrase. Someone usually makes a break for it or coughs up a lung.

I couldn’t have mentioned my sexuality openly in the recent past without the women gathering their young-ones to their side or the men folk brandishing their muskets. The none-pioneer, modern day 3-D equivalent is just as bad: Distrust, Disdain, and Disinfectant.

I have always been a homosexual Mormon man, though the specific age has varied – man child, young man, college man, taxpayer man, and now sorta old ma... never mind. By the same token, I have always been a Mormon of the “dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through” variety . I was born into an LDS family and through pain, pride and prayer I have always come back to my Church - sometimes from a great distance, sometimes not.

I am so proud of my religion that I don’t care what others call it, Mormon, LDS, or Latter-day Saint, nor do I care about the popular misconceptions. I was once asked on my mission if I was embarrassed that the Spanish definition of Mormon was “a polygamous sect”. No I wasn’t embarrassed. I was a Mormon, I knew what it truly meant to be a Mormon, and I was proud of my heritage – regardless of what others thought. This made it easier to take being asked about my wives, responding in a friendly way to hey you J-dub, or “Hola CIA.” Or being asked to put 100 Lempira bucks on Honduras in the World Cup with my bookie!

Call me anything these days – as long as you call, and I will tell you how vital to me my membership is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By the same token, my homosexuality – like my religious beliefs, has never been a question for me. I am tall, I am a Mormon, I am slightly arrogant, I like tangy taffy and I am homosexual. My attraction, regardless of whatever popular semantic assigned it, has been such from the beginning.

I am proud of who I am.  And yet, you may have noticed that I am writing this blog, and an upcoming book, anonymously.  Why do I go by Calvin Thompson and not my real name? 

True, I haven't gone to much length to keep my identity known, and anyone who wants to put forth the effort could figure it out in a hurry. 

I have my reasons, and I will state them in the next essay.  I would like to know yours.

Why have you not come out publicly?  And for those in the church who are out, what have been the challenges and/or the blessings?

Feel free to comment - anonymously if you need to.


  1. I suppose I am afraid that if I come out as a gay guy in the church, that my gayness is all everyone will ever see. That I will cease to be an elder or a Sunday school teacher – a home teacher or a neighbor and I will be the gay guy. I guess I don’t trust that members of the LDS church can see past that.

  2. Okay, now that I got some of that rant out, in answer to the actual question...

    The reasons change. Currently, the biggest reason is that I'm afraid I'll be killing my chances of having a "normal" family life. I feel that while I am certainly not totally "straight," I also am not totally "gay." There's a lot I don't identify with other gay people about. I'm afraid that I try to share this part of my identity, it will become free game for people to play with and interpret as they want to, and I'll lose control of how people see me. As I am is not totally correct, but it's correct in lots of ways that are more important to me than the ones I'm missing.

    I am terrified that if I am honest with others, they will help me discover that I am something that I really am not, or they will somehow not allow me to be something I want to be.

    Really, that doesn't make sense, logically, but that's how I rationalize the emotions that stop me from "coming out" in any sense other than to a very few people.

    Well, I'm about done with it. I don't think it's healthy, neither for me nor for those around me. I just lack self-confidence...

  3. What? Where'd my rant go?

    It was slightly more detailed, but the basic gist was that by staying "closeted" I don't think anyone is helped. We all need to speak up. It's not that big a deal, but people can't know that if they are kept from reality.

  4. And, wait a minute... your name *isn't* Calvin Thompson? And that profile picture isn't you? Oh. I thought you were out. I must admit I'm a little disappointed--actually, not a little.

    In any case, I look forward to reading your reasons.

  5. With a family and all I understand why you are still "in". I am too. I am not ashamed or embarrassed, but I am nervous. What if all this newfound and almost-found tolerance is a fad and then we go back to “dame the f**s to hell.” I don’t want to be on either end of the bigotry, but especially the bottom.

  6. It makes sense. Not coming out limits your ability to talk about your emotions, but at least when you are just yourself nobody assumes that you are the way you are just because you're gay. People have so any expectations and stereotypes, and not everybody would try to see what YOUR feelings or intentions are.

  7. TOP 10 Reasons I stay in the closet:

    1.)I have a fairly homophobic family.
    2.)I go to a homophobic Ward.
    3.)I live in a decidedly homophobic community.
    4.)I work with homophobic people.
    5.)Did I mention my homophobic family?
    6.)I don't want the relationships I've cultivated over the past several decades in items 1 thru 4 to change.
    7.)I can navigate cyberspace and discuss very personal issues I deal with annonymously. That would not be true if I were "out".
    8.)Its no ones #@!*% business but my own.
    9.)My Priesthood leaders advised me not to. My sexual orientation is not the focus of my life.
    10.)The closet is more exciting. Its the constant danger of perhaps being found out! :)

  8. I'm afraid that I try to share this part of my identity, it will become free game for people to play with and interpret as they want to, and I'll lose control of how people see me.


    You already have little to no control over how people see you.

    It's true that coming out would give people the option of looking at you in a new way. It's also true that some will choose to see that "new" aspect of you much more prominently than you'd like them to.

    In my mind this says a lot more about them than it does about you.

    That said, if my own experience is anything to go on, it's entirely true that people will choose (their choice) to see you differently. And it's also potentially true that the change in others' behavior toward you will influence your own behavior and choices.

    In my opinion there are valid reasons to stay closeted. When coming out has the real potential of resulting in physical harm or loss of livelihood, it might be best to remain closeted. But (still "in my opinion") fear of change in how others will treat you (that's a generic "you", not referring to anyone in particular) is not a valid reason, because it feeds into the notion that "gay" is somehow "less". Every person who comes out and then demonstrates themselves to be just as good a person as they were when they were "straight" diminishes that notion.

    Of course, it's a personal decision for everyone.

    My two cents.

  9. Some possibly good and clearly not so good reasons I've so far chosen to remodel my closet and take short vacations from it, rather than simply leave it. Yes, they are all based in fear.
    Hmmmmm, what does that say?

    1. Fear of loss of friendships
    2. Fear of being shunned by my children
    3. Fear of becoming divorced
    4. Fear of my brotherly gestures being
    perceived as flirting
    5. Fear that my wife is right about #2
    6. Fear that people will treat me differently
    at work
    7. Fear that people will treat me differently at church
    8. Fear that there is more to fear than fear itself.
    9. Fear that all the fears above will be so awful that I will lose my ability to do my job effectively
    10. Fear I that they way I will be treated will further compromise my testimony to the point that I will go totally inactive and have my name removed from the records of the church and only then realize how stupid I was to come out.
    11. Basically all these fears are based in the disastrous experience I had a few decades ago in coming out to my wife. Yes, we are still married, but our marriage is difficult for both of us.

  10. A few weeks ago, My husband talked with the bish, he wanted to "come out" just to tell his story and let people out there know that you can be gay and pro LDS at the same time.
    The Bishop frowned on it and told him there is a sour taste in everyone here (one man left his wife for another man last year, and another gay couple moved in down the street but one of them is a registered sex offender - which may or may not have anything to do with his being gay) but none-the-less sour taste and the bish was trying to protect my husband from the possible disgust of the other people in our area.
    I am annon because my husband hasn't technically come out yet, and is not sure how to go about it. He hasn't figured out his apporoach yet, these things take time, right?

  11. Ok, must comment on this one! I can really relate to the comment that the closet is more exciting, comment by Neal. I really think that this is why so many people stay in the closet.

    What if I came out to the world as a bank robber? People wouldn't let me borrow money anymore.

    What if I came out as a biased referree? I would be unemployed.

    My geometry teacher told me that if A=B and B=C, then A must equal C.

    So, I don't see any other way, than to stay, live, eat, breathe, work, entertain, and sleep in the closet. That might do everyone good, because that way, those who are homophobic don't really want us to be near them, and everyone wins!

    Hey, where did everyone go?

  12. Ok all you gay mormons. Come out come out! If you can, and the spirit tells you too - I mean. It is all about what the spirit tells you for your life. I love you all and I give you big hag hugs.

  13. For me, I'm a convert. I wasn't born into the Church and so I don't know what it must be like to do so while having same gender attraction. I'm guessing it would be really tough, like someone saying that you're going to hell all the time. But even so, life outside of the Church wasn't all that different. I got bullied and whatnot. But eventually I stepped out. It was not because I was "sticking it to the man" but I just needed to feel accepted for being me.

    Even so, when I joined the Church, I began to slowly slip back into the closet. I think that it was because some people are immature. I mean, I tell all my closest friends. They all get it, and don't make a big deal out of it, but there are some people in the Church who I just know would not handle the news very well. We all know the type. For them, I reserve myself but it's more for their sake than for mine. I could care who knew. If I wasn't afraid of some response from the Stake President, I'd say over the pulpit in fast and testimony. I don't care. :)

  14. I can’t help thinking that I represent the other side of the Opposite Gendered Attracted marriage. AND WE ARE STILL CLOSETED TO EVERYONE. I don’t believe that makes me insecure about myself. I don’t think I am scared. It is such a private matter that I don’t want anyone else in my bedroom. My husband has discussed coming out before, and we say we won’t because of the kids – and that is a huge part. But another huge part is for us. We want our privacy to deal or not, to get help or not, to worship as me may. There are hundreds of these marriages that are working because they do not have the additional pressure of answering to the public.