Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mormons and Tolerance of Homosexuals

 Image result for lds church's stance on tattoos
I was asked if Mormons couldn't just chill out with the gay thing. Of course, the question asked was meant to speak to the acceptance of gays into the Church.  It's a good question that I believe we should all be asking ourselves.

To go on with an understanding that we all are trying to understand each other we have to define terms. 

Definition of gay for Mormon purposes. Agree or not, like it or not, there are two categories of Homosexuality for Mormons.
  • "Gay and living the lifestyle" which isn't the best definition but the one that actually comes closest, and:
  • Gay people who are not currently having same-gender sex and could be - in theory - eligible for temple recommends. We aren’t going to be talking about the second group but those who are gay and living life as such - again, not a great definition but there you have it.
One last must. We need to agree, for the sake of discussion at least, that the Savior Jesus Christ is at the head of his Church. If we don't agree to this as a base then the following will not make sense.

There are two issues here. The first issue has two parts:

Part 1- How we Mormons treat people who are not cut out of what has become the standard cloth - those that smell of cigarette smoke, have visible tattoos, pink hair, come-and-get-me heels - anything that is not of the norm. Gays fit that description. Should members accept gays into their church and worshiping circles?  My answer is a resounding “Hell yes.” Why is this even a question is simply beyond me.

Part 2 - Are gays welcome not just theoretically into the Mormon Church from a policy viewpoint - from the very standards and rules set by the Church? 

  • They can attend sacrament meeting but can't take the sacrament. 
  • They can't hold callings. 
  • Their children can't be baptized until they reach legal age.
  • They are considered apostates.

The simple answer is, no. This is what many members would like to see changed or altered or refined - whatever the wording is for policy adjustments. And my understanding is that the way this is currently defined these guidelines are not doctrine but policy – which, in theory, could be altered. This is what happened in the seventies concerning blacks and the Priesthood. Having questions about the civil unrest that had been happening for years, Spencer W Kimbell went to the Lord in prayer and asked about the blacks not being able to hold the priesthood. He received an answer to his prayer - a revelation that said that this policy, whether official or not, was to be changed. 

And it was. Who is to say that this current policy is or isn't a policy that could be changed.  I don't believe that there is any harm in asking.

I myself would like us Mormons to be more welcoming of everyone.

What can't be changed and why not? 

As far as I see, the law of chastity is not going to change. It is core doctrine to the Church of Jesus Christ.  All members are expected to not have sex outside the marriage bonds. Currently, no orthodox religion allows for same-sex marriage. I could be wrong on this, so if you know something please comment.  

This could present a simple solution. All Mormons would have to do is change their definition of marriage to allow for same-sex marriage in the temple. It currently has no say in civil marriage, so that is not the issue. The nation has done it. Other countries have done it. So why not the Mormon Church?

Let me tell you why. Like the law of chastity, which is doctrine and not policy, the definition of marriage is doctrine and not policy. It, to my understanding, will not change. In order for it to change there would need to be word handed out from the Savior himself. 

The Church of Jesus Christ believes that the authority of Jesus Christ is premier. It is the reason for the church being restored. His authority is needed to change any of his doctrines. Blacks being allowed priesthood, clarification of the church's name, church facilities and use of tithing funds, cutting church times down to two hours from three, (down from five-ish when I was younger) - these are all policy issues. 

I believe that the Savior is at the core of the Church. I also believe that we church members have issues encouraging tolerance and love for all. Mormons will have to change either the law of chastity or the Mormon definition of celestial marriage - meaning temple marriage. And this will require an about-face in doctrine which, we believe, is the Saviors call to make being as this is his church organization. 

Doctrine is not ours to change.

I write under the name Cal Thompson.  I am an orthodox member of the Church who is gay and sealed to my wife in an LDS temple. I hold an LDS temple recommend and do so honestly. I state this so that you understand my POV.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Getting Un-Stuck

Getting Un-Stuck

What win I if I gain the thing I seek? 
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy?
Who buys a minute’s myrth to wail a week
Or sells eternity to get a toy?
For one sweet grape, who would the vine destroy?
Or what fond beggar but to touch the crown,
Would with the scepter straight be stricken down?
                                                                                            - William Shakespeare

This is chapter eleven of the big gay Mormon book "They that be with us" that I am writing with friend Julie Martin. I am posting it on this site in chapter order and there is no cost. I am happy to respond to civil comments or questions. - Calvin

Let me touch on the title of the chapter before I go anywhere else. I don't believe that we gay Mormons need the atonement or a life change any more than the next guy. This chapter has to do with guys who happen to be Mormons who may feel the need to align themselves with the teachings of the prophet and all that it comes with. If this is important to you, then read on.

I used to have a clean crisp white sheet of parchment on my bulletin board right next to my sophomore prom picture which was themed “We Are Young And We Know Everything”.  It was to remind me to be spotless and unsoiled – specifically, to stay all crispy white and morally clean.  It was my image of worthiness up until the time one of my evil sisters wrote all over it in magic marker “Get your dishes done. I am not doing your chores LOSER!”
So much for clean and crisp white. I couldn’t even turn the thing over to use the back side because she leaned so hard on the word Loser that it bled right through what was an otherwise clean sheet.  It said “!RESOL” in scented grape marker with a smiley face for the point of exclamation. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t turn “!RESOL” into any type of positive motivation for me, so I ended up using the paper as a wrap for an old egg salad sandwich which I placed under her bed as a gift that kept on giving. 
Looking back, I can’t believe my sister got into my room in the first place with all the locks and booby traps I’d laid.  But more than that, I don’t believe that staying all crispy and white should necessarily have been my ultimate goal. How long was trying to stay perfect going to last me? Once I was scribbled on by purple grape marker where was I to go? How on earth was I going to clean that up, and why would I keep it on my bulletin board to remind me of what I now wasn’t?
Later in life (and not all that later it turns out), I ended up looking and feeling as scribbled and colored on with a purple marker as my pretty pure and perfect parchment had been.  Was life over for me?  Was there nothing more for me but to be a wrapper for stinky egg salad?  If the deal was done, why would I even keep trying?  
Virtue, from everything I understood, was an all or nothing kind-of affair like death or amputation - not so much by way of much middle ground.  
“So, Brother Thompson and Sister Martin,” you ask “after you have messed up your diet for the week, what keeps you from eating the entire box of chocolate ├ęclairs and most of a three-cheese lasagna for twelve in one sitting? How do you motivate yourselves to keep trying?” You are right for asking.
Speaking of eating the whole lasagna, I think it should be apparent by now that my life, metaphorically speaking, has not been a clean and crisp white sheet of paper. The color purple, while a lovely cinematic feature is not my preferred look, nor my preferred scented marker.  I am currently speaking as one who found the iron rod from the other side of the map, a spacious place where spiritual congruency was as elusive for me as a perfectly white sheet of paper on a bulletin board in what seemed like a completely different life – certainly a different lifestyle.
It was a very dark time for me - one way by day, another by night.  At the time I remember feeling helpless, that I wasn’t smart enough or of enough value to Heavenly Father to get the help, guidance, and direction I needed.  I was caught in a cycle well known to many gay members of the Church
This cycle continued for years until I changed it and created a new one. Want to know how I did it?  It was amazingly easy.

Calvin Thompson’s Big Break
I started shoplifting.
I figured that I’d eaten enough lasagna and had been scribbled on with enough purple marker that the game was over, so how was pocketing a book or a bottle of aspirin going to make it worst for me in the afterlife’s sub-basement? A room with no view? An eternity of country music?
In hindsight, I can see that I was grasping at straws. I didn’t know what to do, and I am proud that I at least my inner sensitive guy knew to try to do something – even something as misguided as petty theft. I think a survival instinct kicked in. I made a choice. Considering some of the selections I thought were available to me at the time, my decision was downright proactive.
It was a choice not to give up. 
Practically, by stealing my cycle was simply made larger. What I meant as an interruption became a full-on invasion. I’d fed the monster and it put me on a leash as its pet and named me Sparky.
Amazingly enough, if I’d have put both the "gay" and the "shoplifting" upon the evidence board as exhibits “A” and “B”, then stood back to compare the two, I felt worse about the shoplifting!  At least stealing was an acceptable, bona fide sin (homosexuality, even then was not acknowledged by many) that I could acknowledge. I’d compartmentalized the SGA to the point where I considered the duality between nightlife and day life business as usual. 
So, now my personal version of the Mormon Pride Cycle which I am calling Cal’s Sin-o-Rama looked like this…
  • I have gay sex
  • I feel bad for having gay sex
  • I feel guilt and shame and try to repent.
  • I can't have gay sex because the repentance is too fresh so I shoplift.
  • I feel bad for shoplifting and I repent.
  • To feel in control I have gay sex.
  • Rince and repeat. 
Does this sound familiar in any way?

When I was engaging in SGA behaviors I was thrilled that at least I wasn't shoplifting, and when I wasn't shoplifting, I found joy in being dry from both while trying to be a good person.  My scribbled purple marker covered the whole lasagna and then some.
Please hear me when I say that the choices I made are not the only choice everybody has at their disposal or that I am touting my experience as the way it works for everyone. I am saying that I did what I felt I had to do to survive; that in my grief and despair, these are the choices I felt I had to choose from: sex, shoplifting, or soberly bouncing on the Church wagon singing “Come, Come Ye Saints” – which, by the way, was originally heard in an English pub.
While I don’t know the science or the psychological reasons for these cycles, I understand that they are common.  I have a few friends that deal with alcoholism who have cycles.  Some of them drink to bolster self-esteem so then they can relax and be less self-conscious.  This reinforces their need for more alcohol, but then their guilt over alcohol dependence keeps their esteem in the gutter which requires more alcohol.
My Sin-o-Rama seems to be less uniquely “Cal” and more “O-Rama’ – more universal in describing destructive phases than I had realized.

Stepping Out Of Destructive Cycle and Avoiding Other Trouble Spots
In order to succeed, to stop the dishonesty, to be healthy, to be morally clean or what-have-you, disruptive cycles have to be broken. They have to be cracked in two or pried apart by some significant disturbance again and again until they are derailed and new healthy habits are established.
There are ways to do just that. Counselors are good at finding and suggesting methods that work for people to break these cycles. One of the techniques, as we understand it, is to get a grip on the underlining causes of the behaviors - to see where you are being blocked so you can make plans to move around it, or over it or through it.
When  Interstate 15 is blocked, our lives run infinitely smoother if we can plan ahead and look on a map for a proper detour – instead of sitting in the middle of a freeway jam frustrated both because we are blocked, and because we knew about the block in advance and did nothing! 
(By the way, my Gramma Ruby says that the definition of crazy from the Nampa Valley Farmers almanac is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result – like voting or paying taxes. Gramma Ruby might not have thought the adage up, but she looked so darn cute saying it with her wig on sideways.)
It’s not the knowledge that the road is blocked that breaks our cycle - though that knowledge is a real heads up.  Just knowing doesn’t make things happen.  It’s the plan to work around the roadblock and the follow through that gets us out of the rut and onto a different path – literally in this case.

I consider myself more knowledgeable today than I was when I first realized I was gay, and I still don’t understand all the underlining causes of my SGAttraction. Looking back I am amazed that in my ignorance I was able to get out of the self-created rut at all.
I had to go about breaking my personal cycle another way.  I had to blow something up or pull something down in order to derail the train that was going nowhere but circles. Somehow, in the midst of my sin-o-rama I got through my head a concept that literally saved my life.
  • I needed, I wanted to follow the commandments of the Lord. In order to do that I had to stop what were for me destructive behaviors. 
  • In order to stop the destructive behaviors, I had to include the Lord.

I didn’t have the willpower, the self-control or the brains ‘n brawn to do it on my own. I didn’t have a huge and visible support system to make me Way to Go posters and cupcakes.  I had to go right to the Lord and trust that -- when He said He would help me and that I was not on my own -- He meant me. He meant now.
Was it reading scriptures that saved me? Was it priesthood blessings or personal prayer?  Was it the angel or two that I felt around me at times to bolster me up and carry me home?  Was it the knowledge that He would not allow me to be tempted past what I could handle?  Was it an understanding that my relationship with Christ was private and personal?
It was all of the above and more. 
Once I got past a certain point and was able to take on more, I realized that to be successful I had to figure out what I wanted and what I was willing to both do and forgo in order to get it.  Could
Yes, I was, as it turns out. 
What I needed was an incentive of sorts.  Not a “what is in it for me” as grounds for action, but to know that there was something that made it worth it to forgo what I thought I wanted: what I thought I needed.  I yearned to know that there was a reason, that there was some logic somewhere even if I didn’t understand it. I needed to know what was in it for me to obey, and if obedience to the Lord served me as well.  What I needed was just the right paper on my wall with the perfect motto, and “!Resol” wasn’t it. 
I wanted to know what the Lord would do for me if I did what He said to do.  I hadn’t really tested any of the promises and convents between man and the Lord before.  I was about to.
I now have a motto that I don’t usually put into words. It didn’t come to me originally in word form, after all. It has to do with His love for me and still comes with addendums in pieces that I put together and rearrange. But I can say this; there are things involved here that I do not understand, and may not understand in this life. It will be worth it for me to do as He has asked me. 

Let me be frank:  He has asked that there be no sex outside the bounds of marriage, and He has established that marriage is between a man and a woman.  I choose to follow Him.  Therefore I choose to not have gay sex.

It is a small nitch - those who are gay and who want to follow the Lords commandments.  By follow I mean to hold an LDS temple recommend and hold it honestly with no misrepresentation. There are some out there who strive for this and I am one.  I do not judge others who have different goals.
With the knowledge I have, rather than focusing on what I don’t want or what I can’t do, I am focusing on what I can.  Now that I have a testimony of Him and His plan for me, I can believe in myself.  If He thinks I can do it, then I don’t need any other approval.  If He says yes, then what am I waiting for?
I have found wisdom in inspired words like these from Portia Nelson.

"I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street."

To mix all the metaphors together, my experience derailing a speeding train has taught me that no purple marker is too deep for repentance. The atonement of Jesus Christ and my willingness to repent has become an incredible tool in both removing purple marker and in seeing that there is more to a meal than Italian food.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Chapter Ten Big Gay Church Book

Chapter Ten of The Big Gay Mormon book - 
"They that be with us" 

This is a from a manuscript I was writing to help gay members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This chapter became mute quickly so I am not including it in the finished manuscript. I still think it has worth, however.

The Power of a Name  or
The beauty in, the danger of a few words   

My darling sister Carol-Lynette-Margaret-Louise is four feet nine and a half inches tall, standing. I myself am six foot three, also standing. I would think that one of us was adopted, but my mama promised that indeed we are siblings of the most generic genetic kind. She has been struggling with health issues for years; low energy, dizziness, mood swings grander than the normal patented Thompson family mood swings. It troubled her and us for some time. We thought she might have had food allergies or Epstein Barr.  We thought it was all in her head and that she was psycho.  Still, the symptoms had become debilitating. Finally, a doctor did some tests and found that she was diabetic. 
When she called and told me that all this time she’d had an insulin problem I was so relieved that I started to laugh. She almost hung up on me. At last!  Eur-freakin-eka!   It had been discovered. Her problem had a name.
Carol-Ella-Margaret-Louise was dealing with the same problem as millions of other people with shorter names and taller bodies. There were pills available. There were shots available. There were books and magazine articles, websites and specialists on the subject. There was a telethon fundraiser sponsored by Healthy Happy Foods featuring stars of the Partridge Family. We didn’t have to wonder what the problem was, or if there even was a problem to begin with. We had at our disposal a list of things we could do to help her. She had a list of things she could do to help herself. Stick a name on it and it becomes manageable.
“Hey, Carol-Ella-Margaret-Louise.  How is your diabetes? Are you still short?”
“Hey, Cal.  It stinks, but I am managing. Are you still annoying?”
Just having a name we could attach to what had been ailing her seemed to empower all of us. The gray clouds in our new and happier world left the sky and were replaced by bluebirds and singing rabbits. Knowing what we were up against gave us options and a refreshing freedom. It seemed manageable.

Tall and Annoying
My own “helpful name revealed” moment was not as public or as joyful, and I certainly did not share it with family or friends.  Not even sister Carol-Ella-Margaret-Louise.  Of course, the diagnoses of SGA (a title that did not exist in nineteen-eighty-blah-blah) was not made in the doctor’s office. 
The feelings at my finding a title are difficult to describe even now that I have access to a lovely thesaurus. I knew what the symptoms were: there was a longing - something inside that was fundamentally different for me than the other boys in my school and church group. They seemed to naturally gravitate towards things that had no interest or appeal to me.
 The jokes they told didn’t make sense.  The camaraderie was off.  I stared at things I shouldn’t have been staring at, and I didn’t stare at the things that caught their attention.  Stuff just didn’t fit, and I interpreted this as my having some flaw that the others didn’t.  This combined with a suicide in my former neighborhood of a man thought of as being different, and I wondered if that’s what guys who were different were supposed to do.  Were we left on our own and expected to weed ourselves out? 
I withdrew from groups.  I wanted to be alone.  Walking home from school one day on the country road where my dad was building a new house, I stumbled across some literature that was truly meant for the gutter.  It had been tossed out somebody’s car window.  I was actually looking for money, good walking sticks, and pieces of blue glass.  I found empty beer cans and dubious literature instead.  Much of it meant nothing to me, but there was a part toward the back that rang a few bells.  
I learned quite a bit that day. Suddenly there was a name to go with my manner, and I found out about it while sitting on the side of an Idaho road.
Even with the misconceptions, stigmas, and horror I eventually found attached to the name, it gave me an idea of what I was up against, and it was something others were feeling as well.  It let me know that I wasn’t a freak or an aberration while at the same time confirming that I was both of those.  I was horrified at the diagnoses.  I didn’t laugh in relief.  I was just a kid.  I had had no sexual experiences, and yet, pieces were starting to fit. 
In the years since then, I have literally risen from the gutter, knowing I have a choice in who I really am and what I do, and that knowledge means the world to me.  
There was another name for me.  I was also an active, believing Latter-day Saint of the white shirt on Sunday and funeral potatoes variety. I was raised in the Mormon culture and I was eating shredded carrots and pears in my Jell-O way before anyone was drawing political cartoons about it.  My mom was presented at a Gold and Green Ball and she Kimball-ised her pink clamshell dress. (You may need to Google that). My grandfather was a stake president in Nampa, Idaho and I was going to Church back when we used to leave and return three separate times on Sunday.  I even slightly remember when a Bazaar was not bizarre at all.
Need more verification? Okay, how about the fact that I use farming metaphors? I have worked in the nursery, taught Gospel Doctrine, cleaned Church bathrooms and wondered why there was a sofa in the ladies room. I have snorted out loud during a particularly funny talk in sacrament meeting, and once while I was in the MTC my companion and I both fell asleep for a few minutes in the temple during a six am session on our “P” day. I know what an eternal smile is and I am happy to have one.
If I am LDS, which I am, and I also have strong SGA desires, which I do, how can I accept and honor what I am without tearing myself apart? These two names don’t seem to go together. I was a walking oxymormon.
I found some comparable in the story of a group of townsfolk who have captured a woman they claim is a witch, and who is being blamed for all their society’s ills.  To prove that this poor girl, with a carrot tied onto her face to elongate her nose, is indeed a witch and not just the baker’s wife, they use some suspicious-at-best logic. 

Drunk Townsperson: You must prove that she is a witch.
Silly Townsperson: How do we do this?
Drunk Townsperson: Witches burn because they are made of wood! Therefore, if she floats like a log, then she is a witch! 

They proceed to dunk the soggy woman into the pond.
Now, what’s the poor baker’s wife to do? If she doesn't float, then the townsfolk won’t bun her and she gets to live, excepting that she is drowned in the process. If she comes up for air like a good non-witch, then she is burned at the stake-her reward for having to breathe. What a conundrum.
I related to the baker's wife and I hoped that she could hold her breath or swim like the dickens and outrun them.  Was holding my breath and outrunning everyone the only solution for me as well?
No wonder we all had ulcers
Julie: I’ll admit that before my experiences with my son, my understanding of what it meant to be homosexual was very limited. Homosexuals as good Mormon boys?  That a young man may be a football player who passes the sacrament and is SGAttracted didn’t even enter my mind.
Calvin: Many are opening their mind to new thoughts and ideas. One of the reasons I appreciate the LDS Church so much is that encourages people to learn new things.
Julie:  Are we talking about the same church? There are some members that embrace change but they are usually under thirty.
Calvin:  I am trying to think/speak positively. 
The LDS church taught as I was growing up that homosexuality (not, I remind you, SGAttraction--a word that had not been created) was perverse. If you were homosexual and Mormon (impossible in some books due to a widely held belief that homosexuality didn’t really exist), the options were to keep it to yourself with varying degrees of obedience or leave the church in order to be “true to yourself.”
Secular groups of the time agreed. Some claimed homosexuality to be at odds with nature even going so far as to classify it as mental illness.  Of course, some promoted the “Be all that you can be” philosophy, which has morphed into the supposition that if you are homosexual then you must act on those feelings. It’s not OK to be gay your own way.  You have to be gay their way. 
Rubbish.  I have a brain and I can decide for myself.
I can accept that these SGA feelings I have may be, for all earthly intents and purposes, a permanent part of what I am – at least as permanent as earth life is.  At the same time, I can follow the teachings of the prophets who instruct that we have a choice when it comes to following our natural leanings and inclinations.  That agency lives and breathes. I know, in my heart of hearts that this body I inhabit is SGAttracted, but I also know that I don’t have to act on those feelings to be whole and happy.
This is not a philosophy that has been taught very long. It certainly was not around for me to understand as I was growing up. But due to those of us who have gone to the Lord in prayer and begged for help, clarifications have been made and will continue to be made to help those of us who desire to be faithful to the standards as we know of them through our prophets.
As with all the challenges and difficulties inherent with the human condition, our prior knowledge that SGA would be a part of our earth life is comforting to me. He knew that though these feelings would, to some degree, be a thorn in the side of those who wanted to obey the highest law. He also knew that they would provide opportunities for growth, understanding, self-control, and compassion. There is wisdom in considering that SGA is given as an obstacle for some to overcome through our use of agency.  After all, the Lord has said…
 “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them”
If the decision was made by us -- with heavenly direction – that we would exist with, thrive in-spite-of or because-of, and grow from overcoming homosexual inclinations
Sex had never been the end though it has been presented by the world as such. Satisfying our physical appetites -- regardless of their origin -- was never considered the end. Godliness was the end.
Let me restate that. 
Being worthy to enter the LDS temple has always pushed members of the LDS church to a high standard as far as the law of chastity is concerned and in many other ways as well.  No one disputes this.  It is still the case. One cannot have sex outside of marriage and obtain/maintain a temple recommend. Gay, straight, bi… No sex outside of marriage. This is a very high law.  Not all are willing to obey this law.  And yet you can not strive to follow this high law and still go to the LDS church, or believe in the teachings of the church. 
There are people in the LDS church who are obeying to varying degrees with varying levels of success. We all have issues and we all are dealing with pain and problems.  How on earth can one person say that his sins are fine, but not mine?
Gay couples are welcome to the Mormon church. Straight couples are welcome to the Mormon Church. Perfect families are welcome, and so are imperfect families.  Individuals are welcome regardless of their sexual preference.  If some dweeb at church gives anyone a hard time or a cold shoulder for smelling like cigarettes, having a tattoo, wearing heels a little too high, or sporting fantastic all leather brown numbers with colorful socks, then it is the fault of some dweeb at church for not following the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ.
Julie: You’ve been waiting a long time to say that, haven’t you?
Calvin:  Why, yes. Yes, I have.
Homosexuality: A Label Today
The word homosexuality means something different to me having grown up (or maybe just by my growing up it took on new meaning). When I was younger, homosexuality was associated with shame and fear, a dark secret that had to be kept.  It’s losing its stigma like the word alcoholic did. There is a bit more understanding  It’s getting closer to being just a name.
Julie:  For a long time, I didn’t see any hope with the word “homosexuality.”  SGA seemed like a death sentence for my son and his part in our family; a big secret we had to keep under lock and key.
Calvin:  My Grandma Ruby always said that there should be no secrets except birthday surprises, school locker combinations and how much milk money she had saved up. I tend to agree with her. SGA is no longer a secret that has to be kept out of fear of judgment or even retaliation.
I, for one, look forward to having an open-book kind of life that could at any moment be shouted out from the metaphorical rooftop and have it not make a bit of difference in my life or the life of my family.  I could take most of the energy I have spent on shame or on keeping my “cover”, and instead put it into something productive, like learning to spell, or building an addition to my house.