Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eyes Wide Open

This evening I watched the movie Eyes Wide Open.  This is the third gay themed movie I've seen in Hebrew with English surtitles.  This 2009 movie was filmed in Israel and is a touching story of two Orthodox Jewish men who fall in love and the enormous spiritual and emotional turmoil it causes in their lives, their families lives, and their community.

The following description is from IMDb: Aaron (Shtrauss), a respected butcher and a family man in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, leads a conservative life of community devotion and spiritual dedication. Aaron's life undergoes a series of emotional changes following the arrival of a young apprentice (Danker) to his shop. Consumed with lust, the handsome "Yeshiva" student irreversibly transforms the intricate beliefs in the once-devoted butcher's life - leading Aaron to question his relationships with his wife, children, community, and God.

So many parallels to the situation of gay Mormons!  Everything from religious and cultural rituals that are still important anchors in their lives to religious clothing, family issues, and religious leaders who act as enforcers for the community.  Very powerful.  Just another reminder that Mormons are only one of many cultures that are facing a significant challenge to their beliefs as more gay people are willing to stand up and be true to themselves. 

I loved the part where Aaron is challenged by his rabbi about his actions and can only explain them by saying, "I was dead, and now I'm alive."  Aaron like many of us is faced with the very real and excruciating challenge of being true to himself while trying to minimize the pain it will inevitably cause his wife and family.

I love Israel.  I've traveled there several times and each time I've grown more respectful and enthralled with the wonderful people of that country, both Jews and Arabs.  Expanding love on both sides can only help build trust, respect, and peace.  I believe this is also a parallel to orthodox Christianity's war with homosexuals.  Love on both sides is the answer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

pretty in pink

My driver's license is about to expire.  With all the new security requirements everyone in Utah must appear to renew their licenses, no more renewal by mail.  In addition to going to the driver's license office you need to provide several different forms of identification to prove that you really are you.  Too bad because I used to want to be somebody else.  But I digress...So I began to hunt for my Social Security card, which I have had forever, or at least since before I was 10 years old. When I found it - there is was - my immature signature in hot pink ink.  

It's interesting what you notice about yourself after you finally acknowledge that you are indeed gay.  I'm sure I signed it before I was 10.  Memories flooded back about being a teenager and realizing that signing a legal document in hot pink was not very manly.  That Social Security card was kept hidden for many years.  

When I found it - I laughed out loud and was happy.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tony Awards 2011 - The Book of Mormon - I Believe - Andrew Rannells

9 Tony Awards !!

The performance by Andrew Rannells brought down the house!

Link to you-tube video of I Believe

Great comment in the SLC Tribune -- I can't wait to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's transcriptions of the cast album. So much more peppy than "Climb Every Mountain."

President Monson gets a mention in the song, "I Believe".  Poor President Monson, he is so media shy that I'm sure this is the last thing he wanted.  Wouldn't it have been great if he had been in the audience laughing and singing along!  I can imagine the camera getting a close up of him.  That would have done more to improve the Church's image that anything else that comes to mind!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On being seduced and loving it

A few days ago I had some free time and headed to the local mall to look around and waste a few minutes. I bought a shirt at GAP and had just left the store when a cute guy at one of the center mall kiosks caught my eye. It was early in the day and the mall was largely empty. He beckoned to me to come see what he was selling. I thought, what the hell, I've got a few minutes and if a cute guy wants to talk to me, why not? As we talked, I learned that he was from Israel and of Jewish ancestry. I'll call him Noah for this story, although that's not his real name. Noah spoke with a cute Hebrew accent to his English. He had clear olive skin and short jet black hair with a classic middle eastern nose and wide black eyes. 

Noah was about average build and about my height and incredibly friendly telling me about his work and his life and asking questions about me.  At his kiosk he was selling beauty products.  He first took my hands and washed with with sea salt.  Then he insisted that I try some eye cream to smooth out wrinkles around my eyes.  Having him hold my hands while washing them and applying eye creme to my face was beginning to boarder on a romantic experience.  I was loving it.  

Noah said that a few minutes was required for creme to perform its magic so we waited and talked. Contrary to American custom but very much within Middle Eastern norms, all the time we were together he stood very close to me, no more than a foot away, and looked into my eyes continually.  I was willingly falling under his influence.  

I laughed when he told me the selling price for the products he applied to my skin.  Not that I was rude but I could not really imagine anyone paying that much.  I am rarely a sucker and am generally pretty good about walking away from sales where I don't like the price.  In true Middle Eastern tradition we negotiated back a forth for some time.  In the end, I did pay $250 for some products (a record for me).  I consider it the price of some nice beauty supplies and the privilege of having Noah's company for a while.  Pretty pathetic huh? But, I did have a good time!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

John's great book

I intended to post this some time ago... but I've spent much longer than I expected in reading and studying this excellent book by John Gustav-Wrathall.  John's book is a compilation of blog postings and other articles he has written.  I believe it is an invaluable resource to Mormons and others who want to better understand being gay in a culture that is challenging to say the least.  John thoughtfully and effectively expresses many of my own thoughts and feelings.  I highly recommend this eBook.  When I need encouragement and hope this is one place I can turn that really relates to me.  It will lift your spirit.  Thanks John!!