“And what can I get for you, ladies?”

This is the first post since I made this blog publicly available (I posted a link on Facebook). I have been surprised at how positive the response has been. I have a few friends who have had very negative experiences when coming out and I was worried, but everyone has been very loving towards me. We will see if things continue going well when my new roommates and Ward and such find out.

The timing of it was somewhat planned out. I wanted it to happen between Wards and roommates. Also, I was in San Diego when I posted the link.

Look! A pretentious beach selfie.

It was great to get out of Utah and be reminded that there is so much more to the world. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it extends beyond these mountains.

Look! It just keeps going forever.

Look! It just keeps going forever.

I could definitely get used to living next to the beach like that. Long walks on the boardwalk or beach with a dog and a special someone. I passed these two guys that looked like they were a couple and they were walking their dog together and I realized that’s exactly what I want.

After San Diego we went to visit my sister and her family in Arizona. We went out to dinner at an interesting place that looked out over a lake.

Saguaro Lake

Look! It’s alone and different but still growing.

While ordering, the waitress took my father’s order, then turned to my mother and I asking, “And what can I get for you, ladies?” Now, granted, my back was to her, but still, pretty sure I don’t look like a lady even from behind. It was probably nothing more than an honest mistake, but it was still irksome to have her misgender me.

As a cisgender male people don’t often misgender me, but there are many who do not identify as cisgender that are regularly assigned the wrong gender. There is so much more to gender than the black and white, blue and pink, male and female. It’s much more complicated than the gender binary that is regularly taught and I don’t claim to be an expert. Transgender, genderqueer, two-spirit, fluid gender, and so many other variations exist (a good explanation of gender can be found HERE). Sex is different than gender, and gender is not determined by genitalia.

It goes back to one of my core sentiments: Stop telling people who they are. Self-identification is the only sure way to get it right and see people as they are without projecting ourselves onto them (I talk about that more in Paper Towns and Perfect/Complete). I know I’ve harped on this point in various posts, but it’s because it’s important. Allowing people to be who they are is not only more healthy for them, but for any relationship we hope to have with them.

No more homelessness or joblessness just for not conforming to gender norms. For living authentically. We should be moving past that sort of discrimination.

-Daniel

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Why Come Out?

The concept of coming out is somewhat odd.  It’s taking a very personal part of life, that is, sexuality, and announcing it to the world.  So why do it?

In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be necessary to come out of the closet because there would never be a closet to begin with.  There wouldn’t be any shame associated with being queer, so people wouldn’t feel like they had to hide it.  Instead of coming out, we could just live authentically.  But that isn’t the type of world that we live in.

Here, many people make a huge deal out of sexual orientation, especially within the LDS community.  It is a lot easier to demonize homosexuality if it is just a title or a stereotype; if there aren’t real people behind the words.  There are many stereotypes that people associate with being gay, so when I tell them that I’m gay they assume that I also fill those stereotypes: having as many sexual partners as possible, being attracted to any and every guy I see, abandonment of the Mormon faith.  While these may be true for many, it would be insulting to assume they apply to everyone that identifies as gay.  We are individuals just as much as anybody else is.  We are more than a label.

That is part of the reason that I needed to come out; to humanize what it means to be gay.  Maybe if people see that I, a gay man, am relatively normal, they will be able to see homosexuality as normal as well.  Because it is normal.  Not the majority, but still normal.  It’s not something that someone can choose.  It’s not good nor bad.  It just is.  And it doesn’t mean anything except I am attracted to men.  So unless someone is interested in dating me, it should change nothing about our relationship.  I know there will be people that don’t see it like that, and I always worry that I will be abandoned by someone when they learn that I’m gay.  My family has so far been great about still loving me and having a place for me regardless of who I end up with.

I also feel that as long as I live in the closet I’m living a lie, and I hate that.  Ellen Page said most of what I want to say, so watch her.

I too am tired of hiding; I’m tired of lying by omission.  It’s exhausting, and I can do so much good if I don’t have to focus so much on being what others might want me to be.  So starting now, I’m living authentically, publicly out of the closet.  Because “a closet is no place for a person to live.”

-Daniel

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

These are just a few of my favorite lines of “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire.  Turns out it’s not the musical.  Whereas the musical changes how you think about Elphaba by portraying her as being good, just misunderstood, the book lets her be wicked.  There is no riding off into the sunset with a scarecrow here.  But even with her wickedness, I still felt for her.  It calls into question whether there is good and evil, instead of just people doing what they thought was best in the situation.  It was definitely an interesting read.  It’s made me think.

To the grim poor there need be no pour quoi tale about where evil arises; it just arises; it always is.  One never learns how the witch became wicked, or whether that was the right choice for her-is it ever the right choice?  Does the devil ever struggle to be good again, or if so is he not the devil?

Maybe the definition of home is the place where you are never forgiven, so you may always belong there, bound by guilt.  And maybe the cost of belonging is worth it.

People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us.  It's the people who claim that they're good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.