Denial

When I was a teen I wasn’t gay. After all, how could I be gay? Gays were these people who were ugly and dressed funny and acted funny. I didn’t know anyone who was gay. Well, there was one guy at school who everybody said was gay, and so nobody would talk to him or have anything to do with him. I wasn’t like him.

I was like everybody else. I knew that I wanted to grow up and marry a girl and have children (without imagining the pre-requisite sex). I wanted to have a girlfriend (so I could be popular). I wanted to go to the prom (so that I could go bowling with the other guys after we dropped off the girls). I wanted to kiss a girl (so I could brag about it). I even imagined the romance of getting a girl pregnant (so I could live a real-life Shakespearean tragedy).

Well the desire for romance and drama didn’t stop at that. I wanted to have a best friend (just like in A Separate Peace). I wanted to be totally united with that best friend. I wanted to break the law of chastity with that friend (as a way to prove our bond). I wanted to go with that friend to the Bishop and confess together, then repent together (more Shakespearean tragedy). I wanted to marry that friend’s sister so that I could spend the rest of my life in close proximity to him (forget Shakespeare, this is pure soap opera).

I always had male friends, and I even had best friends, but they always found me to be intense. They were great friends but they were never quite as enthusiastic about our bond. They enjoyed the friendship, but they just didn’t need me (like I needed them).

I always had female friends. I dated a lot of them. I tried to kiss them, but just didn’t know how. And I didn’t have the imagination. I never quite liked them enough either. I was always sure that it was because she wasn’t cute enough, or wasn’t smart enough, or wasn’t perfect enough. I was sure I would find this perfect girl, that I could really fall in love with. You see, even though I was dating these amazing and beautiful girls, in the end, the thought of getting physical with them gave me an aversion. If I accidentally touched them I would jump back as if I had an electric shock. I was sure that I just needed a bigger personal space than other people, and that I just didn’t like kissing.

You see, I wasn’t gay. I was like everybody else. So I lived with denial. I lived with some odd fantasies (I wasn’t allowed normal fantasies). My dreams were fairy tales, because they could never approach reality.

I suppose I should be grateful for my naivety. I was a believing Mormon. I didn’t see any other points of view. I might have fallen in despair if I had realized that all of my dreams were utterly unrealistic. Denial was my get out of jail free card. Or was it?

LGBT Mormon teens today don’t have the luxury of being ignorant like I was. They have more information now. It is much harder now for them to shape their dreams out of denial like I did. This is good. But it must be harder too. Maybe some of them have more hope because they see examples of LGBT people who find love in life. Maybe most of them feel hopeless because they are now being told directly that this is wrong. Maybe they know perfectly what they really want, and are resigned that they can’t have it. Maybe they believe that they have to spend their lives alone.

A recent youtube is making the rounds about a guy accepting his fate in a happy-go lucky way. I hope his happy-go-lucky attitude isn’t his way of hiding despair.

4 comments for “Denial

  1. Debbie
    February 24, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Great post Daniel. I thought the video seemed a little too happy-go-lucky also. I hope this young man doesn’t have to spend a life without a partner he can love in every way. Celibacy is a huge price to pay to be accepted by the Mormon Church. If he were my son, I would not encourage him to stay in the church. There are plenty of other churches that will accept him and love him as a gay man.

  2. Morris Thurston
    February 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for sharing your feelings, Daniel. Stories like yours help those of us who are not gay understand and empathize with the struggles of young LDS men and women who are.

  3. Mig67
    February 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Yes I had all the same dreams, felt the same anxieties and in also remember how naive I was in regards to life. I hope younger people understand that there are many wonderful colors to this world and their lives don’t have to be black and white. Thanks for sharing

  4. Jefferson
    February 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Great article.

    I loved this, especially: “LGBT Mormon teens today don’t have the luxury of being ignorant like I was. They have more information now. It is much harder now for them to shape their dreams out of denial like I did. This is good. But it must be harder too.”

    Very interesting thought! Your generation had more “hope” for gay people . . . a very false hope, but they were promised they could be “fixed.” Certainly the attitude shown now is more subdued, but, like you said, it’s also better. More healthy. Still extremely difficult, but probably much easier on each individual in the end.

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