Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on December 17, 2009
Uganda is trying to kill us, President Obama wants us to be patient, Sutherland Institute wants us homeless and Chris Buttars thinks we’re Militant Muslim Terrorists who want to force him to have “pig-sex;” Welcome to the age of enlightenment.
I’m confused as hell right now. How is it after centuries of oppression, the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement, the gays are still the ones holding the shit bucket? Is it because we’re not an “easily recognized” group of people? Our skin isn’t all the same color or we’re not all the same religion, economic class, political group or country? What the hell makes us the brunt of every joke and the “biggest threat to America going down?”
I’m going to get really personal here, so be forewarned. Many of our readers may know that I was raised LDS, aka Mormon. I attended Nursery, Primary, was Deacon’s
Quorum President, Teacher’s Quorum President and a counselor in Priest’s Quorum. I served in leadership positions in Boy Scouts, was president of my Seminary class several times, attended Institute in college and was eventually married in the temple. My father served in leadership of the Young Men’s, the Bishopric and the High Council. My mother was Primary president, Young Women’s president, and Stake Rough Camp director for many years. My sisters and younger brother each held leadership positions in their respective classes and groups. Our family was the pillar of the Mormon community, doing exactly as it was supposed to be doing. With the small problem that I’m bisexual.
I came out for the first time my senior year of high school when I was seventeen. It didn’t go well, Mom cried and Dad threw me out of the house for a few days calling me a disappointment. I was eventually let back in but was under strict command that I would be following the Church to the “T.” When I graduated high school I was given a choice, go on a mission or get out. I got out. During the next two years I was lost and on my own. Because of no money I lived in rough neighborhoods, I had a gun in my face twice, and was physically assaulted 3 times while they yelled fag. After 2 years of no contact with my family I was so emotionally drained and unprepared that I whiplashed hard back into the church. I went through a disciplinary hearing where they decided that since I had never been given the melchizedek priesthood that I would not be excommunicated, only disfellowshipped and placed on probation. I was told I needed to get a girlfriend and start working towards marriage immediately to help combat my feelings, which I did and was married in the Salt Lake Temple a year and a half later. Needless to say it didn’t work out, and 2.5 years later I came out again, this time fully prepared.
Why do I tell this story? Why should I post something this personal online? Because I can. Because I want you to read it. Because I want Paul Mero and Chris Buttars and my Father in California to read it. I want everyone to know what I have been through, and what so many of my brothers and sisters have been through. This is a horrible story, and I was subjected to things that no child should ever go through. And my story isn’t nearly half as bad as it could have been. At least my father was only minimally physically abusive.
This city, this state, country and world is filled with hateful, ignorant people who want to kill me. People who would do horrible things to my body just because of what I feel in my heart and who I am in my head. Because they don’t know any better. And that right there is my point. THEY.DO.NOT.KNOW.ANY.BETTER.
I am a white man, I can never truly know what it’s like to be a black man or a woman. But guess what, I have an idea. I have an idea because I’ve read the stories of others and listened to friends who were my age during the 60′s and lived in the South. I have an idea. And because I have an idea I can sympathize. And because I can sympathize I fight for these rights. Because I can sympathize I will promote the freedom of religions to teach what they want as long as it’s not violence, even if they say I’m a sinner. Because I can sympathize I will never stand silent when I see someone called “nigger” or watch a woman be abused.
And if you know my story, and you see what I have been through, you will start to have a glimmer of understanding and you will begin to sympathize. My mother now has some understanding, my little sister yells at anyone she hears saying, “that’s so gay.” People will hear you, people will listen. Tell your story, so they will sympathize.