24 August 2011

Premature Joculation

Mohodom is abuzz over an openly gay member, Mitch Mayne, being called to serve with the bishopric (as executive secretary) in a bay area ward. My understanding is that Mitch was in a long-term relationship with a man until about a year ago, during at least part of which he was active in his ward and held a calling, and...well, read it yourself in his open letter. He's currently single and celibate, open to a future relationship (though exactly what kind of relationship is [possibly deliberately] vague), and committed to the "same standard of behavior that we require of any heterosexual member in a Priesthood leadership position." Enter my skeptical brow.

Don't get me wrong: an openly, unapologetically gay man was called to work closely with the bishopric, which may not be new but is certainly getting more attention than most and is another testament against the notions of some members that anyone who doesn't renounce and deny their very attractions is unworthy of any leadership, and that's very cool. But I think people are jumping the gun in declaring this to be a revolutionary move. For example, does he mean he will have a romantic but nonsexual relationship with a man? Does he mean he intends to have a sexual relationship with a man when they're married or in a civil union? Is the latter a completely different scenario than the first, and would it be a dealbreaker if he were asked point blank and answered with the latter? Is the former even acceptable to church headquarters? Or is the whole thing being taken a day at a time, focusing on his current compliance and worthiness, without projecting unnecessarily into the completely unknown future? I want to correct those who oversimplify: "Of course he has a calling: he's committed to chastity like everyone else." Yet when people sound victory charges for "openly gay" members to serve in church leadership, my "let's wait and see what this means before declaring social revolution" gear kicks in.

Yes, if Mitch marries a woman someday, he's golden. His open letter doesn't seem to preclude that option, and you never know what life might bring. But his views on homosexuality being inextricably part of him (not that I believe heterosexuality is a prerequisite to marrying a woman, but that's a can of worms for another post) combined with his insistence that he will be forthcoming with his leadership about his relationship status (which wouldn't be necessary for non-gay folk) lead me to believe the future relationship he's open to is most likely same-sex. If you combine that with his statement that he does not plan to intentionally spend the rest of his life celibate or single, I see a dilemma.

I know many individuals who believe the church's stance on same-sex relationships will change with time, but cleverly wordsmithing or reinterpreting temple ceremonies or the Proclamation on the Family still amounts to speculation. The church officially prohibits sexual relationships outside of man-woman marriage (long-term romantic, non-orgasmic relationships between members of the same sex are not as clearly addressed but are also slightly more common than unicorns). I'm not saying that could never change: perhaps, before I die, the church will welcome time-only same-sex partners (whether God-disapproved-married or civilly unified) into some form of meaningful fellowship, but I'm speaking in terms of today.

I just don't believe that when general authorities say members who experience "same-gender attraction" are to adhere to the same standards of sexual conduct as everyone else, what they mean is, "sure, they can date and make out like everyone else and then make each other ejaculate to their homo hearts' content once they obtain the kind of civil contract we have explicitly and vehemently opposed as being not marriage at all." I think those who believe church leaders are saying gay members should just save sex until they're married to members of the same sex should not mask or mince their words and should say so clearly and publicly...and see how church leadership responds.

So the concern I have is that despite Mitch's effort to be open and honest, there are many unanswered questions, the answers to which may likely conflict with assumptions or extrapolations many are making, e.g.:
  • he intends to be either celibate or with a woman for the rest of his life,
  • the local leadership called him knowing he intends to be with a man again someday,
  • he was officially called as a counselor in the bishopric, or
  • he was in full fellowship while in a romantic and sexual relationship with another man and church headquarters was OK with that.

I believe those assumptions to be common and understandable, given Mitch's open letter and subsequent coverage. Some of them may even be correct. But nobody has done the aggressive journalism to answer them. So they're still unanswered. And I don't think their implications are incidental or irrelevant when the calling is being framed as a bold representation of progress in the role of gay members in church leadership.

I do think the _discussion_, far disproportionate to the situation itself, is going to make waves and change paradigms. That's how activism works, so from that standpoint, I get it. I actually appreciate JonJon's response to the issue.

I say let Mitch serve quietly (although let's be honest, Mitch, you threw "quietly" aside with your open letter...actually, I think you kind of threw it up in the air and demolished it with rockets *wink*), wait and see, and get the details before portraying it as if the Catholic Church just handpicked a bishop from a pride parade's leather daddies contingent.

19 August 2011

Connexion Confessions

Confession: I've been relatively uninterested in Connexion (gay Facebook) lately. But I still log in to check messages or chat with a friend, and sometimes, when that happens to be around midnight, I end up among the "most viewed members" of the day for a short time because the numbers reset and those who recently logged on jump to the top. I may or may not secretly enjoy this brief moment of glory.

Confession: When I keep logging back in to check each new message, the site's "recently logged in" and "online now" categories boost profile views further, and I enjoy the experimentation of seeing how long I can stay among the "most viewed," even though due more to trickery than to the typical (non-existent, in my case) chiseled torso in a bathroom mirror.

Confession: I'm a snob. I get way more messages than I care to respond to. Not that I get a ton of messages. Maybe 1 or 2 each time I log in. Sometimes more. Sometimes none. But I don't have a lot of social energy for new connections (I'm very introverted, remember?), so I end up ignoring almost everyone who says nothing more than, "Hey whats up?" I mean, give me something to go on! Then I think about the HR people who dismiss my resume outright because I'm not great on paper and never give me the chance to plead my case in person. I think if they'd only stop being resume snobs and let me interview, I might have a fighting chance, but they just can't afford the time among hundreds of applicants. But somehow that little exercise in empathy doesn't spur me to be less stingy than them in responding.

Confession: I'm getting more messages from guys I suppose are more the age range I should be looking for. But I'm left pouting ever-so-slightly (with a smirk, of course) over apparently falling out of favor with hot 23-year-olds. Have I crossed some threshold into withered-old-faghood? Ah well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, and there are worse things in life than trying to figure out how to tell the adorable 19-year-old that it's just never going to happen. I just...might still want the narcissistic opportunity once in a while, that's all. Growing up is, like, so hard.

Confession: I'd rather be with a mature and growing guy younger than me (but not younger than 25, and even that's typically too young these days) than an immature or stagnant guy my age or older. Wait...am I stagnant? Crusty? Crap, here comes that unmanly self-doubt that supposedly helped make me gay in the first place.

Confession: I bookmarked pretty much all the local guys I figured I'd like to actually get to know in the area if I get serious about dating (and yes, they're almost all older than 25...no, seriously, they are...shut it). So now I mainly just bookmark hotties in the short stints when I browse briefly. Yep, shallowness. I own it.

Confession: Speaking of shallowness, I totally judge people by their pics. Backwards baseball cap is a strike. Shirtless bathroom mirror is another. But neither of those is so bad that someone can't recover from it: they just raise a lot of skepticism from me as to what potential there is. Multiple shots of flexing in various ways is a big strike. Posing next to a mustang wearing Ed Hardy is a huge, huge strike. "Peace" sign with puckered tough-lips in every pic just screams "I'm a tool". I'm genuinely open to someone proving me wrong or surprising me: it's just that...I don't think anyone has yet.

Confession: I know some people think it's rude not to at least reply with SOMETHING, but when I've replied with as little as possible just to not ignore, I still get a response, typically no more substantive than the first but clearly expecting continuation. And at some point, I don't have the energy to sustain all the conversations people start, much less meet everyone. So it's easier to ignore from the beginning unless they say something substantive or ask a question. I'm not at all complaining about getting too many messages. And I'm not trying to tout myself as popular (trust me, I have no illusion that I'm the hottest of items on the site). I'm just saying sue me for not responding to "nice pics," "what're you doing tonight?" or, "Where can I flick my tongue to make you moan the loudest?" Call me a snob.

Confession: I do feel a little bad sometimes about not replying, but I figure that's the way the cookie crumbles. I've been ignored, too.

Confession: I may or may not have checked my rank while writing this to see if I'm still higher than that one really hot guy and that girl: beat by a girl on Connexion's most viewed?! Oh, hay-ul no, it's on...