Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grateful to be Gay

There are many things I could write about right now, but many things I can’t write about right now.  Someday, perhaps, I will write about those things; but for now, I cannot.  Suffice it to say that these things concern love, faith, discovery, and learning as well as disillusionment, resignation, frustration, and disappointment.

All of these things, however, share a common thread:  they all arise out of the fact that I have come out as a gay man and have embraced my identity as such.

There was a time when I wondered how anyone could possibly be grateful to be gay.  See, for example, my post the day before Thanksgiving last year.    

But I have now come to the point where I can honestly, truly, wholeheartedly say that I am grateful to be gay.  I love being gay!  Being gay is who I am.  It is who I was created to be.  It is how I am wired.

I am sure I will write more about this in the future.  For now, however, I want to address what I believe to be a pernicious lie, a teaching that is propagated within the LDS Church and is accepted by many men and women who experience same-sex attraction.  The lie: that being gay is not part of our identity but a “condition” that "should not be allowed to define who we are."

I am not going to argue theology.  Instead, I am simply going to refer to a children’s story.  It is a story of a bird that was hatched with a group of ducklings and was raised in the ducklings’ world.  The bird sensed it was different than the other ducklings.  It was ridiculed for being different.  It tried to fit in, but failed in its attempts to do so.  The older it grew, the more despondent and depressed it became.  Finally, the bird considered ending his life by throwing himself at the mercy of a flock of swans (which he believed would kill him) – only to discover that he was himself a swan.  It was only once he left the world he had known and had entered a new world, the world he was meant to inhabit, that he discovered who he truly was and was able to rejoice in his new-found identity.

The points that could be taken from this story are many.  But I simply want to emphasize that the ugly duckling was not suffering from a condition that made him look different than the true ducklings, no matter how many times the ducks (who thought they knew better) told him this.  He was, in fact, a swan.  This was his identity – but he never was allowed to learn of his true identity until he experienced life among those of his kind, i.e., the flock of swans that he had feared would take his life.

I am gay.  For most of my life, I was deeply ashamed of this fact and I and those around me suffered as a result of my denial of my true identity.  Since embracing this true identity, however, I have gradually allowed myself to move from shame, to tolerance, to acceptance and beyond, to the point where I can now truly say:  I am grateful to be who I am.  I love who I am.  And for this, I am grateful.


  1. Invictus, I went back and read your prior blog as well as the comment I made then. You've made a significant journey, and I'm glad you've arrived to the point where you are now. It creates a great deal of peace and joy in life.

    Welcome. We are both continuing our journey forward, in slightly different places, but still as brothers.

  2. I found a book called the Velvet Rage by Alan Downs that has really helped me. It says that a gay man's life is basically focused on seeking validation and avoiding shame. It helps to realize you shouldn't be ashamed of who you are, how you were born, how you need not make an apology for being born a certain way. It's so unfortunate that we believe and internalize all the homophobia and stigma around us. But someday we break free. :D

  3. Wow! The ugly duckling analogy really hit home for me. I think it is something that I am going to use when I talk to people about these things in the future.

    I must admit to feeling slightly wary as I began reading as to what the tone might be. I wondered if you were about to proclaim the awesomeness of gay society and the stereotypes that go hand in hand with it.

    Instead you gave me something to truly be proud and grateful for. Knowing who I am, and accepting that I was never meant to be a duck. I am a swan!

  4. Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" -- one of my favorite ballet choreographies. I love it!