This morning I was at work in one of the many departments at BYU. As I was attempting to forge my way through the ever building list of tasks before me I overheard a conversation between two of the female faculty members. My ears pricked up a bit when I heard the phrase "that lifestyle," but seeing as it could relate to anything, I let it slide and continued on.
But by the time I heard "Prop 8" thrown into the conversation I knew what was going on.
"I really do believe it's a choice," I heard next. And of all people it was my favorite professor (the democrat who hates utah valley) that said it. The two then discussed the woman who had, apparently, come out to one of them. A story was then told of one woman who had remarked "I could have had anyone I wanted. I had lots of offers from women. But I chose to stay chaste." Something that later led to a heterosexual marriage much later in life.
But it was said in a way that was to suggest that anyone can get that, anyone can recover from the temporary illness of homosexuality, as long as they stay righteous enough, long enough.
My fellow coworker was also slightly disturbed by it. "That is such an awkward conversation," she said to me. At least someone has some decency here.
But the thing that frustrated me the most is that I couldn't say anything. I couldn't come back at all. I wanted so badly to walk up to them and ask "How many gay members have you talked to about their experience?" And when an extremely low number was said, I would respond "Well, here I am. What questions do you have?"
I want to tell them that regardless of what mormon gossip and fox news tell them, they have no idea what we go through. And their opinions, based solely on what they hear and see and do, have absolutely no basis on any real data or life experience. And so often any sincerity put forth by one of us is cast off as weakness or wickedness. We either couldn't be righteous enough long enough, or loved sin too much to try.
But really, how dare you? How dare you think that you are so omniscient that you know the reality of the lives of others! How dare you assume that just because it's not evident in your life, it isn't very much a part of someone else's! How dare you assume that just because someone isn't living as you see fit that they are sick, or weak, or an abomination!
I am not weak. I am not wicked. I am a magnificent creature with skills and abilities and marvelous experiences that others will never have. And you know what? I am grateful that I'm gay. I'm grateful that I have learned to be who and what I am, that I have the gifts and talents that so often accompany this orientation. And I am grateful to be counted among the company who have been sailing the seas of life with no compass, no map, and only the light of God shining from above to guide their way.
And when I can't be kicked out of school for it, I will say so!