When I learned how many of the men I had been friends with in college were gay, I was astonished. I discovered that two women acquaintances were homosexual and eight long-standing male friends were also gay. Eventually I spoke to all these men. Two had married, had children, and divorced. One had been married briefly and then had the marriage annulled. One was in a committed gay relationship that had lasted fifteen years. Two had had various gay relationships and were still hoping for true love. One had been deeply involved in the gay lifestyle, found it was taking him nowhere, had made the decision to be celibate and said that he was very happy. Another had spent years pursuing a gay life and then surprised everyone by marrying and having children; he had counted the cost and decided that more than anything even if it was not always comfortable, he wanted a family. My life would be less without these good friends, and I shake my head with the irony of it all: I had thought that Gerald was the only homosexual man I had ever known. As the wife of a homosexual man, I had felt so alone. And so, I suppose, had the three wives of my friends—the women who had been left in the wreckage by men who only wanted to do the right thing. Why had we all been so alone?Carol Lynn Pearson,
in Good-bye, I Love You
The first part I quoted yesterday of The Buried Life speaks of "lovers powerless to reveal to one another what indeed they feel." There is a sense in which this is necessarily true. Some feelings are impossible to fully verbalize. But in another sense, we only perceive that other feelings are too incriminating to be honest about. Happily, every time I've tried to be less alone by sharing my burdens with my wife, good has come of it. It's not always immediate. It's occasionally an emotional and messy disaster at first... but then there's the truth out in the open, manageable as only the truth can be.
Was it a good thing that I didn't hang out with gay friends in college? Was it a good thing that I didn't have a support group who may or may not have encouraged me to be true to my values? I don't know. Luckily, there are many supports available to gays these days along the entire spectrum of thought. One should be able find a group consistent with their own values without too much trouble, for what groups are worth (see my sidebar, for example).
There are books, movies, and news clips being produced with increasing frequency that shed light on gay Mormon issues, and I can only hope they reach some of the closeted folks who are trying to figure out how to deal. As for me, I do wish some of my gay bloggin' buddies were around every once in a while to sit down and share a cheese fry. But, luckily, sitting here by myself I don't feel lonely at all.