Friday, August 04, 2006

Out, honest, and anonymous

There's a thread on Times and Seasons in which Ben (Master Fob) is lauded for his courage in attaching his name to a recent Salt Lake Tribune article. Overly self-critical, I'm prone to take this as an indictment of my lily-livered reluctance.

I've been asking myself why I'm so inclined to stay anonymous. I feel good about myself and I truly believe I have nothing to be particularly ashamed of. I've mentioned a fair number of sins on this blog (being gay is not one of them), but none that have been unaddressed, and I suppose that's part of the beauty of blogging about it--it moves me toward resolution. I get value from being frank in this blog. I enjoy the candid exchange on topics that matter to me.

I've discussed through comments the pros and cons of coming "out" to my family and decided that it's not what I want or need right now. I'm here. I'm on the blog and I'm real. I'll do my advocating that way--advocating for gays and for Mormons to one another. There may be some future time when I want to put my name behind my words. I can see how that has potential to be more effective.

However, this blog contains the good the bad and the ugly. It's what I would have said, had I been Mel Gibson drunk. Everyone might say, "See, there are his true colors, we hate him, he's trash," instead of saying, "perhaps he fights every day to deliberately shape his thinking into what he wants to believe rather than the prejudicial way he's inclined." Well, I don't know much about the Mel Gibson fiasco, except I've seen no such charitable assessment. Blood is in the water and it ain't pretty. Do I want some version of that for myself in which people I look in the eye on a regular basis judge my suitability as a parent, my decisions, my beliefs, and my sexual situation?

Even though I love and trust them, I'm not too excited to have my family read this blog either. It's not how I would present myself to anyone who knows me regardless of the fact that it is completely honest. Unrestrained honesty is not always the best thing. When we confess and forsake certain sins, we don't do so before the whole world. So, I'm keeping with our family decision to stay anonymous while hoping to hang on to the value journaling through this journey gives me. And if, by chance, you think you know me, please respect our wishes by keeping it to yourself.


Beck said...

I've wondered if I've been TOO personal at times on my blog - sharing too much detail, instead of being more generic, less descript. I assume that if someone really wanted to know, and took the time to place all the pieces together, they would quickly realize who I am. And some may use this against me for whatever reason. I am sure the same is true with you.

I've decided it is best to be personal and share personal details where possible because it helps me to address issues in my REAL LIFE that in other ways are never addressed. To a certain extent, we are all vulnerable and at risk. Sharing sins is a private matter. This anonymity gives us freedom and a forum, even a podium, to share what never would be shared in normal public conversation. Is that good? Is it appropriate? I don't know.

I have a friend who insists my blog is distracting me from my real issues. I say my blog, though mostly anonymous, is still helping me to face my real issues. And I'm willing to take the risk of being "found out". Maybe secretly we all want to be "found out".

Thanks for being out, honest, and anonymous.

Master Fob said...

I've talked about this with Another Other before. I have felt strongly that I needed to not be anonymous, because I believe that's the best way I can make a difference. On the other hand, you and he, by remaining anonymous, are able to talk about things that I don't feel comfortable sharing with people who can attach my name, my face, and my family to my words. You'll notice that I don't talk much about my sins on my blog--not serious ones, anyway. Don't think for a second that I don't have sins to talk about; I just don't because I don't think it would be appropriate, considering that I'm not anonymous.

As with most things in life, it's not about which of us is doing things the better way; it's about the good each of us can accomplish by doing things different ways. I think you do a lot of good by talking about things I can't. (And, for that matter, by talking more eloquently than I do, or at least more than I'm managing to do in this comment.)

Blain said...

Pleased to meet y'all. I came based on the links in the article by way of the T&S post. I'm not gay, but I am a friend of Rex Goode and I respect what you're doing.

I've spent some time in the recovery world, working through my own stuff (and will be doing so for some time yet to come). Initially, I insisted on not doing anything anonymous, and I found that doing so was a very mixed blessing. I have done some other things under a pseudonym, and found them to have advantages as well. I'm okay with working on your stuff either way.

I would suggest not getting too hung up on implied digs about this. To be really honest, if you did use your real name here, I probably couldn't tell the difference and wouldn't much care. All I know about your identity is what I saw in the article, and that sounds like basically good stuff. I recognize that there's a lot of prejudice out there, and you're on the wrong side of the issue as far as most folks are concerned, whichever way they feel about the issue, so I understand not wanting to have to deal with their crap in addition to your own.

But, for me, I say rock on. Keep on fighting the good fight, stay on the path and keep moving. As the hymn says "And while I strive through grief and pain, his voice is heard 'Ye shall obtain.'"

Samantha said...

Anonymous bloggers unite under the auspices of the non-anonymous ministry of Ben???

Okay, I'm finished laughing now.

Rebecca said...

You do NOT need to explain yourself, or justify your decision. I have nothing like your issues to discuss and disseminate, and I still regret that I told some family members about my blog. You said that you reserve the right to waffle, and that can be hard to do if people can attach you to your blog. Your thoughts, your feelings, your 'stuff' - your blog. And now I've written a totally rambling comment...

AttemptingThePath said...

speaking of "coming out" to family and friends, it was probably the most difficult thing that I could ever do. Even though I am dedicated to the Gospel, my parents told me they didn't want to talk to me until they process the information and all that it implies. anyway, I knew I had to do it for some reason--and it was mostly for their ability to learn to love.

but I really liked the article, a lot. have a good one!

Chris said...

Good publicity in the SL Trib for you! I really appreciate what you stand for.

Anonymous said...

Until yesterday, I had been unaware of this phenomenon ("mixed marriages")and this degree of openness on the topic. I read the Tribune piece by Peggy Stack and cried a little,(tears of joy?)realizing that perhaps I am not so alone in this world.

Not that I necessarily identify with gay Mormon married men; I have chosen to remain single and celibate. I know there are thousands like me. I'm not sure how we do it or why, but I suspect that within the "community" there is broad understanding, needing no further explanation.

I'm "out" to a few friends, some family, and a couple of work colleagues, but otherwise, tucked safely away in my small, shrinking closet. It's not necessarily a happy place, but when I can peek out of it and see people like Fob and "L", and know that I could sit down with them and feel completely at ease, comfortable, understood, relevant, and "normal," it gives me courage.

At 50-something, I'm not likely to change my spots. I don't particularly look forward to growing old alone...although I have an abundance of family, friends, colleagues and associates who love and support me...but I crossed the bridge years ago about whether I'd marry, could marry, should marry, etc., and decided--for me--that it wasn't right. I admire and applaud those who do. I have young friends who still hope to.

So, I'm rambling...what I mean to say is how genuinely happy I am to find this "community," to eavesdrop, from time to time, as it were, and benefit from your insights, generosity, and kindness. Thanks for sharing with the "world."

ABR (Anonymous, but relevant)

Silus Grok said...

Hey guys.

I don't really comment much in the queer bloggernacle, as I get way to tied-up inside... but I thought this would be a good thing to comment upon.

Congratulations to everyone on the wonderful coverage all of this has received. I really believe that it's important for queer church members see that there are others like themselves — others who are generally well-adjusted and grounded in the gospel. I think it's essential that leaders see us, too. If change is to happen ( and I pray it does ), it will happen when scores of church leaders plead with God for understanding. When the people around them who are queer come out of their respective closets — inasmuch as its possible and safe — and they see queers as persons and not as an issue.

I, for one, have been very lucky — blessed, really — in that my outting has been a positive one. I love my ward and they love me. I'm not a hiss or a byword... I'm just the ward clerk — who happens to be gay.