Thursday, April 19, 2007

A story

I keep reading lots of personal stories about the day to day lives of others around here, but I keep on not sharing many 'stories' of my own. Part of this is due to my reluctance to share too much in the way of personally identifiable information. This is stupid, probably, because it would take a research team a good while to dig through all these posts and find the bits and pieces that might collectively identify me, but I'm paranoid just the same.

Add to that my inability to think of any particular story in my life that seems particularly interesting. I could write about growing up and how I had posters of unicorns on the wall, loved rainbows (seriously), and had an unusually large collection of stuffed animals for a boy. I could write about middle school and my complete insecurity around most other boys (especially in the locker room). I had just one best friend and he and I spent all our time together. Turns out, he's gay and off in San Fran somewhere trying to make a life as a performer. I could write about high school and the seminary president snarling at me one day, "Are you gay?" in a very un-seminary-like manner. I don't think I acted or appeared gay in high school, and I was always taken aback by a couple rare such confrontations. Part of the issue, of course, was that this guy was ostensibly worthy to be the seminary president, but he was an intolerant jerk. If I could relive my life again, I would punch him squarely in the face. He wouldn't have fought back (he wasn't the type), but if he had I would have enjoyed getting beat up for it. Pain is so much less intimidating to me now days (hey, I can write for my own morphine! j/k).

I could write about my various crushes through college. There was the straight roommate who I got into a little trouble with, the straight roommate who fell in love with me (did I tell that story ever?), the straight roommate that I think has figured out I'm gay and doesn't return my calls even though we were best friends... Apparently I have a lot of roommate stories. Good thing my current roommate has an "anything goes" policy. ;-)

I could write about my experiences with bishops and counselors, my adventures with my family, my activist moments in national policy meetings, or my med school days.

But none of these things seem all that interesting to me. I could tell the story, but I don't have anything to say about it. Maybe it's time to come out to my family like several others have done recently. That might make for some drama. :-)

28 comments:

Scot said...

"But none of these things seem all that interesting to me."

Maybe, but I’m sure many folks around here would like to know you better, and those in shoes similar to those you used to wear would care to hear of them. Heck, you’ve already dropped some ear-turning hints at some tales here.

My policy of personal tales should be apparent. I hope to settle this gay debate once and for all within a month or so, and then fill the rest of my blog with examples of the adorableness of our kids :-).

Loyalist (with defects) said...

Paranoia is so over rated.

but we are glad you are here L, regardless of the reluctance. Its not about the stories, it about the connection. and the hope that comes with it.

Chris said...

I'd certainly like to read more of your story. I think one of the reasons I get testy with you is that I can't really relate to you on an emotional level. I don't know you. I just know your opinions. And you know what I think of a lot of those. ;)

playasinmar said...

Based on the chapter headings you just listed, I feel like introducing you to a book publisher.

And, no, you don't have to read the book. You just need to write it! :)

drex said...

A lot of those sound interesting to me! I just like hearing some of the history that led to people being who they are now, and having the opinions and perspectives they do.

My history posts never garner much attention from commenters, but I'm told that people generally appreciate knowing more about me when all is said and done.

Mormon Enigma said...

I would be interested to learn when and how you acknowledged to yourself that you are gay and how has your life changed since.

Although, the stories of your straight roommates sound interesting :-)

Chris said...

"Straight" roommates is more like it, apparently.

The Ugly Swan said...

Most people have a fairly advanced need to confess. Your disinclination to demonstrates that you don't. Which is probably why I know so little about you, at the end of the day.

On that note, remind me someday to tell you the story of helping (my) New Roommate take off his work boots. It's not exactly a "crush" story, but it's rather hilarious.

mark said...

I for one would like to hear your stories. For instance, this mention of a collection of stuffed animals resonates with me...I too had a fair number of them and played with them. Heck, I had an entire fantasy world constructed them and around my brothers' stuffed animals and the farm we lived on (kingdoms, dynastic marriages, wars, planetary civilizations and interstellar wars, etc.) I still have my favourite teddy bear that is about the same age as me (i.e. 41+). My gay brother had a similar love of his stuffed animals, though perhaps not all of the fantasy world stuff I constructed ;)

Anyway, I digress. Seriously, tell us more, because I think everyone's story is unique yet shares commonalities...from both uniqueness and commonality we can all learn and draw comfort that we are not so weird after all.

Stephen said...

I feel the same way everybody else around here does. I'd love to read your stories. Just the things you mentioned you could write about were enough to get me excited.

Sully said...

-L-, start by sharing the story of the straight roommate that fell in love with you. I think that may pique more than one interest around here.

Secondly, (for entirely selfless reasons, I assure you), I ask you to share some of the med school experiences. And then just share the rest of your life, because I think that a combination of your life and your writing would make it a fascinating read. :)

Love,
Sully

Master Fob said...

The votes are in. We want stories. Get to work.

Samantha said...

Yeah...talk...

Beck said...

Agreed... it's about time, don't you think?!

Brady said...

I'm with everyone else, I want stories!

My Best Is All I Have said...

I want the sordid details of your love affair with stuffed, barnyard animals. It sounds like the sequel to Equus.

salad said...

yay stories!

Ron Schow said...

-L-

In growing up, and by inference, do any of your stories indicate you exhibited interests that might be considered "gender inappropriate behavior?" A collection of stuffed animals is interesting but probably is gender appropriate (ok) for a guy. Any interest is ok, of course, but some people have certain gender expectations, like fathers who can't relate well to gay sons. Many gay guys like arranging flowers, decorating, playing the piano, while gay gals like trucks, sports, outdoor stuff. I know of some research that relates to this which I think is pretty interesting. Stories are interesting without connecting them to gay issues, of course, but you seem to be leaning in the direction of some stories with gay themes????

Samantha said...

Ron-

Really!! Ick!! Stereotyping all gay women and calling them "gals"??!!?? Come on!!

I know plenty of lesbians who enjoy the outdoors--and plenty of gay men who do, as well. I know quite a few lesbians who are good at sports--and just as many (like me) who throw like girls and can't do a layup to save their lives. And there are plenty of us who love to look feminine, arrange flowers, dance, and be moms. I'm a musician, as was my graduate professor, and three very close friends--all of us fit the latter category (with the exception of the mom thing--I'm the only one of those in our group)--and all of us are gay.

And while I understand you're just generalizing to make your point, my response is: please don't.

Ron Schow said...

Samantha

You can ignore the facts if you want to. I'm certainly not saying everyone is the same (guys/gals; men/women if you prefer) But there is a powerful study done by Bell, Weinberg and Hammersmith (1981) from which they produced a book and statistics powerful enough that they might even satisfy -L-. :) Their sample included 500 gay men, 500 lesbian women, 250 straight men, 250 straight women. There were only 3 major differences between the gays and straights and there were no differences in parents/parenting syles or many other false ideas which have been suggested as the cause of homosexuality. The three things I can't list right now but I concluded they all were different forms of what they called "gender inappropriate behavior." The gays and lesbians showed this 2/3 of the time, the straights only 1/3 of the time. That is a huge difference. But it also means gays and lesbians don't always exhibit it but they do twice as much as the straights do. I had some discussions with Bell about their study. It is an impressive piece of work.

Forester said...

You must have something to offer if you have over 20 posts on this one comment. I'm happy if I get three.

Samantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samantha said...

Ron-

I can't disqualify the study, having never read it, of course, however I do have a few problems with it being used as a citation of categorization for gays and lesbians:

1. The study is more than 20 years old--is there nothing more current? Surely the research has continued...if not we're all in trouble. And I wonder if the reason a more current study isn't cited is because the information was not as conclusive, which would make complete sense to me as more people become open about their sexual orientation--not just those that people would "guess" are gay (that would be the ones who exhibit those obvious "gender inappropriate behaviors").

2. The study didn't have an equal ratio of gay/straight subjects. I wonder why? It seems the study would be more legitimate by balancing the study subjects or even including a greater number of straight subjects, which would be more representative of the occurrance of gay/straight people in our society.

3. ...there were no differences in parents/parenting syles
Wow. How did that happen? I've taught in the public schools, in a private studio, and in a university setting. I've had opportunity to meet many, many parents. I would say that if I met 5 students whose parents had no difference in parenting styles, that would be a miracle. Were the subjects screened previously in order to be certain that the parenting styles were the same? And if so, then how could the study be unbiased? If you did a sample of the bloggers in the Queerosphere, I would say you might find two raised with a similar parenting style--and they might possibly be siblings. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

The study doesn't change my opinion--generalizations about groups and subgroups of people are unhelpful in the long-run. Different symbols have a wide range of meanings within cultures, religions, and families (for instance, the Japanese dress their boys in pink). I have no use for stereotyping, as it rarely shows me truth. I have yet to see it in the study you cited, regardless of whether or not you consider it a powerful piece of work. Perhaps if you could recall the three points you have forgotten, that might lend it some credence.

Kittywaymo said...

I would love to hear about the straight roommate who had a crush on you~

I had a lesbian roommate, married to another woman at Hofstra (they married in Canada). at the time, she would have straight guys coming to our dormroom door and asking "to borrow a cup of sugar" etc. I felt so bad for them.

My best friend at my first radio station, a flamboyant gay man who wore leather pants (hey it was the late 80's) was one of the nicest guys and funniest people I've ever met~He was not mormon, and would ask me to try to get an interview alone with Donny O. for him.

When I moved on to another station, he took over my locker, left my pics up of my boyfriend and me and the time, and added to it hot pics of guys... later my former boss and the staff told me they thought I put the pics up and as there "mormon girl" were shocked... anyway... I digress..

Have a great day~& do tell more straight roommate stories...

Love, Kittywaymo

Ron Schow said...

Samantha

I can tell you this about the study. It resulted in two books. It is on a recent list of classic books on sexuality for librarians so they know what books on sex should be in any well stocked library. A recent graduate with a Ph.D. in Sexology told me that over the weekend.

You said....

I can't disqualify the study, having never read it, of course,...

I see little purpose for discussing further with you the merits of a study you have never looked at, but nevertheless you have written three major paragraphs to address the failings and your prejudice toward it. Did you say you work in a university setting????

This study was a major help to gay people and their parents.

Perhaps before you say a lot more, you should do a little study or leave it alone.

Maybe we'd get along better if we talk about music. I have two daughters who got degrees in music.:)

All the best,
Ron

Samantha said...

Ron--

You could be right--if I wanted to discuss the study. My point, which you so obviously side-stepped, is that your reasoning for using said study is flawed. I simply addressed what you said about the study, not the research itself. Were you to cite particulars from the study itself, then we could talk about it. As you have simply given your opinion and based it on the work of others, that has been the focus of my objections which are more than valid, whether or not you admit it. Currency, valid population sample, and believable parenting data are all reasons to discount the validity of a study of a social/familial issue, into which category homosexual tendencies would certainly fall, given the context under which it was being discussed.

And just so you know, I'm almost finished reading the study, commentaries and critiques of the study, and I may or may not choose to read the two books you mentioned. I haven't yet changed my mind about my objections--and I haven't yet discounted the study, just your use of it in support of your own ideas.

By the way, I'd love to discuss music with you--it is one of the areas in which I have credentials--but only one...

Ron Schow said...

Samantha

My use of the study was to suggest that "gender inappropriate behavior" is twice as common in gays and lesbians as it is in straights. That is a factor of 2:1. That is a huge finding in a several year study in a carefully selected sample of 1500.

If you have anything except anecedotal information to put up against these data, I suggest you produce it now or realize you have essentially nothing to support your prejudice.

By the way, I do this type of research. I have published in refereed journals, directed grants, and supervised several graduate students using large samples of this type as the basis.

Is your expertise in Music? How much do you actually know about survey research?

BTW, this is my last post on this subject. I think this blog posting has a different purpose. If you say more I promise to say nothing.

Ron

Samantha said...

Ron,

You've had your final say--it's only fair that I have mine. If, indeed, your were using the study to "suggest" something, then certainly there is no harm or foul. Thankfully, many other studies have been done in the successive years, and I use the term "thankfully" because if the research is to stop then we can't continue to learn and biases on both sides remain intact.

I have said little about my knowledge of this study because I wanted to hear what defense you would bring. I was honest when I said I had not read the study itself--now, of course, I have. However, I was very aware of its content and the controversy surrounding it. There's a well-written article (of which I'm certain you're aware) found here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=980CE5D61438F930A25751C1A967948260, which addresses many of the problems with the study. I find it well-written and logical. It was one of many that I found when I first encountered the study. I've read both those that support, and those that do not.

I think it's wonderful that you do this type of research, and of course, I already knew that, given the bulk of research that I, myself do. You are not obscure, to say the least. And God knows, we need more research in this area.

As for my area of expertise, I believe we'll just let it stand with music--for certainly I have a large background in that field. In that way I continue to protect my anonymity, and you can continue to be condescending and feel justified. But something you may have forgotten is this: when people no longer question, the answers are not to be found. Intelligent beings owe it to themselves to never accept what seems to be untrue--and to take the steps necessary to find that truth, whatever it may be.

Good luck with your research. I'll be reading and discussing it--you can count on it.