Most of us have all been there. Sitting with a friend or wife/fiancé and feeling the anxiety of coming clean and telling the deepest darkest secret of homosexual attraction. And of course there sometimes are tears, a cathartic release of emotion, laughing, shaking, all of the above. And if that person is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints then most likely they’ve said something to the effect of: “we all have our challenges, and we all have our individual handicaps.” I may not be in those words exactly, but most everyone who is gay has heard that sound byte before; comparable to schizophrenia, to alcoholism and even a wheelchair, homosexuality as a handicap.
The interesting thing about someone who is not gay bringing up this type of information is that I’ve felt that myself. I’ve sat in the dark before, contemplating my existence as a gay man, my existence as a gay missionary, gay husband ect… and sometimes the “handicap awareness voice” comes from within and tells me that homosexuality is my wheelchair, being gay is my psychological illness, and that being gay is just my very own version being addicted to alcohol.
Isn’t the universe funny? I mean, here I am a nice, smart, attractive and very obedient Mormon boy who until early adolescents, realizes that he is like unto a paraplegic. “Only bad people get addicted to cocaine!” And in the meantime I’m the one who’s addicted to looking at naked guys kissing each other…karma’s a bitch.
But seriously, I have felt that offense, and I have noticed how it makes me feel when others try to tell me that I’m like the cripple who is destined to live his life with others looking at him in pity, and being unable to do normal things like have kids and get married. And then there is the exception to the rule, like the Down syndrome couple that find each other and people look at them like they are freaks, but cute freaks nonetheless.
Is that my life? Am I really a schizophrenic wheelchair bound mute who is destined to live his life in such dreadful circumstances? And can we even compare alcoholism to homosexuality? I mean people don’t call young alcoholic boys derogatory names like “faggot” and “cock sucker.”
Maybe there’s no way to compare because it is what it is, and it’s very different from anything else that’s out there. Maybe that’s why people are so quick to compartmentalize and place being gay in the box with the schizophrenics…it’s just the only thing that people can do to understand it if they aren’t living it themselves.
As for me, I’m ok if you want to call me handicapped because I call myself that sometimes. I recognize that my attraction is debilitating, whether I like it or not. I wish that I could be “normal” like other guys and feel completely aroused by a woman, I wish that I could walk into a locker room and not have to tell myself to stop staring at other guys dicks. I want to be able to be free from worrying about my worthiness, and if I’m a bad person because I want to get it on (naked and hard) with Jake Gyllenhaal. And if along with that handicap comes a caring and empathic individual who dresses well and knows a lot of musical theater songs, so be it…but it’s not easy.