Sunday, November 18, 2012

Facebook Groups and Gay Mormons

Finding a Safe Place

There's much in the news and spoken of in communities about the dangers of social media, especially when it comes to youth. I've come across a few facebook Groups focussed on gay LDS/Mormons as well as Groups focussed on bringing different parties together.

One such group is Mormon's Building Bridges on facebook. When I joined the group I didn't take the time to read their version of Apple's Terms & Conditions, it went on for pages. They probably could have summed it all up by listing their Terms & Conditions as "Be Christ Like". 

I found the group a little dry and very Utah centric, even very Salt Lake City focussed. I found most of the posts confusing, confusing in the sense that gay folks were talking about Church meetings they'd attended, firesides they'd been to and family home evenings they'd be participated in. 

On the surface, they seem confused to me. I get that they still have their faith, as do I, but I don't understand what is to be gained by participating in Church activities where people essentially believe you're a sinful creature and that there is room to repent and change.

Governor Romney

The recent US election saw some pretty dirty politics and division among people around a number of issues. I have some wealthy LDS friends from the North West of the US who shared with me their voting choice after they'd cast their vote on election day.

They voted for Romney and for gay marriage but against marijuana. :-) So it seems there are plenty of active LDS people who have a conscious and perhaps don't believe it's the Church's role to push a view on issues that are essentially secular in nature.

"Group" Discussion

There was much election discussion in the facebook groups that I participate, but not in the Mormon's Building Bridges group. Their 'charter' calls for no political discussion. How that's possible, I really don't know. Especially in the context of the LDS Church's political involvement in California's Prop 8 vote.

One group I do find myself spending a lot of time is "Breakthough Branch". I think it's meant to be "Breakthrough Branch" but facebook don't let you fix typo's is my understanding :-) This is a great group, far more open and the discussion is excellent and supportive. There's is a mix of gay and str8, LDS and others, active and less active in the group.

The group is facilitated by a wonderful str8 LDS women, Carol. She does a great job, she's not heavy handed in her moderation of the group and she's created a safe place for discussion.

Why Sexism Still Exists

There is a mix of gay men and women in the group. Some of the girls have told stories of their participation in Mormon's Building Bridges and the sexism they've experienced which has driven them from that group. They've shared stories of comments they've made, similar to those made by gay men but they've then been shot down by str8 members, usually men, for their comments.

There seems to be a double standard at play. It appears that gay men are more accepted than gay women. I don't understand that, it's just plain odd. 

Where to From Here?

I think overall the groups serve a great purpose, they enable people to come together in what should be a safe place, some are safer than others. The agenda behind the groups differs and that's cool, but I've learnt that reading the "small print" of these groups is a good idea in order to participate in a meaningful way.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Feminism Debate - Julia Gillard

Would The Real Julia Gillard Please Stand Up?

Well, it's been an interesting week in Australian politics? Our Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave the opposition leader, Tony Abbott a serious verbal beating and called him a misogynist. Just to be clear, a definition is below:
Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. According to feminist theory, misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.
If you're interested, you may want to read what the PM actually said. Click Here to read the official Australian Government transcript or Hansard from the session of parliament. Since coming to office, the PM has been berated by many about almost every aspect of who she is.
Miranda Devine
As far as I'm concerned if it's about her job, that's one thing and is open to as much interrogation as possible. However, derogatory comments based on gender have no place in a civilised society.

There was an article in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper today from the journalist Miranda Devine. While the paper has a right leaning agenda, it's no where near as far to the right as the US Republican voter.

I'm not sure what this discourse really did for the average Australian, schools still need work done, hospitals needs additional funding and the bush needs doctors more than ever before. However, the PM managed to berate the opposition leader and make it clear to him and the world she feels insulted by his comments. I just don't think this was the best possible use of tax payer funded time. There are other ways for the PM to have her say on this topic.

I think Devine made some very pertinent points, however her closing comment I thought was the best:
"But to what end?
With unemployment rising, the non-resources economy flatlining, the mining industry having peaked, carbon tax biting and superannuation under threat, the electorate views dimly the people who are supposed to be running the country running around playing gender politics instead. Especially on the 10th anniversary of the first Bali bombing.
We don't care if the prime minister is a woman or a man. We just want rational, prudent, even boring government. We want to be "relaxed and comfortable" again."
Don't get me wrong, good on the PM for saying what she said. It just seems like a "storm in a teacup" that probably really won't go anywhere and I'm not sure what electoral benefits there is for her.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

So many views, Facebook Groups and more

Gay LDS Facebook Groups

The appears to be no shortage, some a mix of just us gay folks and others a mix of well intended straight folks and gay. The discussions are generally nice, people sharing ideas and experiences.

Personally I've found some of the discussions a little odd, from my point of view. I should point out that I firmly believe that everyone's journey from the closet to "out" and then hopefully "out and proud", is a personal one. Everyone's journey is unique.

The part I've struggled with comes from one specific Facebook group called "Mormons Building Bridges". There is a concerted effort to conduct firesides and other church meetings for gay and straight LDS to attend. I think there is merit in doing this and the more tolerance it brings will make the world a better place, however I'm not sure I understand what the end goal is.

I'm particularly sensitive to young people, teenagers and those in their twenties who may be feeling depressed about their gender identity and feel stifled in an LDS environment where the only message they may hear is that being gay is "wrong" and that Heavenly Father doesn't love all of his children. For me, sitting in Sunday meetings and constantly hearing a message that I could never see myself a part of, was the tough part.

My personal journey consisted of being in the closet until about age 36. Prior to that I fasted and I prayed that heavenly father would take these gay feelings away. I suppose I was trying to "pray the gay away". That was a huge waste of time, in hindsight I think Heavenly Father probably wanted me to talk to him about far more important things.

Over the past five + years the comments from Church leaders has been softer, kinder and well, more Christian. I fully believe that any Church has the right to enforce a standard of living it feels appropriate to its position and understanding of the bible or other sacred text.

The challenge comes though when we move further down the leadership ladder, in my mind this is the 70, Regional, Stake and Ward leadership. Having read many gay LDS experiences on Facebook and other blogs there is a variety of implementations of the "rules". My own experience was a kind and loving Bishop who was empathetic to my situation and provided great care and love. Others have been dragged in front of High Councils and excommunicated.

While I appreciate there is room for "revelation" I understand that revelation can't go beyond what the LDS Church calls "The General Handbook of Instructions". This handbook is a guide and explanation for local lay leadership on how the "rules" are to be enforced.

Indoctrination

In a Facebook chat with a friend who recently had her name removed from the records of the Church, she talked about her new found freedom and the impact of what she referred to as "indoctrination". I've always felt this word conjures up a negative context. One aspect of the LDS Church that I have always liked is the direction that one has to discover for ones self the truthfulness of the gospel and an understanding that Joseph Smith saw what he claims to have seen.

Once we arrive at that position and believe what Joseph says, we're in a position to then make choices about how we live. If this is "indoctrination" well I can work with that. But as I said to my friend, we're all grown ups and we make our own choices. Personally, I have no recollection of being in a position where I was being forced to believe anything that was presented to me. For the record, I still believe, I just can't figure out where I fit into the Plan. For me, that doesn't mean the whole thing isn't true. I often reflect on Those of African descent and their inability to hold the priesthood, their faith was strong.

A Mixture of Ideas

In Australia we have a TV show called Q&A, the tag line is "Adventures in democracy". There's a host and a panel of usually five people, a mixture of politicians, comedians, journalists and other notable members of the community.

Last week the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney was on the show. The Anglican Church in Australia has recently made available to its members a wedding vow that includes the word "submit". It's in the context of a women submitting to her husband. Well, this didn't go down well with most of the panel, the audience and the onscreen tweets that happen during the show, it's live to air.

Coming from an LDS background and with I'd say a reasonable understanding of the New Testament, I understood the doctrinal foundation for the use of this word. It refers to Christ and how he laid down his life for the Church, if a husband behaves in the same fashion then a wife is in a position to submit to that concept and to her husband as he submits to Christ. Now in an ideal world this probably works fine. But where we have men who dominate, rule over and squander their role as husband an patriarch, the wife's  requirement to submit is null and void, I believe.

The reason I raise this is because with people's lack of understanding of the new testament they can misunderstand what is meant by submit. The imposition of Christian doctrine on those who don't adhere to a Christian faith makes no sense.

In this same program, the question of same sex marriage was raised. The Shadow Minister for Mental Health (Secretary in US terms) made a provocative statement about HIV AIDS and the life expectancy of gay men, an odd segue to say the least. There was an audible gasp from the studio audience that she would even go there. In Australia, HIV infections have been on the rise since around 2000. AIDS is actually on a decline for the same period was largely due to the introduction of effective combination antiretroviral therapy, which delays progression from HIV infection to AIDS.

The whole gay marriage debate seems like such a farce to me. Why are religious groups so anxious to impose their views on me and why are they so anxious to ensure that people who don't believe as they believe adhere to their view of the world. Joseph Smith said:

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." 

I think Mitt Romney would do well to reflect on this concept a little further.

So Many Views

For the gay latter-day saint who is looking to live a full and rich life, my personal belief is that this can't be done while trying to be an active member of the Church. I think it's damaging to their mental well being and will generally lead to more angst and anguish as they try to reconcile themselves to a way of living that doesn't fit who they are. It's kind of like a square peg in a round hole. It just doesn't work.

However, the are many aspects and teachings of the Church that are very worthy to continue as part of our lives. A Christ like view of others, removing judgement from our  interactions with others and generally being a good person. Our sexuality doesn't define who we are, it's simply part of the whole that makes us who we are. An attitude of service is great for the soul, giving of ourselves for the betterment of others is a great quality.

Well, I think I've rambled enough, hopefully I've made some sense. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Response To A Friend

A few weeks ago I had an email exchange with a good friend Thad. He'd asked me if I was gay and this was my response to him. You see, I live in Sydney, Australia and Thad lives in the US. The tyranny of distance means the written word is sometimes easier...


Hi Thad

Thanks for your message mate, it meant the world to me. With hindsight, I can look back to when I was a kid, perhaps as early as 11 or 12 and I knew I liked guys. But at that age I didn't really know what that meant, all I knew was that it was "wrong".

As I got older and then found the Church at 16, I found a framework I suppose that helped me make sense of the world. My feelings of homosexuality didn't really play a part in my learning about the Church, but it gave me a way to compartmentalise my feelings I suppose. Again, this was really happening at a sub conscious level I think.

While on my mission, I remember writing a page in my journal about being gay and what that might mean, but at that point I wasn't really able to say to myself that I was gay. At that stage I still don't think I really knew what that meant. Getting married in the Temple was the goal, and that wasn't going to happen if I was gay.

It probably wasn't until my late 20's that I actually said out loud in prayer one night "Heavenly Father I think I'm gay". It's amazing how you feel when you actually say something like that out loud, the brethren are right. Praying out loud works.

Then in 2007 I had an opportunity to work in the US for six months with Ersnt & Young. I was 35 and at a point where I determined that I had to figure this out, was a I gay or was I straight. Without giving you too many details (although I have a blog if you want the sordid details) I figured it out. Keep in mind this had been a topic of prayer for almost 20 years and I'd not got a response, either way. Intellectually I think I'd worked out I was gay, but until I actually connected the physical with the emotional, I just couldn't be sure. You're a doctor, so I'll add here that I was safe and sensible, and I left that interaction feeling uplifted, like a cloud had been removed. I got it, I understood why I felt the way I did.

I honestly understand what you may be thinking at this point from a church point of view, trust me, I went through the same feelings. I spent days and weeks reviewing my emotions, my thought processes etc. However, at no point did I feel guilty and that was an overriding feeling. Does it make sense though that i felt guilty about not feeling guilty!

Once I got home to Australia I realised I'd reached a point of no return. But what on earth was I to do? You need to know that for probably 15 years I had been praying and asking heavenly father for an inspired Bishop to ask me "Derek, are you gay?". I just figured that would easier than me initiating the "confession". While I didn't feel guilty, I knew that I had to talk to my Bishop and that there would be consequences. I was ok with that, my testimony was and is still place, I just couldn't figure out where I fitted into Heavenly Father's plan. I know he loves me and I know that some how things will work out, I just don't know how.

I've learnt that asking for things in prayer can be a little dangerous, because more often than not he delivers. Some background. I had some pictures on my iMac of some underwear models, I thought these guys were hot. Of course I'd make sure the screen saver was changed when I had guests over, the iMac was in living room for all to see. Well, they did see. I had the Elders over for dinner one night and well, you can imagine what happened. Nothing was said, I turned the iMac off after I realised what I thought the Elders probably had seen.

Then comes the phone call from Bishop, he wanted to see me. You see, my prayers had been answered, not quite in the way I'd wanted, but we generally can't prescribe exactly how we want things to happen to Heavenly Father.

What followed was probably one of the most intense meetings with a Bishop in my life. Everything came out, although I may have held back a little of my "exploits" while in the US. The volume of my exploits made little difference at this point.

Bishop was full of love, understanding, compassion and respect. I took my Temple Recomend with me, I knew he'd want it. I balled and sobbed in that meeting, 35 years of stress came out in a 2 hour meeting.

Then, about four months later I moved out of the ward and stopped going to Church. The hardest thing was disposing of my garments, I'd stopped wearing them months earlier. 

Then about three years ago I met a guy, he's Persian. I fell in love and we've been together since. My close friends at Church here in Sydney have been wonderful, they love me and love him. They've been accepting and have been a great support. The coming out process was hard, really hard, but it's been worth it.

I've discovered a community of gay LDS lads here in Sydney and they've been a wonderful support too. We have a Facebook group "gay LDS Aussies" and we meet regularly. I've taken over as the administrator of that page and communicate with gay LDS folks all over the world. In many cases offering them support as they work through their sexuality and what that means in a church context.

I harbour no I'll feelings towards the Church, although you're right, they've certainly said some very hurtful things. I'm not sure if you can connect those statements to gay LDS youth and YSA as reasons for their suicide, but they sure as hell don't help. You're right, the Church has softened it's rhetoric which is a good things and there are many LDS groups who are supportive of their gay sons, daughters and family members.

I really don't know how gay LDS can contribute and be a part of a ward, it just doesn't work. When the only option you have is to be celibate for the rest of your life, that's a very sad outlook. Sitting in Church week after week, month after month essentially hearing that who you are is wrong and not in accordance with Heavenly Fathers plan, well, it just sucks and it hurts. 

That was the main issue I had, as I said before, I just couldn't work out where I fitted in.

So there you have it, you're as up to date with me as I am 

Thad, I've always thought so highly of you and the person you are. Your thoughtful, considerate and kind, truly the kind of priesthood holder the Church needs more of. Maybe one day you'll be a Bishop and find yourself in the same position as my Bishop. The greatest impact you can have is to perhaps stand up for the silent voices of the gay members in your ward, I'm sure they're there, we're everywhere be the voice of love and compassion.

It's Sunday over here and I'm sitting at my local cafe downstairs from my apartment writing to you on my iPad. It's a magnificent winters day, blue skies, sunshine and a subtle chill in the air. 

Thank you for taking the initiative to write, perhaps you are the answer to my prayers.

Love 

db

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Personal Email from a Good Friend


I got a message on facebook from a good friend of mine. We served together in the mission field in the early 1990's. For the non-LDS reading this, you've probably seen Mormon missionaries around your neighbourhood at some point, that was me :-)

My friend sent this message through this past week. I've removed his name for his privacy.

_________________________________________________________________________
Derek,
First of all, I've been thinking about this on and off for years, so I hope you understand that I wouldn't write this with the intent of being flippant or... I don't know. I've never written something like this, don't know how to address it, so I'm stumbling a lot.
Anyway, here goes. I have been reading a book recently, but over the past few years, for some reason I have been really engaged, almost "driven" to learn, read, ponder, and pray about issues with sexuality. I would think that a person would be more interested if they were experiencing/dealing with personal issues on the subject, but I have sometimes felt "impelled" to try and understand this topic more. I am grateful that in recent times, the leadership of the church has also been inspired to address this issue in their public statements, and express compassion about the difficult struggle and nature of those who deal with same-gender attraction.
So I'm continuing to ramble. This is the thing. I know I shouldn't assume, and I don't even know if I've created the sense for those around me that I am trying so hard to understand, empathize, and be a listening ear to others who live in a world (the church) where they feel as an outsider because of deeply set feelings that they struggle to understand. I want to be; I can't relate to them personally, exactly, but I can appreciate the depth of despair that I could imagine would come to someone in a situation like this.
Again, rambling... Derek, are you gay? I hope this question doesn't offend you, and I sincerely apologize if it does. The book I'm reading discussing a mother's experience with her son struggling with this, and eventually taking his life because he couldn't reconcile a life in keeping with his faith, and continuing to have the feelings and urges he had. I don't want anyone to have to feel that alone that the decision to take their life would be the only option they felt that they had. So I'm taking a risk with you, a dear friend to me despite our geographic distance. If I'm wrong, I hope you'll forgive me. If this is an issue for you, I want you to know that I love you, you are my brother, my friend, and if there is anything I can do to... well, whatever, please let me know. I don't have any answers, I'm not sure I know what I could do to help, but can tell you that I respect you a lot, you're are and have been a great example to me, and I think the world of you. That, to me, defines you far more than an issue like same gender attraction--it's really irrelevant in my mind in the context of you as a person, though I realize that in the practice of your life, it may be a constant issue that you have to address, so I don't mean to minimize it.
Okay, so it's out there, and again, please forgive me if I'm totally wrong on this--but I can't bear to think that anyone should have to suffer alone, in silence about this issue, and I hope to be a part of helping others in and out of the church to be more empathetic and compassionate towards others, and creating an environment of true love within our church so that anyone can feel accepted and loved within our faith, and truly feel that it is a place where they can find not judgment and scrutiny, but love and healing, or at least some measure of peace and solace.
Love you,
A Friend.
_________________________________________________________________________

You see, there are good Latter-day Saints and other Christians out there who try to live their faith. I think we need to have a little more faith in our Christian families and friends.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Archbishop’s letter ‘Redefining Marriage’

This past Sunday, a coalition of Churches in Australia had letters read to them from the pulpit. I'm unsure if the LDS Church in Australia participated in this same program.

Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Peter F. Jensen, Anglican Archbishop, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Peter F. Jensen, Archbishop of the Anglican (Church of England) in Australia issued this letter. In response, I sent him the letter below:


Good Morning Sir

I write the following with the fullest degree of respect for you, your Church and your position on gay marriage.

At the age of 16 I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I appreciate that this of itself may cause you to have some doctrinal issues with my faith, but as a Christian I trust you can take it in face value.

At 19 I left home for my two year mission. It was an amazing experience, I spoke with hundreds of people and shared the message of the birth, death and resurrection of the Saviour. I taught of his redeeming love and the mercy of his atonement.

From about the age of 12 I had feelings for boys which I knew was not right in the eyes of the Church and for most in society. I prayed and prayed and at times fasted for help from Heavenly Father to remove these feelings from me.

As a young man in my 20's these feelings continued and finally at the age of 36 I resigned myself to the belief that gay was a part of who I was. I promise you it was not a choice that I'd made at some point to be gay. I would suggest that having been in the gay community for some time now there is a small group who do make that choice. However it's not my role to place judgement upon those people.

As with all Christians, the LDS perspective on marriage is one of sanctity and reverence. You may be aware that LDS doctrine teaches that marriage is of an eternal nature and one that is required to enter the highest degree of glory in the next life. Again, your doctrinal view will be different, but I share it here only to convey my respect and reverence for the institution of marriage.

In the final years before I "came out" I remember stirring some vigorous discussions in Sunday meetings around the issue of homosexuality and the institution of the family. At the end of the day, all gay people belong to a family. That family may have had a mother and father, or in many cases a single parent.

While LDS Church leadership has made statements like "homosexuality is the greatest threat to the family" and "gay marriage is the beginning of the end of the family" I was never able to get anyone to articulate clearly, exactly why that was the case. I personally feel that alcohol, drugs, abusive fathers and poor financial management are a greater threat to families than the actions of homosexual couples who may be our neighbours.

In my extensive reading on the topic of "gay marriage" I've come across many views. I'm supportive of the view that in no way should Churches be forced to facilitate a marriage between couples of the same sex. As I've shared with my friends, why would I want to share such a happy occasion with a body who despise my very existence. I would personally rally with you should there ever be a hint of government imposing such a law on Churches. Just as I claim protection under law for my rights, so Churches should be able to claim the same right.


But, is marriage a religious claim?

I don't believe it is. The current argument is a political one. If the Christian lobby feel so strongly against gay marriage, why are they not so zealous in suggesting that Muslim, Jewish, Hindu etc marriage also not be recognized? Because this is about denying gay people the ability to marry, not to protect the institution of marriage itself.

Can I propose a solution?

Perhaps government needs to remove itself from the business of "marriage".  "Marriage" is the domain of religious bodies. Government should only be able to issue licenses for Civil Unions while Churches issue certificates of marriage. This would be a fair and equitable approach, providing the same legal stance for all citizens under the law.

What about the children?

This is possibly one of the biggest issues and one which has caused great pain for many people in the gay community. The inference being that they are somehow less of a parent because their partner is of the same gender. The Christian lobby talk of the requirement for a child to have a mother and a father. 

No mention is ever made of the army of single parents who provide a warm and loving environment for their children. I grew up in such a home and have never felt I missed out when it came to volume of love a child should have in their life.

For those gay couples who adopt a child, there's perhaps only one source, dysfunctional heterosexual couples who have surrendered their responsibility of parenthood.

In Closing

I'm confident my position hasn't changed your views, but I hope it shows you there are people in the gay community who can have a civilised discussion on this heated topic.

As the debate commences in federal parliament today I hope all parties can behave in a dignified way.

Sincerely 

Derek Bell
Mascot, NSW, Australia

Monday, June 11, 2012

Love is Sweet!

A Weekend Away Warms the Heart

My partner and I went to Melbourne this weekend to celebrate with some friends who are opening a new retail food store. The store opens in two weeks. I went down Friday morning and spent the day with a client and my partner flew down Friday night.

We stayed at the Sofitel Hotel on Collins street, what the locals call the "Paris End of Collins". It's a beautiful part of Melbourne. He got in late and was starving, so we found ourselves having room service at midnight, a cheeseburger and a club sandwich and sticky date pudding for dessert. 

J. Edgar the Movie.
Armie Hammer & Leonardo Di Caprio in a scene from J. Edgar the movie.

We watched a movie, well I did after he fell asleep in the opening scene of "J. Edgar" with Leonardo Dicaprio - how he could fall alseep with such eye candy on screen is beyond me!

Saturday Morning

The hotel had wooden shutters which we closed before going to bed which meant we didn't wake until 10:45am, the room was so dark, it was wonderful. We then headed out to Camberwell to see our friends store. We found a nice cafe, had lunch with our friend which interrupted his plastering at the store.

We then wondered down Burke Road, Camberwell did some completely unnecessary shopping and headed back to the Sofitel. Dinner was at 7pm, literally behind the hotel. We had an amazing evening, plenty of cocktails and the food was fabulous.

Sunday Morning

We woke Sunday morning, a little earlier this time. We had some breakfast and headed out to a friends place for a scrumptious mexican lunch and then off to the airport for our 5pm flight home to Sydney.

You see, the simple pleasure of a relationship are worth so much more than all the money in the world. I'm lucky to be in a relationship with an amazing man whom I adore and love. Live is good and for those who are not there yet, it really does get better.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

There Has To Be A Better Way


The ability of a nation to present itself as progressive and modern can be a task harder than perhaps originally thought. By what measures and against which values system can a nation choose to align itself? For the West, we largely base our values on those of the Jewish and Christian biblical texts of which Moses's Ten Commandments are the basis.

As we look into recent history, those values seem to have served us well. Our societies live in relative peace despite the current disruption based on the poor fiscal management of our governments, businesses and of course individuals are required to saddle some of the blame. It's individuals, like government and business, who have overspent and lived beyond our means. It's a simple equation, we really shouldn't spend more than we have i.e. credit.

Bad Legislation


In the US and Australia we have political parties who are generally aligned on a single values system, but worlds apart when it comes to implementing systems and polices that interpret those values. In the US we've seen paranoid state governments attempt to legislate that Islamic law, Sharia Law, cannot be recognised as a legitimate legal system. It creates issues from the point of view that, for example, Catholicism is a foreign faith based in Italy. From a legal point of view this stance is a mine field.

Producing legislation based on a paranoid view of a minority is dangerous. On the 27th October, 1838 the US state of Missouri and their Governor Boggs issued “Missouri Executive Order 44” also know as the “Mormon Extermination Order”. The law called for the extermination of Mormons, it was legal to kill members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That law was finally repealed in the 1976, 138 years later. I'm sure US President hopeful Mitt Romney feels comfortable visiting Missouri today in the knowledge it's now illegal for someone to kill him!

So mistakes have been made, bad legislation produces bad outcomes for society. In Australia, governments are fixated on creating programs that benefit "families", at least their interpretation of what constitutes a family. As a single, white, gay man there are really no benefits I receive from the Australian government. Should I? Well, my answer is based partially on my political views and my belief that governments role is to represent all it's constituents fairly.

The Absence of Fairness Across the Board


I firmly believe that as we all pay taxes, any benefit should be made available to all tax payers. If a couple earn $280,000 and have four kids, should they receive less benefit from the government compared to a couple with four kids who earn $80,000? I don't think so. Australia's tax regime does a great job of killing any desire by one person to excel in their work and produce a higher income. The more you earn, the greater percentage of your income goes in tax. Hardly an incentive.

It's here I would turn to some ancient values from the Jewish biblical texts which suggest 10% of ones earnings go to the Lord. I’ve seen this model work well in a Church setting, it creates a level playing field, regardless of our income, we can all pay 10% to the government in tax. Then, those who choose, can pay an additional 10% to their Lord, maker or whomever they choose.

I think this level playing field would then make any benefit payments from government i.e. from a surplus, easier to distribute to all citizens. I would love to see the figure of how such a fiscal change could be implemented. In principle I think this is a great idea, in practice I'd need an economist to do the numbers to see how it could work. At the end of the day a surplus belongs to the people who produced it, the people, not the government.


Presenting Ourselves As Something Other Than We Really Are


I struggle to understand the US view on many political issues, the disdain and enmity towards opposing political views is toxic, Australia is not much better today. Health care is a great example of this. From a nation purporting itself to be a Christian nation, the words and venom sprouted about what's seen by many in the US as socialised medicine, is appalling. The notion that a family who can't afford private medical insurance should suffer the consequences of illness, is reprehensible. I would simply ask these "Christians", what would Christ do?

The American predisposition to run in the opposite direction of anything that resembles socialism is astounding. The question has to be asked, “how's your current republic serving you?”. An advanced society should be able to look to alternatives and seek new ideas when the current system has obvious shortcomings.


A Balance


Just so we're clear, my view is that our Westminster system of government with it's constitutional ties to the British Monarchy is the best system of government we have available today. The checks and balances and the role of the monarchy provide a stable platform for democracy to thrive. Can we do better? I'm sure we can, but there seems to be an absence of anything better today. 

I admire the US/French style of government, but disagree with the Presidential model and the process of the presidential selection process. The current US presidential race costs billions and who does it serve besides media companies and the many consultants involved in the process?

Australia was formed as a federation of states with an Act of Parliament, the US lost hundreds of thousands during the American Revolutionary War and then the Civil War. Something many American’s seem to lose sight of when they point the finger at developing nations around the world where they insist in getting involved based on perceived US domestic security threats.

What Does It All Mean?


At the end of the day, I firmly believe we have great room for improvement. All nations and the many communities within those nations have a responsibility to afford all citizens the right and privilege of peace and security without any threat based on their faith, the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation or their religious affiliations.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One of These Kids Will Grow Up To Be Fabulous

I Cried Laughing

Last night my partner showed me the photo below which he had stumbled across on someone's facebook page. Without even reading the text I almost suffocated laughing. Once I read the text and looked at the faces of the boys to his left and right, I laughed even harder.



I think what I liked about this was the complete absence of any gay hate text and just a kid being embraced for who he is. I think I also see a little of myself, I'm not sure I was quite that "fabulous" when I was his age - but I probably felt it inside.

Won't it be a good day when we can just embrace people, especially kids, for who they are and not through what we expect them to be. If you know any kids like this little fella, let them know that when they grow up, they're also going to be fabulous.

The Gay Marriage Debate Continues

The Media Reporting Cycle

Over a few of my past blogs, I've shared my views on gay marriage and shared with you some of the letters I've written to my elected officials. It seems over the past twelve months, from my own observations, there is barley a news cycle go by that the gay marriage debate is not mentioned in some way or another.

We have a TV current affairs show in Australia called "ABC Australia - Q&A" (Google "QANDA ABC"). The shows tag line is "Adventures in Democracy". It's a great show and generally has a political bent to it, but not always. On Monday evening, May 14th, 2012 they had Penny Wong - Federal Minister for Finance & Deregulation on the show. She and her partner have recently had a child, however I should point out Ms Wong does not flaunt her sexuality to the media, in this instance, she's a private women.


Whenever she's on QandA there are tweets across the bottom of the screen "Wong for Primeminister". She's a very cool operator, decisive, clear when she speaks and certainly has an air of authority. The challenge came in the show recently where a question from the studio audience asked one of the other panellists, from the opposition party, how his wife and children seem to be more of a family than Minister Wong's. (See the youtube video below with an excerpt from the show)

You could see he was uncomfortable with the question, his response was the usual rhetoric that a child's best chance for success was by having a mother and a father, not two mummies or two daddies. I always feel bad for the single mothers in this debate, while never mentioned, they're quietly told that their family is also not ideal.


Amongst her response, Minister Wong said "I know what my family is worth". There could be no real additional comment to that statement and as timining would have it, that was the end of the show. The media picked up on that statement as did some enterprising individuals.

You can buy t-shirts on line with the statement and I imagine mugs, coasters etc within a short period of time. While our ability to love those whom we love and to possibly marry those whom we love is the desired state of some in the gay community, for others it doesn't seem to matter.

I think most of us want the same legal rights as heterosexual couples and especially the safeguards that come with that legal position for our children, the tag of "marriage" is perhaps not as eagerly sought after. The straight folks don't seem to have done so well with the institution of marriage, divorce rates, general levels of happiness etc. Are we sure that's what we want?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Letter to Australian Prime Minister - Julia Gillard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia


This morning as I sat at my local cafe, wearing my A&F hoodie and with a blue wool scarf wrapped around my neck because it was so cold, I decided to write an email to Prime Minister Gillard in relation to an article in today's Sun-Herald newspaper
For my readers outside Australia, Prime Minister (PM) Gillard is Australia's first female PM. She's living in a defacto relationship and has no children, she's a lawyer and politician. A common mix. That background will help in relation to my comments below.
Good Morning PM,
It seems Major General Angus Houston is far ahead of your government in his acceptance of the gay community. I'm at a point where I simply don't understand why you do and say the things you do. While I absolutely respect your opinion as a private citizen on the matter of same sex marriage, I absolutely don't support your view as my PM.

Your stand against me, my friends and those I love is nothing more than bigotry and a denial of what I believe is my right that you and the opposition seem adamant to enforce. If the ADF, the bastion of all things macho can, for the past 20 years, be accepting of the gay community, why on earth is it such a struggle for you.

The hypocrisy of your own living arrangements makes your stand even more of a joke. Let me be clear, I personally don't care who you live with and the circumstances under which you live - that's your right afforded by law. But, in part, to align your views with those of the conservative Church community while "living in sin" is unfathomable to me.

I'm not 100% clear on what moral ground you base your opinions about same sex marriage. The media tell us you're an atheist, that's cool. But any humanist view would typically be open to same sex marriage. But are you a humanist? I don't know!

You're now in a minority more aligned with leaders of backward African and Middle Eastern countries on the subject of same sex marriage. Please don't defend your position by espousing the changes to legislation that gave gay folks many of the rights as straight folk, personally I thought that legislation was a joke. It missed the key point of providing equality for all Australians.

Well, that's my thoughts for the day. Like so much of what your government has done, your stance seems to be about clinging to power and not being the leader of a great democracy where the citizens of this nation are heard and their voices are respected.

Sincerely

Derek
For US readers, you may enjoy this "tongue in cheek" editorial from one of Australia's journalists - Annabel Crabb. "Time we call came out of the closet" in response to President Obama's recent comments about gay marriage. 

"Familes are Families" - Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston: Australian Defence Force

This year marks 20 years since the Government of Australian Primeminister Keating lifted the ban on gays serving in th Australian Defence force. It's taken time for that change to become culturally accepted, but changes along the way have helped.

As head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Major General Angus Houston said in 2005 "Familes are Familes". This opened the way for gay and straight defacto couples to become entitled to relocation funding, compensation and superannuation (401k). It's seems the ADF is far ahead of the current Gillard Government in recognizing gay couples and their rights. In today's Sun Herald newspaper there's a two page spread titled "Gays in the Military". Sounds like a play on words from the Little Britain skit "I'm the only gay in the village".

I have friends serving in the ADF, only straight that I know of. On occasion I've socialised with these guys and girls, they're outstanding people. I've always had a high level of respect for anyone who would volunteer to take up arms and potentially put their life on the line for their fellow countrymen and, it what seems the case in modern warfare, defend those who can't defend themselves i.e.Iraq, Afhganistan etc.

I describe this as an "inflated level of respect and even reverence". To give you an idea, did you ever watch the West Wing? In a few episodes President Bartlettt would have to make a phone call at the end of the episode to a family who's son or daughter had been killed in a military operation. I would be brought to tears as he went through that process, he afforded the deceased soldier, I thought, the greatest level of respect by making that phone call. Yeah I know, maybe I'm a sap, but it's more than simply liking men in uniform I assure you :-)

Second Class Citizens 

My partner and I have been together for three years, that's a long time in any relationship these days. I love my partner mor than words can express, he's my oxygen, I think of him every day, I love all aspects of who he is as a person. I'm lucky to have a family that are open to our relationship and care for him as I do. Mum (mom for you Yankee readers) has asked from time to time about marriage.

At this point I gently remind her that it's illegal in Australia for gays to be married. She suggests that a commitment ceremony would be nice. I'm adamant that I will not partipate in a ceremony that I believe reinforces my status as a second class citizen. Until I can be married to the man I love and I'm afforded the rights associated with that union from law, I won't do it. What do you think? I'm cool with other gay folk who want to do this, but it's not what I want to do.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay"

A Brave Young Man (This is a Stock Image I think)

A Great Blog To Share with Str8 Parents Who Hold Onto Hate

I came across this blog which a friend had posted to his facebook wall this morning. It's a great story about one very brave young man living in a very conservative Christian neighbourhood. It could be Provo, it could be Sandy or Salt Lake City. Take a moment to read the blog. It's also a good story to share with any parents that you know may be struggling with their child's sexuality.

Read Responses to the his blog here. The original blog post "I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay" was posted by Dan 14 November, 2011.

Single Day Laughing


You can read all about Dan Pearce and his son Noah at his Blog "Single Dad Laughing". He's seems like an awesome Str8 guy, with a beautiful son and is compassionate to all sorts of people. The world seems a better place with people like Dan.

NOTE: I included a link in the image above to the Blog, but Blogger does not seem to like this, it links to an error page. Sorry, I'm not sure why that's the case.

GLBTI Mormon Dinner

We have a facebook group "Aussie Gay Mormons". The site is a little active, we recently had about 6 guys join our happy throng! A young guy from Sydney's west asked about a catch up with the group. We've had a few dinners over the years, usually held at a gay friendly bar or pub. So, it looks like we'll have another one shortly. He commented that it would be nice to meet other gay LDS members and to talk with them about what life is like as a member of the Church, not that all still carry membership. For each of us the experience has been quite different.

Canadians Are Cool

I recently caught up with a Canadian girlfriend who had lived in Melbourne but went home to Canada about three and a half years ago. She got married to what she thought was the perfect man, RM, BUY Alumni, Temple Worker, MTC Teacher and they lived in Provo. The marriage lasted about two years and he finally just gave up and left Church and she in turn left him. Not because he stopped going to Church, but there were many changes in his life and she no longer felt he was the man she married. Good call for her, she's happy and life is good. She's in Australia for a holiday with a girlfriend from Canada.

We managed to catch up for a lunch at my office, I literally had an hour, a busy day. She asked that question that always makes be cringe a little "Are you still going to Church?". I decided some time ago that lying about that was not a good idea, so of course I told her the truth. Almost three years down the track, I still find it hard to say "I'm gay". So I usually say something like "I finally came out of the closet". I'm not sure why that is easier. She's Canadian so with that I make a general assumption that she's open minded, I was right. (I do love Canadians). She was cool, even supportive. She has other gay friends and is aware of the struggles we go through. We enjoyed our lunch, had a few laughs and then she was off to catch up with her girlfriend who was enjoying the Sydney Opera House.

RM Loves Me As A Brother

I also caught up with a friend from Virginia, he'd served his mission here in Sydney. Over the years I've caught up a few times with he, his wife and family while in the US on business or holidays. He's a great guy and yes I had a crush on him many years ago, I suppose I still do, he's a great guy and a good member of the Church. I noticed on Facebook that his wife had remarried and was living in Utah. This obviously meant my friend was divorced and so I sent him a note to pass on my regards and to be supportive of him in what I can only imagine must have been a difficult time. His two boys are living with his ex wife, now on opposite sides of the US.

I took this opportunity to tell him I'd "come out" with the hope he'd take that news in the way I hoped. He didn't respond for almost two months and I must admit I thought I'd lost him as a friend. I was wrong, he responded, apologised for the delay and told me he would always love me as a brother. You can imagine my relief. He said he was never aware of my situation and the challenge it must have been over the years.

Why "On My Way Out"

I called this blog "On my way out" for a reason, because it's a journey. Maybe one day I'll start a new blog "I'm Out" however I imagine that URL has already been taken. Got any suggestions?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Funeral

Well, the funeral for Sister Williams was beautiful. The chapel was filled with amazing flowers and a wonderful feeling of love and admiration for this amazing women. I picked up my friends at 8:10am from Melbourne, Sister Hamilton and her two daughters who are about my age.


We then went to a nice cafe in Redfern on a beautiful tree lined street. Being Autumn, the street is majestic, colorful and relaxing. We enjoyed some breakfast sitting outside and chatted for almost three hours. The sun was shining after three days of non stop rain and flooding across the city.


The conversation was a catch up, it had been almost four years since I had seen the girls. We spoke about Sister Williams, our memories and the quirky things she did that made us laugh. In the back of my mind was the idea that I wanted to "come out" to these guys, but this day was all about Sister Williams. I didn't want to spoil that in any way.


We went to the chapel, we stopped at a supermarket on the way to buy tissues, a prudent decision as we'd discover later at the funeral. This was the first time I'd been back to the chapel since I stopped attending Church, it's been about two and a half years I think. I saw people in my old Ward, my old Bishop, members of my High Priest Quorum and others.


How did this make me feel? 

Well, I suppose I was so focussed on Sister Williams and the event of the day that I didn't think too much about where I was. At the same time I found myself often referring to "we" or "us" as in the normal process of conversation, I was referring to my partner. One sister approached me with her usual question"are you here alone? Do you have anyone with you?". Well, I had my friends from Melbourne, but that's not what she meant. I really wanted to say "my partner's not here today, he's at work and couldn't make it". But that didn't quite eventuate.


There were tears, which for me was a combination of tears for Sister Williams, but also for me and my wanting to tell people about my life. Many of these people I've known for 20 years, they are my friends, they love me and I love them.


As we arrived at the chapel, a very good friend - almost my "other mother" (I have a few of those at Church) approached the four of us. She said "here are two of my favorite people in the world". I thought "that the!" (I knew she was joking). She then said "I have a kiss for my favorite people" I received one of those kisses. As we left the funeral I have a her a big hug and said "I miss you" to which she responded "I miss you too". I know she knows I'm gay and that I have a partner, I felt no judgement or malice from her.


So where does this leave me? 

Well, I think it's about making small steps to include these people in my life again and to begin to share those things which are most precious to me, my partner is one of those things. I'll keep you posted on how things progress.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Sad Day

An Elegant Lady 

I had a call from my old Bishop on Sunday evening, he called to tell me that Sister Williams had passed away. Sister Williams was in her 70's, a beautiful, elegant Maori sister from New Zealand. She was a classy lady, sharp and very active.


She'd had two liver transplants in her life and it was cancer that finally took her life. I met her 20 years ago when I first moved to the Sydney and I'd been in her Ward on and off over the years. I'd been her Home Teacher and then when I was ordained a High Priest, we again met more regularly as she was a single older sister. High Priests have a responsibility over this group of sisters within the ward.


The Opportunity Being

This means I have a funeral to attend this week. It's been just over two years since I stopped going to Church, I've been once to attend a good friend's daughters baptism. The challenge or opportunity here is that I will see a group of people whom I care about, but have exiled myself from for the past two years albeit facebook updates and the odd email.


At this stage, anyone I really care about knows I'm gay and most probably know I'm in a relationship with a fabulous guy. "Fabulous" being my word, probably not theirs.


Added Complication

I'm really bad at funerals, by that I mean I could attend a strangers funeral and cry like a baby. I'm shocking. After the phone call on Sunday from my old Bishop, I sent an SMS (text message) and a few facebook updates to mutual friends who are not in Sydney. I thought they'd want to know about Sister Williams.


A friend from Melbourne called, the mother of some friends. She had been friends with Sister Williams for almost 40 years, they knew and loved her and they also love me. When this sister called, I lost it. I balled on the phone like a baby. She had said that just three weeks ago she was talking with Sister Williams and she mentioned me. She said "I wish Derek was still here, I miss him, he was always so kind to me and helpful".


That's what set me off. You see about two months ago a friend contacted me and said Sister Williams was asking after me and that I should call her. Like many of you, meeting up with members of the Church once you've made your "coming out" a reality can be difficult. This was difficult. You can imagine how I felt.


However, the call from my friend in Melbourne and her passing on the comments from Sister Williams meant the world to me.


A Lesson Learnt

There are people out there whom I love, who I've shared life experiences with that I've separated myself from. I don't want to feel again the feelings I felt when Bishop called, the feeling that I'd missed a chance to tell someone that I love them. It's not so much about "coming out" to them, it's just reengaging with them and behaving as friends behave.

Life's too short, get out there and tell those important to you that you love them. At the same time, you need to keep your expectations in check about how they'll respond given your sexuality.  



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama - Mormon and Gay

I've been watching the US election build up from Australia. I have an app on the iPad from USA Today with loads of great graphs and numbers. I think we all sighed with relief with Santorum dropped out of the race this week, he terrified me.


I saw today that Santorum bought his three daughter a life time membership to the NRA! What the... There aren't words to describe the type of person that in some way thought their three year old daughter would love something like that.


In the USA Today iPad app I read a story of the genealogy of Romney and Obama. Both have polygamists on their past. How hysterical is that! Obama's ancestors from Africa had a number of wires, in fact I think it said his great grandfather married a pair of sisters, among the many wives. Nine in total I think.


 


So as we are almost ready to stare down the barrel of a two man race to the White House, both have polygamists in their past, one is filthy rich, the other is doing ok, one is white, one is blackish, one is a conservative LDS member, the other is a more mainstream Christian.


Besides all these differences, which I really don't care about, it's their view on discrimination in the workplace that bothers me today. Tomorrow it will be something else, but today I read how Obama look like he's not going to sign the Executive Order Banning LGBT Workplace Discrimination.


What sort of a message does this send to young gay people, it's outrageous. It's like saying:


"You've been picked on at school and no one protected you, welcome to the workplace. Someone can pick on you and you still won't have any protection, you're gay, you don't matter to society"


OUTRAGEOUS!


In Australia when I feel things are not as they should be, I write to my local member of parliament. For those in the US, I suppose this means writing to your congressman. I'd encourage you to do so.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Connecting Via Facebook

A few years ago, an LDS guy here in Sydney started a facebook page called "Aussie Gay Mormons". He decided to "leave" facebook last year and asked if I wanted to take over as the administrator of that page.


Sure, I'm on facebook most days sharing insights into my view of the world and sharing photographs etc from road trips. Why not.


As I watched some of the videos from the guys and gals at BYU - the "It Gets Better" campaign, I was inspired that they mentioned how social media and blogs were one way that they were able to discover that they weren't alone.


So, our little facebook group plods along. We have highs and lows of activity amongst the group. I'm now motivated to do more and try and get the group more engaged. Really, it's about providing an opportunity for those who want to reach out and talk with someone. We have a group of guys and a few girls who have been through the coming out process and can offer and LDS view into being gay.


Feel free to look for us on facebook.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

BYU Students Come Out On Campus

WOW!



These kids are brave, good on them. I've included a few links below to some of these amazing guys and gals who have come out to help you understand that it really does get better.


You can watch John Patrick share his very Utah LDS Gay experience:





Here's some links to some other amazing LDS guys and gals.


It Gets Better BYU - Nathan C.

It Gets Better BYU - Heather

It Gets Better BYU - Adam


Show your support for these guys, login to YouTube and say thank you.

"You're welcome to come along"

A close girlfriend and I drove down to Canberra on Thursday to spend a couple of days with her brother for Easter. I had to be back Saturday night so I'd be here to pick up my man from his overseas holiday Sunday morning.


She has an old friend in Canberra, they served together for six months in the mission field. The friend knows I'm gay and also knows that my friend is less active. I dropped her off Friday afternoon then went for a drive around Canberra to find a cafe, read, blog and then pick her up a few hours later.


When I arrived to pick her up, her girlfriend and her husband greeted me at the door. There was some polite conversation and I could see they were off to Church for what I assumed was an Easter fireside on Good Friday. She and her husband were dressed for Church.


What happened next was something that I'd done many many times myself in the past when meeting less active members of the Church. She said "You're welcome to join us if you'd like". There was no malice, no mean spirit, if anything a little humour because I think she knew what the response would be.


What struck me though was that I was identified as a less active Church member. I hadn't really thought of myself like that before, so this was a new experience. It's been two and half years since I stopped going to Church, besides a close friend's child's baptism, I've not stepped inside an LDS chapel since. It hasn't been a conscious decision to not step in a Church, there just hasn't been a reason to do so.


How did I feel? Nothing much really, it just caused me to reflect a little. My girlfriend had watched the recent April 2012 General Conference and suggested I take a look at Elder Uchtdorf's talk. He talks of mercy and as has been my experience, many LDS folks don't seem to get mercy. He also cites a bumper sticker he saw which said:


"Don't judge me because I sin differently to you".


What a great sticker. As I've said in my blog previously, I've been richly blessed with wonderful LDS friends who have not judged and have loved me for who I am. However I read many blogs from Gay LDS members in the US and other parts of the world. However the US seems to be the worst, I wish all Gay LDS could move to Australia, life is good. It really does get better.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Distance Does Make The Heart Grow Fonder

My partner went home to Iran two and a half weeks ago, he's due home this coming Easter Sunday. We've emailed almost daily and had a Skype chat or two.


I've managed to keep myself busy, work has been very busy and I managed to arrange dinner dates with friends to distract myself in his absence.


The thing I hate the most is going to bed alone, which generally translates to me staying up and watching tv or working and going to bed as I fall asleep on my keyboard or on the couch.


Mum came to visit for 6 days last week, it was great to have her in town. She and my partner get along really well which means so much to me.


I had a friend stay over last night, he's heading home to Canada for a few weeks. He lives about an hour by train from the airport. We're literally 2 min train ride to the airport. So staying over here last night meant he could get up at a reasonable hour and be at the airport in minutes.


His partner dropped in to say hi, it was the first time I've met him. He's a dashingly handsome Colombian.


This weekend I'm heading to Canberra, the national capital, with a girlfriend and we'll stay with her brother. Then home Saturday night so I'm here in time to pick up my man when he arrives home at 6:30am Sunday from the Middle East.


So three weeks of being alone will be replaced with the familiar sounds of my partner being home. Being in a relationship with someone you love is worth more than I can express.


If this is something you're pondering, don't wait until your mid thirties like I did, grab life with two hands and grab that someone you love with both hands and take a chance. It's worth the outcome.


One other thing. The coming out process has been so much easier than I thought. I have a good friend, his wife and daughters coming to visit from Melbourne this Easter weekend. I finally came out to them on a business trip to Melbourne a few months ago. They were cool, they want to meet my partner, so we're catching up this Easter weekend.


Of all my LDS (Mormon) friends, whom I've come out to, have been supportive of me and my decision. I've been so lucky, but at the same time these are people I've loved and cared for over many years. Should my sexuality change that relationship? I don't think so.


Please share your experiences so anyone else reading this blog may gain some insight into the coming out process.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Distance makes the heart grow fonder

On Friday my partner flew home to the Middle East, he's gone for three weeks. He hasn't been home for two years, so seeing family will be extra special this visit. In addition his grandmother passed away a few months ago, so this visit will be tinged with sadness.


I'm missing him already, in addition I have a toothache which I'm sure is going to result in an extraction.


The pain killers and the odd G&T are helping keep the discomfort at bay until I can get to the dentist on Monday.


From time to time I question the level of my love for my partner, I think this is more about self doubt than anything else. I had this conversation many years ago with a close family friend, almost my second mother. I told her I couldn't understand why someone would love me like a lover should.


She responded that I deserve that love and that anyone would be lucky to have me. That was nice for my ego, but it reinforced for me that I deserve all the love possible that comes from a relationship.


That my life has played out in such a way that I'm lucky enough to find a man to love and to be loved in return, means the world to me.


I'm at a point in my life where I feel I deserve that love and enjoy the ability to give that love.


So, with my partner away I remain here at home confident in the love I have for him and he for me.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras from Sydney

Apologies for my absence, it's been almost 12 months. This coming Saturday Sydney will host the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. This Mardi Gras will be extra special, my mum is coming in from out of town and my sister will be flying in from South Australia. It will be a fun evening, we're living it up at the GlamStand with great views of the parade.


A photo of some Christians who can carry that title with pride.
SOURCE:  Craig Jewell Photography
The past twelve months have been pretty awesome. Living with my partner has provided challenges and delights, more delights than challenges. Work is going well, we're busy which is a relief given the current state of the global economy.


I'll do my best to get back on track with a few more regular posts. Thank you for your support and comments. I also need to tabulate the survey results, thank you to the 53 people who responded, I will get these results out in the next month or so. I've just finished a major survey for work, so I should do it while my brain is in that zone.