June 23, 2013

Questions From the Niece and Nephew

My oldest brother and his family came to visit us a couple weeks ago. It has been years since his whole family have been here. On the last Saturday I went for a walk with my sister, and our nephew (10) and niece (8). They wanted to walk the dog and my sister is a little over protective so she insisted on going. About half way through the walk, my niece asked my sister why she wasn't married.

In case you didn't know my sister, who is 4th in birth order, is a lesbian.

I was walking behind them and listened and my sister artfully and skillfully tell my niece, that not everyone wants to marry. She told her that she doesn't want to marry, and probably never will. That elicited a few related questions from my niece, but overall I think she was somewhat satisfied with the answer, though confused why anyone would want to stay single. That topic of conversation ended with this comment from my niece, "It's ok. I like you and Trevor single, just how you are."

The following day I sat with my brothers family in sacrament in the center pews. Usually I sit on the side pews with an elderly woman who I am very fond of and she with me (a story about her another time). I knew I would not partake of the sacrament but thought the kids would be distracted and not notice my passing it by when the time came, as they have in the past. What I didn't think about was the sustaining of callings.

When it came time to sustain callings and I didn't raise my hand, my niece (8), and nephew (10) asked me why. I said quickly and quietly I would tell them later. The next round of sustainings came and they tried to physically force my arm up. I of course resisted and again whispered to them, no. They acted quite confused. Then came the Sacrament.

For the bread, it was able to pass without much notice by my niece and nephew. Then came the water. For whatever reason our pew, which was just my brothers family and I, were skipped. My brother had to get the attention of one of the Deacons after the line of them started to walk toward the front. The Deacon noticed and brought a tray of water to the row. I saw as it was making its way down to me that there were only two cups left, and three people. I thought to myself it was perfect, since I wouldn't take one.

I tried to signal to my sister-in-law that I didn't need a cup, but she already got the Deacon to go get another tray of water. I didn't get her in time. The tray came down the whole pew just for me to get a cup and I refused. My niece and nephew encouraged me and told me to take it and I said no quietly, at which point my sister-in-law passed it back. My niece and nephew, sitting on either side of me, asked why I didn't take it. I again, whispered I would tell them after church.

In Sunday school, I wrote on my iPhone notepad to my sister-in-law and brother the following:
"FYI S and A were asking why I wasn't raising my hand in sacrament and why I didn't take the sacrament. I kinda delayed answer saying "after church". Not sure what you want me to say or if you wanna handle it."

My philosophy is that my being gay is something I don't want to hide from my nieces and nephews, but I also want to respect my siblings judgment on what age is appropriate to discuss it with them. Hence the note to them during Sunday School.

My brother, between Sunday School and Priesthood, told me he would talk to the two older kids about it. He had just given them the sex talk a few weeks back and would talk to them about people not taking the Sacrament and what that means. I told him, that I want to respect his decision on when to tell them about my being gay, but when that time comes, I would like to be involved in it. He agreed that was fine, and stated he wasn't sure when he would bring that up with them, but stated it would need to be soon.

We had a good conversation about things. He said he didn't like to ask questions about being gay because he wanted to respect my privacy. I told him that I am open and more than willing to talk about things. Apparently he didn't remember when I him I was disfellowshipped three years ago. So it was good to be able to talk to him about some things. It was also nice to be able to talk to him about these things in church, waiting for Priesthood to start. A great personal triumph for a gay Mormon.

I am trying to live very honestly with being gay and I want my nieces and nephews to know that they can always come talk to me about it. However they are all still young, the oldest is ten years old I'm sure in time there will be more questions, like those from my niece about not being married. Hopefully one day there will be questions about the guy I live with and love. I do, however, want to respect my siblings wishes about when their kids learn about things. However, once they are 14-16 I'd say if they ask, I'm going to be honest no matter what my siblings say about it.


  1. This is definitely something to think about (nieces and nephews that is). I get the importance of respecting the wishes of your siblings, but I hope they respect your wish to portray you in a positive light and allow your nieces and nephews to have a conversation with you.

  2. I have been in that position before. Wish I had an answer. From what I can see you're handling it just right.

  3. This is interesting. I haven't had to deal with this much, but my nieces and nephews are now 'teenagers' and it isn't something that we talk about. It probably is something to start talking about. Thanks for the post.

  4. Knowing the right age to talk about things is difficult. I hope to live an honest life, where they will feel safe to come ask questions when they are old enough to understand.