August 16, 2015

The Challenges of Gay Mormon Dating

I am an out, gay mormon. People in my life know this fact about me. If someone asks me, I have no problem telling them. I am ok living with the contradictions that come from being a gay mormon. But now I am throwing in a new twist—I have a boyfriend! If you didn't know that—and few people do—now you know. Though, this weekend, I realized just how uncomfortable I am with people knowing I am in a relationship.

That's odd right? I took my boyfriend to a friend's housewarming party and I chickened out as introduced him as my "friend". I know that several of the people there know I am gay. So I am left wondering, what makes me so uncomfortable with them knowing I am in a relationship. I think I might have finally figured this out.

Being a gay mormon is acceptable –

It hasn't always been acceptable to be an openly gay mormon. In fact, in some places, being out is still akin to sinning. For the most part, the lay membership of the church has come around to being ok with knowing someone who is gay. I may not be embraced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but at least I am not completely shunned.

It is easy to be authentic at church, as long as I prescribe to the standards set by the church and it's membership. If I stay quiet on my socially liberal views in Sunday School, I am welcomed and encouraged to join the class. If my social media posts remain quiet and unnoticed, my LDS friends won't block me. If I am Peter Priesthood who "struggles with SSA", I am held up as someone who is noble.

Being a gay mormon hasn't always been this "easy". Things have come a long way. There is still a lot to be done but the church is a little more accepting than they were five years ago. Once I divert from the straight (not strait) and narrow path ahead of me, I become a social pariah again.

Having a boyfriend is stepping out of line –

I think I have discovered why I am so scared to announce my relationship with another man. By doing so, I again step into the obscure. I will no longer be the man "struggling with SSA". I will be the one who is "embracing the lifestyle" that separates me from God.

The church and it's members will have a harder time accepting or tolerating me when I move beyond that blurry line. Once I entered into a relationship, I am everything the church stands against. 

Imagine I entered in the housewarming party and introduced my boyfriend as such. I might have been greeted with contempt, or asked not to bring my "lifestyle" so abrasively to their home. I might have been ignored and tolerated until I left and then spoken of negatively. 

I believe my friends wouldn't be so unkind. But then again, this is uncharted territory for me and most definitely for them. Not too many years ago, just coming out as a single gay man was met with attempts to counsel the gay out or pray it away. It was not tolerated like it is today.

Starting all over again –

So what can I do? How do I become comfortable again in the darkness of obscurity? I suppose I must go back to the beginning. I would need to come out all over again. I would need to be ok with the uncomfortable, awkward situations like when I first came out. 

When I came out, I had to deal with going to church in what felt like a hostile environment. I had to be ok with people judging me, avoiding me or trying to correct my ways. It was hard. I don't want to do this all over. But if I want to stay in the church to any degree, I have to.

It took years for me to be comfortable in my own identity at church. It took even longer for local church leadership to be ok with me attending their ward on my own terms. It took time for members who knew I was gay to treat me normally. But now that I am in a relationship, it is going to take even more time.

Pushing the boundaries –

This might be the beginning of the end. My final disciplinary council might be sooner than later. I may be walking to my own excommunication for having a boyfriend. I hope not. I am not ready or wanting to leave the church. But I am once again pushing the boundaries of the church's comfort. I am once again testing the elasticity of the local leadership's acceptance. I am once again finding out who are my true friends. 

Pushing boundaries is never comfortable. It is hard. It can sometimes be painful. But if I am ever to be happy in this life, and this life is that man "might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25), then I need to push. I can only hope that I am met with love and acceptance, as I try to follow what I believe God wants for me and my life.


  1. Interesting thoughts.

    I felt the same sense of anxiety when I started being public about being in a relationship. To those who knew I am gay it wasn't even an issue to say "This is my boyfriend (insert name here)". Those who didn't quite know I was out it became "This is (insert name here)"--no further explanation and I let them think whatever they wanted.

    In time it became more comfortable to deal with the whole thing and not even care what people think or what reactions they'll have--the key in my opinion is: Be factual and don't make a big deal out of it--you will see that neither will people--really they won't care as you progress from "this is (insert name here)" to "This is my boyfriend/partner/husband" it will just be be natural thing.

    1. Miguel, thanks for the comment. I think you are right, little bits, over time will help me become more comfortable with things. It is just sad we still cannot not be who we are because of fear.

  2. Just a wrote that "It's easy to be authentic at church," and then went on to list a bunch of things that you must do at church in order to fit in. They all seemed a bit inauthentic to me. (I don't mean that to come off as calling you a liar or anything.) Why is it that if we are gay, and we are open about it, that we still have to hide our thoughts and feelings? Why can't you express your liberal views in Sunday School? Why do you have to keep your social media posts quiet and unnoticeable? Is it so that they won't judge you? So they will accept you? It's quite the pitiful existence to be honest...and I say that admitting that when I'm around LDS people I do the same thing. I always kick myself for it afterwards. This is one of the main reasons I don't go to church on Sundays...I can't spend all that time acting.

    1. James, you are absolutely right! I have become so accustom to not being authentic, that now I feel the fake me is authentic. It is very sad, and until you pointed it out, I never realized it.

      I need to work on being more authentic, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I guess it's time for some others to feel uncomfortable at church and experience what it is like to be me ;)

  3. Just a random passer by (not mormon, though a man attracted to men).

    I really liked your level headed post and I think that MOHO is a great idea (for each person to post their own perspective)

    In case it's useful, two minor typos:
    - hostel --> hostile
    - you wrote: "It was tolerated like it is today." I think you meant "It was not tolerated like it is today."

    1. Thanks Niall for stopping by. I'm curious how you came to find my blog?

      Thanks for the corrections, I don't always see those when I am editing.

  4. I loved reading your comments. As a 61-year old Gay Mormon I empathize with all that you discussed. I had removed myself from the records of the Church shortly after my 17-year marriage. I lived in Southern California and enjoyed hanging out with gay friends. When I made my difficult choice a few years ago to come back to Church and have all of my blessings restored I felt great. Now I feel lonely as can be, but at least my ward is extremely supportive of me, even though I still feel like a freak. Anyway...I noticed that in the above comments you commented a lot about the Church and Church members attitudes toward your decisions. I agree that we do put a lot of stock in how we are thought of by Church members. What I have done is to ask myself what Heavenly Father and Jesus think about the lifestyle "choices" I made. I really don't give a d*** what the Church and it's members think. Rather, I want our loving Savior to be proud of me, and I know he is a lot more patient and understanding than Church members. Just a thought. I think it is a good thing that you are doing what you feel is right for you, though.

    1. I so agree with you John. It is like we are conditions in Primary to give added weight to what the church and its members think of ourselves. Really we should ONLY care what God thinks of us. Thank you for your reminder of that!