Afterward, we went to get a bite to eat and we talked for a while. It was very nice! He finally did the Elmer Fudd laugh, it was great! And he felt more at ease with me, brushing up against me with his arms and hands. I think we are getting to know each other in a good healthy way.
As we talked, we broached the subject of Josh Weed and his exit from the closet http://www.joshweed.com/2012/06/club-unicorn-in-which-i-come-out-of.html?spref=fb. The kid pointed me to two posts by the beloved Dan Savage. Be forewarned, there is crude and crass language in these slog posts!
I think there is a point to be made about this. I thanked the kid for pointing these to me. But since I came across it the last Thursday and observed the immense traffic in the Mormon and non-Mormon blogosphere, I was hesitant to read the blog. The longer I waited, the more frustrated I became at the many people sending me emails, text messages, facebook links to the blog. Most were from my friends who are quite active Mormons. I paused for a moment to reflect on why there was so much affirmative fascination with this story.
I asked myself why is the Mormon community, by and large, so excited, interested, compassionate, and fascinated by this story? What is it about this story of a gay man getting married that is so compelling to them? So I acquiesced and read the blog. I found it an authentic personal story, despite its incoherent and weak logic. As I read, I couldn't help but ask about the implications this story (despite its personal/individuated nature) would have on the Mormon community.
Many have read this and rightly asserted that this story will raise and elicit questions and declarations from family members, friends, and ecclesiastical leaders of gay men and women, "See Josh did it, and for that matter Ty, so can you!" (for Ty's story see the following http://ldsliving.com/story/68799-living-with-same-sex-attraction-our-story?page=1)
I agree that is one implication, but not the only one. As I reflected on the traction this story gained, and the amazing responses from the Mormon community about this story, I couldn't help but be chary of that optimism and overwhelming positive energy. What is the cause of this interest?
I quickly realized that this story and others like it simply reify or reinforce the assumptions that all people ought to fit the heterosexual Mormon mold. In other words, it reinforced for them what they already believed about sexuality, it reinforced for them their beliefs about gender norms and roles, it reinforced for them their beliefs about what constitutes happiness, it reinforced for them that problems such as "homosexuality" is a "personal" struggle and can be overcome by the correct use of agency. Josh's account reinforced this for them. This story is an Uncle Tom account of gay men in the church. By this I mean, an account of an individual that is overly eager to gain the acceptance of the dominant order, by uncritical acceptance of the logic of success laid out for them. This story gained traction in the Mormon community, because it does not threaten, it does not give pause for members to think critically about their church culture, their worldviews, their paradigms. Rather it's a story of acquiescence. This story simply says the Mormon institutions and systems and culture are correct and good. As a result, for many this story is "great," "interesting," "faithful and hopeful," precisely because it does not "rock the boat."
Yet, the boat itself, I think is in serious need of remodeling!