Friday, June 29, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing + a video of Tessa + a FAQ answer

I had one of those "duh!" moments yesterday about the whole forum vs. Facebook thing.

I was really into it--reading thoroughly everybody's input about why a forum would be better than Facebook or vice versa (which by the way, thanks so much for that, I wouldn't have been able to think it through clearly without your guys' input), and I was feeling very stressed and like "Oh, guys, we're in trouble here. Don't people know that I have ADD so bad that it's kind of a miracle that I even have a blog?"

And then in a moment of insight where angels sang the Hallelujah chorus in 27 part harmony and clouds parted and all of trees and nature sighed a collective sigh of relief, I realized the solution:

Keep everything the same.

Why am I fighting so hard to move this conversation? This conversation originated right here, and the conversation is spontaneously happening right here. Why am I so dead-set on moving it? Sure, now my posts have spin-off conversations so long that, if printed out, they might span the distance between North America and Europe. But that's a good sign. That's a sign that things are working and that people feel comfortable talking. That we feel safe in this space, and we feel like we can say hard things and still like each other. And I'm really, really glad about that.

Plus, the conversation remaining here resolves most of the (very legitimate) concerns people voiced about the other alternatives. Anonymity? Check. Not letting the conversation run with itself so that it takes on a life of its own and becomes something different than what it started out to be? Check. Ensuring that I don't get too distracted to remain a part of the conversation? Check. Keeping moderation needs to a minimum? Check.

And not only that, but it struck me as really funny when I took a step back. Here I was, reading a huge, awesome conversation with tons of brilliant responses to a question I asked here on the blog. It was like "Wow, reading this very vibrant, self-managing conversation about where to have vibrant, self-managing conversations has been really enlightening. I wonder where the right place to have vibrant self-sustaining conversations will end up being??? *thinky face*

Yeah. Sometimes I'm a little slow.

So, at least for now, here we will remain. Right here on our humble little Weed blog. Talking about issues and getting to know each other and talking about deep, real things in a respectful, honest way that will increase understanding and promote civility and help us see things in new ways.

(Have I mentioned? Thank you all for being so incredible and open and real and for wanting to talk about this stuff.)

I still have ideas for both a forum and a Facebook group, but they are concepts that are different than the current conversation, and thus can wait a while to be unveiled.

Also: Disqus? Discuss.

In other news, Tessa, my youngest does the cutest thing on earth now. Okay, probably it's just cute to her parents, but you're about to see it anyway. When you ask her, "How are you doing, Tessa?" instead of saying "good" she says, "geeee" (pronounced like the beginning of the word "geese".) And she does it every time without fail.

In this video she's "jumping off the ottoman" by which I mean to say she's using it as a trampoline because she can't figure out how to jump off the ottoman.

Yeah, this might be kinda interesting to Tessa's grandparents and approximately nobody else. Oh well, I'm posting it anyway.

One day our little Tessa will learn how to jump off of ottomans really "geeee".

Aaand, last but not least, a question:

When you are having sex with your wife, are you fantasizing about men?

This is a totally understandable question, and I can definitely see why people are asking it. Obviously this is really personal, but I'll try to answer. I realize that some people will choose not to believe what I'm saying. That's their prerogative. All I can do is tell my truth.

I think this question comes up a lot because people assume that the only way that I could function sexually as a homosexual man having sex with a woman would be to have my mind be somewhere else. This is false. Sex is about a lot more than that.

For me, fantasizing about anybody during intimacy doesn't feel right. I do not fantasize about anything when I am intimate with Lolly. I am there, with her, in that moment. When she and I are together, it's important to me that she know that I am being intimate with her. The experience is ours. It is simultaneous and mutual and filled with love. Being present with her is important to me. Anything else feels disrespectful and doesn't honor the love I have for her.

Now, the answer to how that works is probably also a valid question, but one that might deserve its own post some day.

All right, peace out. I'm about to take my wife out on a date. And when I say "about to" what I mean is that I'm literally in the parking lot at Panera Bread using their wifi with Lolly looking at me like "are we ever going to go inside and eat, or were you planning on just being on a date with the Internet tonight...?"

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thinking--and a question

Lolly is out walking with some friends, and I'm sitting here, reflective.

If this were one month ago, I would be trying as hard as I could to think up some funny or awkward moment of my life to transform into a humor post. 

Today, I'm allowed to actually speak.

I think my blog has finally accidentally become a place where I can be my true, authentic self. And there's little on this planet I cherish more than that idea. 

In fact, that's one of the things that got this whole Club Unicorn thing started. I was sitting upstairs in my bed trying to write a humor post. I stopped and started and stopped and started and was unable to write anything, and I had no idea why. Lolly came in and said "What's wrong?" I didn't know. I told her that I thought I had writer's block. 

And she, knowing me better than I even know myself at times, thought for a moment and then said "I know what's wrong. You are feeling inauthentic. You are tired of hiding parts of yourself. You are not the type of person who keeps secrets."

Her words resonated deeply. 

After letting that truth sink in I said, "You're right. I never would have come up with that on my own, but you are exactly right." 

It was true. I wanted to be able to be myself. All of myself. I wanted to tell a gay joke about myself like I can with my family. I wanted to be real with my experience--with all of my experience. Being gay is not an all-consuming piece of who I am. But it is a part of who I am. It's a part of my life. It is a part of my experience on this earth. 

This month, it's been a pretty big deal--more so than it ever has been. But I have no doubt that in months to come it will take its normal place in my life: a feature; a side-note; a truth that comes up at times; a thing that I experience. Nothing all-defining. Nothing overwhelming. But there, existent, a part of my world. 

Being able to write freely about this thing--not feeling like I have to protect a huge secret--is absolutely freeing. It's exhilarating. It's liberating. It's refreshing. 

I love it. And I find myself feeling so grateful. 

I see now that that's why, when Lolly said what she said that afternoon, something clicked. That was the first time we contemplated in any kind of serious way the idea of not hiding this part of our lives anymore. We thought through all the people we know, made lists of who we'd need to tell, who we'd need to email. We made it a matter of prayer. That conversation was the genesis of a huge shift and an important spiritual journey for us. It was the genesis of what has become part of a conversation that is broader than we ever imagined, and that we still don't even understand.

And how fitting that--even though the thought of USING the blog itself didn't cross our minds as a way to be more open until months later--it was writing here, writing in The Weed, that brought the issue to our minds in the very first place.

God is a clever one at times, isn't he?

Also, I have a question for you guys. There are two directions I can go with moving the Club Unicorn discussion. I love that the discussion is happening, and I really am aching to find it a better home. Both of the things I'm proposing are ready to go, but I'm just not sure which to choose. So, I want to ask you all:

Club Unicorn Forum (with login requirement), or Club Unicorn Facebook Page?


Oh, wait! Before you go, I want to answer one the FAQ's about the Club Unicorn post. Here goes:

I have known a lot of homosexual males who were sexually abused by men as children? Were you ever sexually abused? If so, do you think that's why you are gay?

This is a valid question, and I'm glad it was asked various times so that I can clear up this potential mis-conception. 

I was never sexually abused, or abused in any other fashion, as a child. So if you have never met a gay man who wasn't sexually abused, you have now. Nice to meet you. *gives a hearty handshake*

I know, as a clinician and through other venues, of various male victims of childhood sexual abuse who are gay, but I also know many such victims who are not gay. There is correlation here perhaps (though I've never seen it in an actual study), but not causation.

All right, back to what I was asking before:

Club Unicorn Forum (with login requirement), or Club Unicorn Facebook Page?

Go! For reals this time!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

When Nightline comes to visit, your kids WILL be awkward.

Oh man.

Okay, so last post was a philosophical discussion about being "gaymous." (Did you see what I did there?)

The comments on that post are absolutely beautiful, and they helped Lolly and me immensely. I went to the temple yesterday morning, and several of the comments stayed with me and brought me a great deal of peace and clarity regarding why this whole thing is happening. Thanks so much for being so gracious. I want to frame many of those comments and read them every day. Thank you. Seriously.

So, here's some more Nightline stuff.

First story:

Our couches are absolutely nasty. They are hand-me-downs that were hand-me-downs. If I were at home right now, I'd just snap a picture, but I'm not so I'm gonna have to describe this to you. Think floral print. Think floral print from the 90's. Think bright pink floral print from the 90's that is now so old that it's fading and there are swaths of cushion exposed. Basically think of the gaudiest, most faded, bulky couches you could imagine. Now times that by 10 and add the stains and stickiness that come from three girls six and under. Then multiply that by "one of the main back cushions hangs off like a dead body" and add "when we get rid of these things we will have to burn them because the dump will probably consider them a bio-hazard."

It's rough, is what I'm saying.

Oh, I have a partial picture:

This is Tessa. I took this picture for a post about being a stay-at-home dad. Note: the couches.

So. We decided that for Nightline, we would borrow nice couches. We swapped our floral behemoths for some nice leather couches owned by Konrad and Ashlee Crabtree, our friends down the street.

It was quite the process for Konrad and me because it's a four-piece sectional. And also because I have no depth perception and thus have difficulty with things like "carrying couches through doors" and "not missing cement steps as I walk."

We got it all set up perfectly, and it looked amazing.

Cut to Nightline walking into our house Wednesday morning.

Pretty much the first words uttered? "All, right, we're gonna have to move those couches out of the way so we can do the interview..." *starts pushing the couches into the dining room*

So yeah, word to the wise: if you are ever interviewed for TV, you will be interviewed on kitchen chairs. No matter how nice your borrowed couches look.

Second story:

About half-way through the interview, the kids came home from school/being watched by a friend. At that point, the producer (who is also the editor of the piece) spent an hour or so at the park trying to get us to look all spontaneous and real and stuff.  I couldn't quite get the "I'm totally pushing my daughter in a swing without a camera staring me down right now, I promise" look down. ("Camera? What camera? I always play this type of spontaneous tag with my girls around the which I mean to say we've never done this ever and it's totally because there's a camera rolling.")

This picture is important because it proves that 1. I actually do play with my children when Nightline isn't at my house and 2. THE COUCHES

Tessa was grumpy. Viva was sick with a cough. Anna was weird because it was her last day of kindergarten. Pretty much I'll be shocked if they captured any footage that looks real and authentic whatsoever.

Then we got home and had some snacks around the table.

The producer asked if the girls could sing a primary song. They wouldn't. They couldn't even remember the primary song they had sung on Father's day last Sunday. It was ridiculous.

And that's when Anna, who gets to listen to music on the school bus, started singing to the camera. And it was definitely not sweet, stereotypical Mormon songs.

First she started singing LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem. "Party Rockers in the HOOOOOUSE toniiiiiiiiight..." It started off kinda cute, but definitely not a primary song. It was about this point that Lolly gave me a look that said something like "Did you have any idea she knew songs like this?"

She quickly moved on to Glad You Came by The Wanted. "Cast a spell on me spell on me, I really think you'd look well on me well on me..." And then, naturally, she moved on to Justin Bieber.

And then, in the middle of Baby, she started talking to the camera.

Let me set this up for you. The camera is being held at this point by the aforementioned producer/editor, who is also the guy who spotted our story in the first place. So, yeah, he just got done doing an interview with me, a homosexual man who is married to a woman. Part of that interview included me talking about how we will use our children's cues to know when to tell them about our unique marital situation. This had literally just happened. And the cameras were still rolling. Also, the particular person wielding the camera? Is also gay.

Anna: James at school today said that he really loves Justin Bieber.

Producer: Oh really?

Anna: Yeah. He says that he loves his songs.

Producer: Oh.

Anna: And then he said something silly. He said he wants to be Justin Bieber's boyfriend.

Everyone on earth: *stops to listen to what might come out of this girl's mouth next*

Anna: But that's silly! Boys can't have boyfriends! Boys aren't even supposed to have boyfriends!

Seriously Anna? We have never ever talked about this ever. And you choose to bring THIS particular issue up while the Nightline cameras are rolling, doing a piece all about how your dad is gay???

Needless to say, we opted not to take that cue to let Anna know what being gay is, or the fact that her father is homosexual, as a spontaneous Nightline event. Though that would have answered the "when are you going to tell your kids?" question in the most original way ever.

All in all it was a very tiring, very interesting day.

In closing, we've gotta say thanks to various people who came in and saved us from having Nightline come and record what our house *actually* looks like on a day-to-day basis. That would have been unfortunate.  For all of America.

Katie Tyler and Ashlee Crabtree, thanks for cleaning all day and helping with Lolly's wardrobe. Spencer Transier and Rachel Wadsworth--your amazingness knows no bounds, thanks for all your help, both days. Vienna Nelson, thanks for watching the girls while we went to dinner with the producer. Leslie and Vienna Nelson, thank you for watching Viva at the park and for the beautiful flowers and card. Jenni Warner, thanks for watching the girls in the morning. Ashlee, thanks for the popsicles which may or may not be featured in the segment depending on how natural I looked taking licks of my children's' popsicles. Konrad, thanks for helping us move the couches. Twice. Katie, thanks for cutting my hair. And being my wardrobe specialist. JT, thanks for putting the hangy thing on our picture frame, and for letting me borrow your shirt which I just realized I didn't give back to you. Probably I'll just keep it. So, thanks for the free shirt.

I feel like I just did an acknowledgment page in a book. Or gave an Oscar speech.

Oh, yeah. More progress has been made on the forum-front, but it won't be up for another few days or so. I want to set it up correctly, so it's taken me longer than I thought. Thanks for the patience. I love the discussion that is happening, and the counterpointed views that are expressed. I think the nuance of the discussion is very important, and that it's important that all voices be heard. I'm excited to create a home for that discussion to continue.

G'night folks.

(I just woke up here on the couch. It's now Sunday morning, and I fell asleep before pressing "publish" but now I'm doing the magical thing where I set the date backwards so this is published on Saturday, the day this was written. It's kind of like time-travel. Except without a DeLorean.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exhausted. Worried. Nightlined.

I wrote this post last night (Wednesday) and then fell asleep before posting it. And now it's really late Thursday. But it's talking about Wednesday. Even though it's Thursday right now.

I'm really good at clearing up confusion in dates, huh?


I am totally exhausted.

We just spent the day being interviewed for Nightline.

It was weird having them here. It was weird trying to do "normal" things while cameras were rolling. I guess I'll talk more about all of that in tomorrow's post.

Today I'm more philosophical.

I'm not sure what to think about it. We've felt clearly that we should go forward and continue to share our story. But I'm not sure why. Isn't this enough? Hasn't it hit enough people? Haven't we been vulnerable enough yet? When I try to articulate the purpose behind what we're doing, I have nothing but the feeling that it's what we're supposed to be doing. And while the feelings are clear, they sound pretty flimsily when people question our motives. Yet, they are real. And any time we try to tell ourselves "okay, enough. We're done. It's time to stop," instead of feeling the relief we hope to feel, we feel a knowledge that we aren't done yet, and that that is not what we are supposed to do.

This is probably one of the most difficult processes of my entire life--moving forward with scary things, knowing that people might assume the worst about our motivations, and just trusting that we know ourselves, and know our connection to the Spirit, and that we know we are taking steps that we are supposed to be taking, even though we don't know why.

Last night, we did a live radio show--the Gil Gross show. You can hear our interview here.

Going into it, we felt totally terrified. I spent days and days practicing answering questions, trying to prepare. As we sat together waiting for the call, we were filled with dread. What if we say the wrong thing? What if we misrepresent ourselves? What if we misrepresent our faith?

Then Gil got on the phone and asked us questions and we talked and laughed and expressed ourselves clearly and at the end of the interview, he said how much he enjoyed the fact that we were real and honest. He seemed a little touched by that, maybe. Not sure, of course. I don't know him. But at very least, it seemed that he respected what we were saying.

After that interview, it all seemed to make sense. We are sharing a truth--our truth--in a way that touches people, and people can sense our genuineness. After having been so terrified it was nice to feel a confirmation that we were taking correct steps. It helped us to continue to feel comfortable going forward with Nightline. It was like "okay, this is scary, but in the end it feels good and right, as long as we're choosy about what things we participate in."

Being interviewed is weird. Also, I included this random picture of microphones for no other reason than to break up the text. 

This morning, when they came and set up, we were filled with the same dread. Lolly and I both said it felt similar to the days when our girls were born--there was this feeling of inevitability, and something difficult and nerve-racking was about to happen, and all we had--the only thing that really mattered in the world--was each other, and we would get through it together. I felt sick to my stomach before the interview started, and then as they questions came, we did loosen up and we were able to say a lot of things and say them correctly. I think for most of it, we were saying our truth in a way that we can feel good about.

The problem with this though is that now our truth is being taken and transformed into a visual medium. Unlike with the radio show which, after ten minutes, was over and done with so we could immediately feel that confirmation of "this was right," this is completely out of our control, and our most vulnerable truths are subject to the editorial instincts of another person. I trust the producer (who is also the editor of the piece). I think he has our best interest in mind. I think he genuinely wants to represent our story accurately. But somehow that doesn't assuage the sinking worry at the pit of my stomach that something will be taken out of context, or that some random thing I said that I don't even remember will be highlighted in a way that totally misrepresents our story.

Let me tell you, that would be totally devastating. It's a horrible, horrible feeling. I'm praying my heart out that the story comes out well, and that it's everything it needs to be. I suppose it's out of our hands now, and now we just wait and hope and pray and trust that it will all be okay.

One thing that I take as a good sign: one of the crew members pulled Lolly aside to talk with her at one point later on in the day, and the thing he emphasized was how much he enjoyed when we talked about our connection, and how beautiful he thought it was that we had such an obvious link to one another. He said he hoped to find that for himself, and he seemed very touched.

So, clearly, there are parts of the interview that are moving. There is the potential that this will be a great piece. And I have confidence that it will end well, and represent our story with integrity.

I am officially too lazy to find a photo for today's post.

Tomorrow: look forward to my recap of the hilarious things my children did while Nightline was at our house. I'm not kidding, probably the most hilariously awkward thing you could imagine was uttered by my child, and I kind of can't wait to tell that story.

Also, I should finally have a forum of some kind up tomorrow or Saturday. (Probably just in time to have the discussion be dead, but whatevs.) Thanks for your patience. It's definitely time to move the Club Unicorn discussion to its own home.

In the meantime, say what you must, but as always, try to be civil and considerate of others' perspectives.

I was going to try to answer a commonly asked question, but I'm too tired, and I have to get up and go to the temple tomorrow. But don't worry. We haven't forgotten.

Good night y'all.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Conversation Snippet: Tessa's birth (UPDATED with a discussion about comments)

Putting Anna to bed.

Anna:  Daddy, I want to tell you about when Tessa was born.

Me:  Okay, sweetie.

Anna:  Well, Mommy was pregnant. And her tummy was really big.

Me: Uh huh.

Anna: And little Tessa was saying: "It's time for me to come out now."

Me: Right...

Anna: So that's when we got a knife.

Me (horrified): Wait, what..?

Anna: That's when we got a knife so we could help Tessa get outta there.

Me: What do you think we did with a knife?

Anna: Well, we took the knife, and we, like *makes cutting motion across her abdomen*

Me: What? We did what with the knife?

Anna: We cut mommy open with it. We cut her tummy. And that's when our Tessa was born!

Yay! Welcome to the world Tessa! You were born by a jury-rigged butcher-knife Cesarian performed by your loving family, apparently!

Yeah. That was our bedtime chat tonight.

Is it bad that I opted not to discuss the realities of vaginal delivery with my child in this moment?

I figure, tooth fairy discussion yesterday? Success. Vaginal delivery discussion tonight? Fail.

You can't win 'em all.

Also, don't cross my daughter. She will cut you. *makes ominous cutting motion across abdomen*

In other news, I'm working with someone to create a forum for the Club Unicorn discussions that are happening. I realize that the original post is simply too unwieldy to be used for discussion anymore, and so it's time to move it elsewhere. It's fine if the discussion continues on current posts until that time, but I'd ask you all to remember civility and love as you discuss people's beliefs, choices and legitimate perspectives. I love the discussion that has taken place and genuinely appreciate the excellent counterpoint that has naturally occurred. Thanks for talking about such complex issues in a way that, by and large, has been respectful and civil. I think this is a conversation that needs to be happening, and that all of your voices are important components of it.

UPDATE ABOUT COMMENTS: For literally the first time in the last week and a half, I have chosen to delete a comment. You can tell that I am the one that deleted it because it says "deleted by blog administrator." If you look back to the nearly 4,000 comments this blog has gotten since June 7th, you will see that this is the first time this has occurred. When the text reads "This comment was deleted by author" this means that the author of the comment has chosen to delete their own comment. I have no control over this.

I chose to delete this comment, and plan to delete others like it in the future, because it used explicitly graphic sexual language to describe specific sex acts in great detail. I am completely fine with difficult discussions, accusation, angry discourse and even heated dispute between commenters. My preference would be that people be civil, but I will not delete comments because of strong feelings or opinions. In fact, I welcome full discussion because it adds nuance to the conversation and helps all sides of the issue to be readily seen. I am in favor of education, and of people being informed, and that requires multiple stories and multiple voices. The concepts behind the comment (accusing me of probable infidelity), while totally unfounded and inaccurate, are perfectly acceptable discourse.  The reason this comment was deleted was specifically because the type of descriptive language used is graphic enough to warrant an "are you older than 18" passageway warning, which I'm not willing to provide on my blog. I want my blog to be family friendly.

I'm also deleting it because Lolly told me to. And she's the boss of me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A tooth fairy story and an update on how we're doing

Howdy folks. 

Well, we've been pretty swamped here at Weed Central. Today was probably the first day we felt any kind of "normal." We had Viva's co-op pre-school graduation, and then we hung around and talked to the other co-op parents, and it was really nice. They were totally supportive and awesome, and the conversation made us feel refreshed and affirmed. It can get a little bit crazy when four bazillion people all have an opinion about your life and share that opinion with the world, so to have a conversation with people who know us in real life was very nice. 

The truth is that Lolly and I are pretty exhausted. The highs and lows of this experience are stunning, and while we are getting used to things, it's still difficult for us at times. Sometimes the comments are very biting. Sometimes my sweet Lolly cries at things people say and it breaks my heart. Sometimes it feels frustrating to have things said about you that are patently untrue. But these were all risks we knew we were taking in being more open. (We just didn't realize the magnitude to which it would occur.) 

But beyond all of this, there's this shining hope. There was a response to my coming out post that is undeniable. Lives have been touched, and hearts are healing, and knowing that gets us through the more difficult moments. The messages of hope and love and healing keep pouring in. Know that we are working hard to meet the needs of all those who have reached out to us for help. There are still so many emails to respond to, so many people in crisis. People who are hurting, and who need help. 

If you've contacted us, we do hope to get to you soon. We're also talking about how to take the momentum from this experience and channel it in a good direction--so stay tuned, there are plans in the works. We aren't ignoring you, and you aren't alone, and you are okay just as you are, no matter who you are and what you have chosen for yourself. We love you. Thanks for being in touch.

In case you didn't see it, here's us on the evening news in Utah. Two funny things: first they compiled the entire story without us knowing, so we had no idea we were on the news at all until Facebook friends let us know. Second, we don't even live in Utah. (I kind of love how Seattle, where we live, is kinda like *yaaaaawn*.)

Also, we wanted to thank reader Steve Decker who made us a great logo for Club Unicorn. (Yes, we're trying to take steps to make it an actual club.)

If any of you have an idea for a logo, we'd love to see it. Send it our way! We'll probably use various.

Finally quick anecdote:

This morning as Lolly and I were discussing Deep and Meaningful Things, Anna came up to us and said "can I ask you an important question?" We were engrossed in our conversation and we tried to tell her to wait just a minute and brush her off, but then she just came out with it. "Is the tooth fairy real?"

*record scratch*

Suddenly we were completely focused. This was a big one. This was the first inquiry as to whether one of the Big Three (Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy (Leprechauns are probably a sub-category)) was real. How we handled this conversation would determine a lot, and we wanted to do it right.

Plus, this is not the first "big reveal" conversation we've had with Anna. As you can see here, when she asked us about what happened to Bambi's mom, there's no way in the world we could have anticipated the direction that conversation would go (hint: cannibalism). (Really, you should read that post. It's one of my favorites.)

This conversation went a totally different direction than that. A really nice direction, actually.

Lolly: What was that sweetheart?

Anna: I just want to know if the tooth fairy is real? Is she? Is she Mommy?

Lolly (after exchanging glances with me): Well, why do you want to know that?

Anna: I just do. Because I just really love her. Is she really real?

Lolly: Well, Anna, do you love Doc McStuffins? (Sidenote: Doc McStuffins is a new kids show the girls are obsessed with about a little girl who is a doctor to her toys.)

Anna: Yes.

Lolly: And is Doc McStuffins real?

Anna: No.

Lolly: But do you still love her even though she's pretend?

Anna: Yes. But what about the tooth fairy. Is she real?

Me: No, Anna-girl. The tooth fairy isn't real.

Anna (perplexed): But who put money under my pillow when I lost my tooth?

Lolly: I did sweetheart. I'm your tooth fairy.

Anna: You are!?? You're my tooth fairy!

And at that point Anna's eyes lit up with true joy and she rushed over and threw her arms around Lolly. "Thanks so much for being my tooth fairy," she said. Then we talked about how all kids' parents are their tooth fairies, but that we should let their parents tell them about it.

It was definitely the sweetest thing I've seen all day.

Hopefully she'll have a similar reaction when she finds out I'm Santa. And the Easter Bunny. And a Leprechaun. And a Unicorn. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Notes before we head home (And answer to the question "When will you tell your kids?")

You guys.

You guuuuuuys.

This really crazy thing happened when I outed myself on my blog, and I'm not sure if you noticed, but it blew up everywhere, and now it feels like my life will never be the same.

Let me just take you through a few of the new experiences that have happened since Friday and a couple of the funny moments.

First, on Friday when things started spreading and spreading and we realized suddenly that not only would our friends and family know I am gay, but pretty much everyone in the whole dang state of Utah and beyond, we got a call from!

Now, when you get a call from someone at, you should probably not do what I did, which was stutter and speak so haltingly that the poor guy who wanted to reprint your blog post literally thought his phone was cutting out. He was like "Oh, I'm so sorry, I get horrible reception here in my apartment."

Yeah, Mr. Gawker Writer. That's what's happening. You have bad reception. It's definitely not that my hand is shaking as I hold the phone and my brain is so overwhelmed by IAMGOINGTOBEREPRINTEDONGAWKER that I sound like I have a mix of turrets and dementia. Perhaps you should switch cell-phone carriers, even. Or next time call someone that can actually have a telephone conversation. Either one.

But that wasn't the worst phone call. (This was before we had Lolly take over the phone duties, because she is better at not sounding like an idiot than me on the phone.) And granted, I had a reason to be FREAKING OUT because as I was working out in the hotel's fitness center I got a call from New York and I was being asked about appearing on a national TV show. A big one. (Not finalized, we'll see if it happens. Looks like it probably will.)

But here's the thing about me: as the above example demonstrates, I completely suck at talking on the phone. I'm always running over people's sentences and saying weird crap and talking at all the wrong moments and laughing at inappropriate things. The conversation with this guy went pretty well overall, but then as the call was winding down, I failed to realize that the call was coming to a close, and so in the precise moment that he said the word "goodbye" I spastically blurted something like "Because the thing I really want to communicate is that love is the clarion call of our post and what we hope to help share with the world..."

Really Weed? Phone etiquette 101 says "at this point, you cordially say 'goodbye' to the recipient of your telephonic communication." Yet instead of that, you decide to utter the cheesiest, most hippy-sounding sentence you may have ever said in your life. AS he's saying goodbye. And then you sit there awkwardly, hoping he'll pick up the conversation. And he doesn't.


Oh well.

Oh, also, it's really interesting to have a post with nearly 3,000 comments, most of which are breathtakingly poignant. So, so many of them are absolutely beautiful--people pouring out their hearts and souls and sharing deep and meaningful things--things that sometimes make Lolly and me tear up with the bigness of what's happening. We'll be reading through, holding hands, tearing up and feeling so much love and joy and gratitude, and then we get to a comment that's like "Hey satan, why don't you stop being all satanic and torturing kittens for fun and eating spider sandwiches because you like the taste. Oh and I HATE you." and it's really jarring. Like, it's just so incredibly incongruent. "Rainbows, unicorns, flowers, lambs, DECAPITATED BABY, clouds, sunshine." <--------- It's kind of like that.

We have decided to not take these comments personally and to really heed what the post originally said. It's okay. It's okay to feel strong feelings. Seriously. We get it. And we love you anyway. And actually mean that.

In closing a couple of photos:

This blurry photo is the moment right before we got home and saw that our post started going viral. Inside my head at this moment I was thinking, "I can't believe I posted that. Now every single one of my Facebook friends knows I'm gay." Little did we know...

 These pools were amazing. It's a shame we spent 80% of our time in our room reading (incredible) responses! We're definitely coming back another time to spend 80% of our vacation in those pools though.

Oh yeah. This totally happened. Twice. 

And, later today, our vacation ends and we go back home to see the girls. The three girls at home who have no idea whatsoever what just happened. Who have no idea that their picture has been seen by hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of people. Three girls who will hug us and say "what did you bring us???" and be sweet and thrilled and hyper and beautiful, and who have no idea that their mommy and daddy just had something happen that will change the lives of all of us, probably forever.

This brings us to the first question we want to answer, and it's a really good one. (We'll try to answer one of the common questions we get in every post.)

What about your girls? When will you tell them?

This is such a good question, and one that we have thought about a lot. It was with great trepidation about them that we went forward with this information, and we fully recognize that we have changed their lives by being public about ours. Our hope is that this stuff will have minimal impact on them, and that people will never judge them or treat them differently because their dad is gay. But you never know. One thing is for certain, our focus in any difficult moment that arises will be to help them process their emotions appropriately, and use difficult circumstances to help them learn life lessons about loving others, being charitable, and forgiving anyone who judges or criticizes. As Brene Brown says, "kids are wired for struggle." (That quote is coming from my memory. Sorry if it's a little off.) We can't protect them from struggle, but we can be a pillar of support and strength, no matter what they're facing. And this issue will be no exception.

As far as telling them about my homosexuality, my gut as well as my training as a therapist tells me that eight years old is probably the developmental age to talk to them about sexuality and sex. So I would imagine that letting them know about this might be part of that conversation. We're going to have to see. I do know, for certain, that our oldest will want to know as early as possible. She is incredibly curious about interpersonal information (as you can see here), and I am positive that finding out as a late teen (which is probably impossible now--let's face it, Google will still exist then) would be really traumatizing for her, and she would probably feel very betrayed that we hadn't been more open with her. The other girls aren't old enough to get a read on.

As with all parenting decisions, we'll be following our instincts, following the spirit, and waiting for the perfect moment as we play it by ear, responding appropriately to their cues. But our stance is one of openness and love. We want to model the kind of communication we hope they feel able to have with us so that our girls grow up knowing that in the Weed household, we are allowed to talk about hard things, and then we process them together, and then we love each other. Vulnerability, openness, honesty and love are better than secrecy, shame, fear and ignorance every time, at least in my book.

Anna, Tessa and Viva

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thank You Club Unicorn

The response we've gotten to our post has been unbelievable. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Here is a message from us. We recorded it yesterday, but in the hustle and bustle haven't been able to post it until this morning.

                                   Obviously neither of us is a cameraman. 

And for the record, we never did get out to the pool yesterday. But it has been totally worth it. We can't tell you how many messages of deep sentiment we've received, and how honored we are to be a part of this conversation in such a way.

We're excited to answer some of questions we are getting in coming days.

We feel so much love for you all, and so loved by you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Josh and Lolly

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary

Hi guys.

Lolly and I are sitting by a pool in the blazing sun, tanning our Seattle-white skin. We are having the time of our lives. Our kids are being watched by their Aunt Kati and Uncle Blake while we relax, celebrating ten incredible years of marriage.

And, side by side, we are finishing the final details of this post which we have written together over the course of the last month.

This is a different post than what you’re used to seeing here on The Weed. If you are here to laugh and read something light-hearted and fun, you probably want to skip this one. It's long. And it's serious. And I won't be offended by anyone who decides to wait until things get light-hearted again.

This is the post where I tell you that I, Josh Weed, am homosexual.

I need to clarify a couple of things.

First, I think it’s important to clarify that although The Weed is a humor blog, this post is not a joke. This isn’t satire. This is not aimed to get laughs. I promise. This is completely serious, and it is us being completely real and genuine on a subject that is very personal and very dear to our hearts. 

Second, I need to clarify that this post is written from the standpoint of a devout, believing Mormon and addresses topics seen within the Mormon and broader Christian community. Please forgive us if our focus feels unfamiliar, or feels totally incongruent with the rest of the posts on this blog.

I guess the premise of this post is to share that not only am I homosexual, but I’m also a devout and believing Mormon. And that I’m very happily married to a woman, and have been for ten years now.
And for the first time, we’re talking about it publicly.

When we do tell people about this—and we’ve been telling a lot of people lately, so we’ve gotten really practiced at it—they usually have a lot of really good, genuine questions. Here are some of the questions we’re most frequently asked (there really should be an acronym for that—I know! I’ll call it a FAQ!). We hope answering these questions will help you understand how we make sense of this delicate and complicated issue in our lives.

1. Why have you decided to share this information?

We have several reasons for opening up about this part of our lives. First and foremost, my clinical work as a therapist is taking me in the direction of helping clients who struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs. I have decided to be open with these clients about my own homosexuality, and in doing so have opened the door to people finding out about this in ways I can't control. Therefore, we thought it would be wise to be the ones who told those we love about this part of our lives. Posting on the blog was the simplest way to make sure that happened as it would be impossible to sit all of the people we have known and loved in our lives down and share this personally. 

The second reason is that the issue of homosexuality is not very well understood. We wanted to add our voice and experience to the dialogue taking place about this very sensitive issue.

Thirdly, I (Josh) feel the desire to be more open regarding this part of my identity. I have found that sharing this part of me allows my relationships with others to be more authentic. It has deepened my friendships and enhanced my interactions, and it has also helped me to feel more accepted by others as it allows others the opportunity to choose to accept me for who I really am. 

2. What do you mean when you say you’re “gay”?

When I say I am gay or homosexual or same-sex attracted (and I use these terms interchangeably, which is a personal decision) I refer specifically to sexual orientation. I am sexually attracted to men. I am not sexually attracted to women. It is very simple. I have many, many years of experience which confirm this to be true, but it’s really as simple as what a girl asked me* in junior high—and I’m sorry if this is a little blunt, but I’ve never found a question that cuts to the heart of the matter more effectively— “so, if everyone in this room took off their clothes, would you be turned on by the girls or the guys?” My answer, which I didn’t say out loud, was unquestionably the guys. And it was unquestionably not the girls. And that still is my answer. It’s really not very complicated. Most people just don’t think about their sexual orientation because they don’t have any reason to.

*Why did a girl ask me that question in junior high? Because a bully actively spread a rumor around the entire school that I was a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” This was unbelievably horrific and traumatizing, and I was harassed every single day about it, often by perfect strangers. I was more effeminate, played the violin, didn’t play sports, was never interested in girls and didn’t hang out with guys, and so people glommed onto that rumor and ruthlessly harassed me for the entire year, culminating in a yearbook filled with breathtakingly insensitive taunts. Being the gay kid is really, really hard in junior high. If you know a gay kid in junior high, give them a hug and tell them you love them. I assure you they could use it.

3. When did you know you were gay?

I knew I was gay when I was 11 or 12. That’s the onset of puberty, when humans begin to feel sexual attractions. For a little while I was waiting for the attraction to girls to set in because that’s what everyone said would happen, but then there was a sinking moment of realization—a thought like “oh, this thing for guys is its replacement.” I told my parents shortly thereafter, when it seemed pretty clear that my sexuality wasn’t playing a trick on me, and the girl thing wasn’t going to happen, but the guy thing was totally happening. I was 13 when I told my dad (a member of the Stake Presidency—which is a lay leader in the Mormon church—at the time). My parents were incredibly loving and supportive, which is part of why I believe I’m so well adjusted today. They deserve serious props for being so loving and accepting—I never felt judged or unwanted or that they wished to change anything about me. That’s part of why I have never been ashamed about this part of myself. (I feel plenty of shame about other irrational things, like the fact that I can’t catch a ball or change a tire (as you may have noticed on the blog)—and I’m working on that stuff because toxic shame isn’t a good thing. But I’ve never been shameful about who I am, or about this feature of me as a critical part of my person, which it is in the same way that sexuality is a critical part of any person.)

4. If you’re married to a woman, how can you really be gay?

This is a really good question and I can see how people can be confused about it. Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience. Heck, if sexual orientation were defined by sexual experience, I would be as straight as the day is long even though I’ve never been turned on by a Victoria’s Secret commercial in my entire life. Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience. In my case, I am attracted sexually to men. Period. Yet my marriage is wonderful, and Lolly and I have an extremely healthy and robust sex life. How can this be?

The truth is, what people are really asking with the above question is “how can you be gay if your primary sex partner is a girl?” I didn’t fully understand the answer to this question until I was doing research on sexuality in grad school even though I had been happily married for almost five years at that point. I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable. But I didn’t understand how that was happening. Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.

5. Did your wife know you were gay when you married her?

Yes. I told Lolly about my homosexuality when I was 16 and we were on a date. In fact, I recently just wrote a humor post about that day. Here it is: vomit—a story of romance. That may have been the most important day (and was definitely the most important date) of my life. Everything I have in life that I cherish—the love of my life, my career, my education, coming home to three beautiful daughters screaming “Daddy, daddy!” with glee—hinged on that fateful day at Pizza Hut, and on a wonderful girl who was compassionate and open-minded and willing to listen to a young gay kid who was lonely and desperate for a soft landing place and to be heard.

Well…  I’ve actually published an essay which tells the whole story in an anthology published by Deseret Book. Here the book is, if you're interested:

The book was compiled by my friend Ty Mansfield, and my essay is called “An Unlikely Gift” under my old pseudonym, Jason Lockhart. For this post, we've had Lolly tell our story below.

In fact, let's do her question next:

6. Why would your wife choose to marry someone who is gay?

Hey guys. I never thought that the first guest post I wrote on “The Weed” would be talking about how I fell in love with gay Weed. But I definitely want to share my part of our story. So, here it goes. 
I have known Josh and loved him for a very, very long time. We met when we were very small children. We lived on the same street in Utah and his dad was my Bishop (ecclesiastical lay-leader of an LDS congregation). When we were younger, we were acquaintances. In junior high we started eating lunch together and grew to be friends. I found him amusing and I enjoyed being around him. 
After 9th grade, my family moved to Portland, Oregon. I thought of Josh Weed occasionally but never did anything about it until his family moved to the same city in Oregon two years later. We both thought it would be fun to reconnect, so we went on our first date. 
And that is when Josh told me that he was gay. I was the first person he told, aside from his own parents. I will never forget the look on his face during the first moments of that conversation. From that look, I knew that he was feeling extremely vulnerable in what he had just shared and that what he was dealing with was very hard and very real for him.  Knowing Josh’s beliefs in our church, the first question that came to my mind was “What are you going to do about it?” 
We talked at length that night about the reality of being gay in the Mormon Church.  He told me that he believed in the doctrine of the Church and that he wanted to do what God wanted him to do.  During the course of that conversation, my mind became overwhelmed by the complexities of the issue he was facing. And how alone he felt in facing them. 
I was determined to be an ally and friend to him in regards to this issue.  I can’t even recall all of the conversations we had, but we spent hours and hours over the course of years hammering out what this issue meant in general and what it meant for him. Why was he gay? What did God expect him to do? Etc. 
Josh’s commitment to God was so apparent to me as we discussed the choices ahead of him. My admiration and respect deepened immensely for him. We spent a lot of time together and I loved being with him. Our friendship grew and grew.  And I truly loved him. He told me that he wanted to go on a mission for the church and that he would also like to get married and have a family. I believed that those things were possible for him, but I never thought it would be with me. 
The possibility of us becoming more than friends would come up every now and then, but I would dismiss it quickly. My parents did an amazing job in teaching their children about the proper role of sexuality. In our home, sex was viewed as sacred, enjoyable, and something to look forward to in marriage. I saw the important role that intimacy played in successful marriages and that was one aspect of marriage that I was greatly anticipating. Therefore, in my mind, marrying someone gay was completely out of the question. 
I remember one conversation in particular in which Josh said, “If YOU won’t consider marrying me, then who will?” I responded with, “I’m sure there is someone out there for you. It’s just not me. Maybe you need to find someone who doesn’t care about sex.” He thought that line of thinking was wrong, but I couldn’t think of another solution for him. 
Years continued to pass. Josh’s first year at college, he got a girlfriend. Who also happened to be my best friend.  I loved both of them very much and was very happy for them. Yet, something unexpected happened. I started to feel jealous. They ended up breaking up shortly after the semester ended, but the feelings of jealousy that I had experienced in regards to their relationship threw me off guard. I started to seriously examine my feelings for Josh. 
In a moment of honest reflection, I realized that Josh was everything that I wanted in a husband. (All except for the huge fact that he was gay.) He was dedicated to God above all else and he loved his Savior deeply. He was kind, funny, sincere, honest and so much fun. I connected with him in ways that I did not connect with anyone else.  But he was gay. And I did not know if I could handle that in a marriage. 
I ended up confessing my feelings to him on a random day on a whim. He admitted that he felt the same feelings for me. That I was everything he wanted in a wife. I had never been more excited or confused. We decided to try it out and to start dating. It was truly an amazing experience for both of us, falling in love with our best friend. 
Before he left on his mission, I was still not sure if I could actually marry him. The intimacy factor was so important to me. During the course of dating, we held hands and kissed.  It was promising, but I didn’t know if our chemistry would be enough. 
One day, we were having a conversation about our relationship. He simply said, “Am I worth it to you?” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that question. We then talked about how no one is perfect and how everyone deals with his or her own set of imperfections.  When you get married, you are accepting a person as a package deal—the good, the bad, the hard, the amazing and the imperfect.  He wanted to know if I loved the rest of him enough that I could deal with the realities that his homosexuality would bring to our marriage. I honestly could not answer him then. 
Months passed and I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. I said to her, “I can find someone else like Josh, right? Someone else to love like I love him?” She said, “You could find someone else to love, sure. But you will never have what you and Josh have with someone else. Because no one else is Josh.” When she said that, and I thought of loving someone else, I knew the answer to his question “Am I worth it?” 
I knew that I loved Josh. I loved All of him. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to marry Josh Weed because I loved the man that he was. I loved everything that made him him. I didn't want anyone else. I knew that we had the kind of relationship that could work through hard trials and circumstances. I had faith in him and I had faith in our love. I did not choose to marry someone who is gay. I chose to marry Josh Weed, the man that I love, and to accept all of him. I have never regretted it. 
 I love this man. 

Okay, next question, and Josh will take over again. If you're still reading, I'm impressed!

7. Why do you not choose to be “true to yourself” and live the gay lifestyle?

First of all, I understand that when people refer to a “gay lifestyle” they are talking about a lifestyle that includes gay romantic and sexual relationships. But I want to point out that because I am gay, any lifestyle I choose is technically a “gay lifestyle.” Mine just looks different than other gay peoples’. My hope is that other gay people will be as accepting of my choices as they hope others would be of their choices.

But that doesn’t really answer the question. And it is an important question.

One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true. I think this is true of life in general as well. If you decide to be a doctor, you give up any of the myriad of other things you could have chosen. But with homosexuality, the choices seem to be a little bit more mutually exclusive.  If you are Mormon and you choose to live your religion, you are sacrificing the ability to have a romantic relationship with a same-sex partner. If you choose a same-sex partner, you are sacrificing the ability to have a biological family with the one you love.  And so on. No matter what path you choose, if you are gay you are giving up something basic, and sometimes various things that are very basic. I chose not to “live the gay lifestyle,” as it were, because I found that what I would have to give up to do so wasn’t worth the sacrifice for me.  The things I wasn’t willing to part with were the following:

1. I believe the doctrine of the Mormon Church is true. One of the key doctrines of the church is that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” Another is that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” These are things I personally believe. I also believe, and my experience has shown me time and time again, that when I follow the teachings that I know to be true my life is blessed and I find immense joy and peace. I feel that this joy and peace is a direct result of my connection to God’s spirit as a result of living in a way He approves of.

Deciding not to give this up--these profound spiritual beliefs that I feel in the deepest parts of my soul to be true--in favor of my sexual orientation required a great deal of faith, but I can honestly say that, for me, it has been completely worth it. I have not regretted the decision one day of my life. My life is filled with so much genuine, real, vibrant joy that I would be remiss if I didn’t thank God for blessing me for my obedience and adherence to His guidelines as I understand them. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the Mormon Church, which I consider to be His restored organizational unit. I did not want to give that up.

2. I am a traditionalist at heart. I wanted a wife. I wanted to raise children that were biologically the product of me and the one I love. Thankfully, Lolly was willing to marry me, and we found ourselves able to conceive children. I have three incredible daughters. Every moment with them is true joy. Sometimes as I wrestle in the living room with them, or watch them eat cookies with chocolatey mouths and lots of giggles, or read them stories before tucking them into their beds, I’m filled with a sense of such joy that I almost feel bad to have such an incredibly fulfilling life. I often find myself in awe at how amazing my life is, and how lucky I am. And in my opinion, it was more than luck. I believe my joy stems from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting God and his plan for me even when it was really hard and scary.

3. I love Lolly Shea. (In my mind, she will always be Lolly Shea, the girl that I’ve known since I was three years old.) I want to be with her for the rest of my life. I want to grow old by her side. I wouldn’t trade her for any human on earth, male or female. She is my best friend, my lover, and my greatest gift. I love her with a love that is undeniable, and anyone that knows us can attest to the fact that our love is real, vibrant and very apparent. Besides my relationship with God himself, she is my everything and nothing that I ever do or receive in my life will ever compare to her and her love for me.

I find that when I think of what alternative lifestyles could offer me, they pale in comparison to the full, joyous, bounteous life I live. Thus, I believe that to live my life this way is being true to myself, and to go down any other path would be egregiously inauthentic and self-deceptive.

About two years ago, I saw a psychologist to get medication for my ADHD-I.  She was a lesbian, and when I told her that I was a gay man in a heterosexual marriage, she spent an entire session hammering me with questions about my situation in a genuine effort to make sure I was happy. I didn’t love that she did this, but as a clinician myself, I understood where she was coming from.

During our conversation, she told me about her life with her partner. She spoke of a girl, whom she considered her daughter, who is the biological child of her ex-lover, with whom she lived for only three years. She told me of how much she loved her daughter, but how infrequently she got to see her. And eventually, when talking about my sex life, she said “well, that’s good you enjoy sex with your wife, but I think it’s sad that you have to settle for something that is counterfeit.”

I was a little taken aback by this idea—I don’t consider my sex-life to be counterfeit. In response, I jokingly said “and I’m sorry that you have to settle for a counterfeit family.” She immediately saw my point and apologized for that comment. Obviously, I don’t actually think a family with non-biological members is counterfeit in any way. I also don’t feel that my sex-life is counterfeit. They are both examples of something that is different than the ideal. I made that joke to illustrate a point. If you are gay, you will have to choose to fill in the gaps somewhere. She chose to have a family in a way that is different than the ideal. I choose to enjoy sex in a way that is different than the ideal for a gay man. It all comes down to what you choose and why, and knowing what you want for yourself and why you want it. That’s basically what life is all about.

8. Should all gay people who are LDS or Christian choose to marry people of the opposite gender?

I want to make it very clear that while I have found a path that brings me profound joy and that is the right path for me, I don’t endorse this as the only path for somebody who is gay and religious. I will never, ever judge somebody else’s path as being “incorrect” and I know many people who have chosen different paths than myself.

I have two general recommendations:

1. If you know and love somebody who is gay and LDS (or Christian), your job is to love and nothing more. Let go of your impulse to correct them or control them or propel them down the path you think is right for them. Do what you need to do to move past that impulse.  Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes. Love. Only love. Show your love in word and deed. Embrace them, both literally and figuratively. I promise they need it—and they need to feel like they can figure out this part of themselves in a safe way without ridicule and judgment. It’s what Christ would do. It’s what your loved one needs. Accept them. Love them. Genuinely and totally.

If you are a parent or guardian, teach them what you know to be true in appropriate moments, with the Spirit. But then let go and let them govern themselves. Trust that they can find their own path. Let them live their life and have the experiences they need to learn and grow. Trust that they are in charge of their own agency and destiny. I promise you they will thank you. I also promise that pressuring them to live the life you want them to lead will only hamper their ability to make a genuine and authentic choice for their own future, be it what you hope for them or not. You will never, ever give your gay loved one a better gift than to love and accept them for who they are, right now, no matter what, period. The friends and family who did that for me (at varying points in my journey, including very recently) are cherished and will go down in the history of my life as the people that truly loved me, and as true Christians who helped me on my path. (And, btw, some of them are not technically even Christian—but to me are like Christ in their actions.)

2. If you are gay and Mormon (or Christian), I want you to know how much love I feel for you, and how much I admire you. I know how hard it is to be where you are. I want you to do me a favor. I want you, right now, to take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and accept yourself as you are in this very instant. You are you. And your attractions are part of you. And you are totally okay! I promise. I want you to stop battling with this part of you that you may have understood as being sinful. Being gay does not mean you are a sinner or that you are evil. Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction. I feel this is a very important distinction. This is true for every single person. You don’t get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose what you do with them.  

I want you to know that God loves you, and that even though you are attracted to people of the same gender, you are a completely legitimate individual, worthy of God’s love, your family’s love, and the love of your friends. You are no more broken than any other person you meet. You are not evil. You are a beautiful child of God. Please don’t be ashamed. Know that you can be forgiven for any mistakes you have made, and that God is not judging you. He loves you. Turn to him. He has a plan specifically for you. He wants you to be happy, and he will take you by the hand, and guide you step by step to where you need to be if you trust Him. He is not angry with you, and He knows you completely, every part, even the parts you wish you could keep hidden. He knows it all, and he still loves you! He couldn’t love you any more, and he is proud of you for your courage. I wish you could know of my sincerity as I write these words, and how deeply I feel compassion for you. 

Conclusion (finally?)

You might be having an emotional reaction of some kind to this post. We want you to know that that’s okay.

Perhaps you’re someone that has never met a person that is gay whose opinion you trust, and are having trouble believing that a man or woman could actually be sexually attracted to their same gender. Perhaps it’s hard for you to accept the idea that people do not choose to be gay because it has helped you to understand this issue to assume that it is a matter of choice. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps it is hard for you to believe that a man who regularly has sex with a woman could actually be a homosexual who has chosen to live with a woman he loves, and that there’s no way I could feel what I claim to feel. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who has been affected by a loved one who is gay and got married to a person of the opposite gender under false pretenses and then left his or her family, and your feelings are raw, and this post makes you feel feelings of anger because you worry that anybody in these circumstances is in for an eventual rude awakening and horrible consequences. Perhaps it even makes you feel deeper pain and loss than you already do to imagine that while this type of marriage didn’t work for you or for someone you love, it is working well for someone else, and so it’s easier to dismiss our story as something that is bound to fail. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who has trouble believing a Mormon or Christian could actually be gay, so this post is difficult for you to take at face value. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you are someone who is gay, and you once had desires to have a family with biological children of your own, but you gave that dream up long ago, and so now you feel challenged by the idea that doing so is a possibility for you, which makes you resistant to accept that what we are saying could be true—and maybe that makes you angry or upset that we would even suggest this is possible for those who want it. It’s okay if you feel that way.

Perhaps you have had none of these emotions and are totally supportive. Maybe you are even excited to see this being talked about so openly. Or perhaps you have felt something entirely different than anything mentioned.

Wherever you find yourself in your emotions, know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. This issue is a very complex one and a very emotional one.

But this is a moment where whatever your feelings on the subject may be, you are reading the words of a real live person who is telling the truth. I am not lying to you right now. I have no reason whatsoever to share this with you besides to add a voice to the global discussion so that someone who might feel hopeless and lonely and devoid of role models or voices to trust can find all the information about their options available. I do so at great risk. I do so in spite of probable backlash from people I know as well as perfect strangers. I do so knowing that I will be misunderstood and possibly maligned—called a fraud, and told that my most intimate relationships are a sham. That I might be called Satanic, or told that I am the epitome of self-deception.

But the reason I do this is because I love you, whoever you are, and I want to share my situation so that you can know further truth: I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.

All of these things are true, whether your mind is allowing you to believe them or not.

There are too many voices of dissent. There are too many voices saying that what I’m doing with my life is impossible. There are too many voices saying I don’t exist. Saying that I am a mirage, or a fake, or an impossibility. And Lolly and I have had our ten wonderful years of isolation, where we have enjoyed the goodness of our love and our life together in private. We have had chances to come out before in loud ways—we’ve been featured anonymously in news stories, been invited to be on radio interviews and documentaries, and were even asked to be on a national talk show. But it wasn’t time. We needed to have those years—ten wonderful years to ourselves, to live outside of any scrutiny, and just be ourselves.

But now we know that it’s time for us to share, and begin a new phase of openness and authenticity. We aren’t sure why, but we both know, without question, that this is what we are supposed to do. Maybe somebody needs to hear our story. Maybe you are that somebody. If so, thank you for reading, and thank you for letting us share this intimate piece of our lives with you.

If you are someone we know in person, we worry you might feel a little hurt about the manner in which you have found out about this. Know that if you feel that this was an abrupt way to find this out, we genuinely apologize. There was simply no way to talk to everyone we love before publishing this post--but we want you to know that the dialogue is open. If you have questions for us, please ask them. We are talking about this now. We won't be weirded out if you ask us questions. And if you didn't hear about this personally, it's not because we don't love or trust you. We tried to get to everyone, but just ran out of time.

Also, generally, please feel free to use the comment section to discuss this matter if you wish. However, remember that this is our lives you are talking about. Please feel free to say what you need to say, but we would ask that you be respectful of our decisions and the decisions of others if you decide to comment. And if you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share it. You can click share in the upper corner or down below. We want this post to reach anybody it could potentially help. 

In closing, when talking to some friends about our situation in preparation for this post, one of them said “It’s almost like we’ve encountered a real live Unicorn!” She was joking of course. She was just saying that they were talking to something that not many encounter. A mythical creature. Someone who is gay, Mormon and married. And then as we told new friends about ourselves in preparation for this post, we told them we were initiating them into “Club Unicorn” because they had now seen something mythical with their very own eyes.

I now extend that invitation to every one of you. I am not a myth. I am real.

I cordially welcome you as the newest member of Club Unicorn.

This is what it's all about.

Photos courtesy of A&W Photography