Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gay Marriage Debates

I will attempt a real post, but it will probably be short. Drex is much more eloquent and has much more valid things to say. However…I do have some interesting things to share.

I teach government at a Jordan District High School and in an effort to try and “spice up” my class (because according to a certain student I get a D- in my efforts to do so) I decided to present the topic of political parties through the medium of political debates. I got the presidential platforms from the 2004 elections from a colleague and prepared my lesson. What, you might ask, does this have to do the mohosphere? Well, one of the platforms is Gay Marriage. I honestly thought the debate on Friday was going to come to blows. I had the students take a political spectrum test to put them in polarized (Democrat and Republican) political parties. Many of them ended up being “moderate” so I let them choose which side to be on. With this debate, it was interesting to see how many of the students were actually for Gay Marriage. One of the girls who was presenting brought up the studies that are being done regarding the idea that homosexuality is genetic and that brought many of the “republicans” to their feet. Another of the students said, “gay people can’t get married. They just can’t reproduce.” It was all I could do to sit there and not list off all the MOMs I know off the top of my head and the Will and Grace episode where Will and Grace are trying to decide whether or not to have a baby together, and they’re probably too young to know that Ross’s first wife on Friends was a lesbian and gave birth. As it was I brought up, “Well, there is the possibility of sperm donation for gay men and in-vitro fertilization or surrogate pregnancy for lesbian women.” At that point, one of my students piped up with, “Yeah! There’s a sperm bank by the library!” Awkward moment. The students were amazingly fired up and the last idea debated was: would it be better for children to be adopted by a gay partnership and raised that way, or for children to be born to a “straight” couple and later find out that one of their parents is gay? Knowing what I know about some of the people in the mohosphere it was incredibly hard not to get really involved in this topic. I tried to gently get them thinking, but I doubt I had much impact. Keep in mind, I have 4 of these classes, and only 1 so far has debated the issue.

Another story also comes from school (as I spend more time there than I do at home with Drex, unfortunately). During lunch one day after Dumbledore came out of the closet, some of the teachers were discussing the student reactions and I went into “observe mode” as I usually do when the homosexuality topic comes up in public settings outside the mohosphere. And then another (male) teacher walked in wearing an extremely well put together outfit—almost too well put together. My mentor (a self-proclaimed atheist and all around pretty great guy) turned to me with a raised eye brow and I just shook my head. And then he whispered, “So, uh…do you think he wife dressed him?” And I answered, “I’m not going to tell you what I thought [which was “PEGGED!”] because you’re not going to think I’m very nice.” He pressed harder because he’s not one to give up and I relented with, “It wouldn’t surprise me if he and Dumbledore had something in common, if you catch my drift.” He nodded his agreement and then said something to the effect of, “You always get really quite when ‘gay’ stuff is brought up.” At that point the bell rang and I told him I had a secret to tell him later. He hounded me after school, popping his head in my room while I had students taking tests saying, “I want to know your secret!” It was pretty entertaining. When my students left I went into his room and spilled my guts. The first thing he asked was, “How personal can I get with my questions?!” (He’s the psychology/philosophy teacher). I laughed and told him he could ask what he wanted and I would reserve the right not to answer. He hasn’t asked much lately because he’s been too busy hounding one of the other teachers about her dipping habit, but I’m sure it will come up soon.

Drex says I should save my other stories for later. I will however, try to remember to update on how the rest of the Gay Marriage debates go.


Friday, November 16, 2007

weighing in

Sorry I've been so silent for so long. I actually feel pretty guilty about it. Things have been busy, and sometimes hectic in recent weeks. For the most part things have been good, though. School has been tolerable, and the highlight of my academic day is choir. We had a wonderful series of concerts last weekend, and we're performing in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake on Saturday, which should be really fun. I've sung in the Conference Center, but I've never had opportunity to perform in the Tabernacle. I'm really looking forward to it.

Salad and I are still doing great together, although for some reason more and more people are trying to pressure us into having kids. :P I'm of the opinion that not many people should have kids right after being married - not because it's wrong, or because they should be older, or because they should have more money, or anything like that. Rather, I believe that a couple should continue to build the foundation of their relationship before moving into the building up of the family. Especially in the case of many BYU marriages, where the couple doesn't know each other for horribly long, the months following marriage are imperative to build a strong marital relationship that can stand the tests and trials that life sends - like kids. Plus there's the fact that we really don't want to have to raise kids in Utah, but that's a whole 'nother (I swear that should be a word) issue.

With regards to the whole 'war' raging through the Mohosphere right now, I thought I'd weigh in as well. There's been back-and-forth about open-mindedness and cyber-christian zeal, the bigotry of the 'faithful' and the whoreishness of the 'weak' and everything in between. I can only speak for myself on this.

I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes aspects of the Church bug me, but the gospel remains clear to me. Sometimes local leaders, instructors, home teachers and the like grate on me, but the gospel is still true. Sometimes I don't want to go to church at all, but the gospel remains a steady rock and a firm foundation. Part of the gospel, as I understand it, is that marriage between a man and a woman is sacred and ordained of God. Marriage between two men or two women, as I understand it, does not have place in the eternal plan of happiness. There is nothing saying that no happiness lies in pursuing such relationships - in fact, there's nothing saying that you'll be happier in life marrying the opposite sex than the same. But I believe the promise is there, whether outrightly outlined or not, that the eternal happiness connected to a heterosexual marriage and relationship infinitely outweigh the eternal happiness of a same-sex union. I don't entirely understand why that is, but I still feel like it's true.

Another thing is that when people that I care about make choices that I believe will ultimately end in unhappiness or hurt, it worries me. Sometimes it even hurts. Sometimes friends will make what I consider to be stupid choices. Sometimes when that happens I don't still my tongue, and I end up telling them that I think they're making stupid choices. That's a stupid choice on my part, most of the time. Does that mean that I think my friends are stupid? Of course not. Sometimes I disapprove of the things my friends do. I still care about them, and they're entitled to their choices, and I typically won't hold their choices against them, but sometimes I want to make my opinion known, in the hopes that I can save them from some unhappiness or pain.

And sometimes the difference of opinion is simply due to a difference in perspective, and neither of us will ever see things from the other's point of view, and it's best to agree to disagree. I'm okay with that, as long as my opinions are respected. I try to respect the opinions of others depending on their life perspectives, and there are few things more hurtful to me than when someone I respect refuses to respect me back. This hasn't happened to me in a while because I've relegated my opinions to comments in others' blogs, but I see it happening to those I love, and it hurts.

There might end up being some striation in the Mohosphere. It might come down to a complete split and a separation of communities, but I hope it doesn't. I just hope that my friends will remain my friends, and that we can still maintain some level of mutual respect, because some of the people here are just too good to let go of, even if their choices don't line up in my personal outlook on life. I don't like giving up my friends.

To all the MoHoHos out there - grow up! And I don't mean that in a mean or bad way, I mean that you have to pull out of your closet-delayed gay adolescence. Not so you can make choices that line up with what I believe, but so that you can make choices that aren't clouded by newness, infatuation, crushes, or the like. Your choices are yours to make, but it's hard to make them when focus is lost by the phase that you're going through.

I had a MoHoHo phase of my own, but it was neither very long or very hard to deal with, likely due to my early acceptance of myself and the company I kept. Especially since I had Salad by my side throughout, helping to keep my focus on other things. It's hard to pull out of it, and sometimes you don't want to because the novelty is so fun. Post-MoHoHo is just as fun, though, without as strong a temptation. It's worth coming out of.

Anyway, I've been all over the place. I guess that's what happens when I disappear for so long. Good talking again. :P