Monday, November 17, 2014

On the Breaking Point: Middle School

As middle school progressed, so did the teasing and insecurity. 7th grade I was desperate to try and change these feelings, so I pretended to have a crush on this girl (let's call her Victoria because that's a sexy name and I don't know anyone named Victoria). I tried very hard to win over Victoria's heart as a 12 year old boy, and I succeeded for a time. We were both in the awkward young teen love stage where we both liked each other but were too grossed out by cooties or something (like the fact that she was a girl) to actually talk about it. Eventually in mid 8th grade, she told me she didn't like me anymore and I was absolutely traumatized. I cried and listened to sad music because I thought that my chance to become straight was shot.

As dramatic as that sounds, as a little gay boy it was a legitimate stressor for me. It caused me a lot of depression because no matter how hard I tried to pretend to like girls I could never actually like girls. All my friends were talking about the people they had crushes on, and the people I had crushes on I felt like I was forbidden to admit. So I continued to try and have crushes on Breanna, Marissa, and Alexa (all alias names) to no avail. They would all have crushes on me and eventually tell me that they didn't like me anymore. I was crushed (pun definitely intended).

Then came 9th grade and along with 9th grade came seminary because it was the first year of high school. We were studying the Book of Mormon, which I thought was a fantastic start to my seminary experience. The Book of Mormon was the keystone of the gospel and it would be a fantastic way to develop and strengthen the foundation of my testimony. My teacher's name was Brother Garrett and it was one of the most spiritually strengthening years of my life. Also one of the most depressing.

I was on top of my scripture study and I made sure to pass off every scripture mastery. I took notes, pondered, and prayed about everything I was taught that year because I figured if I was spiritual enough, God would provide me an answer to my prayers and I could become straight, making the following years of my life a lot easier to handle. In the meantime the bullying intensified.

Some of my classmates would pretend I wasn't there, run into me in the halls and call me a "faggot," "gay," or "queer." Someone even sent me a fake valentine for valentine's day from a well known gay guy at our school to spite me and that guy. The thing that hurt the most was when I found out that one of my best friends spread rumors about me around the school that I was gay (which, I mean.. was true. But 1) I didn't tell anyone yet and 2) You just don't out people. Period.). Because of this rumor, the bullying got so bad I had to go see the school councellor to get it to stop. He called her in to face me and apologize but she pretended nothing happened and walked out of the office with her head held high. Because of this, I became very withdrawn and defensive because I didn't know who I could trust. I even began to withdraw from my closest friends.

I remember a specific incident where I fasted and knelt beside my bed praying specifically to be healed from having these feelings and feeling so very empty as I didn't get any divine answer from God that I would be changed due to my faithfulness. I became numb inside as I sobbed into my sheets.

The end of ninth grade rolled around and I couldn't take the bullying anymore. Like I said, I distanced myself from my friends and applied for a varience to go to Davis High, which was roughly 15 miles away from where I lived in Bountiful. I had my escape and new start in order and I couldn't wait.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A mission?

"Are you going on a mission?"

For most LDS boys this isn't even a question. Of course they're going on a mission. Of course they're going to devote two years of their lives to the Lord in selfless service to preach the word of God to people on all corners of the earth. It's what is expected. Not only this, but they were raised with a fire in their belly to serve the Lord and their desire to do so is bursting.

Now don't get me wrong, I have a burning desire to serve. I want to devote those two years of my life to serve a mission. I love the Lord. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have a testimony as strong now as I ever have in my life. But putting that aside, it chills me to the core thinking about leaving on a mission. With my unique set of circumstances, as a gay mormon, the idea absolutely terrifies me.

First and foremost, I'm not as worried about the actual mission as much as what I am supposed to do to get there: the temple covenants. To the best of my knowledge (as I have not gone through the temple and made those covenants myself) after making those covenants to the Lord, the consequences of having homosexual relations are a lot more severe than having just made the baptismal covenants. When you make those sacred covenants, you are promising to keep the law of chastity until you are able to legally marry someone of the opposite gender (again, to the best of my knowledge). For someone who is vitually in no way attracted to women physically or romantically, this is an incredible chasm between where I am right now and where God wants me to be. I could never make covenants to a God I loved so much unless I trusted myself enough to know I could keep them.

That being said, if I did serve a mission, it leaves these four options for me:

1) Marry a woman that by some miracle I found attractive emotionally and physically.

2) Marry a woman I know I'm not attracted to emotionally or physically and hope the marriage stays together.

3) Marry a woman and then get divorced because I couldn't make it work and then eventually become excommunicated because I desire companionship with a man.

4) Live a life of celibacy and devoid of companionship.

To me, and I'm sure many of you will agree, the only one that sounds even remotely hopeful is option number 1, and to be honest, the least likely to happen. 3 out of 4 of those options sound incredibly miserable, and the only one that sounds remotely good has roughly a 95% fail rate. With this logic, a mission isn't setting me up for happiness, it's setting me up for misery.

Though the temple covenants are what makes me the most hesitant, the mission does scare me as well. I am going to be with a male companion 24/7 7 days a week. What happens if I develop feelings for a companion? What if I get too self-conscious about my companion thinking I'm gay or finding out I'm gay? What if he makes fun of me, feels uncomfortable around me, or dislikes me because of it? That idea stresses me out as well.

When people ask me if I'm going to serve a mission, and I say no, it's not because of lack of desire in any shape or form. I want to serve the God I love for the church that I have found to be true. It's because I don't know if I can trust myself enough to keep the temple covenants when I come home and I'm scared of developing feelings for my companions.

That being said, a mission isn't entirely out of the question. I am still praying earnestly about the path my life is supposed to take, and if God says that is a mission and I can trust myself to keep those temple covenants, that is what I will do. But I know that as of right now I am not in a position to serve because I couldn't trust myself quite yet to keep those covenants if I made them.

Everybody has a different set of life circumstances. Some people don't leave on missions, some people come home early, and some serve the full two years (or 18 months for women). Whatever their circumstances are, they are all legitimate, whether you know the reasons to them or not.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I have been going through a pretty hard time lately in my life and I figured that writing things down helps me to center myself and to reveal more thoughts, feelings and insights that I wouldn't have otherwise. Also, I want to remember how I felt in the past experiences that I talk about to help guide where I am headed now.

I was a pretty blessed child. My parents helped me do extracurricular activities like gymnastics, soccer, diving, basketball and then eventually dance (which comes later in my teenage years that I will get to in another post). I wasn't the most liked child in the world, because let's be honest, I was very different from the rest of the kids in my grade. I liked dolls and such over trucks, I had an incredible fascination with animals, and I was fabulous (no other way to put it). To exemplify my fabulousness, I remember distinctly wearing my sister's yellow princess Belle dress and loving every minute. When my parents told me I needed to take it off, I cried. Now that story seems silly to me because I would never wear a dress nor anything particularly feminine.

I became vaguely aware of my sexuality when I was around 5 years old. Seems a bit young doesn't it? I get asked questions like, "How did you know you were gay before you even hit puberty?" And I just think about all the boys and girls when they're little talking about their crushes. It's just like that. As little kids talk about how they like the opposite gender, I had crushes on the same gender. How I describe it to people is it's like there was a dormant animal that was sitting in the back of my mind. I acknowledged that it was there, but it was asleep and not causing a commotion. It was when puberty hit when that animal awoke and decided to wreak havoc on my life.

So I think that I established that I was always a pretty gay child growing up. I was teased, harassed, and bullied about it clear until I was about 15, but since I'm focusing on my childhood for this post, I'll limit it to elementary school. One day when I was in the lunch room with my best friend, I noticed that two of the boys had snuck an extra piece of pizza out of the lunchroom. Me, being the responsible little boy that I was, told the lunch lady (yes, I was that kid). After she scolded and punished the two boys, one of them looked over at me and said, "Hey. Hey Trevor. You're gay and you sleep with men."

I was utterly distraught. After boldly declaring that I was no longer going to sit with them, I collapsed into a puddle of tears as soon as I was out of eyesight. This was my first taste that being gay was "unacceptable." That I was unwanted because of it. It was the beginning of my closted experience. I was maybe 9 or 10.

Finally around the middle of 6th grade when I was 11, I realized I was gay. At first it started out with me seeing a guy I found attractive and then saying to myself, "I want to look like that." I was realizing that I found that attractive and because of such, I wanted my body to look good. Chiseled abs, nice biceps, you know, the works. But eventually this turned into me actually being attracted to people in my class and that sort of threw my world for a loop.