Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chickens and Weeds

So a lot has happened since I last posted. Our president has come out in support of gay marriage. DOMA is on the rocks after a lot of court challenges. Also a gay married man has compared himself to a unicorn and a chicken sandwich has been vilified as the ultimate symbol of bigotry-(or sign of free speech, depending on who you talk to).

While I have reservations about Chick-fil-a association with the Family Research Council and Exodus, the fact that a bigoted man made some off the cuff remarks about gay people is no shocker to me. Especially since he made them to an audience he thought he could safely say it to, the Baptist Press. 

But somehow these controversies have overshadowed the significant legal and cultural progress towards equality. So a CEO made an idiot of himself and simultaneously became a beacon for religious freedom. 

Another important matter, which has become an obsession both for the Moho community and the nation at large (or at least it feels that way on facebook) is one Mr. Josh Weed.

While undoubtedly his relationship with his wife is unique and special, the circumstances are not. How many of us have read blogs of married gay men or now divorced gay men? How many of us have been married gay men at one point?

He loves his wife. He's already incredibly aware that he's gay. He's a therapist and seems to understand what sexual orientation is. And for this, I commend him. He is educating people who otherwise wouldn't listen that homosexuality exists, that there is something called sexual orientation, and that it matters. In many ways I see him as an ally, though I'm sure the personal attacks against him and his wife make him more reticent to come to terms with "the gay community."

I do however, have a beef (no pun intended) with Mr. Weed's presentation and characterization of homosexuality. He continually refers to in his posts to a "homosexual lifestyle." I know what he means. He means men having intimate sexual relations with other men, or women with women (although it seems he's mostly referring to men). While he may intend no harm, his words connote a of dismissal of that lifestyle as somehow inferior.

Being gay isn't a lifestyle. There are lot's of "heterosexual lifestyles" and it's the same with "homosexual" or "bisexual" or "asexual" ones as well. My lifestyle really isn't that different from other people. Ok, being a grad student and spending hours reading Latin American literature for a career could be called an "alternative lifestyle" but the fact that I'm gay isn't that different. The fact that I have a boyfriend, that we go to movies, go out to eat, talk to each other on the phone, and yes, sleep in the same bed, does not really qualify as anything extraordinary. It isn't all that "queer" or strange to do any of those things. 

In his 6000+ word post, he says that every choice he makes is couched in loss. And this is what makes me saddest about Josh's post. He doesn't seem to see the validity or possibility of any other choice. Not truly. I'm fine if he, and his wife, choose to be married, have kids, be open about their relationship. But I'm not ok with the way his example is being used to push gay men into marriage or the way it is being used to somehow invalidate these relationships of love that exist between two people, who happen to be of the same gender. There is so much to be gained by this choice. And that's what he doesn't seem to get about my "homosexual lifestyle."


  1. A lot of us have wondered about what Josh will say in 10 years, when his testosterone levels have dropped, and the only way he can remain aroused is to think about that hot dude in the office across the hall. No, I'm not wishing any malfortune for Josh, nor would it make me feel better to see him succeed where I have failed. But I'm with you in your concern that some gay mormons may decide to enter heterosexual marriages because, "if Josh can do it, maybe I can too."

  2. Alex, you once wrote that being gay is more than just about sex, but your guyses concerns over josh's relationship with his wife and children seems to be solely sexual. Doesn't he understand what he's missing out on having a boyfriend? How will he still aroused in 10 years?

    I think he feels his loss of a fulfilling sexual relationship was replaced with his own biological children. In fact, the person who loses the most in this situation is the wife. That's a pretty crap deal to be a brood mare. But since she doesn't seem to mind, neither should we. Two consenting adults and all that.

  3. Shover,

    You're right. And maybe I should follow up this post with that. On the one hand, Josh is explaining that sexual orientation exists and that his orientation is gay, which I think is great. But he's missing the full implications of that fact. Sexual orientation is about more than who you have sex with. It's about who you feel emotionally and romantically (and dare I say it) spiritually fulfilled with. Looking at it as "Oh, I'm having sex, I must be straight" or even, "I'm having sex, I must be happily married, even though I'm gay" is pretty simplistic. I'm not saying that's all this is for Josh, but I'm worried about the implications of his story are for other people who DON'T understand very much about sexuality or sexual orientation.

    Like you said, they are two consenting adults. But they are two consenting adults who've chosen to enter the public sphere. And as such, just like Ty and Danielle, their stories demand comment and even criticism from other people who've lived what they have, and made some of the same mistakes. Then at least people (and family and bishops etc. who are pressuring these people to enter into relationships like this) can make an informed decision. That's what I like most about Ashley's blog. (found at's the otherside of the story.