Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Different in the same ways... dangers of labeling

"That is so gay!"

We've all heard this being said. Sometimes it will be between two gay friends chatting and it is referring to the other one's love of Judy Garland. Between friends, this might be done in jest to lighten the mood. It is almost symbolic of acceptance as "That is so gay!" is more camaraderie. I have a good friend, who I shall call Rafiki to keep his privacy, with whom we joke about some of the gayer aspects of life. I love sewing, although I'm a novice. I love cooking and watching showtunes. If someone who is a friend tells me with a laugh "That is so gay" it makes me smile. If Rafiki said that, I'd laugh and love it because we are mutually accepting of one another. It can be very positive. "I think what you do is a stereotypical gay thing, but I accept and love you!" However, more sinister people might use it as a derogatory exclamation meaning it is a negative thing.

Sometimes you might want to be affectionate with a male friend in public but have fears of hearing "That is so gay!" followed by swearing or even confrontational situations. That is a negative.

Some people who would use it in a negative way might even say that calling someone gay is normal since those individuals are "not normal."

It is a very limiting situation and keeps distance between the two groups.

Such is the case in the Moho community with gay vsa ssa, in my opinion.

People can argue about it to the day their skin turns purple and they have to be rolled out of the room by Oompa Loompas. Some get offended being called one of the other. Some will fight you on the label. Personally, I try to avoid labeling myself as much as possible so as not to limit myself.

We generally think we have two "groups" within Mohos.

First, we have the church oriented types.

Second, we have the "gays"---those who have gone inactive and don't keep a church perspective.

These two groups are polar opposites, right? They're very polarizing ends of the spectrum.

Here are some examples, and decide from each which is the "Churchy-one" and which is the "Gay." I will call them "Gay" so I can differentiate. A "Gay" person is someone not church oriented anymore.

Person 1: Loves to dance, has been in competitions his whole life. Was on the dance team at BYU and won some competitions. Speaks several foreign languages. Has lots of "gay" friends. Served a mission. Has been known to frequent gay clubs with some of his friends from BYU. Loves to work-out and go swimming at the beach.

Person 2: Didn't serve a mission. Loves to garden. Spends time with his friends. Frequents gay clubs. Loves musicals. Has crushes on those with accents. Nearly always impeccably dressed and loves to do new things with his hair.

Person 3: Prefers to spend his time in a library reading books on Chaucer and Shakespeare to going to clubs. Has a really weird fashion sense. Cannot tolerate musicals most of the time. Prefers foreign films and classical music.

Which is which?

Person 1: A heterosexual man I knew at BYU.
Person 2: A Church-Oriented Homosexual I knew back at BYU.
Person 3: A "Gay" Man I knew at BYU.

None of the three read this blog.

It is hard to tell which is which from the description I provided. Sorry, I had to include the heterosexual to prove my point: We're all different in very much the same ways.

What do I mean by that statement? We're all unique individuals, but we as Human Beings tend to share things in common with others regardless or orientation or their chosen label. If we decide based on their label to disassociate with that person, we could easily be at a loss. What if that person could add to our lives in a positive way? If someone is not active in the church, does it discredit him or her from being able to help YOU live the gospel or offering help to YOU on your own spiritual journey?

Just because someone is church-oriented doesn't mean they shun clubbing. Just because someone doesn't go to clubs or have wild sex lives.

Human beings are quick to provide labels and assign associated behavior to that label. I know a lot of active LDS guys who go to church and do their best but they're gay and use that term. I met a guy who had SSA but used that label to hook-up with others. One label doesn't prove anything about the person.

We're all the same in different ways.

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