Saturday, October 15, 2011
Just a quick update. I finished 3 weeks of Neurology and took the final exam on Friday. Monday starts a week of Ophthalmology and the next week is Orthopedic Surgery. For Neurology I was got the assignment to work at the Children's Hospital. It was great to get some clinical interaction with kids again. There was a nice overlap with genetics and Neurology. It was also incredibly depressing to see some of the terrible things some children go through. Neurology is home to some of the most depressing illnesses imaginable. It reminded me of Elder Packer's now famous: "Why would God do that to anyone?" I saw kids with genetic diseases that left their nerves undeveloped who will never be able to breath on their own. I saw other kids who have seizures that have destroyed their brains and they no longer can interact with the world. I saw others born without most of their brain and some who had strokes that had transformed them from normal kids to vegetables. I prefer to not believe in a God who controls the minutiae of our lives such that He is responsible for such things happening. If anything, the experience was a testimony builder for my atheism. I'm grateful to no longer have to try and reconcile such atrocities with a loving Heavenly Father.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Here is the latest research announcement that I received:
I am a doctoral student of Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University. I am doing my dissertation research on commitment in mixed-orientation relationships (non-heterosexual man partnered with a heterosexual woman). This study has been approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the protection of human subjects. Please pass this along to anyone who may be interested.
Participants qualify IF:
• The male experiences same-sex attractions or behavior, regardless of self-identification.
• The female identifies as straight or heterosexual.
• The non-heterosexuality of the male has been acknowledged between the couple for at least three years.
• The couple is in a committed intimate relationship, legally recognized or not.
• Both partners are willing to be interviewed.
The couple need not be in a sexually monogamous relationship, but they should identify each other as their primary partner. Participants may come from any state within the United States.
Participants will be asked to sign an informed consent document and to complete a short demographic questionnaire. I plan to interview the couple together once and each partner individually once. Most interviews will be held by phone or by Skype. If participants live within the state of Iowa, interviews may be held in person, if possible. Interviews will last approximately 60 minutes. After I have completed my interviews, participants will be invited to review a preliminary analysis of the results and to provide feedback if they wish.
Participant identity will be kept strictly confidential. Digital transcripts will be kept in password-protected computer files. Printed transcripts and completed demographic questionnaires will be kept in a locked file cabinet in my office until the end of the study. Audio recordings will be deleted after transcription. Pseudonyms will be assigned to participants on the transcripts.
Those interested in participating in the study can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-441-9397. To ensure participant confidentiality, respondents should indicate how they wish to be contacted.
Thank you for your time!
Department of Human Development & Family Studies
Iowa State University
Monday, September 5, 2011
My OB/GYN rotation is half over. I've delivered several babies, learned to do the pelvic exam, diagnosed STDs, counseled on birth control, and been privy to intensely intrusive experiences that patients grant their doctors, particularly in OB/GYN. The rotation has its ups and downs. I'm learning a lot and it is exciting how much we are able to do to improve the health of our patients. On the other hand, there is a certain messiness inherent to OB/GYN work that is just nasty and I don't think I'll be seeking a career in OB/GYN.
Despite ongoing efforts to decompartmentalize my life, this rotation seems to be reinforcing a certain amount of compartmentalization. I'm out at a rural health center where I stay in the nursing dorms during the week and then come back to the city on the weekends for classroom instruction. When I am out at the hospital, I have essentially no family responsibilities and its like I'm a single student in undergrad again. When I come back to the city I try to spend time with the family and I'm so busy with household responsibilities that I hardly have time to study. It's great to have so much study time out at the hospital so I don't feel too stressed without study time over the weekends, but I have this odd feeling of compartmentalization to my life. At the hospital I'm granted extremely intrusive access to patients (such as being part of a team of three doctors shoved between the legs of an anesthetized woman performing a vaginal hysterectomy) and then there is this entirely different life at home. I think easing back into clinics with this away rotation has probably been the best way to get back into my clinical rotations, but there will need to be additional work at reintegrating my life during the next rotations, when I will be at the local hospital and living at home during the rotation.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
My first rotation back is a 6-week OB/GYN rotation, which basically means there are going to be lots of vaginas.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Having finished up my PhD, I am now back in clinics to learn how to be a doctor. I have been in my refresher course for one week and have one week left to go before actual graded course work begins. The clinic schedule is somewhat different from working in a lab with really early mornings and eighty hour work weeks, not to mention a loss of autonomy and the ability to structure my own day. But I am in a very different place personally than I was last time I was in the clinics and overall I think it is a better place to be. Things are also coming back to me faster than I expected them to. I was working in the lab for a long time.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Green Lantern comes out in theaters today. I'll admit that my only interest in the film is in seeing Ryan Reynolds. I am completely unfamiliar with the comic book. I just watched the preview and wasn't duly impressed. This review also didn't improve my impresssion of the film. But I think Ryan Reynolds just might get me to the theater anyways.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Madame Curie and I were inspired by Kiley's self-actualization collage a while back and one afternoon decided to make our own collages. According to Kiley's post, to make the collage you:
The finished collage is supposed to tell you something about yourself without the filters we often impose on ourselves. Today we are jointly posting our collages.
You can see Madame Curie's collage at her blog.
So, any thoughts about what our collages say about us?
Monday, June 13, 2011
I had a fantastic time at Philadelphia Pride. Having gone last year, there weren't really any surprises. It was just nice to feel accepted for being myself. Madame Curie came along this year and we had a wonderful time.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
We are planning our annual trip back to the Intermountain West to visit my family. This year the trip coincides with one of my little brothers getting married in the temple. When Madame Curie and I got married we excluded her non-member family from the sealing. In an act of karma, this year we will have the opportunity to find out what it is like to be excluded from an important family event such as a wedding.
This will be the first time being back around family since we came out to them last year as non-believers and told them that I am attracted to men. This will also be the first time around everyone since my brother (the same one getting married) decided over Thanksgiving dinner that it was his place to tell the entire extended family about my being gay. I don't expect anything out of the ordinary, but we could always be surprised. It is nice to have everything out and in the open this time around. The trip should definitely be less stressful than last year's trip.
We'll be out visiting in Utah and Idaho for a couple of weeks and we would be interested in getting together with anyone else who is so inclined. My brother's wedding reception is the same night as the monthly MoHo party, so I'm pessimistic that we'll be able to make it to the party, although we do plan to come down for the MOM MoHo party the next weekend. Drop me a line if you are interested in getting together.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Philadelphia Pride Parade and Festival is this coming Sunday. Last year was my first time attending and I had an enjoyable time. I am looking forward to attending again this year. I would love to meet up with others if any of my readers are also planning to attend.
Details can be found here: http://www.phillypride.org/
Monday, May 30, 2011
Pierre Curie studied ferromagnetism, paramagnetism, and diamagnetism for his doctoral thesis. I have been incredibly busy the last several months finishing up my own doctoral thesis on the genetics of high density lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism. On Friday I presented its oral defense and completed the final requirements for my PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology. I guess that makes me Dr. Curie now.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
As part of my visit to NYC to see the Book of Mormon musical, I also attended a Mormon Stories conference. The conference was an attempt to build a local community of support for liberal and non-traditional Mormons. I enjoyed myself immensely. In part due to the successful experience, John Dehlin is attempting to expand the effort by starting geographically organized facebook groups which will help to organize local support networks. You can sign up for a group in your area by visiting the Mormon Stories local Communities page. I have agreed to administer the facebook site for the Philadelphia, PA group. So, if any of my readers are local to the Philadelphia area and would like to join the local support network, visit our facebook page and request to join: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_19875252
Monday, March 28, 2011
Book of Mormon on Broadway this past Friday, on Opening Weekend. Ultimately the church newsroom got it about right when they said it will "attempt to entertain audiences for an evening." It was hilarious. I laughed nearly non-stop. It was a very entertaining evening. The musical does not pretend to try to "change people's lives forever" and I think there is very little to fear that the musical is going to ultimately push people away from Christ or even from Mormonism.
For individuals on the fence about whether or not to go see it, I think a good rule of thumb is to apply the "South Park" test. To apply this test, watch the South Park episode, "All About the Mormons" and if you are offended, you should avoid the musical. There is plenty to offend people if they "choose to be offended" (course language that resulted in requiring an "explicit language" warning printed on all the tickets, satire at the expense of sacred Mormon themes, potty humor/sexual humor). However, very little of the musical derived humor at the expense of Mormons in particular, unlike how I felt about their South Park episode which seemed to be mostly about mocking Mormon beliefs. Most of the humor is situational, internally derived in the play. You laugh at the characters and the caricatures because of their characters and situations, not because they are Mormon. The stage effects, choreography, and music are all amazing! I am still humming the catchy tunes.
Initially upon leaving the theater, I felt heart-warmed, satisfied, and thought it was a very funny musical. I had been well entertained for the evening. But the musical has really stuck with me and upon further reflection and discussion with others who also saw it, I find the musical to be a very complex production filled with multiple layers of story and insight. While a non-Mormon audience will find one layer of humor and a Mormon audience will find another layer of humor with specific gems included just for them, I think there are further layers for those audiences in particular that frequent my blog, the gay Mormons and disaffected Mormons.
For the gay Mormons, there is a gay Mormon missionary supporting character who is struggling with his same gender attraction (there is also a real gay Mormon actor in the play, although he does not play the gay Mormon missionary character). The gay Mormon missionary gets a prominant role in the song "Turn it Off!", a song about turning off uncomfortable feelings that don't fit into the church paradigm, like doubts, depression, and homosexual feelings. The character provides a humerous critique at church policies on homosexuality. I think the creators have identified homosexuality as one of those areas in particular where society is moving much more quickly than the church and there is beginning to be a lot of dissonance between church culture and American culture when it comes to homosexuality. I think there is a message of self-acceptance and the dangers of denying one's true self in the subtext of the play.
For the disaffected Mormons, I think the play's theme and message is directed most specifically toward them, but maybe that is just because I fit so well into that demographic that the layer of the play that spoke most to me was the one directed at disaffected Mormons. One of the plays main story arcs is the journey of the main character, Elder Price, from a deeply devouted missionary to disaffected Mormon when he discovers the church doesn't work in the world the way he thought it would to an individual with more complex beliefs who accepts that something doesn't have to be true to be do good in the world. I felt that Elder Price's faith journey encapsulated Fowler's Stages of Faith and I really identified with his character during his faith crisis in the second act. Ultimately, Elder Price ended his faith journey further ahead of where I currently am on my faith journey.
There are so many layers to the musical, I think I am going to have to go back to see it again. Perhaps I was too quick in concluding that it wouldn't "change people's lives forever." I may yet find in it an essential clue for coming to grips with Mormonism's past role and future place in my life.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I am reeling from this news.
One Mormon in my ward killed another Mormon in my ward by stoning to death for supposed "homosexual advances", trying to follow the biblical injunction that homosexuals should be stoned. While I wasn't close with either, I had seen them both at church. I actually had spoken unknowingly with the murderer between the murder and arrest. Both were converts within the past 2 years or so.
I guess this is one explanation for why the ward has left us alone so much. There were much bigger issues than a couple of apostates leaving the church . . . WOW!
I don't know what to do with this information. So I am posting a couple of links while I process through this.
EDIT: I have updated my blog with some personal reflections on the murders here.
Story that confirms the Mormon Connection: http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2011 ... 746326.txt
Video story here: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?secti ... id=8020716
Saturday, February 5, 2011
After acknowledging being attracted to men, I struggled with where to place myself on the Kinsey scale and how to interpret that placement. Despite how much I felt I had denied being attracted to men for my entire life, I couldn't deny that I had also had feelings of attraction for women. I quickly recognized that I was not a "6" on the Kinsey scale, but it was also apparent that I was not a "3" and I felt more attracted to men in general than to women. I felt that a bisexual should be equally attracted to men and women, so I accepted the gay label. I returned to one of my earliest thoughts that I had not recognized my attraction to men because I focused more on my attraction to women, whatever amount of that which existed. I anticipated that as I acknowledged my attractions to men I would experience a sudden swing on the Kinsey scale, but that hasn't happened. While I am more able to actively recognize and appreciate my attractions to men now, I have not felt a major shift in my Kinsey scale. It appears that while years of being married to a woman couldn't remove my attractions to men, acknowledging my attraction to men also cannot remove my attractions to women (most notably, of course, my wife).
What does the research show with regard to Kinsey scale and self-labeled heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals? Again from the "Dual Attraction" questionairre, for sexual feelings 97% of heterosexuals reported 0-1, 97% of homosexuals reported 5-6, and bisexuals spread out across the kinsey scale with 2% reported 0 and another 2% reporting 6, only 20% reporting 3 and in general exhibiting a slight over-representation toward the lower (heterosexual) end of the Kinsey scale. For sexual behaviors, 100% of heterosexuals reported 0-1 (8.8% reported 1, which is a small degree of homosexual behaviors) and 100% of homosexuals reported 5-6 (8.8% reported 5, which is a small degree of heterosexual behaviors), and bisexuals were again spread out across the scale with 11% reported 0, 8.3% reported 6 and a more pronounced skewing of the data toward the lower (heterosexual) end of the scale. For romantic feelings, 97% of heterosexuals reported 0-1, 97% of homosexuals reported 5-6, and bisexuals were widely dispersed, 23% reported 0, 4.5% reported 6 and the most pronounced skewing toward the lower (heterosexual) end of the scale.
The researchers then looked at composite scores of sexual feelings, sexual behaviors, and romantic feelings for individuals. 65% of heterosexuals were pure heterosexuals (0 on all three measures on the Kinsey scale) and 58.3% of homosexuals were pure homosexuals (6 on all three measures). Only 6.9% of bisexual men were pure bisexuals (3 on all three measures). The largest category of bisexual men were heteroseuxal leaning bisexuals with 43.1% of bisexuals reporting an average of 2 or less on all three measures). 21.6 % of bisexual men were mid bisexuals with 2-4 on all three measures, 17.6% of bisexual men were homosexual leaning bisexuals with an average of 4-6 on all three measures. The researchers also identified a category they called "varied bisexuals" who had a separation of at least 3 points between two of their Kinsey scale measurements. In general "varied bisexuals" had significantly more homosexual behaviors than their sexual and romantic feelings would predict.
Based on these criteria, I would be classified as a "varied bisexual", but my behaviors are significantly more heterosexual than my feelings would predict. The researchers noted one subject in their survey that seems to be a close match to my profile. "Only one bisexual showed a discrepancy of 4 scale points or greater across the three dimensions. It was produced by having more homsexual sexual and romantic feelings but no homosexual sexual activity. (The profile was 404.)"
As expected, heterosexuals clustered near the low end of the Kinsey scale, homosexuals clustered near the high end of the Kinsey scale, and bisexuals were spread out, but seemed to cluster near the lower end of the Kinsey scale rather than the middle of the Kinsey scale. Thus bisexuals appeared to be significantly attracted to men, but slightly more attracted to women than men. This contradicts with my own feelings of attraction toward men being stronger than toward women in general.
The researchers also looked at the overlap in Kinsey profiles among the heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals. They found that 87% of the heterosexuals that were not 0 on all three Kinsey scales overlapped with the heterosexual leaning bisexuals Kinsey profiles. Similarly, 81% of the homosexuals that were not 6 on all three Kinsey scales overlapped with the homosexual leaning bisexual Kinsey profiles. The researchers suggest that these areas of overlap may be people beginning to experience a change in self-labeling as they find that their feelings and behaviors do not entirely match their self-label and would be a particularly interesting group to study for researchers studying transition in sexual identity. The researchers also suggest that "varied bisexuals" may be in a particularly unstable situation as behaviors tend to match closely with feelings. These results also show that there is significant overlap in Kinsey scales among different self-labels.
How does your self-label match with your Kinsey scale rankings of sexual feelings, sexual behavior, and romantic feelings? How closely aligned are your Kinsey scale rankings?
Thursday, February 3, 2011
After finally acknowledging to myself that I was attracted to men and I began applying the gay label to myself, there were moments that I felt frustrated that I hadn't accepted it earlier. Certainly life seems more complicated when one comes out as gay after getting married and have a child with a woman. Reviewing my life, there were plenty of experiences that should have given me a clue that I was attracted to men. Somehow I had dismissed those experiences and managed to find a wonderful woman to marry. I blamed my Mormon worldview for giving me the wrong idea about what "gay" was. I blamed society for stigmatizing homosexuality beyond what Mormonism did. I blamed myself for being in denial. Yet somewhere among all of that, I managed to maintain a wonderful and fulfilling relationship with my wife, and having that relationship did not seem to contradict my core identity.
Still, it was hard not to imagine how life might have been different if I had accepted being attracted to men earlier. I got caught up in the challenges and triumphs of the younger MoHo community. I wondered how many believing MoHos could be so aware of their attraction to men and struggle with it in their believing Mormon worldview, when I had been in complete denial of it, largely due to my Mormon worldview. I felt that I had perhaps missed out on some gay coming-of-age event that I could have experienced if only I had come out to myself earlier in life.
So it was with some surprise and potential self-recognition that I read the statistics compiled by the researchers who wrote "Dual Attraction", which I recently reviewed. They sent out questionaires to people of all sexual orientation: heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual. Part of the questionaire asked about age of first attractions, behaviors, self-labelling, and coming out. Heterosexuals reported their first heterosexual attraction at 10.2 years, bisexuals at 12.8 years, and homosexuals at 14.5 years (yes, some homosexuals did report heterosexual feelings). For first homosexual attraction, homosexuals reported 11.5 years, bisexuals 17.1 years, and heterosexuals 21.9 years (yep, even some heterosexuals reported homosexual feelings). Perhaps most interesting, homsexuals first used the homosexual label for themselves at 21.1 years (right at the age when young missionaries are returning home - and I've certainly read lots of MoHo accounts about coming out to themselves while on a mission or shortly thereafter) while bisexuals first labeled themselves as bisexual at 29 years of age (I first acknowledged to myself that I was attracted to men shortly before my 30th birthday). Homsexuals first came out at an average of 23.6 years (so a couple of years after labelling themselves as homosexual) while bisexuals first came out to others at 29.2 years ( very shortly after coming out to themselves, which parallels my experience coming out soon after acknowledging to myself that I am attracted to men).
While one's age at self-labelling and coming out is probably not a reliable indicator of whether someone is gay or bisexual, and the standard deviations on the means I reported above are very large (on the order of 10 years in either direction), it was interesting to me that my story seemed to fit more into the bisexual pattern. Rather than being a gay "late-bloomer", perhaps I fit squarely in the mean of the bisexual.
As an aside, I don't really fit either pattern with regard to first attractions, I clearly remember having a crush on a girl in 1st grade and inviting her over to watch a movie and share a drink from a romantic glass with two straws and I also had a guy friend about the same time that I thought was very cute and I kissed on the cheek, for both experiences I was younger than the mean age at first attraction for either heterosexuals attraction for women or homosexuals attraction for men.
What has been your experience? How old were you when you self-labeled and when you came out to others? How old were you when you experienced your first attraction to men and/or women?
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
For my studies of bisexuality, another book has been influential and I wanted to introduce it before delving into the details in future posts.
The study began with observation and interviews with members of the San Francisco Bisexual Center. In order to compare their observations of bisexuals with heterosexuals and homosexuals, the team utilized the information they gathered at the Bisexual Center to create an extensive questionnaire that was mailed to heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals identified through other San Francisco organizations, The Pacific Center for homosexuals and the San Franscisco Sex Information Service and the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality for heterosexuals. The information was all gathered largely before the AIDS crisis, which erupted while they were compiling their initial results. They decided to return to San Francisco to do a follow-up study on the impact of AIDS on bisexuals in San Francisco.
The book is largely a sociology study and does not attempt to integrate biology with the observations. The authors specifically note that "the approach we take, in contrast to the biological one, emphasizes the standpoint of the people we are examining and tried to capture how they construct their sexual lives." As a biologist myself, I found the book illuminating due to its alternative perspective as well as occassionally misguided due to its failure to take biological explanations into consideration. As it was an observational study, the researchers emphasized behaviors, although they tried to account for self-reported feelings (sexuals and romantic) using the Kinsey scale. The authors treated each number on the Kinsey scale as a discrete category and when comparing sequential Kinsey scale rankings by the same person, the authors noted changes in Kinsey scale. Examining the data showed most changes were small, perhaps due to changes in interpretation of the meaning of numbers on the Kinsey scale rather than actual changes in Kinsey scale rankings, however the authors considered any change in Kinsey scale number as highly important. The emphasis on specific Kinsey scale numbers and behavior resulted in reports of the ability to change one's sexual orientation, which I don't think most of the study participants would agree with.
For me the most valuable part of the study is the rich demographic information collected from homosexuals, bisexuals, and heterosexuals. This data provides a quantifiable description of the different categories that I can compare myself to. It also provides data to refute or support the myths of bisexuality. The data also enables me to compare the perceptions of bisexuality with its reality, enabling me to see what messages I am sending about myself with the bisexual label.
Monday, January 31, 2011
On page 11 of the book I recently reviewed, "Bi America," there is a list of thirteen myths about bisexuality, compiled by bisexuals at a Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting Supportive Experience (BECAUSE). Here is the list:
1. Bisexuals are easy; they are indiscriminate about whom they have sex with.
2. All bisexuals are swingers.
3. Bisexuals have the best of both worlds and are twice as likely to get a date.
4. Bisexuals are unable to commit to either gender.
5. Bisexual women are all wives just trying to please their husbands, and bisexual men are all married guys cheating on their wives.
6. Bisexuality is just a phase on the way to being lesbian or gay
7. Bisexuals are unable to be happy, have low self-esteem, or are mentally ill.
8. Bisexuals are disease carriers.
9. Bisexuals are a very small part of the population.
10. Bisexuals are just trying to maintain heterosexual privilege.
11. Bisexuals can't be feminist.
12. People call themselves bisexual to be trendy.
13. Bisexuality is a choice.
Belief in myth #6 is one thing that led me so quickly to adopt the gay label without fully considering the bisexual label previously, along with feeling resonance with stories of others who now identify as gay.
Have you or do you believe any of these 13 points about bisexuals?
Sunday, January 30, 2011
"Bi America" was written by William E. Burleson and published in 2005. William Burleson is bisexual and had been publicly involved in bisexual politics for nearly 15 years when his book was published. The book is filled with quotes from bisexuals which come from the Bi History Project in Minnesota, personal interviews conducted by Mr. Burleson, and a bisexual online support group. Mr. Burleson also collected data from an online survey of bisexuals.
Mr. Burleson heavily relies on the stories of others to document bisexuals living in America. In the introduction he states, "What is important are the stories of living people, living their lives. That is what I set out to do with this project: tell our story. . . I believe what really matters are the people and their stories . . . Bi people, as is true of many other groups, are often reduced to stereotypes. I hope to reduce bisexuality to its humanity."
I felt the overriding theme throughout this book revolves around the word "community." What is a community? What is the bisexual community? What does it look like? Where can it be found? Mr. Burleson explores bisexual communities across America and reports on the stories of the individuals composing those communities, creating a landscape of bisexuals in America. He concludes with an exploration of how the internet has shaped the bisexual community and what the future holds for the bisexual community.
Many times throughout the book, I found myself reflecting on the MoHo community and asking myself the same questions of the MoHo community that Mr. Burleson was trying to answer about American bisexual communities. Mr. Burleson defines a community as a "functional group brought together by commonalities and sharing a culture of some kind to some degree." For there to be a community, people must feel a part of that community, and the community is known to outsiders through its institutions. It seems to me that the MoHo community is largely held together by the MoHo directory, which is a primary source for visibility to those outside the community and is a very visible reminder of those who belong to the MoHo community. Another defining institution of the MoHo community is the monthly meet-ups hosted by Scott and Sarah, which have expanded to other regular MoHo meet-ups that I am aware of in the Northwest and Northeast. I believe one of the intentions of the MoHo Map is to help to organize such meet-ups in resonable geographic areas. The MoHo facebook group provides an online gathering place.
I think one reason the book caused me to reflect so much on the MoHo community was due to its use of stories to illustrate the rich diversity of American bisexual communities. I have similarly come to know the MoHo community through its stories, shared on its blogs. The MoHo community has been, and continues to be, an open and inviting place where I can share my story and compare it to the stories of others as I seek to understand who I am. It was within the MoHo community that I finally found stories of others that paralleled mine, stories that resonated with my experiences and stories that provide me with insight and guidance as I forge a path forward. These were stories that let me know I was not alone in being attracted to men, that let me know my interpretations and responses to those feelings were normal within the Mormon worldview I held, that let me know that other men who are attracted to men also get married to women for a variety of reasons and sometimes before they come out to themselves about their attractions to men.
So I think it is only natural that in my sincere attempts to contemplate the bisexual orientation I would find a collection of bisexual stories against which to compare my story and experiences to see if it resonates with me. References to this book will be frequent in future blog posts, time permitting, that contemplate bisexuality.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
So I haven't been able to figure out how to link to my facebook account, so I disabled that functionality with my mormon.org profile and have been waiting to see if anything would happen.
I finally got a response on my homosexuality question that "the statement is to (sic) harsh for the audience it would go to. thus it is not cleared." I am pleased that President Kimball's statements on homosexuality are no longer deemed appropriate, but I am a little disturbed by the qualifier of "for the audience it would go to." Is this an attempt to placate me so that I don't think they are questioning my answer, or is this an attempt to give good PR to church, giving me a wink that they agree with me but we don't want to come across as harsh to investigators? If the later, isn't this just the continuation of dishonesty and double-speak that has plagued the church since its beginning?
So I have edited my answer on the question of homosexuality down to: "The Mormon church is firm in the conviction that homosexual behavior is offensive to God and actively works to support legislation against same-sex marriage."
I guess we'll see if that gets accepted. My answer on the Holy Ghost is still "Pending Review."
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I had one of the busiest weeks of my PhD this past couple of weeks (and it will likely continue for the next couple of weeks) as I am trying to get things wrapped up so I can begin writing my PhD dissertation for graduation this spring. This Lady Gaga parody hit a chord, although my project is largely going quite well. Enjoy!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Mormons for Marriage had an interesting post that I saw this morning on mixed-orientation marriages. Apparently the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy has recently published a review of the research that has been performed on mixed-orientation marriages over the past 20 years. The post is an interesting read and the actual article even more so.
From the article's discussion, which I thought was a pretty apt description:
Mixed-orientation marriages are fraught with complexity, as reported in quantitative, qualitative, and case study research. Gay, bisexual, and lesbian spouses must manage homoerotic feelings or activities while maintaining their marriage and considering the needs of their straight spouse. Pressure from within is described in these data as arising from tension between societal expectations, love for spouse, and same-sex attraction; fear of losing one’s family; developing a cogent sense of self while compartmentalizing feelings and behaviors; dealing with ambiguity about one’s sexual identity across contexts; and being able to live intentionally and with integrity. Renegotiation of sexuality within marriage is a challenge for both partners in MOM, as is finding a network that accepts and supports both the individuals and couple as a whole. Friendship and love between spouses, along with shared children, led to family life and community integration. These were reported to deter couples from separating and to enhance their general life satisfaction.
And regarding the wives in a MOM:
Straight women in MOM experienced an array of responses after their husband’s coming out, ranging from outrage to relief. Such women’s experiences were often conceptualized in terms of loss, shock, and sadness. Responses included isolating themselves, feeling humiliated, seeking counseling, and attempting to renegotiate or dissolve their marriage. Many women sought counseling to reorganize their feelings and thoughts about their marriages. Sexual practices in marriages that endured included monogamy, celibacy, menage a` trois, open marriage, and variations on an agreement not to discuss extramarital sexual activity.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I received an interesting comment on a post the other day from a former Mormon graduate student doing a study on commitment in Mixed-Orientation Marriages. He is looking for couples to interview about their Mixed-Orientation marriages. Unfortunately I do not currently qualify for the study because I have not been out to my wife for two years yet. However, if any of my readers qualify for the study and are interested, I would encourage you to contact him and to participate in the study. I think the results of the study could be very interesting and useful to others in MOMs, therapists working with people in MOMs, etc.
Here is copy of the comment for those interested:
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
With it being roughly a year since I began to blog, I have been reviewing some of my early posts and the progress I have made exploring my thoughts and feelings on this blog. In my first post coming out, I wrote, "I am questioning now, but I think that I am bisexual". I then wrote a post about bisexuality, noting a study that brought into question the existence of bisexuality as well as the common notion that bisexuality is a transition period as one accepts their homosexuality. Then I wrote a long series of posts where I explored the past and acknowledged my attraction to men throughout my life. In the final post of that series, I ranked myself on the Klein grid, determining I was probably about a 5 on the Kinsey scale and wrote, " I definitely can't claim to be equally attracted to men and women, even with the abundance of attraction I feel for my wife, so I don't think bisexual is the correct label for me. I guess I'll embrace the homosexual label."
I then went through a challenging and enriching period of time, struggling to understand what being gay meant and striving to overcome my own internalized homophobia. Over the summer I came out as gay to my parents and siblings.
And now I am back to contemplating bisexuality. I have been reading some books on bisexuality, including "Bi America" and "Dual Attraction". I think my initial dismissal of bisexuality may have been too quick and uninformed. So, time permitting, I intend to explore some of my thoughts from reading these books and where I identify with these books. Some of the struggles are different, but many of the struggles of the bisexual person are similar to the struggles of a homosexual person. Both are attracted to persons of the same gender and both need to decide what to do about those attractions. As I wrote in my first post, "I think being in the church is probably easier for the bisexual than for the homosexual. . . . Bisexuality [allowed] me to focus on my heterosexual feelings within my LDS belief system and ignore my homosexual feelings. . . . I had heterosexual feelings I could explore. Any homosexual feelings that I chose not to pursue were easily ignored due to my LDS church belief system, as well as the cultural mindset I was raised with."
As I have learned since becoming disaffected from the church, the world is not composed solely of black and white, good and evil, gay or straight in easily and rigidly defined dichotomies, rather there is a rainbow of variation that is good and wonderful in the world. It was easy to quickly dismiss bisexuality when I was first acknowledging my attractions to men because I was still used to operating in a black/white world view (in fact I still have some difficulties escaping the black/white world view at times, much to my wife's dismay). So this is going to be a concentrated effort at avoiding black/white dichotomies and instead explore the richness and depth that comes from contemplating the vast middle ground.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
As some people have noticed, my Mormon.org profile has been taken down. I was not given any warning or reason for my profile's removal. In fact, the profile was initially completely deleted from my account. I wrote to technical services for an explanation, but they have not responded.
After getting the profile initially approved, I was making minor changes to see what types of things could be done to a Mormon.org profile. When you complete your profile, it tells you: "Thank you for completing your profile. You can update your profile at anytime. If parts of your profile below show "Pending Review," that means they are being reviewed before appearing on Mormon.org. We will notify you through email as soon as your profile changes are approved." (Although I must note that I never got an email telling me my profile was approved or needed revisions or anything. I guess that functionality of the cobbage wasn't completed.) I had every intention of posting some follow-up posts about what could be changed once a profile was approved, how the process worked, and how long it took. First, I deleted one of my more faithful answers, although I still had more than the minimum number of questions answered. The approved profile and the deleted question remained posted for several days until the profile was finally updated with the question removed. Because the original profile remained posted, I figured that as long as I kept all the minimum requirements I could make some larger changes. I tried linking my facebook account to the Mormon.org profile, an optional functionality. I changed my demographic data so that my "previous religious background" was agnostic/atheist. I also tried tweaking my answer to the question on homosexuality that had never been approved, as I previously noted. My new answer read:
When I was young, one of our highest leaders, the prophet, then President Spencer W. Kimball, taught about homosexuality: “This perversion is defined as the sexual desire for those of the same sex or sexual relations between individuals of the same sex, whether men or women. It is the sin of the ages.” And later he uses these adjectives to describe homosexuality: repugnant, deviant, unnatural, abominable, evil, ugly, and curable. Today the church uses less charged language but remains firm in the conviction that homosexual behavior is offensive to God and actively works to support legislation against same-sex marriage.I also answered a new question: My answer was:
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead and His job is to testify of truth. We experience the Holy Ghost as feelings of conviction, sincerity, and a feeling of comfort and warmth (sometimes referred to as a "burning in the bosom.") These feelings direct us in times of uncertainty and difficulty as we are seeking God's will for our life. Such firm emotional manifestations are a way to understand God's will and free us from being tied to the changing ideas and whims of the world.
I suppose I was trying to change too many things at once, but I was impatient. I suppose that any of those things may have gotten my profile pulled. Or perhaps so many changes caused warning flags and they looked at my profile a little more carefully. Or perhaps a TBM friend reported my profile. I don't have any answers.
Before publishing this post, I checked my account again and my profile has returned to my account with a note saying that I need to revise the link to my facebook account. As far as I can tell, the link should work. The link is: http://facebook.com/turgenev13. I would be grateful for someone who is not my facebook friend to check this link to make sure it works. Or perhaps David Baker would like to give me some advice on how he got his mormon.org profile linked to his facebook account.
My changes to the homosexuality question and the new answer to the Holy Ghost question are still "pending review".
I will keep working to get my profile back up.
In the meantime, I've gotten several requests for the screenshots I saved of my profile. So here they are, just in case my profile is eternally in outer darkness.
I apologize in advance for the quality, but I hope it is legible.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Sunstone recently announced that there will be a regional conference in Washington DC on May 20-21st. There is also a call for presentations due March 4. Madame Curie and I are hoping we will be able to attend. Anyone else thinking of attending? We'd love to meet up with people.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Happy New Year!
As today marks my 1 year anniversary of blogging, I can clearly look back and see that 2010 has been a very eventful year. It is crazy how much has happened in a single year. If I hadn't lived it, I don't think I would believe it.
I hope that you all have a wonderful new year!