Mormon Beards – Exploring the Issues: The Challenge

So I found out a friend from my freshman ward is doing the “I’m in the closet and I mess around with guys but I’m not gay and I plan on marrying a girl in the temple” thing. I feel really bad for him. Not much I can do, but it’s sad That makes 8 gay guys from that ward. Recent comment on MoHo Facebook Forum

[G]ay men who court and marry straight women have privilege, power and information their wives lack. Gay men who court and marry straight women might have been deceived and victimized by the church, but they subsequently deceive and victimize their wives, and they can and should stop. ~ Holly Welker

This is not a post about the appropriateness of facial hair. It is about gay Mormons men who have married, or perhaps plan or hope to marry, a woman. More to the point, it is ultimately about the women in such marriages: the beards of their gay Mormon husbands (in that they are used as a spouse to conceal the husbands sexual orientation).

The Challenge

I was challenged to write about this topic by a commenter who participated in a long string of comments in response to an essay I published here on Main Street Plaza called Reflections on An Overwhelming Emptiness. The MSP essay (which I had also published on my own blog) consisted of a review of and commentary on comments left on my blog in response to a couple of posts about Mormon mixed-orientation marriages (MoMoMs).

The challenge was framed by the following comments by Holly Welker:

Anyone looking at the images [on your blog] would think that a straight woman/gay man [Mo]MoM is entirely about the man in it and from every gay male MoMoM blog Ive read, that would be a reasonable inference. What could you do to bring more attention to the woman in a/your marriage? Could you have images of women beautiful, broken, defiant, angry, weeping? Could you write posts with titles like Remember: Youre marrying a WOMAN, not an Idea and Whats Going to Happen to Your Wife When it All Falls Apart?

[Y]our marriage is not about only you, and I am suggesting that it might be a good idea to demonstrate in your writing and on your blog more awareness, concern and compassion for what your decisions have cost your wife, because by doing so, you can get single gay men on the verge of repeating your mistake to factor in more accurately and appropriately to their decision what that decision will cost any woman they might marry, and I would hope most devoutly that they would actually care about that.

I had several knee-jerk reactions to what Holly wrote. My initial reaction was that my blog is written (1) by a gay man, (2) about gay men, (3) to gay men; it is not written by, about or for women. I also frankly resented what to me was the patronizing insinuation that I needed to demonstrate on my blog more awareness, concern and compassion for what my decisions had cost my wife. Furthermore, I am not a woman, and could not, even if I chose to, purport to express a womans feelings, let alone my own wifes feelings.

For these and other reasons, I extended an invitation to Holly to write a guest post for my blog that would bring more attention to the woman in a [MoMoM] and achieve the other goals she described. She declined to do so, however, referring me instead to an article she wrote for Sunstone on the subject (to which I will refer in later posts).

In the weeks since that post on MSP, I have thought about Hollys challenge and about some of the issues raised by commenters to the MSP post. I decided I would try to put together a series of posts on my blog that address these issues albeit probably in a manner different than Holly (or any other woman) would have. This is the first of these posts that will be published in the coming days. I anticipate that there will be at least an additional four, perhaps more (published on my blog), depending on comments received to this and subsequent posts. I am hopeful that these essays will generate a lot of discussion on a subject that desperately needs to be discussed openly.

What Did You Know and When Did You Know It?

This question, a paraphrase of a famous question posed by Senator Howard Baker during the Watergate hearings, is about as good a place as any to start.

In one of her first comments to my MSP post, Holly wrote:
[However,] a major concern in all of this remains the timing of gay mens deep concern about the welfare of the women they marry. I wish it happened sooner as in, before courtship. I cant help feeling that so many MoMoMs happen because the person with the incompatible orientation doesnt think through the anguish theyll be creating for a partner who is deeply in love with a spouse who cant reciprocate.
She was responding to the following comment I had made: Every gay man I have met, either in person or online, is a real man (with reference to [a] term [used by another commenter see below]) who has expressed deep concern for the welfare of his wife, even in the cases where the wife has initiated divorce proceedings. Myreference to the term real man relates to a comment left by Seth a heterosexual married Mormon:

[I]f your marriage is wrecked, divorce if you must. But dont delude yourself into thinking that youre just setting [your wife] free to fly off and find love. For a lot of single moms out there, there is no second shot, and no one else waiting out there. Sure, she may have been miserable WITH you. But that doesnt automatically mean shell be less miserable WITHOUT you. A real man faces that fact, and takes accountability for it. No matter what his sexual preferences [emphasis added].

In a follow-up comment, Seth wrote: I dont really think a gay guy has any better reason for divorcing his wife than your average straight guy who no longer finds his wife sexually attractive, or doesnt love her, etc.

Well, besides the issues I had with Seths tone and choice of words, I was left with the firm impression that Seth has little or no understanding of what it means to be gay or what it feels like to be in a deeply troubled marriage.

But enough about Seth.

Lets get back to the question: For those guys out there with beards, what did you know about your sexuality and when did you know it? And the $64,000 question when did (or have) you disclosed the fact that your gay to your wife? For those gay guys out there who are considering damning the torpedoes and proceeding with a traditional Mormon marriage, in spite of the fact that you know or strongly suspect you are gay gay gay, when do you plan to tell your young lady about it?

I have to admit that my initial reaction to Hollys comments, quoted several paragraphs above, could be characterized as irritation. She certainly seemed to be saying (or implying) that young Mormon men should, prior to even courting a girl, (1) know their sexual orientation, (2) embrace that orientation enough to be able to take responsibility for it, (3) feel comfortable enough about that orientation to be able to come out to a girl, and (4) have resolved any conflicts between their sexual identity and LDS teachings concerning homosexuality, eternal marriage and the entire Plan of Salvation.

The Gameplan

I want to address each of these points in subsequent posts, as well as Hollys statement that so many MoMoMs happen because the person with the incompatible orientation doesnt think through the anguish theyll be creating for a partner who is deeply in love with a spouse who cant reciprocate.

Because I feel I should put some skin in the game and respond to Hollys challenge, to the extent I am able, I will devote a couple of posts to my own experience and marriage (making it clear that I have always been very protective of my wifes privacy and will continue to be so). I will also examine the factors that have resulted and continue to result in MoMoMs, including addressing issues relating to female sexuality in the Church (relying heavily on comments left on the MSP post by Holly and Chanson). I am hopeful as well that I will be able to include remarks by women who are married to gay men.

Though my initial reaction to the implied points listed above and to Hollys comment (about thinking through the anguish created for a beard) was again – one of irritation proceeding from a perceived lack of understanding on Hollys part and the imposition by her of unrealistic expectations on young Mormon men, this reaction has been tempered somewhat by thought and time, and this will be reflected in subsequent points.

I do believe that Hollys main point is valid and true: As difficult and painful as MoMoMs are for gay men, they are likely to be equally, if not ultimately more, painful for the woman involved. And more often than not, she is likely to be ignorant, going into the marriage, of her husbands true orientation. Gay Mormon men have to take responsibility for that ignorance.

As Holly wrote, men have more agency and control in the matter of courtship and they have privilege, power and information their [future] wives lack. As such, it is incumbent on young gay Mormon men in no small part because they have the ability to do so now more than ever before to come to grips with their sexuality prior to any kind of a marriage. Gay men who court and marry straight women might have been deceived and victimized by the church, Holly concedes, but they subsequently deceive and victimize their wives, and they can and should stop.

I would alter Hollys statement to say that gay Mormon men have [not might have] been indoctrinated, deceived and victimized by the Church in a number of ways that I will discuss in subsequent posts. As to the rest of her statement, however, she is absolutely correct. The downstream deception and victimization of women – which is foreshadowed by the other quote at the beginning of this post – needs to stop. And the moral responsibility of the Mormon Church to do something about this situation can no longer be ignored.

Invictus Pilgrim blogs at http://invictuspilgrim.blogspot.com.

The second installment in this series is posted here.

The third installment in this series is posted here.

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164 Responses

  1. Seth R. says:

    “I was left with the firm impression that Seth has little or no understanding of what it means to be gay or what it feels like to be in a deeply troubled marriage.”

    Probably true, but so what?

  2. Holly says:

    First, in this passage you quote as coming from me

    Every gay man I have met, either in person or online, is a real man (with reference to [a] term [used by another commenter see below]) who has expressed deep concern for the welfare of his wife, even in the cases where the wife has initiated divorce proceedings.

    [However,] a major concern in all of this remains the timing of gay mens deep concern about the welfare of the women they marry. I wish it happened sooner as in, before courtship. I cant help feeling that so many MoMoMs happen because the person with the incompatible orientation doesnt think through the anguish theyll be creating for a partner who is deeply in love with a spouse who cant reciprocate.

    the first paragraph is actually a statement from you that I am quoting, and I would like you to make that clear.

    My initial reaction was that my blog is written (1) by a gay man, (2) about gay men, (3) to gay men; it is not written by, about or for women. I also frankly resented what to me was the patronizing insinuation that I needed to demonstrate on my blog more awareness, concern and compassion for what my decisions had cost my wife. Furthermore, I am not a woman, and could not, even if I chose to, purport to express a womans feelings, let alone my own wifes feelings.

    But you could marry a straight woman without worrying too much about what her feelings might be about ending up with a gay husband who doesn’t really desire her and can’t stay faithful to her?

    I have to admit that my initial reaction to Hollys comments, quoted several paragraphs above, could be characterized as irritation. She certainly seemed to be saying (or implying) that young Mormon men should, prior to even courting a girl, (1) know their sexual orientation, (2) embrace that orientation enough to be able to take responsibility for it, (3) feel comfortable enough about that orientation to be able to come out to a girl, and (4) have resolved any conflicts between their sexual identity and LDS teachings concerning homosexuality, eternal marriage and the entire Plan of Salvation.

    This is not a fair characterization of my position. In the Sunstone essay you refer to, I write:

    I know it can take a while to figure out ones sexual identity, and that people who eschew sexual behavior during their teens only to marry in their early twenties might not have a firm handle on their sexual orientation. Ive known both women and men who figure out after a decade or two of heterosexual marriage that maybe theyre not straight after all. I know from watching friends go through it that its profoundly painful. I also accept that some people are bisexual, and some spouses dont want or require monogamy.

    But I also think from observing various marriages and divorces that theres something different happening when men who know ahead of time that they are gay marry women they know are straight, particularly in Mormondom. I submit that
    patriarchy endows men with a sense of entitlementwitness Christensens resentment that marrying women and fathering children in a traditional family with a mother and father is still the exclusive territory of straight menthat blinds them to the real cost of their actions. Schow quotes a recently divorced gay man who states that I think a lot of gay men contemplating heterosexual marriage underestimate the impact that their actions have on their future spouse.9 Whereas women are trained, through doctrines like the new and everlasting covenant, to accept, however grudgingly, that they will not have the exclusive regard or affection of their husbands, that indeed their feelings about their marriage are of secondary importance to the patriarchs wielding of authority.

    What I am actually saying is that Mormon men who know they are gay prior to marriage should be real christians and put the happiness of any woman they might consider courting above their own. They should work out their ambivalence about the plan of salvation without threatening the happiness and well-being of another.

    Is that an unreasonable position?

    Finally, in response to your statements about your irritation at the patronizing nature of my comments to you–well, consider the contempt and misogyny in the basic disregard many gay Mormon men exhibit for their wives’ situations. Would you want one of your daughters to end up with a husband who couldn’t really love her, who was marrying her partly as a way to preserve his own respectability and righteousness?

    If someone really has to point out to you that you might not want someone to do to your daughter what you’ve done to someone else’s, it’s sometimes hard to do it without seeming patronizing.

  3. chanson says:

    Holly — I can see why you want to clarify these points, but I feel like Invictus is saying “When I first read Holly’s (and Seth’s) comments, I felt defensive, however I can see that Holly made some important points, hence I will set aside my initial emotional reaction in order to explore these points.” I’m curious to hear what he has to say — and I strongly respect his decision to respect his wife’s privacy by not attempting to interpret her perspective for us.

  4. Holly says:

    p.s. I will add, and should have said upfront, that I’m grateful and pleased that you’re tackling this topic, and appreciate the clarity and courage you’re showing as you do it.

  5. Holly says:

    p.p.s. Chanson, you’re right–and I’m also looking forward to the ensuing discussion.

  6. aerin says:

    I read a great essay in a collection about the show “Six Feet Under”. The essay was about showing gay characters in groundbreaking roles. The essay I thought is appropriate for this discussion is “Revisiting the closet:Reading sexuality in Six Feet Under”. Instead of the main character, David, being the most important figure, Claire’s boyfriend Russell was an interesting figure. Whether or not he is gay is never determined. Many people, including Claire, believe he’s gay. The notion that a person is exploring their own sexuality and has a right to determine that for themselves is key to my mind. Mormon and conservative culture does not allow that exploration. There is no closet. God would never do that. Things may be changing where GLBT people are allowed to be faithful, as long as they are celibate.

    I am arguing that sexuality is not clear and not defined. I respect Holly’s position, considering another person’s feelings is incredibly important. But denial is very strong in our culture. It is easier to deny a situation is a certain way, when all the cheese, all the “rewards” are based on a certain path. Everything, including happiness if one believes what is said in church is based on hetero marriage. For both women and men. I am therefore not surprised that both women and men deny to themselves what they may “know” or later discover about their sexuality, since everything is against them making the choice to come out.

    Women’s voices and opinions are routinely silenced in the lds church, this is nothing new. Particularly if they are voices that run contrary to the status quo. Men are (most likely) told from a young age that it is the greatest honor to ask a woman to marry them, women aren’t in charge of their lives. I wish we heard more from women who realize their husbands are gay, and leave their husband’s even if the husband doesn’t want to leave the marriage.

  7. Seth R. says:

    aerin, I was under the impression that we weren’t hearing the story of the wives of gay men – period – whether they want to keep the marriage or end it.

  8. Holly says:

    But denial is very strong in our culture. It is easier to deny a situation is a certain way, when all the cheese, all the rewards are based on a certain path.

    I realize that that’s the EASY thing–at least in the short run. In the long run, however, it often becomes incredibly difficult and costly. For that and other reasons, I think we must point out how prone to disaster and tragedy the “easy” way can be, and make alternatives to it easier to choose.

  9. Holly says:

    I was under the impression that we werent hearing the story of the wives of gay men period whether they want to keep the marriage or end it.

    it’s true that few such women have chosen to comment here. But there are forums where they discuss their lives and their situations, and if you really want to hear from them, it’s easy enough to track them down. For starters, just google “straight spouse.”

  10. Holly says:

    I also recommend this essay by Emily Pearson about both her parents’ MOM and her own: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/141-42-48.pdf

    My concern about IP’s lack of attention to his wife’s situation (however much he guarded her privacy, which is not the same thing) proceeded in part from a passage in Pearson’s essay:

    Steven moved to New York, and anyone who has seen his one-man show, “Confessions of a Mormon Boy,” knows the course his life has taken. When I saw his show in Utah, on stage for the first time, I felt like I was being dismembered with an ice pick. If I had been a random audience member with no ulcerated, emotionally wounded connection to every single person and event portrayed, I might have appreciated, if not almost enjoyed, the show. But I wasnt random audience girl, and I certainly wasnt emotionally disconnected….

    I had picked up the San Francisco Examiner and read its review of
    Confessions. Halfway through the article were the words, As important as his
    relationship with his wife is to his storyand as much as his desire to respect
    her privacy may be commendableits disconcerting how completely she disappears from his Confessions between courtship and divorce.

    I was floored. That reviewer had, in one sentence, summed up my entire marriage. I had completely disappeared between our courtship and divorce. Just as my mother, and every other straight woman I knew who had married a gay man, had completely
    disappeared between courtship and divorce.

    I think it is the responsibility of the gay spouse to make sure the straight spouse remains visible. It is not the straight spouse’s responsibility to explain him/herself to US–not at MSP, and not in any other venue either, for that matter.

  11. chanson says:

    It’s true that Pearson’s essay is amazing, and that passage stands out.

    That said, I’m really conflicted on this issue of Invictus “keeping his wife visible” in this. Yes, her experience is critical to this story. Yet, I absolutely don’t want to read Invictus saying: “Here’s what my wife is feeling…” I think that’s unfair to her because — if she doesn’t think her perspective is our business — then it’s not our business. Plus, if we get one person’s filtered version of another person’s POV, then we can’t analyze it and learn from it because we have no way of assessing how accurate a portrayal it is.

    It’s better to find women in this situation who want to tell their stories. As you point out, they’re not hard to find.

  12. Holly says:

    That said, Im really conflicted on this issue of Invictus keeping his wife visible in this. Yes, her experience is critical to this story. Yet, I absolutely dont want to read Invictus saying: Heres what my wife is feeling I think thats unfair to her because if she doesnt think her perspective is our business then its not our business. Plus, if we get one persons filtered version of another persons POV, then we cant analyze it and learn from it because we have no way of assessing how accurate a portrayal it is.

    You’re absolutely right. I am talking more about a larger attitude and approach than the particulars of how Invictus should or shouldn’t discuss his particular story.

  13. @Holly – I apologize for the mix-up on the quote. I have corrected this.

    As to your other comments, I will hold off on responding, except to say that you are making some rather HUGE assumptions about matters, i.e., my situation, that you know very little about. I have already indicated that I plan to put some skin in the game. However, it will be my skin.

    @Chanson – I appreciated your comments in #3 and 11, as well as Holly’s follow-up comment in #’s 4 & 5. I wish to clarify, however, (with respect to #3) that my initial reaction was indeed one of irritation, not defensiveness.

    @Chanson and Holly – I do know of two women in MoMoMs who have blogged about their experiences and feelings. I hope to involve them in this discussion. Whether or not they choose to do so, however, is obviously up to them.

    @Aerin – I appreciated your comments, in that they point to the fact that the issues involved here are extremely complex and multi-faceted.

    My goal in presenting this series of posts is to put information out there for consideration, primarily by young Mormon men who are struggling with their sexual identity and a host of issues that go along with and are inseparably connected with that identity. The ultimate goal, of course, is to help put an end to MoMoMs.

    I use the term “struggling” intentionally, and in order to deal with that struggle in healthy ways, information and points of view need to get “out there” because, as you point out, these young men certainly aren’t getting this information from the Church. These are not issues that will be discussed in Sunday School, priesthood meeting, sacrament meeting or ANY other meeting in the Church. The only place they will be discussed is in forums such as this.

  14. aerin says:

    There is usually anger when any marriage or relationship ends. I reject the idea that someone in the relationship is 100% at fault for the ending of that relationship. I think it is rarely that simple. Even in a MOMarriage or relationship, the spouse is getting something, persumably. In the sense of social or financial standing. I can’t imagine anyone advocating MoM, of course, I’m not an active mormon. Why would anyone do that to themselves, their spouse or potential children? I think it takes a great deal of courage to admit a relationship isn’t working. In the MOM argument, to leave the marriage…because the idea of being alone is better than being married to someone….I think the discussion of marriage is assuming many things; married people are always in love, always attracted to one another, do not have financial, emotional and logistical reasons for staying married, etc. It’s suggesting that married people don’t change. I think married people do change, and that ‘s why the divorce rate is at 50%. The temple divorce rate, people married in the lds temple and then civilly divorced is still very high, if it’s not 50%. Not all of those divorces are because of MoM.

    All these questions are complicated and may have different answers for different people. As painful as a divorce or separation might be for both people in a relationship, sometimes it’s for the best for both people. That goes for all sorts of relationships, if you can’t be fully present, it will probably be painful in the end (thinking of charles and diana actually).

  15. Alan says:

    Holly @ 2

    What I am actually saying is that Mormon men who know they are gay prior to marriage should be real christians and put the happiness of any woman they might consider courting above their own.

    Can I assume that you would also agree that Mormon women who know they are straight prior to marriage should be “real christians” and put the happiness of any potentially gay man they are courting above their own?

    I agree that making alternatives easier to see and choose is the best route for everyone. But aerin’s point, as I took it, is that “denial” of what one “knows to be true” (e.g, that one is “gay”) is a misnomer of what’s actually happening. The gay man or woman doesn’t possess a “secret” knowledge about him or herself that, if not revealed, “tricks” the straight person. To frame it this way would be to blame the victim.

    People are thrust into the closet against their will, and often the gay person is the last person to know they’re in there. By this, I mean that the closet isn’t just about who is gay and who isn’t gay, and having knowledge about that. It’s about the expectations, demands, and constraints produced when heterosexuality is taken as the norm (questions of patriarchy are separate and related). So, the question of how much the gay man (or woman) has a “responsibility” to fix this or deter things from going awry (whether or not s/he knows his or her own sexuality) is an open question, since it was never that person’s “fault” that things could potentially go awry more than they could go awry for another person.

    A lot of people think the political answer is for everyone who is gay to come “out” and be “proud” to show that alternatives are there (and that gay people exist and deserve rights and so on). But being prideful about one’s position does not necessarily translate into the societal changes one is seeking. As aerin states in a different way, staying in the closet for Mormon men isn’t just about the privileges of being a Mormon man, but it’s about being Mormon. There are plenty of Mormon couples these days who both parties know going into the marriage that one of them is gay (e.g., Ty Mansfield and his wife), and yet they still enter the marriage. So, it seems to me that the question of “denial” is broader than just having self-knowledge about one’s potential sexuality.

  16. Seth R. says:

    You know, I’ve seen those “temple divorce rates” thrown around a lot on the Internet, but don’t often seem them accompanied by citations or other proof of the numbers.

  17. Holly says:

    Can I assume that you would also agree that Mormon women who know they are straight prior to marriage should be real christians and put the happiness of any potentially gay man they are courting above their own?

    I would say that if a straight woman insists on pursuing a gay man and asking him to marry her, she should consider his happiness above her own.

    But that’s not usually what happens. Men in our society–particularly in Mormondom–have greater agency, power and control in general, but especially in courtship and marriage. Men usually propose. While I know if at least one instance in which a straight woman proposed to a man she knew was gay, more often it is the case that men who know or suspect they are gay court, propose to and marry women they know or suspect they are straight.

    the fact that there are people who don’t understand their own sexuality well enough to understand how it will affect another’s doesn’t mitigate the misogyny or imbalance of the basic situation.

  18. chanson says:

    @10 — That is a fantastic story you linked to. I took this opportunity to re-read it for the pleasure. This time this incident jumped out at me:

    Emily, youre one of my best friends, and I lied to you. Im sorry. I do know why your parents got divorced.

    My stomach lurched. I looked at her expectantly, and suddenly I knew. I dont know how I knew, I just knew. Like I knew that it was summer, or that I had blond hair, or that Mimis tongue was green from the candy she was sucking on. It was just there, dropped out of the blue, right in front of my face.

    Is it because my dads gay?

    Id never even formulated that thought in my own mind, let alone spoken it out loud, but there it was.

    Yes.

    My heart pounded. How did I know that? I searched my brain. Im certain that no one had ever told me. And, I realized with a start, not only did I know then, but somehow I had always known. It was like very old information Id just forgotten about.

    As crazy as that incident may seem, it was exactly like that when my brother came out to me. It had never consciously crossed my mind, but as soon as he asked me to guess what he wanted to talk to me about, that came out of my mouth, and it was as though I’d known it all along.

    Keep in mind that in those days there was so much less awareness of the whole idea of being gay, so just considering the idea was like a revelation that suddenly made everything make sense.

  19. Alan says:

    @18: Yes, this is often how the “closet” works; it’s often made of one-sided glass in which the only person who can’t see through it is the person on the inside.

    That’s why I’m troubled by Holly’s position, because it seems like she’s saying that gay men who do know about their sexuality at the time they’re courting straight women, and fail to tell those women, are engaging in “patriarchy.” But isn’t it also the woman’s fault if she marries a gay man (whether or not he is out), since she fails to see “what’s in front of her” because of her heterosexual privilege?

  20. Holly says:

    because it seems like shes saying that gay men who do know about their sexuality at the time theyre courting straight women, and fail to tell those women, are engaging in patriarchy.

    Well, then, Alan, let me clarify, so you don’t have to worry about what it “seems” like I’m saying.

    I’m saying that men who know about their sexuality at the time theyre courting straight women, and fail to tell those women, are engaging in patriarchy and misogyny.

    But isnt it also the womans fault if she marries a gay man (whether or not he is out), since she fails to see whats in front of her because of her heterosexual privilege?

    Very likely. That does not mean that her “fault” is equal to the fault of a gay man who is not merely exercising all the privileges of patriarchy but exercising and striving to retain all the privileges of heterosexuality as well.

    However much privilege the woman in question might have, she still has less than the man in question. And that is the crucial point.

  21. chanson says:

    It’s true that there are a variety of different possibilities. Sometimes people a little bit outside the situation benefit from perspective that people inside the situation lack. OTOH, people inside the situation have additional information that they know (and intentionally or unintentionally withhold for various reasons). And I don’t mean to insult by using the term “the situation” — rather I want to make it clear that this is a general principle about how it is difficult to self-analyze and it is difficult to analyze others.

  22. Alan says:

    However much privilege the woman in question might have, she still has less than the man in question. And that is the crucial point.

    Who wields more power in the Church? The prophet’s wife, or a black Mormon man who is excommunicated because he has a same-sex partner?

    I don’t think “patriarchy” automatically trumps other sites of power-broking. It’s better just to try to fight all the “bad stuff” simultaneously rather than pit people against each other.

  23. Holly says:

    Who wields more power in the Church? The prophets wife, or a black Mormon man who is excommunicated because he has a same-sex partner?

    Who wields more power in the church: the prophet’s wife (whose power derives entirely from the status of her husband), or a gay black Mormon man who has not been excommunicated, and still holds and exercises the priesthood–power he derives because of who he is himself?

    I dont think patriarchy automatically trumps other sites of power-broking.

    I think it trumps most of them.

    Its better just to try to fight all the bad stuff simultaneously rather than pit people against each other.

    Funny, then, that you so rarely do the former and so often do the latter.

  24. Alan says:

    Holly, just because some gay men can “pass” as straight men does not negate the heterosexism placed upon them. The gay man who is able to pass and keeps a “secret” from his future wife is not “exercising and striving to retain heterosexual privilege.” He does not have heterosexual privilege, whether or not he “passes.” It is not appropriate to blame him for not “coming out” (even if it it toward a potential future wife). To insist upon his doing so would be heterosexist (and I think there are plenty of gay people who engage in this behavior … insisting others out of the closet for this or that reason). So, yes, heterosexism and patriarchy must be attacked simultaneously.

  25. Holly says:

    It is not appropriate to blame him for not coming out (even if it it toward a potential future wife).

    that is as may be. But if he doesn’t want to come out, he can avoid the issue by not courting and marrying a woman. If he truly “passes” as straight, it is appropriate to blame him for pursuing a woman under false pretenses–and for acting as if he holds heterosexual privilege, even if he does not.

    So, yes, heterosexism and patriarchy must be attacked simultaneously.

    I agree that they must be attacked simultaneously. I just don’t think YOU do that.

  26. Alan says:

    But if he doesnt want to come out, he can avoid the issue by not courting and marrying a woman.

    There’s no way for him to “avoid the issue.” In Mormon culture, every man is expected to marry a woman (and every woman expected to marry a man), which is the heterosexist problem to begin with.

    This notion of the man giving off “false pretenses” is deeply troubling. You’re basically blaming him for the way heterosexism is thrust upon him. It would be like blaming the woman for giving off “false pretenses” that she is somehow compatible with a gay man, which of course sounds nonsensical — so why should it be acceptable when it’s the other way around? Are you saying gay men need to shoulder the burden of heterosexism more than hetero women because they’re men?

  27. I feel like I’m jumping on a conversation way too late…but here goes…

    What I hear Holly saying is that gay LDS men need to give up on the Celestial Kingdom for the only way to do achieve it is to be heterosexually married. Somehow, even though everything in the church is pointed towards that one goal, a gay LDS man should have the balls to say, “There’s something about me that excludes me from that dream.”

    Personally I feel like the question “When did you know?” is the wrong question. It assumes that the default is straight and that somewhere along the way the person switches…like there’s a fork in the road and the man leans a little too far left and therefore takes the left gay route. But I’m just me. I’m the person I’ve known all along… what actually happened was that there was a point that I realized that the ME that I always was … was a BAD, bad thing and that I needed to try my hardest to be something else. Meanwhile the church is telling me that who I really am doesn’t exist! How joyful to realize that the big bad me in me doesn’t really exist but that it’s a choice! I can just choose to date and marry and therefore the bad part of me doesn’t exist.

    Now, you’re telling me that at some point before I married I should have, contrary to church teachings, acknowledged that even though I was NOT choosing it I should have contradicted church teachings and admitted that the big bad me in me really DID exist? And thereby give up the celestial kingdom?

    Personally, I have daughters and of course I wouldn’t want to have them marry a gay man… but until something changes and there is a hopeful, safe place for these gay LDS men to go, LDS women need to know that lurking out there among the eligible men are a certain percent of faithful GAY men who aren’t trying to deceive them but only want the Celestial Kingdom as badly as any other faithful Mormon.

  28. Holly says:

    This notion of the man giving off false pretenses is deeply troubling. Youre basically blaming him for the way heterosexism is thrust upon him.

    I am holding him accountable for the way he responds to heterosexism.

    Are you saying gay men need to shoulder the burden of heterosexism more than hetero women because theyre men?

    I am saying that gay men are privileged in ways that even straight women are not, and that it is abhorrent for them to victimize women simply because they themselves have been victimized.

    It’s interesting. I have been having this conversation for over 20 years with successive generations of gay Mormon men. A few weeks, a few months, a few years later, they invariably come back and say to me, “Holly, I realize now that you were right.” Few are as doggedly, determinedly wrong as you are, Alan, but then, few exhibit as little concern for women as you do.

    Every woman in this conversation managed to express sympathy and concern for gay men. You, however, have not managed to express any sympathy and concern for women. Your only apparent interest is in defending the choices and actions of gay men. All of the women have acknowledged that straight women bear some responsibility for what happens to them in a MOM. You, however, can admit no responsibility on the part of gay men.

    I realize that people should have the freedom to do what they want, and I also realize that some people are happy in MOMs. My experience and observation tell me, however, that such couples are in the minority, that most people who end up in them are miserable. I am therefore interested in having conversations that reduce the likelihood and occurrence of MOMs–particularly among young, naive, sexually inexperienced Mormons whose expectations for marriage are already typically greater than those held by the general public.

    I hold the position I do because I think ultimately it will improve the lives, increase the well-being, and promote the happiness of both women and men (regardless of orientation) as they choose mates, as well as that of any children born to them.

    How does YOUR position–that it is inappropriate to expect a gay man to refrain from lying to a woman he courts, proposes to and marries–improve the lives, increase the well-being and promote the happiness of ANYONE but gay men?

    It doesn’t. But then, why would anyone expect anything else from you, given that you think patriarchy’s not so bad.

    So much for your assertion that “Its better just to try to fight all the ‘bad stuff’ simultaneously rather than pit people against each other.” You don’t really think that–you think it’s just fine to hold off on fighting patriarchy if doing so benefits gay men.

    But it’s nice to know that I was right all along not to take seriously your posturing and posing about being a feminist.

  29. Seth R. says:

    dadsprimalscream,

    Point-of-order.

    Quite a few believing Mormons would assert that once a gay man makes it to heaven, God will remove his problem with homosexuality and he’ll be able to be heterosexually married just like everyone else.

    Just thought that ought to be stated.

  30. Holly says:

    Personally, I have daughters and of course I wouldnt want to have them marry a gay man but until something changes and there is a hopeful, safe place for these gay LDS men to go, LDS women need to know that lurking out there among the eligible men are a certain percent of faithful GAY men who arent trying to deceive them but only want the Celestial Kingdom as badly as any other faithful Mormon.

    Once again, it’s all about the men. Women have to protect themselves from men who aren’t trying to deceive or hurt them, who just sort of manage to do it anyway, and that’s just how it is going to be, because what men want is more important than what women want–or deserve.

  31. Ah yes the all-purpose LDS fail-safe… “It will all be taken care of in the after-life.”
    Except for the small little problem of… Alma 12:14 which says, “…our thoughts will also condemn us…”

    So you get married thinking that along the way you’re going to be able to be fully “righteous” and “pure” but 10, 15 or 20 years into your marriage you are reading your scriptures one day for edification and for help in enduring to the end and you realize that you still have “those” thoughts. And it all just seems hopeless. You’ll be condemned no matter what, married or single and celibate.

    The “hold out” answer really only works for people who have no significant challenges of their own.

  32. Well, in my case my ex-wife filed for divorce, not me. I was not unfaithful. My ex-wife would never read or much less respond to a question such as yours so we’ll never hear from her. I’m not saying it’s all about the men…or the women. It’s BOTH! And it’s also different now than it was even just 17 years ago when I married.

    But, to put this in LDS context, here’s a conversation that I had with my ex-wife:

    ME: Didn’t you pray to Heavenly Father to ask if you should marry me?

    HER: Yes

    ME: And what was your answer? I didn’t “know” I was gay and you didn’t either, but he must have known right?

    HER: Yes, I received confirmation that we should get married.

    ME: Then it’s GOD you should be pissed off at, not me.

  33. Holly says:

    ME: And what was your answer? I didnt know I was gay and you didnt either, but he must have known right?

    HER: Yes, I received confirmation that we should get married.

    ME: Then its GOD you should be pissed off at, not me.

    I can agree 100% with what you said to her.

  34. Andrew S. says:

    I always regret jumping into these kinds of conversations, because I always get hit by crossfire.

    Anyway,

    Are you saying gay men need to shoulder the burden of heterosexism more than hetero women because theyre men?

    I’m not Holly, and I don’t really understand this stuff anyway, but the thing that came first to my mind when seeing Alan ask this was, “If men are the people who gain the greater benefit of heterosexism and patriarchy, then why shouldn’t they shoulder the burden?”

    However much gay men are victims of heterosexism, and even unwitting cogs in the heterosexist machine…well, precisely by virtue of being men, they have more to gain, more privilege borne, from these same systems. The only thing I’m unsure of is the intersection between “heterosexism” and “patriarchy”. That is, the two are related, but I’m guessing that much of the privilege is part of the patriarchy (which men receive the advantage), so in trying to look only at the heterosexism (of which the gay man is a victim) one misses the privilege from the patriarchy that gave him such high stakes in his role in heterosexism.

  35. Holly says:

    Andrew, thanks. I think you express the issue succinctly and well.

  36. Alan says:

    Andrew @ 34

    If men are the people who gain the greater benefit of heterosexism and patriarchy, then why shouldnt they shoulder the burden?

    Of course, when you include both heterosexism and patriarchy, men would shoulder the burden more.

    But you just added patriarchy when my question @26 was solely about heterosexism.

    What if I were to ask the following: “If a white woman gains the benefit of racism, shouldn’t she shoulder the burden?”… would it make sense to include patriarchy, by saying: “Actually, women have less power than men, so let’s reframe the discussion to one about men versus women.”

    No, that would be rude. And frankly, it’s something many people do when confronted with the ways they are oppressive; they focus instead on the ways they’re oppressed. I’m willing to talk about patriarchy, heterosexism, and their intersections with each other and other aspects of power. But I refuse to receive another round of Holly’s barrages, where she insults me simply for not agreeing with her, or pushing on her logic.

  37. Holly says:

    But you just added patriarchy when my question @26 was solely about heterosexism.

    Just because YOUR question was solely about heterosexism, Alan, doesnt mean the rest of us should fail to acknowledge that heterosexism is not the only issue affecting the matter under discussion.

    What if I were to ask the following: If a white woman gains the benefit of racism, shouldnt she shoulder the burden? would it make sense to include patriarchy, by saying: Actually, women have less power than men, so lets reframe the discussion to one about men versus women.

    No, that would be rude.

    If the issue is a relationship between a white woman and a black man, it would intellectually responsible rather than rude to acknowledge how both racism and sexism affect the dynamics of the relationship.

    I refuse to receive another round of Hollys barrages

    Ive heard similar pronouncements before, and Ill be really impressed if you can avoid mansplaining us all to death again this time too.

  38. Alan says:

    Seth @ 29

    Quite a few believing Mormons would assert that once a gay man makes it to heaven, God will remove his problem with homosexuality and hell be able to be heterosexually married just like everyone else.

    Yes, and this is precisely why no amount of information about the pitfalls of a MOM will deter the “best” Mormons from entering them. In fact, without addressing this theological problem, no amount of experiential data will matter. There’s a good chance that the shared experience of the culture has lead to certain changes (like not thinking of marriage is a “cure”), but arguably, LDS leaders have strategically reasserted the same thing about homosexuality ever since they started talking about it in the 1940s. They just use nicer words now. “Abomination” only comes up if you really push them on a certain point.

  39. Andrew S. says:

    re 36,

    Alan,

    It seems to me though that in this kind of discussion, you’d have to make the case as to WHY the two should be separated. Can they really be cleanly separated?

    The fact is we definitely SHOULD be looking at how things work together — when they are interrelated. I haven’t heard of that as being rude before.

    If, for example, we are going to make a monolithic “white woman” perspective, then that monolith surely is a different perspective than the monolithic “woman of color” perspective. To say, “Well, let’s focus on the gender oppression and not bicker over the racial oppression/privilege that may interact with that of gender” is problematic. I don’t know a lot about feminism, but I’ve read enough of the huge fallout with feminists of color to sense that it’s a big deal to a lot of people. Because what often happens is if we try to separate the aspect of race and color from the aspect of gender, then we have this strange thing happen where some people will believe that the “woman’s” perspective -> the “white woman’s” perspective.

    Earlier, you wrote that you want to “fight all the bad stuff simultaneously” (22). You said that “heterosexism and patriarchy must be attacked simultaneously” (24). It seems to me that in order to do that, then we MUST recognize the way the various “bad stuff” plays with and against each other. Maybe I just don’t get it, but your position would seem more appropriate if you were NOT trying to “fight all the bad stuff simultaneously.” If you want to address just heterosexism, then it seems like you are prioritizing which bad stuff to address when.

    I just am unsure of how effective this will be, because the various bad things DO work together.

  40. Holly says:

    this is precisely why no amount of information about the pitfalls of a MOM will deter the best Mormons from entering them.

    then we’ll just have to settle for persuading the “less than best” Mormons to give MOMs a miss.

    frankly, its something many people do when confronted with the ways they are oppressive; they focus instead on the ways theyre oppressed.

    This, of course, is precisely what you have done, Alan. The general discussion is about how the oppression of gay men enables the oppression of straight women, and what gay men can and should do about it. But you come along and say, “Oh, but this is really only about the way gay men are oppressed! And there’s nothing gay men can do to stop what’s done to straight women, because gay men are so oppressed!

    You’re so invested in your own patriarchal privilege that you can complain about a particular behavior and not realize that you are the one and only person engaging in it here.

    It just gets richer and richer.

  41. Alan says:

    Andrew, perhaps what I say to Holly will help clear it up.

    Holly, I agree with you @37, but my concern is that you act like you have a monopoly on it all. If heterosexist thought emerges in a topic having to do with heterosexism/patriarchy/etc, then it isn’t allowed to be explored because you get to decide how the topic is framed.

    @40 is a good example. Apparently, this is a “general discussion about how the oppression of gay men enables the oppression of straight women, and what gay men can and should do about it” rather than a whole host of other possible topics, not the least of which are the ways that you have trampled on Invictus’s position.

    To the point of “gay men are so oppressed” —

    @12, you say, in response to chanson:

    Youre absolutely right. I am talking more about a larger attitude and approach than the particulars of how Invictus should or shouldnt discuss his particular story

    In this spirit, this was how I approached the topic.

    When it comes to the gay man coming out to a potential wife, there are the particulars of a situation. But there is also a larger heterosexist attitude that gay people (men and women) are “required” to “inform” others of their sexualities, something that straight people don’t have to do. Yes, in a MOM courting situation, it makes sense, and looking at it particularly, it’s good of the gay LDS man or woman to “grow balls,” but in a larger sense, it is part and parcel of a greater problem of minorities having to garner courage to combat the ways they’re oppressed, and if they refuse to pass their given test, they’re deemed lesser than someone who never had to garner the courage to begin with, and worse yet, their failure means that they’re serving the interests of some giant oppressive system. If they’re a gay man, then it’s patriarchy and heterosexism. If they’re a lesbian, then it’s heterosexism (and/or patriarchy). When really, the tests themselves are part of the problems of both patriarchy and heterosexism.

  42. Holly says:

    Holly, I agree with you @37, but my concern is that you act like you have a monopoly on it all. If heterosexist thought emerges in a topic having to do with heterosexism/patriarchy/etc, then it isnt allowed to be explored because you get to decide how the topic is framed.

    Oh, heavens, Alan. Just because I object to the ways YOU frame discussions doesn’t mean I can’t accept it when someone does a decent job of reframing them.

    But there is also a larger heterosexist attitude that gay people (men and women) are required to inform others of their sexualities, something that straight people dont have to do.

    I don’t feel that anyone at all is required to tell me anything at all about their sexuality–unless they want to sleep with me. In that case, I feel a fair amount of disclosure is due to me, including information about any STDs they might be carrying and so forth. And if a man is sleeping with a lot of other women at that time, or married, or bisexual, or gay, or whatever, I expect him to tell me, and I get pissed if he lies.

    So it’s absolutely not just gay men and women who are “required” to “inform” others of their sexuality, and it’s not that straight people don’t have to do it–unless all you mean by “sexuality” is “orientation,” and I would hope you are not that narrow.

    Yes, in a MOM courting situation, it makes sense, and looking at it particularly, its good of the gay LDS man or woman to grow balls

    Thank you for finally admitting that very basic point, and for abandoning your ridiculous defense of lying about it.

    if they refuse to pass their given test, theyre deemed lesser than someone who never had to garner the courage to begin with

    Welcome to the world, and to something some of us have known for a very long time.

    Yeah. it sucks. You do your best to live with the way you can’t pass certain tests. the ability to do so is called integrity.

    the tests themselves are part of the problems of both patriarchy and heterosexism.

    Sure. But the tests are a much greater problem for those most anxious to reap the benefits of patriarchy and heterosexism precisely because they belong to a group membership in which entitles them to the largest share of the said benefits–for instance, gay men who want all the blessings of the Mormon celestial kingdom due to a man (which are much greater than the blessings due to a woman). Such men often feel they can earn said blessings only by marrying a woman, who, in all likelihood, is not going to get what she expects out of her marriage. But too often, for all sorts of reasons, her disappointment is not considered–merely the man’s if HE doesn’t get what he feels is his due.

  43. chanson says:

    Watch this:

    Then read this (“Ask a Mormon Girl”‘s best advice so far, IMHO).

    It is very, very, very easy for a Mormon guy to get the impression that marrying a girl is the most wonderful gift he can give her. It is very, very, very easy gay Mormon boy (especially one who doesn’t understand/accept his sexuality) to think “Well, I’m sacrificing my desires by courting her, but at least I’m giving her the Prince Charming she so badly wants.” Or not to even consider what these young women might want/expect from their marriage.

    It is hard to understand/consider another person’s perspective, and it’s hard to rationally analyze common practices that nobody questions or to analyze commandments that you believe are from God.

    Im the person Ive known all along what actually happened was that there was a point that I realized that the ME that I always was was a BAD, bad thing and that I needed to try my hardest to be something else. Meanwhile the church is telling me that who I really am doesnt exist! How joyful to realize that the big bad me in me doesnt really exist but that its a choice! I can just choose to date and marry and therefore the bad part of me doesnt exist.

    Yes, exactly. That’s the negative message and experience that gay kids get from the CoJCoL-dS. And it’s the sort of message that can be counteracted with better information. Hearing about other people’s experiences helps give the next generation the tools to understand their situation better, and not fall prey to negative, hateful messages.

    Young people of my generation (even sheltered Mormons like me) had at least a vague awareness of homosexuality, and hence had more tools for understanding their situation than earlier generations did. Kids today have to be living in a cave not to be aware of homosexuality, hence are better equipped to analyze their own sexuality (and to reject hateful messages about it) than kids of my generation.

    Now, youre telling me that at some point before I married I should have, contrary to church teachings, acknowledged that even though I was NOT choosing it I should have contradicted church teachings and admitted that the big bad me in me really DID exist? And thereby give up the celestial kingdom?

    It’s not about telling you that you should have somehow magically figured it all out on your own. Rather it’s with what you know now — with your experience and what you’ve learned — you can help someone else. So that someone else won’t be wandering around in the abyss of “the ME that I always was was a BAD, bad thing,” and lacking the tools to get out.

    As for young gay Mormon boys considering courting women: if they hear from even one person the question: “Are you sure that’s fair to her?” then they will think about it. That’s how to eliminate the situation of “I had no idea — it never even occurred to me.”

    It’s not about blaming the people who didn’t come up with this question on their own (especially when they had a bunch of confused and negative messages shoved at them). It’s about getting the next generation to think about this question (by presenting it to them).

  44. Alan says:

    Its not about blaming the people who didnt come up with this question on their own

    Then why does it still seem like youre blaming them?

    Personally, Ive never thought of marrying a woman. Ive never even dated a woman because I never wanted to; I knew it just wouldnt make sense for either of us. I wanted to date males. I chose not to participate in the LDS system of benefits.

    Now, does my story point to me having more integrity or insight than the gay Mormon man who is closeted to his wife and who struggles in a marriage that ultimately ends in divorce? No, people are shaped by their contexts.

    Making the whole fiasco about some essential matter in a person (the gay person who needs to think more critically about how his or her gayness could be detrimental to someone else in a culture that already excludes him or her) is wrong-minded. If the gay person lies, well, that is only because telling the truth is perceived as more dangerous.

    Im thinking of the 1940s when police raids on gay bars meant a person lost their job, their housing, their status. To say a person has integrity to choose to lose everything doesnt make a whole lot of sense. Integrity is knowing how to work the system. (And yes, this has to be done without stepping on another persons toes.)

    Hearing about other peoples experiences helps give the next generation the tools to understand their situation better, and not fall prey to negative, hateful messages.

    It also privileges the future over the present and undermines the voices of young people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been insulted on here for being “young,” and therefore being told I don’t know what I’m talking about. (I wouldn’t even consider myself all that young.)

  45. @Chanson – #43 – Amen, and amen. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I think your comments are spot on, are insightful, compassionate, and constructive. I totally agree with them; thus, the double amen. Thank you.

  46. Alex says:

    I feel like any and all of us are guilty of the phenomenon of “bisexual erasure.” On a fundamental level, the issues are very very similar for bisexual and gay men. But let’s consider this. The church teaches that you struggle with “Same-sex attraction.” Er sorry, it’s same-gender attraction now since they don’t want to emphasize the “sex” part. There is no education on sexuality and therefore no differentiation between bisexual/gay other than statements such as “some people can overcome these attractions.” Bull. Not overcome. Some people were bisexual to begin with.
    In regards to the overall topic of the thread, How aware are we of our precise location on the kinsey scale? Does it change over time? Is the kinsey scale even an accurate model when you consider that religion prohibits certain sexual behaviors?
    I don’t know, but my point is, sexuality without sexual experience is not as easily definable as you might initially think.
    Then the question becomes, Can a bisexual be in a fulfilling relationship with a woman? Well, they should be able to right? It kind of depends I think, on a lot of things. It’s difficult because they are simply told to not engage in the homosexual part of the scale. So you could imagine finding some satisfaction with a straight girlfriend or spouse.
    It’s a complicated question, but I think it’s a fairly important one to ask before we make monolithic statements like men shouldn’t enter into a mixed-orientation marriage. Should we all declare our kinsey scale numbers to each other before we date? I’d like to see that happen in a BYU ward!

  47. Chino Blanco says:

    I’m curious how folks keep from getting really angry at outfits like North Star?

  48. Alan says:

    Chanson, a wrong is a wrong because there is someone who acted wrongly, and to not blame someone for a wrong because “they didn’t know” or “didn’t think about it” is a dangerous way of doing politics, IMO. It would be like not blaming white people for black slavery because “they didn’t know any better.”

    Holly seems to be of the opinion that we should heap tons of blame on gay men for not thinking about the women they marry. I want to note that I actually have no problem with that. When I went to Sunstone and I met older gay LDS men married to women, and they told me about how they hurt their wives solely by being in the marriage, I was like, “Good grief. How can you not have known going into it?” and I had to step back for a moment, and recognize my homonormative privilege, if you will.

    What I’m opposed to is Holly’s proposed solution to the issue: engage in heterosexism in order to resolve patriarchy first, because she seems to have assessed patriarchy to be more foundational than heterosexism, which is terribly wrong, IMO.

    The reason I’m talking like this is not to continue to fight with Holly or “win” against her by “outframing” her. It’s because I’m tired of her unconstructive insults hurled at me being allowed to float by, such as the rant @28. =/

  49. Alan says:

    Chino @47: North Star is not bad, I think. They’re basically of the Ty Mansfield variety, which is that a person who is gay shouldn’t be expected to change and should be allowed to be “out” publicly in the Church. When it comes to straight wives, they have “Wives Conferences,” which sounds problematic right from the start, but at least it’s a shared space. The website educates people on the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity (bringing some visibility to trans people), rather than conflating the two.

    They’re basically doing the best they can do with Mormon doctrine, and I actually think that’s saying a lot. Moreover, they’re interested in gay Mormon culture, meaning that they will post articles written by Michael Quinn even if they think he is opposed to LDS leaders.

    I once suggested to one of Affirmation’s leaders that they have more dialogue with North Star, but I’m not sure how seriously the suggestion was taken. =p My understanding is that there are lines of dialogue at the individual level, but nothing on an organizational level.

  50. chanson says:

    Chanson, a wrong is a wrong because there is someone who acted wrongly

    Not necessarily.

    Its because Im tired of her unconstructive insults hurled at me being allowed to float by, such as the rant @28. =/

    OK, a criticism about moderation. I’m re-reading @28. I can see that it’s criticism that’s leaning in the not-exactly-constructive direction. So, you object to Holly’s claim that you’re not really a feminist (rather just posturing) and to her claim that you think the patriarchy is not so bad…? On the grounds that she speculating about your motives…?

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