Mormon Beards redux

Homosexuality Mixed Orientation Marriage

There was a heated discussion here a few months ago about mixed-orientation marriages.

What doesn’t feel resolved for me is how to assess the patriarchy gay Mormon men engage in when they marry women. A couple aspects that seem obvious are

  • the fact that the power of the priesthood runs through men only, so that a gay man might try to be straight, or get heterosexually-married, to retain his privilege.
  • the fact that usually LDS men court LDS women, rather than vice versa, and how a gay man might actively [try to] “hide,” or lie about his gayness during courting in an interest (either conscious or subconscious) of retaining the abovementioned privilege.

A suggestion was made that gay Mormon men (or men with “same-sex attraction” or however they view themselves) should work out questions of their own salvation before marrying. The man should inform the person he’s courting about his gayness — rather than try to resolve it secretly in some fashion within the marriage at the expense of his wife (and himself). Obviously, from the perspective of many [non-Mormons], the best case scenario is that the man not marry a woman at all, but perhaps another man. Coming out beforehand may not do a bit of difference in terms of the failure rate of mixed-orientation marriages — though, of course the Church will want extensive proof of this.

Coming out before marriage is precisely what Church leaders started to suggest (unevenly) in 1987 when Hinckley said marriage is not a “cure” for gayness. According to Dallin Oaks, gay men should consider how “daughters of God” shouldn’t have to enter marriages “under false pretenses or under a cloud unknown to them.”

So, here is an Apostle, a man with a lot of power, telling gay Mormon men, “If you want to marry a woman, you can — but just tell her about your ‘struggle’ ahead of time. Oh, and make sure you really like her, too.”

In essence, the patriarchy is still on the table even with these “we-both-knew-about-it-beforehand” marriages. The only difference is that both parties can now make a somewhat more informed decision (to the extent that young people can make informed decisions).

I can see how it might seem clear that there is patriarchy involved when a “secret” is hidden from a woman so that male privilege may be retained. But often nowadays the “secret” is not hidden so that the same privilege may be retained (that is, “coming out” is put in service of keeping the patriarchy afloat — a new way of sequestering the homosexual “problem”). This raises a question of what the “secret” has to do with patriarchy exactly, if no matter what is done with it, the same privilege remains.

To imagine the gay man as receiving power from the patriarchal structure of the Church, you have to imagine him without a public male partner. You basically have to heterosexualize him, asexualize/celibatize him, or give him a double-life. This is not to say that gay men outside the Church can’t be patriarchal to LDS women. But it just seems like an odd bit of heterosexism has to come onto stage in order to situate patriarchy within the gay Mormon man’s response to the heterosexism of his culture.

55 thoughts on “Mormon Beards redux

  1. To imagine the gay man as receiving power from the patriarchal structure of the Church, you have to imagine him without a public male partner.

    Perhaps. I’m not the least bit convinced you’re right, but perhaps. Perhaps a guy figuring out he’s gay really does undo all those cues about male privilege and power that we all start receiving the second we leave the womb. Perhaps coming out for Mormon guys really does undo all the conditioning of getting the priesthood at age 12 and the scouting programs stuff and all that other crap that boys get that girls don’t get in Mormonism.

    Hmm. Now that I’ve thought about, NO. You’re as wrong now as you were before, Alan. Maybe more wrong, since you’ve thought about it for months and still can’t see certain fundamental things going on here.

    On top of which,l to imagine a gay man as receiving power from the patriarchal structure of western culture in general, all you have to is imagine him as male, period. He can have a male partner or not. He still has all sorts of privileges women don’t have by virtue of his gender regardless of orientation. Not as many as a straight dude, no doubt, but still plenty.

    And it just seems like an odd bit of misogyny to ignore all that.

  2. undo all the conditioning

    I didn’t say “undo.” I asked “what [the gay “secret”] has to do with patriarchy exactly.”

    The answer you’ve given is that all men are tied into Mormon patriarchy system through some overarching Western patriarchal system, so practically any relationship they have with a woman is laden with patriarchy. Okay, fine. But this is hardly explanatory for the topic at hand. Plenty of cultures in the “West” can be described as “patriarchal,” but the actual relationships between men and women in those are cultures are different. Furthermore, these patriarchies function differently, and relate homosexuality within themselves differently. So thanks for the lecture on the fundamentals, but it wasn’t helpful.

  3. I never said gay men cease to be patriarchal when they come out. So I’m not sure why you lectured me on that topic.

  4. Wouldn’t you agree that when gay Mormon men hold the “secret” from their potential wives, they do so because they’re interested in / fearful of a particular Mormon form of patriarchy (powers of the priesthood and whatnot) mixed with a general kind of patriarchy (such as feeling entitled to the woman)? It’s sometimes important to tease these patriarchies apart rather then meld them all together. Because if you don’t, then you end up working from a space where an excommunicated gay man is in the same boat as the prophet because they’re both men (which relates to why Church-interested gay groups are populated by mostly men) but it can’t really get into nuances about a changing relationship between heterosexism and patriarchy in the Church. For example, the relationship between an excommunicated gay man and an LDS woman, and the prophet and an LDS woman are different, and this difference means something when it comes to gay/feminist solidarity.

  5. I never said gay men cease to be patriarchal when they come out. So Im not sure why you lectured me on that topic.

    You write

    To imagine the gay man as receiving power from the patriarchal structure of the Church, you have to imagine him without a public male partner.

    and

    But it just seems like an odd bit of heterosexism has to come onto stage in order to situate patriarchy within the gay Mormon mans response to the heterosexism of his culture.

    Gay Mormon men receive power from the patriarchal structure of the church no matter what their relationship status, because they are told that they are created in god’s image and have a right to power, authority and action that women do not and currently cannot have.

    What a system enables people to think is a form of power, Alan. If as you admit men do not stop being patriarchal when they come out, then they still receive power from the patriarchal structure of the Church.

    Its sometimes important to tease these patriarchies apart rather then meld them all together.

    Alan, I would LOVE to see you tease patriarchies apart. I would LOVE to see you look seriously at how what gay men deal with under contemporary patriarchy is different from what women, gay or straight, deal with. So far you’ve mostly just insisted that we have to dismantle patriarchy all at once, because otherwise, none of us will ever be liberated! Gone on and on about how gay men can lie to women, ’cause what they deal with is so awful–and we can’t really compare it to what women deal with!

    So you knock yourself out teasing at all these different patriarchies, and get back to me when you can finally figure out how the way MEN–even gay Mormon men–think about and treat WOMEN has something to do with patriarchy.

    p.s. So thanks for the lecture on the fundamentals, but it wasnt helpful.

    Seriously?! A lecture on fundamentals might not be helpful?! Can you remember that next time a whole contingent of women ask you to stop mansplaining feminism or female sexuality to them? For instance, do you think maybe LDS women with gay exed brothers and gay exed male friends might already know that “the relationship between an excommunicated gay man and an LDS woman, and the prophet and an LDS woman are different, and this difference means something when it comes to gay/feminist solidarity”?

    Trust me, Alan: the fact that some of the women here know that not all LDS men, gay or straight, are equally patriarchal and dickish, and that there are gay men who would argue strongly against the position you held, that it’s OK for gay men to lie to women they court and marry, is one reason we worked so hard to get you to admit you were wrong.

    Yeah. Tease away.

  6. Gone on and on about how gay men can lie to women

    This post is actually born from the fact that plenty of gay LDS men do tell straight woman about their sexualities during the courting period, and Mormon heteropatriarchy is all the stronger for it. In fact, it now calls for it.

    one reason we worked so hard to get you to admit you were wrong

    Interesting, because that previous thread included people telling you that you’re wrong about gay men needing to piece everything together at the moment they affect a woman.

    My contention on the previous thread was always that the solution to gay men’s patriarchy is not to punish or discipline them in a heterosexist way. Yet, you keep insisting on this as a “solution.”

    And as it turns out, it’s not a solution to anything, because gay men in Mormonism now do tell straight women about their sexualities during the courting period (as per Dallin Oaks & Co.), and Mormon heteropatriarchy is all the stronger for it.

    BTW, my contention was never that gay men are not patriarchal — whether they tell their secret or withhold it. So, again, I don’t know why you’re lecturing me on that.

    Gay Mormon men receive power from the patriarchal structure of the church no matter what their relationship status

    Plenty of men chase patriarchy and it leads them barely anywhere because of factors like race, class and sexual orientation. The space of power for heterosexual, white patriarchy is very small. Plenty of men turn from patriarchal structures like the Church because they’re disadvantageous — they’re not freedom-enabling.

    So, it’s really strange how you keep lecturing me about all men being in the same boat with regards to patriarchy, because it’s simply not true.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard you mention the fact that men are actually traumatized by patriarchy, that it actually detracts from their freedom rather than adds to it. The son becomes like the father, abusive; this is a damaging of a person, not a strengthening of him.

    Honestly, I think it’s because you’re too wound up in white feminism, that you see things as simply “man” v. “woman.” That’s my honest opinion.

  7. Interesting, because that previous thread included people telling you that youre wrong about gay men needing to piece everything together at the moment they affect a woman.

    No kidding! And a couple of them, including YOU, eventually backed off and said I was right. Remember Invictus Pilgrim’s whole realization about what he’d missed about how his decisions hadn’t factored in what his what was dealing with, and what that cost him, and what that cost her? I hope so, since the post you link to is one where he discusses getting past his irritation with my challenge to him and figuring out that I was basically right. Remember when, after arguing vociferously to the contrary, you wrote, “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”? If you’ve forgotten, I’m willing to remind you in great detail. It involved me making comments like this:

    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 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 positionthat it is inappropriate to expect a gay man to refrain from lying to a woman he courts, proposes to and marriesimprove the lives, increase the well-being and promote the happiness of ANYONE but gay men?

    You wrote:

    My contention on the previous thread was always that the solution to gay mens patriarchy is not to punish or discipline them in a heterosexist way. Yet, you keep insisting on this as a solution.

    Nope. I never said that. I wouldn’t say it now. I just said that whatever gay men’s solution to dealing with patriarchy, victimizing and exploiting women shouldn’t be part of it. It won’t help the gay men in the long run, and it certainly isn’t fair to the women.

    Right? That’s something you can get on board with, right? Both because you admitted it eventually in that thread, and because it’s part of your “Hey! We have to fix EVERYTHING AT ONCE!” approach you claim when it’s convenient and disavow when it’s not, as you do here:

    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, 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. And frankly, its something many people do when confronted with the ways they are oppressive; they focus instead on the ways theyre oppressed. Im 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 Hollys barrages, where she insults me simply for not agreeing with her, or pushing on her logic.

    .which required me to point out the obvious:

    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.

    You wrote:

    I dont think Ive ever heard you mention the fact that men are actually traumatized by patriarchy, that it actually detracts from their freedom rather than adds to it. The son becomes like the father, abusive; this is a damaging of a person, not a strengthening of him.

    Well, Alan, I HAVE mentioned it, here and elsewhere. Been saying it for years, in fact. It’s hinted at in the comment I quote above.

    But it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that you haven’t been paying attention enough to notice any of that.

    So to settle the matter, let me say explicitly:

    Patriarchy oppresses us all. It’s bad for us all. It stunts both those who benefit most from it, and those who suffer most under it.

    Honestly, I think its because youre too wound up in white feminism, that you see things as simply man v. woman. Thats my honest opinion.

    Well, you’ve expressed many “honest” opinions on MSP. Doesn’t make a single one of them A) correct or B) valuable in the slightest. The stakes on this one weren’t especially high, but I was nonetheless impressed by the certainty with which you expressed an absolutely incorrect honest opinion of MFA programs. The assumptions about and trivializations of what other disciplines do was staggering. But it was obvious that you really, honestly believed you knew what you were talking about.

    Honestly, I think you’re so bound up in your own victimhood that you can’t confront your own privilege. Most of us in this country deal with a nasty combination of the two, and it would be really freaking nice to see you confront and acknowledge some of your own.

    That’s probably the first patriarchy you should tease out. As I said, I can’t wait to watch you do it.

  8. Holly, for some reason two of your comments were thrown into moderation. Are they both the same? (edit: it’s now @7)

  9. very close. the more recent one clarifies the source of a quote and adds a missing pronoun. I posted it when I saw that the first one didn’t go through–figured I might as well make my meaning clearer while I had the chance.

  10. If youve forgotten, Im willing to remind you in great detail.

    Thats something you can get on board with, right?

    I was never not on board with Mormon gay men being patriarchal toward women. Why, when I questioned your idea of insisting people come out, did you interpret this as me saying that Mormon gay men aren’t being patriarchal toward women? There’s a disconnect there.

    And because you created that disconnect, I qualified with the statement “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.”

    Like I’ve said many times before, my sense is that Mormon heteropatriarchy can’t begin to be resolved until women are ordained and gays can marry; I see the two as interlinked. And even when this happens, there will still be residual heteropatriarchy.

    Now, coming from this position, what irked me on the previous thread, and why I disagreed with you from the outset, were passages like this from you:

    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.

    From this passage, one might think that within a MoMoM, only the straight person’s sexual orientation exists; the gay person is incompatible with the straight person, rather than both being incompatible with each other. And this is a rather heterosexist way of framing the matter.

    Now, if the man goes into it, pretending he’s straight, wanting a straight marriage, then sure, it veers in the direction of him having an incompatible orientation with what both the man and the woman were expecting and wanting. But these expectations don’t fall through because the man lies; they fall through because of the heteropatriarchy of the Church which leads gay men to lie not just to women, but to themselves.

    This heteropatriarachy exists and remains whether or not the man informs the wife of his orientation, that is, whether or not the man can “come out” to himself and others. And because it still exists, I don’t see the idea of having queer young people grapple with their sexualities to help themselves fit themselves better through a heteropatriarchal funnel to be an answer, to anything.

    Not even to the question of marriages where the men lie to women (whether the men are power-hungry or simply scared). Why?

    Because church leaders have decided that “in the [supposed] interests of women,” gay men should come out before marriage. IOW, what they’re saying is the following: “Hey, there’s this gay problem, and it’s disrupting our patriarchal worldview because it seems like women are getting the short end of the stick. So, if we deal with the gay problem earlier in individuals, we can keep our patriarchy and heterosexism in tact.”

    Now, perhaps you might see how my concern about the wrong-mindedness of this is in the interests of both women and men, and not just gay men. Or perhaps you don’t see this, because all you care about are those awful lying gay men.

  11. From this passage, one might think that within a MoMoM, only the straight persons sexual orientation exists; the gay person is incompatible with the straight person, rather than both being incompatible with each other.

    I don’t see that in the passage at all. Actually, from the things I’ve read written by gay men in MoMOMs, there’s often almost exactly the misconception you describe — that is, the gay man often imagines that he alone is suffering from lack of fulfilment while his wife is getting what she wants — while in reality the emotional disconnect/unfulfilment is mutual.

    In your comment as a whole, your point seems to be that the church is wrong to tell gay men to come out to the women they’re courting. I’d say that, first and foremost, the church is wrong to tell young people to get married as their first relationship experience, and is wrong to tell men that they can become the head-God of their own universe (while women can aspire to be help-meets, at best), and is wrong to encourage people to marry someone (anyone!) as a stepping stone to either power or status or exaltation. For the church to add “Oh, but don’t lie about being gay!” — reminding the gay guys that they don’t qualify for the top patriarch role (almost like women) — is the icing on the cake. We’re debating the icing here, but missing the cake.

    Or perhaps you dont see this, because all you care about are those awful lying gay men.

    I just got back from three weeks of German camp (and haven’t even had time yet to do SiOB), so I apologize if I’ve missed anything earlier in this discussion that merits a mod comment. But this remark is ad hominem. (And doubly uncalled-for, given that Holly specifically stated that heterosexism and patriarchy are harmful to both men and women, though perhaps in different ways.)

  12. I dont see that in the passage at all.

    The phrase —

    the person with the incompatible orientation doesnt think through the anguish theyll be creating

    — is a declaration that there is only one person with an incompatible orientation in an essentially “supposed-to-be-straight” marriage.

    When, in fact, there are TWO people in the marriage, both with incompatible orientations. This is basic. And it’s missing. And it points to why Holly points all the fingers at the men in the relationship as opposed to also the women who are guilty of heterosexism. As she said in the previous thread (and never recanted), patriarchy is “more important” of an issue than heterosexism. So I won’t apologize for my last remark, since it seems rather spot-on.

    from the things Ive read written by gay men in MoMOMs, theres often almost exactly the misconception you describe that is, the gay man often imagines that he alone is suffering from lack of fulfilment while his wife is getting what she wants

    Because he thinks “she gets a man,” as if all men are just naturally great because they’re men. Yeah, this is pretty self-centered. But it doesn’t override the fact that the gay man isn’t the only one with the incompatible orientation. (edit: The woman is often very self-centered, too, in that she thinks she was “betrayed” and that the man “lied” to her from the beginning; she fails to see her own heterosexism. See, that’s just it. Holly sees the lying before she sees the structures that create the closet from which the person “lies.”)

    Were debating the icing here, but missing the cake.

    If the “don’t lie about being gay” is the icing on the cake, then why in the world is Holly focusing on it as if it were the cake? Particularly since even if the men don’t lie (and the the only reason they don’t nowadays is because the Church now has a very small space for a person to actually be “gay”), the heteropatriarchy is still in full swing?

    Men not lying about being gay in Mormonism these days has very little to do with a movement away from heteropatriarchy, and more to do with the maintenance of it. (Edit: Think about the long conversation here with A Peculiar Light who is “out” to his wife, and was from the beginning, but argues tooth and nail for keeping things as they are).

    In your comment as a whole, your point seems to be that the church is wrong to tell gay men to come out to the women theyre courting.

    No, that is not my main point.

  13. OK, well, before posting comment #11 last night, I already kind of recognized that I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make. (I wouldn’t have posted anything at all if it weren’t for the remark: “all you care about are those awful lying gay men.”)

    Regarding gay men, MoMOMs, and lying, I’ll try to give a brief statement of my perspective, and than you can tell me (1) whether you disagree with me, (2) in what way, and (3) why we are still discussing this (i.e. what part of this discussion wasn’t finished last time).

    Young Mormons who feel attraction to people of their own gender get some wrong messages from the church. They are told that they are disgusting perverts and they need to hide their SGA from everyone (to the point of censoring it in their own journals, see Invictus Pilgrim’s blog and Kiley’s). They also often get the false impression that by entering a MoMOM, they’re selflessly sacrificing their own sinful desires, and that others (such as the straight spouse) benefit from this sacrifice. While some MoMOMs can be successful, experience shows that they have a high probability of being spectacularly painful and hurtful for both partners, and both partners should be aware of this risk before entering such a marriage.

    There are almost certainly a large number of well-meaning young men who would rather marry a man than a woman, but who might choose to court a woman if they’re convinced that they’re doing something that is good and right and selfless. To those guys, I think it is important for them to be exposed to the idea that marrying a woman is not a selfless of self-sacrifice — indeed, it is likely to cause another person tremendous pain. Some selfless gay males who might pick an MOM if they think the only victim is themselves might be persuaded not to do it if they grasped the potential for hurting someone else as well. Thus, I think it is important to talk about the downstream victims — even if there’s the risk that it looks like “blaming the victim” (because the gay man himself is also a victim in the situation).

    Also note: Gay men and straight women in MOMs is not the only example of a common situation where one person is hurt and ends up passing that hurt along down the line to downstream victims. In each case, there is benefit talking about how the first victim can avoid passing that hurt along to someone else. It might be a good idea for us here to talk about other types of downstream victims so that you can see that this isn’t just a question of picking on gay men. I’ve been thing about this question since Invictus’ post, and already have some examples in mind.

  14. when I questioned your idea of insisting people come out, did you interpret this as me saying that Mormon gay men aren’t being patriarchal toward women?

    First, I don’t insist that people come out. As I said, and as I will continue to say, no one is obligated to tell anyone else in the world anything at all about their sexuality–unless they’re asking another person to do something like bear and raise their children and make plans to spend eternity. Then, the person being asked to do that the right to as much information as possible, and the asker has the obligation to provide it. To quote a previous statement I made:

    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.

    Second, I interpreted you as saying that Mormon gay men aren’t being patriarchal because you wrote shit like this:

    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?

    If I said something you agree with, why be so troubled by my saying it? Why discount it? Why put “patriarchy” in scare quotes?

    Perhaps the problem is simply that you need to take some writing classes. You seem so stymied by your own positions and how to keep track of them.

    You may have never said explicitly that Mormon gay men aren’t being patriarchal toward women, but you A) tried to invalidate my statements that they were and B) worked very hard in the past to avoid saying that they were.

    the person with the incompatible orientation doesn’t think through the anguish they’ll be creating

    — is a declaration that there is only one person with an incompatible orientation in an essentially “supposed-to-be-straight” marriage.

    In a “supposed-to-be-straight” marriage, I’d say that’s pretty much true. And since the one with more power AND the inocmpatible orientation is typically still initiating the marriage, I think that’s really shitty.

    But these expectations don’t fall through because the man lies; they fall through because of the heteropatriarchy of the Church which leads gay men to lie not just to women, but to themselves.

    No kidding! I wrote about this at length in the article I published that you supposedly read.

    Thanks for the lecture on fundamentals, but it really isn’t helpful.

    Now, perhaps you might see how my concern about the wrong-mindedness of this is in the interests of both women and men, and not just gay men.

    I’m finally starting to think maybe you give a shit about women…. But I do wonder why you argued things like this before:

    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

    which seems pretty damn indifferent to the women, and to privilege the suffering of gay men who CHOOSE to court, propose to, marry and impregnate straight women over the suffering of the women.

    So I won’t apologize for my last remark

    Nothing new there. You don’t apologize for any of your remarks, even when you retract or contradict them.

    Holly sees the lying before she sees the structures that create the closet from which the person “lies.”

    Nope. I see the structures first, and I think my essay documents that. Was I supposed to talk about them here after writing about them at length in my article? Wouldn’t that be an unhelpful lecture on fundamentals?

    If the “don’t lie about being gay” is the icing on the cake, then why in the world is Holly focusing on it as if it were the cake?

    First of all, it’s not what *I* am focused on; it’s what WE–including YOU–have become focused on here.

    Second, it’s NOT the cake to me, and don’t use Chanson’s statements about HER sense of the situation as representative of MY sense. (Again, some refresher courses in rhetoric and argument would be in order for you.)

    My essay wasn’t just about the guy coming out to his girlfriend/fiance/wife. I know what I think the cake is.

    But as for the icing: I would like to see single gay Mormon men tell any women they want to court that they are gay on or before the first date for the simple fact that realistically it’s probably the only thing we can ask them to do.

    We can’t ask them not to WANT to get married and get all the crap they’re promised in the next life. We can’t ask them not to marry women if they do want to–it’s A) legal and B) encouraged.

    But I wasn’t writing to a single straight gay man in previous threads you’re reduxing now. I was writing to Invictus Pilgrim. And I asked HIM to think more about his wife. I asked him to consider the cost of his actions to his wife. I asked him to write about it. And I asked him to do so because I thought it might be one more way to help all parties contemplating a MOM avoid a lot of anguish.

    And even if YOU think I was wrong to do so, IP came to recognize and appreciate not just the emotional value, not just the moral rightness, but the necessity of what I asked him to do.

    And that matters more to me than any of your “honest opinions,” especially since you have so much difficulty keeping track of them and expressing them in a way that gives people a reasonable sense of what they are.

  15. I somehow neglected to address this gem:

    t points to why Holly points all the fingers at the men in the relationship as opposed to also the women who are guilty of heterosexism.

    Actually, I already explicitly acknowledged the responsibility of women in the matter; among other things, I wrote, in response to your raising the issue before:

    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.

    So we’ve got an absolutely inaccurate assumption you’ve arrived at through your staggering inattention to what’s actually being said. But now that I’ve clarified my position, you should be able to agree with it, since you wrote that

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

    Please remember this information as you write any future statement you might make about my position.

    And I might as well address this while I’m at it:

    Men not lying about being gay in Mormonism these days has very little to do with a movement away from heteropatriarchy, and more to do with the maintenance of it. (Edit: Think about the long conversation here with A Peculiar Light who is out to his wife, and was from the beginning, but argues tooth and nail for keeping things as they are).

    Or think about Ben Christensen arguing that marrying women and knocking them up should not be “the exclusive territory of straight men” but should instead be something gay men get to do. Christensen not only wants to keep things as they are, he argues that making it easier for gay men to marry straight women is a struggle akin to the civil rights movement.

    that’s something I began critiquing and blogging about in 2005.

    In other words, WAY ahead of you, Alan. This stuff is fundamental to some of us. We got it, we get it, and your acting like you’re telling me or chanson something we don’t know isn’t especially helpful.

    It’s gay men who need to hear this shit, who need to be told that what they’re doing bolsters an immoral status quo. So go say this stuff on the MOM blogs, and quit mansplaining to us.

  16. p.s. Chanson, sorry if my speaking for you in that next to last paragraph was out of turn. having complained about Alan taking your statements as a stand-in for mine, I shouldn’t have presumed to speak for you, as I realized just as I hit “submit comment.”

  17. @16 No problem. I re-read my comment @13, and I stand by everything I said in it except for (1) misrepresenting your position and (2) all my typos.

    There’s one additional point that jumped out at me in this discussion. Both Alan and Holly have talked about men who can’t even admit to themselves that they are (or may be) gay. That’s the situation for many people of my generation and earlier, and I hope that the increased visibility of the LGBT movement has decreased the proportion of young people who are in that boat. Naturally, it is hardly feasible to come out to someone else if you aren’t out to yourself. But those people aren’t the people I’d focus on in this discussion (note: I’m just talking about my perspective here) — and anyway, they would not recognize themselves in this discussion. Those folks should be directed to the It Gets Better website, to help them understand that a gay future isn’t unthinkable.

    I would sooner talk to people who are at least somewhat out to themselves — who understand that they are gay or are very likely gay. In that case, why would you want to keep that from your soul-mate? Why would you want someone as your most intimate lifelong partner if you don’t feel like you can be yourself with that person? To me, that’s a big red flag that there’s something very wrong with the relationship. I don’t tell my husband every single thing I’m thinking or doing (partially because he and I don’t have identical interests), but I wouldn’t want to be here with him, raising kids with him, if I felt like I couldn’t be open with him about fundamental aspects of who I am. Marriage isn’t some sort of competition where one partner wins at the other’s expense — or at least it shouldn’t be.

  18. (i.e. what part of this discussion wasnt finished last time).

    The part that’s not finished is the following:

    even if the men dont lie (and the the only reason they dont nowadays is because the Church now has a very small space for a person to actually be gay), the heteropatriarchy is still in full swing

    IOW, even if the “victim” tells the “victim,” they both remain “victims” because there is still no female ordination and still no gay marriage. What has happened is that the interests of gay men have been pitted against the interests of straight women, in order to maintain the heteropatriarchal structure. Like I said above, Church leaders think:

    Hey, theres this gay problem, and its disrupting our patriarchal worldview because it seems like women are getting the short end of the stick. So, if we deal with the gay problem earlier in individuals, we can keep our patriarchy and heterosexism in tact.

    As soon as there emerges an instance in Church leaders’ minds of the idea of women being “victims” in Mormonism rather than being “equals,” Church leaders do what they can to offset this feeling — and in this instance, they’ve put it on the backs of queers. They’ve said, “You know what? You’ve got this disability that you need to deal with before you get married. We thought it would go away in marriage, but it doesn’t. So make sure you tell your wife about your disability so that she doesn’t get the short end of the stick.”

    If I said something you agree with, why be so troubled by my saying it? Why discount it? Why put patriarchy in scare quotes?

    Because the situation in which you’re quoting:

    gay men who do know about their sexuality at the time theyre courting straight women, and fail to tell those women

    is not patriarchy in of itself. The location of patriarchy cannot envelop the location of heterosexism because this not allow for an avenue of gay liberation. There must always be a space in which a gay man can say to a straight woman, “look, you’re oppressing me,” and she cannot respond with, “Well, the way you’re oppressing me is greater because I’m a woman and you’re a man.” I’m sorry, but that is just not an acceptable system of morality, but it is precisely what Holly has been hurling at me this entire thread.

    I hear Holly saying that she knows that the woman is as guilty of the “lie” as much as the gay man (because of her heterosexism), but I see no evidence of this in her writing, not here or elsewhere. If anything, what I see is her blaming the man for the “lie.” Or at putting the “lie” on the backs of the gay men first for the sake of women, which is exactly what Church leaders have asked gay men to do for the purposes of maintaining the heteropatriarchal structure of the Church.

    (Edit: Actually, wait a minute. I read above that Holly still thinks gay men are more guilty of the “lie” than straight women when she says “That does not mean that her ‘fault’ is equal to the fault of a gay man”)

  19. Or think about Ben Christensen arguing that marrying women and knocking them up should not be the exclusive territory of straight men but should instead be something gay men get to do. […]
    In other words, WAY ahead of you, Alan.

    Yes, that is an instance of a gay man who is “out” in the Church still acting patriarchally. It’s a sign that people coming “out” (to themselves, to their future wives, to anyone) is neither a solution for heterosexism nor for patriarchy. So let’s stop pretending that it is.

  20. What has happened is that the interests of gay men have been pitted against the interests of straight women, in order to maintain the heteropatriarchal structure. Like I said above, Church leaders think

    I’m willing to believe that the church leaders are wrong on this subject from A to Z, and that they don’t have gay people’s interests at heart. Honestly, this is one point where I’ve thought about challenging you in the past — namely, you sometimes seem too inclined (IMHO) to believe that the church leaders are taking gay people’s interests into consideration when deciding their policies on gay people. I would be more inclined to believe that the GAs’ policies on homosexuality are far more informed by how they’ll fly with straight people [including straight women], and that they’re OK with writing off out gay people as collateral damage.

    There must always be a space in which a gay man can say to a straight woman, look, youre oppressing me, and she cannot respond with, Well, the way youre oppressing me is greater because Im a woman and youre a man.

    I can imagine situations where that exchange is appropriate for friends and acquaintances. But if you are having the above conversation with your supposed soul-mate, that is not a marriage. That is a train wreck in progress.

  21. What has happened is that the interests of gay men have been pitted against the interests of straight women, in order to maintain the heteropatriarchal structure.

    Yes.

    The problem is, the real interests of straight women are so often utterly erased in this pitting. OK, there’s some lip service to it, but there’s no genuine understanding of what those interests really are. Some of us can see this, but the hierarchy won’t admit it, and far too many of the gay men pursuing straight women are utterly unaware of the interests of said women.

    What are YOU going to do about that last bit, Alan? Start ordaining women on your own? Tell us again what a bunch of men say about female sexuality? Seriously: what can you do NOW–besides advocating female ordination, which you cannot make happen and which has no impact on the present situation–to help protect the interests of women in this matter right now?

    I have argued many times that it is in the best interest of straight LDS women to be advocates for gay liberation. I say it explicitly in my essay, in fact.

    It’s part of my life’s work to see these interests not pitted against each other. But as long as men have more power and control in matters of courtship, and as long as women are intentionally kept as ignorrant as possible about the way their interests are in conflict with their husbands’ interest, there’s precious little the women can do to change this.

    So I’m advocating one step that I have seen help improve matters. I’ve seen women walk away from engagements with gay men when the “lie” is revealed. And I’ve seen both the gay men and the straight women subsequently grateful for that.

    Because the situation in which your quoting

    gay men who do know about their sexuality at the time theyre courting straight women, and fail to tell those women

    is not patriarchy in of itself.

    It ain’t NOT patriarchy. And it certainly didn’t make your position clearer just to use scare quotes in referring to mine. (Again, think seriously about that refresher course in writing….)

    The location of patriarchy cannot envelop the location of heterosexism because this not allow for an avenue of gay liberation. There must always be a space in which a gay man can say to a straight woman, look, youre oppressing me, and she cannot respond with, Well, the way youre oppressing me is greater because Im a woman and youre a man. Im sorry, but that is just not an acceptable system of morality, but it precisely what Holly has been hurling at me this entire thread.

    Here’s the thing: however much gay LDS men in MOMs are being oppressed by their straight LDS wives, those gay men are subject to that oppression because they put their wives in the position of not being able to avoid oppressing them. Ninety-nine times out of 100, it’s the gay men who court and propose to the straight women. It doesn’t seem immoral at all to me to point out, “Look, whatever harm I’m doing to you, it stems from the fact that YOU PURSUED ME and invited me into this situation where you are going to feel oppressed by me. YOU had the greater power and privilege in this situation, and now that it’s not working out the way you thought, you’re all mad at ME. But as little understanding as you had of what this would cost you, you had even less of what it would cost ME. And now you’re blaming me for all sorts of things YOU had control over that I did not. So seriously, dude: I’m sorry I’m making you miserable, but this whole bloody mess is one you engineered for yourself in ways that I did not, and it would do us all a lot of good if you would take more responsibility for that.”

    I hear Holly saying that she knows that the woman is as guilty of the lie as much as the gay man (because of her heterosexism), but I see no evidence of this in her writing

    First of all, I don’t think the woman is AS guilty of the “lie,” and have never said so (again, your inattention to what’s actually being said is staggering), so you’ll never find evidence of that any where, no matter how hard you look.

    But I have said, and will repeat again, that women bear some responsibility for the “lie.”

    And you can find evidence of that in my writing. In particular, if you wanted to check any of the dozens of posts I wrote about this topic on my blog beginning, as I said, in 2005, you would find it there. You could even link to it, quote it, and misrepresent it here.

  22. is neither a solution for heterosexism nor for patriarchy. So lets stop pretending that it is.

    Dude!

    NO ONE has said it’s a solution to patriarchy or heterosexism, so stop pretending that anyone has!

    Saying that certain destructive behaviors are rooted in patriarchy or sexism does not mean that if you advocate different behaviors, you believe they will automatically solve the root problem! (Again, serious problems with logic get you from point A to point 473.6. Stop it!)

    I won’t speak for anyone else, but if you look back at what I’ve written, you’ll see that I’m only saying that coming out might help lessen the frequency and misery of MOMs.

    it’s an attempt to get rid of some of the more pernicious manifestations of the problem. The hope is not that it will kill the root, but that it will B) make the roots easier to see and B) leave more time and energy available to kill the roots.

    YOU, Alan, are primarily the one who has insisted on reducing everyone’s opinion on the entire complex problem of heteropatriarchy to this one issue. You’re the one who can’t find the cake for the icing.

  23. chanson @ 20: Thank you for that comment. I do sometimes try to work within the “Mormon worldview,” because ultimately things will have to change inside-out. My home base is obviously outside, though.

    Holly @ 21:

    And now youre blaming me for all sorts of things YOU had control over that I did not.

    YOU, Alan, are primarily the one who has insisted on reducing everyones opinion on the entire complex problem of heteropatriarchy to this one issue.

    Here’s a news flash for you. The woman is AS guilty for the lie. The fact that you don’t see this puts a serious hamper on your politics.

    Heterosexism in a straight woman doesn’t begin the moment she is courted. It begins the moment she is born. So, even if she is being pursued and invited into a situation and doesn’t know about the “secret” going in, she is still responsible for the secret and for acquiescing. This responsibility doesn’t go down a notch just because she is a woman, or because she is not the gay person.

    If you think it does, then you don’t have a handle on how heterosexism works, and will be tempted to put some of the “lie” in the patriarchy container.

    Seriously: what can you do NOWbesides advocating female ordination, which you cannot make happen and which has no impact on the present situationto help protect the interests of women in this matter right now? […] So Im advocating one step that I have seen help improve matters. Ive seen women walk away from engagements with gay men when the lie is revealed.

    I’m not advocating that gay men remain closeted toward women they propose to.

    But consider this. There was a short campaign before the marriage of Ty Mansfield and Danielle Palmer in order to try to convince Ms Palmer that she shouldn’t marry Mr Mansfield. Of course they wed anyway; they’ve become role models for groups like North Star, a new phase of informing gays about the potential pitfalls in mixed-orientation marriages — where those in “successful” MoMs talk to those thinking of entering them. Where more than just the two in the marriage work together to make things…work.

    Here is a situation where the men are already “out,” and the two wed anyway. (And yes, we’re looking at gay men here and very few lesbians, which shows the patriarchy is still in great effect). The previous concerns about an “essential mismatch” are shrugged off by couples, since they do their “research” and have a group support structure.

    And you know what? If people wait until they’re in their mid-thirties to get married, like Mansfield did, I don’t doubt that they can “know themselves” well enough to actually work through a sexual orientation mismatch in service of an assumed “greater good.”

    We’re in a phase in which there are Church-created resources for gay people to “help them” “come out” and remain part of the Church. We have to combat the notion that coming “out” before marriage and talking about homosexuality prior to a mixed-orientation marriage is an answer to anything, because it’s not — not when the overarching heteropatriarchy is not addressed.

    Now, I’m sure that when you, personally, talk to these potential couples, you include these overarching issues. But as I’ve related above, my sense is that you still pit gay men against straight women. So, as much as I’d like to work with you to think about the necessary politics moving forward, (a) we disagree on the fundamentals, and (b) you have a disdain for me. So, instead I take what I can get, which is bounce ideas off you to maybe formulate something on my own (I’m thinking of writing another essay maybe).

  24. Heres a news flash for you. The woman is AS guilty for the lie. The fact that you dont see this puts a serious hamper on your politics.

    and your framing of this situation puts a serious hamper on your politics, given that you have said,

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

    You just erased patriarchy from your framing above, which isn’t surprising since that’s the only way your statement that “the woman is AS guilty for the lie” can be true.

    you write

    Heterosexism in a straight woman doesnt begin the moment she is courted. It begins the moment she is born. So, even if she is being pursued and invited into a situation and doesnt know about the secret going in, she is still responsible for the secret and for acquiescing. This responsibility doesnt go down a notch just because she is a woman, or because she is not the gay person.

    Likewise, patriarchy and misogyny begin the moment men are born. So even if gay men are being goaded into a crappy situation marriage-wise, they are still responsible for misogynistic treatment of women. The responsibility doesn’t go down a notch just because they are gay and suffer from the oppression of heterosexism.

    We have to combat the notion that coming out before marriage and talking about homosexuality prior to a mixed-orientation marriage is an answer to anything, because its not not when the overarching heteropatriarchy is not addressed.

    Once again, NO ONE HERE THINKS IT’S GOING TO SOLVE MUCH OF ANYTHING. It won’t stop very many people from entering MOMs. It won’t stop most MOMs from failing. It will just mean that A) a few MoMO couples will decide not to marry after all and B) people who do enter them will be slightly less confused when things go seriously south.

    On top of which, coming out to a fiancee/spouse beats the one currently available alternative, which is staying closeted during courtship and marriage, which even you admit you don’t advocate.

    But as Ive related above, my sense is that you still pit gay men against straight women.

    if you managed to acquire a decent sense of what I’m saying even when I say it directly to you, I might care about your sense of my position–and I might even be able to respect your sense of your own in opposition to mine.

    So, as much as Id like to work with you to think about the necessary politics moving forward

    So, you refuse to answer the question about what YOU, Alan, are doing right now to protect the interests of women in this situation.

    Can’t say I’m surprised.

    Im thinking of writing another essay maybe.

    I’ll wait with baited breath.

  25. You just erased patriarchy from your framing above, which isnt surprising since thats the only way your statement that the woman is AS guilty for the lie can be true.

    See, you’ve already subsumed heterosexism under patriarchy when you make that pronouncement. There’ve got to be aspects of the situation for which the woman is just as accountable, if not more so due to her heterosexism. And if surfacing these aspects means to you that patriarchy gets “erased,” then well, I can’t help you with that. But I really don’t see the patriarchy being erased, or the responsibilities of men being detracted from.

    Once again, NO ONE HERE THINKS ITS GOING TO SOLVE MUCH OF ANYTHING. It wont stop very many people from entering MOMs. It wont stop most MOMs from failing. It will just mean that A) a few MoMO couples will decide not to marry after all and B) people who do enter them will be slightly less confused when things go seriously south.

    Well, you might be interested in applying the band-aids to this matter, but that doesn’t mean I must to have validity.

    So, you refuse to answer the question about what YOU, Alan, are doing right now to protect the interests of women in this situation.

    In this particular situation, I am removed from direct service — except in virtual conversations with the occasional gay Mormon. I work in the social service sector with the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, however, and I do know that there is time for band-aids.

    I apply a lot of dirty band-aids in my working life, and see them fall off or seem for naught. I know firsthand that things are often counterproductive but must be done. But sometimes I actually like to sit back and think about how to solve some problems, in a theoretical idealistic fashion. Because that space is also important.

    On top of which, coming out to a fiancee/spouse beats the one currently available alternative, which is staying closeted during courtship and marriage, which even you admit you dont advocate.

    Yes. But I also can see how closeted gay people disrupted the heteropatriarchal system by creating failed Mormon marriages. The couples suffered, but so did the Mormon heteropatriarchal system. A rupture was created where church leaders said, “Wait, a second. We have to take women’s sexual interests into account.” For goodness sake…church leaders actually thinking about women’s sexual interests when formulating policy? This means something, no?

  26. Heterosexism in a straight woman doesnt begin the moment she is courted. It begins the moment she is born. So, even if she is being pursued and invited into a situation and doesnt know about the secret going in, she is still responsible for the secret and for acquiescing. This responsibility doesnt go down a notch just because she is a woman, or because she is not the gay person.

    So, she’s responsible for a secret that she’s not aware of…? Seriously…?

    And when this hypothetical Mormon lady gets the privilege of hearing from her husband that he’s off to find his real soul mate (and she, likely, gets to raise the kids alone and then spend her golden years alone), I’m sure it’s a wonderful consolation to know that she’s just getting her just desserts for all the heterosexual privilege she was exercising when she mistakenly trusted her husband.

    Actually, I’d kind of like to see a response to this point:

    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.

  27. So, shes responsible for a secret that shes not aware of? Seriously?

    Absolutely she’s responsible. All straight people are responsible for the closet they put gay people into.

    gets to raise the kids alone

    My mother and father divorced when I was a young teen, and I have two younger siblings. I helped raise them, including my brother who was a serious handful. My dad had basically left the picture and my mom was pretty annoyed at that. I was pretty annoyed at that. So, the issue of raising the kids is not limited to mixed-orientation marriages. There’s no reason a man, gay or otherwise, can’t continue to raise the kids after a divorce. So, don’t put that on the table, as if just because there was a mixed-orientation marriage that fell apart that therefore the woman is bound to raise the kids alone.

    spend her golden years alone

    When the divorce happens, the man is not responsible for the woman spending her golden years alone. My mother has remarried and divorced several times, and her rollar-coaster emotions trying to find her someone to be with for “eternity” after she and my father divorced have been trying. For this, I do not blame my father. And my mother doesn’t blame my father, either. But we both blame him for not being around for the kids.

    The “just desserts” that you’ve listed aren’t really about mixed-orientation marriages or at least not unique to them. Basically, you’re in the same boat as Holly in which you’ve subsumed heterosexism under patriarchy; you’ve conflated the two.

  28. So, the issue of raising the kids is not limited to mixed-orientation marriages.

    I never said it was.

    Theres no reason a man, gay or otherwise, cant continue to raise the kids after a divorce.

    Yes, I hope the father is shouldering his part of the responsibility of raising the kids. But there’s a real difference between having a helpful platonic co-parent and having your true love by your side while you’re raising the kids.

    So, dont put that on the table, as if just because there was a mixed-orientation marriage that fell apart that therefore the woman is bound to raise the kids alone.

    [I think I’ve said this before, but] for the record: I think that straight people should take the decision to marry very seriously. Matching orientations is not a magic formula for a successful marriage. All people — regardless of orientation — benefit from having relationship experience before making the decision to have kids.

    But we both blame him for not being around for the kids.

    I don’t care. I’m not interested in making sure that every responsible party gets justly blamed. I’m interested in (1) preventing painful errors in the first place, as much as possible, and (2) seeing a response to this:

    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.

  29. In this particular situation, I am removed from direct service

    Yeah. ‘Cause you NEVER interact with straight Mormon women, and you worry so little about the policies of the LDS church.

    It’s clear that you lack A) both the imagination to think of anything to do in this matter but lecture people on how gay marriage has to be accepted for heterosexism to go away and Mormons have to have female ordination for its patriarchy to be undercut and B) any concern for women as women.

    Yeah. YOUR politics are SO admirable. You’re such a shining beacon of complementary theory and praxis.

    Gay marriage, which I have worked for politically since it became an issue in Hawaii in the 90s, is going to be legalized in more and more states. that horse is leaving the barn. the church will be forced to deal with it, because the country will accept it.

    But there is NO WAY to force the church to implement female ordination.

    Heterosexism will disappear before patriarchy. And as you say, it traumatizes men. It hurts GAY MORMON MEN, whom you claim to have some allegiance to. But on this matter, you can THINK OF NOTHING to do but spout hot air.

    Absolutely shes responsible. All straight people are responsible for the closet they put gay people into.

    And *I* am the only one pitting straight women against gay men?

    You could at least own up to what you’re doing here, the same way you’ve owned up to being completely wrong about how we shouldn’t blame gay men if they lie to their wives and how it’s completely wrong of you to chastise me for saying here something that would upset your mommy if she heard it.

    Im interested in (1) preventing painful errors in the first place, as much as possible, and (2) seeing a response to this:

    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.

    Ditto. Pony up, Mr. “removed from direct service.” ‘Cause one thing you could do is work to convince people that you actually give a shit about women. As women have been saying to you for months, it seems painfully obvious that you don’t. “Disdain” is what YOU express for women in virtually everything you write. You might notice that, if you didn’t think you were so bloody entitled to disdain them, if it weren’t such a matter of course for you.

    Wow.

  30. One other thing:

    But sometimes I actually like to sit back and think about how to solve some problems, in a theoretical idealistic fashion. Because that space is also important.

    You’re not the only one who claims this space. Some of us actually come up with things there that get people to change their minds and their behavior–on all sides of the problem.

    You are, however, the only one who demonstrates so much disdain for one of the parties affected by the problem you claim you’re trying to solve.

    It might be possible to respect for your attempts to occupy that “important space” if what you produced while you were in it demonstrated sympathy for women.

  31. Gay marriage […] that horse is leaving the barn. the church will be forced to deal with it, because the country will accept it.

    But there is NO WAY to force the church to implement female ordination.

    What do you mean the Church will be “forced to deal with it?” It will implement it? If not, being “forced to deal with it” means nothing, because it’s already “dealing with it.”

    The Church can’t implement gay marriage without also implementing female ordination. You don’t see the two as linked?

  32. I’ll think about answering your questions, Alan, after you respond to what both Chanson and I have asked of you:

    Im interested in (1) preventing painful errors in the first place, as much as possible, and (2) seeing a response to this:

    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.

    Surely you can go to your important space of theorizing and come up with something to say. ‘Cause your silence is managing to scream, “Guilty as charged.”

  33. We obviously have different understandings of what sympathy and concern means. I don’t find it at all sympathizing to tokenize single women like chanson did @26.

    And *I* am the only one pitting straight women against gay men?

    This post is pitting straight women against gay men only if you can’t stomach the possibility of talking about heterosexism in straight women without insisting upon the conversation also being about gay men oppressing women.

    The point of the post was to separate the “hetero + patriarchy” to get a better handle on the situation, to get a better sense of how heteropatriarchy works as a whole. But no, as usual, you had to make it all about the patriarchy beginning with @1.

    the same way youve owned up to being completely wrong about how we shouldnt blame gay men if they lie to their wives

    I’ve never said we should blame gay men for lying to their wives about their orientations. What I have said is that we can blame gay men for being patriarchal toward women, but we can’t blame them for the lie, because doing so would be heterosexist.

    There are aspects to your heterosexism that I’m just going to assume are immovable at this point. 200+ comments later, you still think it’s okay to blame gay people for being in the closet.

    But do me a favor, and stop insisting that that is my position.

  34. Huh. You don’t even make a serious effort to demonstate any sympathy. You just try to explain again how you don’t really need to do it.

    Classic.

    There are aspects to your misogny that I’m going to assume are immovable at this point. 200+ comments later, you still can’t even come up with a way to express concern for women when explicitly asked to do it, except to acknowledge that we can blame gay men for being patriarchal toward women–whatever that happens to mean to you.

    So consider yourself blamed.

    And, a bit of writing advice: we CAN blame gay men for the lie. We maybe SHOULDN’T, but we CAN, both theoretically and in fact.

    Theorizing successfully becomes quite a bit easier when you learn to distingush meaningfully between what’s possible and what’s proper. You might give it a try.

  35. Maybe you might try looking in a dictionary to see that the word “can” doesn’t only mean “to be able to” but also means “to be allowed to.”

    I’d like to see you try to prove that heterosexism will disappear before patriarchy. But I suspect you forgot about lesbians when you wrote that.

    Typical.

  36. Well, I assume that if you could shape the world so that people could not “be allowed to” blame gay men for the lie, you would have done so already. But since the world still operates in such a way that people are allowed to blame gay men for the lie every single day, even if it’s not proper in your eyes, you’ll admit that that definition of “can” still doesn’t work in that context.

    And indeed I cannot prove that heterosexism will disappear before patriarchy. Human beings do not currently have means of proving what will happen in our societies as they evolve. We are limited to predictions.

    I am confident that I am right, and that events will demonstrate that. As for you, you show again that you don’t understand basic things about what’s possible.

    I’ll also note that you still don’t feel the need to demonstrate sympathy for women.

    You’re one class act, Alan.

  37. We obviously have different understandings of what sympathy and concern means. I dont find it at all sympathizing to tokenize single women like chanson did @26.

    mkay. So what would sympathy and concern mean, if, theoretically, you were to feel some? Still waiting for it…

    The point of the post was to separate the hetero + patriarchy to get a better handle on the situation, to get a better sense of how heteropatriarchy works as a whole.

    This may be a useful approach. However, there’s a critical snag that was pointed out by Holly @7:

    Honestly, I think youre so bound up in your own victimhood that you cant confront your own privilege. Most of us in this country deal with a nasty combination of the two, and it would be really freaking nice to see you confront and acknowledge some of your own.

    If you didn’t feel it was relevant to this particular post, that’s fine. But it would be helpful if you could link us to some post or comments of yours somewhere where you’ve analysed your own privilege (as a white male) and how it affects your outlook and your dealings with others.

    In order to understand the dynamics of privilege, you have to understand how you [unintentionally] exercise it. And when I say “you” here, I don’t just mean you Alan, I mean everyone, including me. Just for example, have a look at this feminist blog post about male privilege — and note especially how the author starts by making comparisons with other types of privilege that she might potentially be exercising.

    When discussing privilege here on MSP, on my own blog, and elsewhere, I make a point to analyze and discuss the privilege I do exercise as well as the privileges I don’t. (Tell me if you need me to provide a list of links or if you can find them on your own.) I’ve written a number of posts about racism and classism (including within the feminist movement), but when (on an earlier thread on MSP) I asked you to demonstrate you’ve done a similar self-analysis of privilege within the LGBT movement before presuming to lecture me on privileged white women, I got crickets — just like this thread’s request that you demonstrate that you’ve ever felt any sympathy or concern for women.

  38. What I have said is that we can blame gay men for being patriarchal toward women, but we cant blame them for the lie, because doing so would be heterosexist.

    I don’t understand this at all. Setting aside men who are in the closet even to themselves and thus aren’t really lying to their potential spouses, I acknowledge what a difficult thing coming out to a potential spouse can be for some gay men. I recognize that because of heterosexism, such honesty demands courage that isn’t required of all straight men, as well as a level of understanding and self-awareness that may not be common in people around the usual age of first marriage. I see that, and I sympathize.

    But since when is it ethical to tell lies that hurt another person in order to protect oneself? Why is being subject to heterosexism a free pass to lie and hurt a (potential) spouse? Since when do ethical people act that way?

  39. Interesting, kuri, how you set aside a bunch of caveats at the beginning of your comment, such as how not having enough self-awareness would preclude a person from “lying” — “being in the closet to oneself,” as you say — but then insist that there is still a “lie” to condemn nonetheless in some gay persons who are not “in the closet to themselves” but rather “in the closet to someone else.”

    Are you yourself going to draw the fine line between “being in the closet to oneself” and “not being in the closet to oneself,” when a person is “not really lying” and when they are, in fact, “lying”?

    Remember now that Mormonism still doesn’t prefer a person to be “gay,” and would rather have people focus on “other aspects.” How then would you assess whether the gay person is “in the closet to themselves” versus “toward others,” if they’re lying or not?

    Perhaps you might see how the construction of the “lie,” for which gay people get blamed for hurting those around them, is part and parcel of heterosexism.

  40. So if i make a general statement about ethics, it becomes my task to assess individuals and determine who knows what about themselves and what they are or aren’t lying about? I’ll pass.

    I’ll stick to the general statement: lying to protect oneself is not ethical if it seriously harms someone else. Because of circumstances beyond their control, it’s harder for some people to not do that than it is for others, and that’s sad and unfair, but it’s still not ethical.

    So does that fit gay men who marry straight women? (Many? Some? A few? Almost none?) It sounded like you were saying that it did but it doesn’t matter. Now it sounds like you didn’t mean it that way. But I don’t know. You (and Holly and chanson and many other people) know more about this than me. So I’m willing to listen.

  41. Hi Kuri– I’m glad someone else has weighed in here. But I must point out that now Alan has a reason to keep talking without bothering to A) demonstrate sympathy for women or B) examine and discuss–or at least offer links to discussions of–his own privilege.

    It’s so obvious he can’t do it. It’s not that he won’t–it’s that he really, truly lacks the ethics, insight and skill.

    No wonder he thinks you can’t blame people for their lies. If that’s the frame of reference he’s working with, his attitudes and statements make a lot more sense.

  42. Since I’ve been posting on MSP, the only times I’ve been put on trial for lacking sympathy and concern for women is when I’ve disagreed with Holly. Even when I’ve stood in solidarity with other women against Holly on the topic of the sympathy and concern for women, she will disparage women (calling them naive) in order to continue a campaign against me. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t feel comfortable enumerating my privileges and sympathies around here — since she’s shown time and again that she uses people’s personal details as cannon fodder.

    kuri @ 40:

    (Many? Some? A few? Almost none?)

    There is no precise way to measure when the gay person is “lying” or not. That’s the point. It’s seen as a “lie” at the moment it’s seen to be harming, but the harm was done first by putting the person in the closet. The goal is to get rid of the closet, not require gay people to come out for the sake of straight people, which is the current policy of the Church.

  43. Since Ive been posting on MSP, the only times Ive been put on trial for lacking sympathy and concern for women is when Ive disagreed with Holly.

    Since you’ve been posting at MSP, you’ve written a lot of posts and comments criticizing feminism, especially with respect to preserving the interests of straight, white, middle-class women at the expense of others. That’s fine — criticism is a necessary component of identifying problems so they can be addressed.

    My point is simply that — in order to have a reasonable discussion of other people’s privilege/classism/racism — the participants in the discussion need to be capable of contemplating their own privilege and perspective. It would also help (when discussing feminism) if the participants can demonstrate that they care about women and about women’s interests. It’s not a trial, it’s a prerequisite. It’s that you’ll fail Calculus if you try to take it without ever learning the material in Algebra and Trigonometry.

    Even when Ive stood in solidarity with other women against Holly on the topic of the sympathy and concern for women,

    That‘s the best you can muster? One time you “stood in solidarity” with a woman who was here specifically to defend your right to speak for women…?

    p.s. for the record: I have not said anything about the ethics of lying or that gay men should be blamed for doing it. My point is that — if someone feels that he needs to actively lie to his partner about something so fundamental — then that is a pretty shitty marriage. Why expend so much energy defending someone’s right not to be criticized for making decisions that hurt himself and others? Maybe he can be “blamed”, maybe he can’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bad decision to enter into a marriage founded on lies. I would rather focus on strategies for building happy marriages and families.

  44. p.p.s. I realize a lot of this discussion has already gone south, but this is speculation about a participant’s character and motives, and hence not constructive in a civil discussion:

    Its so obvious he cant do it. Its not that he wontits that he really, truly lacks the ethics, insight and skill.

  45. The goal is to get rid of the closet, not require gay people to come out for the sake of straight people, which is the current policy of the Church.

    That latter part seems like a very adversarial framing to me. Not keeping fundamental secrets about who one is from a (potential) spouse isn’t simply a question of something the church tries to make gay people do. It’s also a question of simple decency and, as chanson says, trying not to have a shitty marriage.

  46. Not keeping fundamental secrets … a question of simple decency

    Look … the more homosexuality is normalized, the less shameful and bound for secrecy it will be. In Mormonism, being gay is not normalized, not by a long shot.

    Nevertheless, plenty of gay Mormon men are “out” nowadays, and in a market for marrying women. The reason they are out to these potential spouses is not because they have more “decency” than the gay men that came before them, but because there is now a mediocre space in Mormonism to actually be an out gay person and it not be a cultural offense.

    Why expend so much energy defending someones right not to be criticized for making decisions that hurt himself and others? […]lie to his partner about something so fundamental

    If anything, I am defending a person’s right to exist as a consequence of their environment, which would include their right to make potentially bad decisions. A person wouldn’t know their same-sex attraction is necessarily fundamental unless their culture informs them that it is, which isn’t always the case in heterosexist Mormonism. They and their spouse are gonna find out the hard way. (And actually, plenty of MOMs wouldn’t consider the “same-sex attraction” part to be all that fundamental.)

    I am thus defending the right of gay people born in these kinds of homophobic circumstances to not be considered “indecent” and “liars” or to have their lives and marriages understood as made of “lies” when they don’t come out at a time that’s opportune for a straight person, even if that person is their spouse.

    Currently, the Church has an uneven campaign to get people out of the closet (out to themselves) for the sake of straight people — namely, straight women who marry gay men (in order to maintain the overarching structure of men having power over women, as opposed to allowing a rupture where women are incontrovertibly getting the short end of the stick). Thus, I can think of rare instances in which it would be appropriate to blame a gay man for “lying” to a potential wife about his orientation (places where it is possible to be “out,” and surrounding gay people are indeed out); otherwise, his circumstances may be in a locality not on board with getting people out the closet, in which case he would fit the caveat Kuri states above, which is “he can’t be blamed if he doesn’t know himself.”

    All of this is opposed to Holly who opines that it is always appropriate to blame the gay man for the “lie”, regardless of his circumstances.

    So much for sympathy and concern for gay men.

    Now onto sympathy and concern for women:

    Thats the best you can muster?

    @26 you cited the phenomenon of single mothers with kids abandoned by gay men and then wondered about me expressing sympathy/concern for women.

    @27, I explained that single-motherhood is not exactly foreign to my upbringing. You apparently didn’t take this as me having sympathy/concern toward women — I suppose because I didn’t utter: “Oh, btw, because I grew up under a single-mother household, I actually have sympathy for single-mother households.”

    No, instead, what you did was dismiss my experience (because I’m male? because your parents never divorced? I’m not sure why you did this). But anyway, it’s not my fault if you hear crickets on a matter when you close your ears to what I’m saying.

    Algebra and Trigonometry

    Like I mentioned, I’ve worked with the homeless (for over 5 years) and interactions concerning race, gender, class, ableism, ageism, settler-colonialism, language, sexual orientation come up all the time. I don’t really have interest in coming home and blogging about it, so I can’t point you to any links. But rest assured that I do analyze my privilege all the freakin’ time. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, and need a bulleted list of evidence, then I can’t help you with that.

    who was here specifically to defend your right to speak for women?

    Given all that she shared about her experiences here, it’s unfortunate that you summarize her presence this way. What does that say about you?

    Perhaps you conveniently skipped over her lecturing me on the subject of me of not having a right to speak for women?

    Her “defending me” was secondary to her disagreement with Holly for Holly’s commandeering of feminism. I stood in solidarity with her because of the mistreatment she was receiving (and because I agreed with her on a number of points). Saying that I stood by her because she validated me having a “right to speak for women” is offensive.

    *sigh* Sometimes I wonder why I even post here.

  47. I dont really have interest in coming home and blogging about it, so I cant point you to any links. But rest assured that I do analyze my privilege all the freakin time. And if you dont want to take my word for it, and need a bulleted list of evidence, then I cant help you with that.

    OK, but considering the amount of time and energy you have for blogging about [other people’s] privilege, I have to admit that I find it a little odd that you have never found it relevant to discuss your own privilege. Not even once.

    I suppose because I didnt utter: Oh, btw, because I grew up under a single-mother household, I actually have sympathy for single-mother households.

    No, instead, what you did was dismiss my experience (because Im male? because your parents never divorced? Im not sure why you did this).

    I haven’t dismissed your experience. However, claiming that you have sympathy and concern for women, and actually expressing sympathy and concern for women is not quite the same thing.

  48. Alan:

    All of this is opposed to Holly who opines that it is always appropriate to blame the gay man for the lie, regardless of his circumstances.

    Absolutely not. I have considerable regard for his circumstances. I say that it’s appropriate to blame gay men who know they are gay and withhold his information from women they court, propose to, and marry.

    In other circumstances, not so much.

    Alan:

    Even when Ive stood in solidarity with other women against Holly on the topic of the sympathy and concern for women,

    With WOMAN, Alan. Not WOMEN, WOMAN. And that involved standing in opposition to half a dozen WOMEN who were critiquing your approach–an approach that you rightly point out that ven Pinay objected to as well.

    Alan:

    Her defending me was secondary to her disagreement with Holly for Hollys commandeering of feminism.

    Nope. Here are the first two paragraphs of her first comment:

    Pinay:

    This post and the threads that followed turned out to be a hot one. I am not very well versed in the theories mentioned above but I do get the gist of the concepts that are being talked about.

    First off, I think that Alans initial intention is valid. There are a lot of ways in tackling a problem. One of them is being able to talk about those different ways. In reading Alans main post, I did get what he was trying to do. He wasnt excluding Mormon women by not quoting them. Hes going about it a different way. He did explained why hes using this approach and it made sense to me.

    That makes you pretty much primary, and me secondary, baby. (Seriously: You don’t go back and check? And I LOVE how you’ve had to go back through this thread and edit a bunch of your comments so that your statements aren’t quite so nonsensical. Nice! At least some good might come out of this: your writing might not be quite so sloppy in the future.)

    Chanson:

    OK, but considering the amount of time and energy you have for blogging about [other people’s] privilege, I have to admit that I find it a little odd that you have never found it relevant to discuss your own privilege. Not even once.

    Ditto. the fact that you feel no need to establish your credentials to critique some of this stuff is in and of itself is a mark of privilege.

    *sigh* Sometimes I wonder why I even post here.

    As I’ve suggested, there might indeed be other forums better suited to types of conversations you want to have.

    Me:

    Its gay men who need to hear this shit, who need to be told that what theyre doing bolsters an immoral status quo. So go say this stuff on the MOM blogs, and quit mansplaining to us.

  49. One other thing:

    since shes shown time and again that she uses peoples personal details as cannon fodder.

    YOU made this fair game, Alan, when YOU used YOUR mother, YOUR relationship with her and HER comfort level with a conversation she was not even part of as a reason why I should not even be allowed to say certain things here at MSP.

    If YOU don’t want your personal details used as ammunition against you, don’t use it as ammunition against others.

    Frankly you talk about your personal life more than just about anyone else here. You’ve shared here details about the ethnicity of your boyfriend, your parents’ marriage and divorce, conversations you’ve had with your mom about her sex life, what your job involves. So I don’t see why discussing your privilege and the details THAT involves should be so far beyond your comfort zone.

  50. I have considerable regard for his circumstances. I say that its appropriate to blame gay men who know they are gay and withhold his information from women they court, propose to, and marry.

    In other circumstances, not so much.

    I agree with this, although I wouldn’t use the word “blame.”

    Also, although I see Alan’s point about the church teaching people not to formulate an identity that includes the concept “I am gay,” I don’t think there’s a bright, shiny, exculpatory line between “I’m gay” and “I have ‘same-gender attraction.'” There are a lot of shadings, nuances, and mitigating circumstances involved in all this, but I still see a bottom-line ethical obligation to share relevant personal information with (potential) spouses.

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