After we got home I caught up on recent events. One editorial of note from Sunday's paper was an editorial about gay suicide by Carol Lynn Pearson, a vocal and prolific LDS and gay LDS advocate. You can read the editorial here.
I'll not go into the details of it all. Others have and many (ironically most of them on the anti-gay relationships side) are doing enough online to prove her tragic point. Heck, as if to highlight the willful blindness to the harm, in the same paper that day this editorial, "Don't Bother Us," appeared asking gay groups to "just leave us [the LDS church] alone."
I wish they could ethically do so, Douglas. I really and deeply wish you would adopt a live and let live approach and that we then could in turn. But you show no signs of slowing down, right? If anything, with the Proposition 8 fight, you and the LDS church leaders are stepping further into the most intimate and important relationship in my life and my children's lives. I can't just stop bothering you.
In fact, considering what most gay men and women around here go through, I'm not even slightly sorry you feel put out.
Anyway, I got distracted. What's newly eating at me with this editorial, is the fact that Carol refers to a gay suicide in my sphere of influence, a gay man who killed himself while working where I was working.
I haven't hid my orientation at work for over a decade. If a person's orientation would come up in a conversation with a heterosexual, it will come up with me. Everyone close enough to me in my work environment to see my desk would see pictures of my family. But that's it. I didn't wear a rainbow rhinestone lab coat, or anything. I can count a substantial conversation about being gay at my work maybe once per year, when someone felt comfortable enough with me to ask me.
The thing is, the thing that I've been trying to put out of mind for the past couple days is that I probably knew this young man, not well enough to know his name, but certainly his face as we'd pass in the halls or occasionally sat in on the same seminars. But work was work, no place for being vocally out. I wasn't about to create a gay support group for my traditionally conservative area of the campus, put up fliers, or make a point of coming out to strangers in a strained, unnatural way. Maybe I should have, though.
It's just such a train wreak for some gay men. This article took me back to the first gay suicide I personally encountered, and, while I consciously know I don't hold even a fraction of the same blame in this case, I still feel that guilt through the associations and reflex of memory. I know it would be some sort of sad savior complex to feel I could have saved this young man too, if only I'd been more out, if only I asked more about the lives of those around me... But I keep going back to the fact that, from outward appearances, I could have seemed to young gay men working around me like yet another damning, anti-gay bigot (and there were those in our area). I could have appeared like yet another person in their world who'd look down on their "vile afflictions," when I am really one of their brothers. That tiny sliver of a possibility is far too much of a possibility.
Anyway, if anyone wants to know why gay issues become a life's work for some people, such irreversible events and what if's are reason enough. Thank you Carol Lynn Pearson, for trying to get in the way, for being a bother.