Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hand Holds

I used to rock climb quite a bit, before our boys were born. Once, due to a mistake of communication and a blinding overhang (note: not hangover), I almost dropped a friend to a rocky riverbed and, long story short, I caught him and dropped the desire to do that again.

A couple days ago it felt kind of like it did when, while you’re ascending a new climb, you look around to be unable to plan an obvious route to the top. I couldn’t see what our next move should be, with family, law and the simple geography of where our family should live. Really, I still don’t know how to surmount those large questions. Nevertheless, it seems the analogy holds in that you don’t really need to see every move to get to the top; you know others have done it on far more difficult climbs. You just need to see how to move one hand or foot even an inch higher, and you’ll eventually find a higher place on the rock for your other appendages.

So I'm feeling good after inching up a bit in a couple areas.

Family: My Father in-law, well, I asked him if he’s been involved in any the pro-prop-8 movement, making calls or asking his congregation to act on it, and he told me no, he hadn’t. But that was it; his reaction was abrupt, the sort that says "no but let's not get into this". Okay, I learned the minimum of what I needed to know. I can live with leaving it at that without a debate on what the LDS church is doing. I love my in-laws and it continues to hurt us that they indirectly support people working so hard to undermine our family, but it’s not direct support. Maybe I’m a hypocrite for not holding more ground, but I see the way Grandpa is with our boys and I can swallow some of it for now, rightly or wrongly. Maybe these are things that defy measurement anyway.

On my side of the family: I came home from work to find out that, after my mom read that “go viral” article, she spent the day calling all our family and asking for their help and asking about what they’ve done on Prop-8. There was some good news and some bad; sadly, the wedges have been driven deeper for some others, but my family is still attached to the bulk. I’ll deal with the bad new when we have to all interact again. But it was a great blessing to find out that my mom had done that. I feel grateful and phenomenally lucky to have the parents I do. They have always understood and are probably the reason I have the home I do; they gave me the freedom and example to do so all the way back to the day I came out. I’ve been too lucky both as a father and a son, and may deserve to be told to shut up when I complain too much about the extended family (Note: not a license to tell me to shut up. Shut up are the only two words that are "a bad word" in our home.).

Doing Something: I spent my lunch calling organizations. If only the gay community were more like a church or a business. If only it really had a monolithic gay agenda. But no, there’s a bunch of people with a bunch of aims and we’re brought together by others' bias and demonetization, sometimes literally by our local culture. No one really had an organized reaction to the interstate LDS push, and we really need help getting organized here. One local community leader suggested that the members of these various boards should meet once a month, just to know what everyone is doing (I think that’s a great idea and hope it’s implemented). Anyway, I’m going to try to help put something together; just waiting a weekend for suggestions from HRC. I know whatever we come up with may not do much, but it's something.

PTC: We had parent teacher’s conference and our boy’s are doing great. Scholastics come much easier for “way above grade level” Brian, but Alan is not struggling either; he’s “where he should be”. Their teachers told us they are doing great socially and have a lot of friends. Hoping to head off any problems, I asked if our family structure has been an issue in any way. They both separately gave back a quick no, almost shocked that I’d ask. They both even went on to compliment our family for our extra involvement and familial support. One said "Everyone here thinks so highly of your family and I can tell your son has all the support he needs", and the other said "I wish we had 20 more like him". I eat that stuff up :-).

I think we’ve been very lucky with teachers and parents at their school. While it is predominantly LDS, it seems to not be your typical suburban Utah political atmosphere; most don't seem to be buying what their leaders are telling them about our family. Or perhaps it just changes the atmosphere by breathing it and giving others the chance to see us for what we are, instead of amoral monsters backed by activist liberal judges out to destroy The Family (TM) and convert their children (Brian’s teacher even has an Obama pin… Brian must have convinced her in political debate ;-)).

So maybe, as a repeating theme of this blog, I worry about our family here in Utah more than is justifiable, but not less than I want to; just in case.

Anyway, there are still problems to face, opponents to challenge, and more hand holds to find in this climb to equal rights, but at least we’re moving. In leaning on our loved ones, whatever November holds, we'll be okay and we'll keep inching up.

Oh, and today is National Coming Out Day. FYI, I'm gay. Your 18th (or 19th?) coming out day really ain't that special :-), but kudos and good luck to those for whom this is their first.


Evan said...

"Or perhaps it just changes the atmosphere by breathing it and giving others the chance to see us for what we are, instead of amoral monsters backed by activist liberal judges out to destroy The Family (TM) and convert their children"

That cracked me up :)

Scot, sometimes I wish more people could know about your family, as it is a perfect reason for most not to support Prop 8. I typically try not to speak ill of the Church, but your example is a slap in the Church's face every day for what they are fighting against.

Keep up the work... you are obviously doing great :)

Java said...

Scot, keep looking for the positives. The progress seems glacially slow, and that can be very frustrating. I have the same problems with various issues around my home. But I think we lose sight of how big a boulder we're trying to move. That seems to be my problem anyway.

I also loved The Family (TM) comment. :)

chosha said...

Man, I misread that and thought that your mum was calling everybody to ask what they're doing to support Prop 8 in response to the 'go viral' article. Was wondering why you were sounding okay with it. :)

Scot said...

Ah thanks Evan. I think I understand what you're saying, but, man, I hope for the day where the pleasant regularities of any family's life are far from a slap to anyone.

Thanks Java. It is a big boulder; we best take it piece by piece :-).

"Was wondering why you were sounding okay with it. :)"

Oh no, Chosha. I wonder if my parents are more pro-gay than I am at times :-).

Dave said...

Want to find out if your relatives have donated to Vote Yes on Proposition 8? Go to
There's an option to download the Excel sheet, so you can then alphabetize the list(I alphabetized the list by city). I found out my uncle and brother that live in Cali both donated $100. At least I know where they stand now.

Scot said...

Dave, thanks for the link and sorry about your brother and uncle. That's rough.