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Scott Lloyd

“Why not say you’re gay?” Choosing a self-identifier

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Posted (edited)

Reflecting on a side discussion that emerged in the “TBM” thread, I just did a Google browse and ran across the essay linked below. The writer’s sexual orientation is homosexual, but for reasons expressed in the piece, he is not comfortable calling himself gay, though he doesn’t mind when others embrace that label for themselves. For him, “same-sex attraction” and it’s similar forms is the the term that works best. 

The piece does not strike me as hateful or irrational in tone, though it is candid. More to the point, it demonstrates that it would not be fair to demand a universal rejection of one term and the universal embracing of another just because of the expressed preferences of some. It also shows that there is nothing inherently hateful about the term same-sex attraction, not when reasonable people take it upon themselves as a self-identifier. 

Here’s the link:

https://www.livingout.org/why-not-say-you-re-gay-

And here’s a quote:

Since then I’ve had to deal with the dilemma of how to describe myself when I’ve faced the inevitable questions about my sexuality or why I’m not married. If pushed I’ll usually say that I’m a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction. For a whole host of reasons, though, I don’t ever describe myself as a gay Christian. If I didn’t like the label ‘gay’ when I was in a same-sex relationship, I suppose it’s no surprise that I like it even less now! I have no problem whatsoever in accepting that many of my gay friends are quite content with using that label, but personally, ‘gay’ is simply not who I am anymore.”

 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

IMO it's totally up to the individual to self-define. If he's more comfortable with SSA instead of gay, I've got no problem with that.

But what would happen if others refused to accept him in the term he defines. IOW- He's comfortable with SSA, but what if everyone, or even the church refused to use the term he was comfortable with, and instead chose to use the term he is uncomfortable with. It would reasonably cause him some stress. Likewise, if individuals identify as gay but others (and the church) refuse to use that term in favor of the term the individual isn't comfortable with, then it would likewise cause stress and discomfort.

Not everyone is comfortable with the same things so how can the church refer to gay or SSA in a way that is respectful to everyone? IMO it would likely involve a synthesis of using both phrases at different times. It would seem harmful to totally shun one word in favor of another, knowing it will upset a population. In this case I'd suspect that the SSA preference would be the minority choice amongst the LGBTQ community. So if the church digs its heals in and will only refer to SSA, or flat out state there are no h0m0sxual members of the church, it causes damage unnecessarily.  Making absolute comments about what is or isn't an appropriate self-definition is the problem.

I don't think there would be too many people upset by an individual choosing SSA over gay. It's up to the individual. But how the institution responds to those choices makes a difference.

So are you saying “the institution” (whatever that means) should use the term “gay” to apply even to those who don’t embrace or accept it for themselves? Wouldn’t that be just as inconsiderate as applying “same-sex attraction” to those who don’t like that term?

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Thanks for doing some research on this.  This makes sense to me, I was surprised by the suggestion that Same sex attraction was generally considered an offensive term??  One thing to note;  The Church does not use 'gay' that I know of--the description they use is 'same sex attraction'.   Maybe I'm completely off base, but could it have something to do with the criticism of it's use? It could be a subconscious knee-jerk reaction....

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3 minutes ago, alter idem said:

Thanks for doing some research on this.  This makes sense to me, I was surprised by the suggestion that Same sex attraction was generally considered an offensive term??  One thing to note;  The Church does not use 'gay' that I know of--the description they use is 'same sex attraction'.   Maybe I'm completely off base, but could it have something to do with the criticism of it's use? It could be a subconscious knee-jerk reaction....

The Church did maintain a website called “mormonandgay.org.” I don’t know whether that site has been renamed (or even if it still exists) now that President Nelson has asked us not to refer to ourselves as Mormons anymore. 

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41 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Reflecting on a side discussion that emerged in the “TBM” thread, I just did a Google browse and ran across the essay linked below. The writer’s sexual orientation is homosexual, but for reasons expressed in the piece, he is not comfortable calling himself gay, though he doesn’t mind when others embrace that label for themselves. For him, “same-sex attraction” and it’s similar forms is the the term that works best. 

The piece does not strike me as hateful or irrational in tone, though it is candid. More to the point, it demonstrates that it would not be fair to demand a universal rejection of one term and the universal embracing of another just because of the expressed preferences of some. It also shows that there is nothing inherently hateful about the term same-sex attraction, not when reasonable people take it upon themselves as a self-identifier. 

Here’s the link:

https://www.livingout.org/why-not-say-you-re-gay-

And here’s a quote:

Since then I’ve had to deal with the dilemma of how to describe myself when I’ve faced the inevitable questions about my sexuality or why I’m not married. If pushed I’ll usually say that I’m a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction. For a whole host of reasons, though, I don’t ever describe myself as a gay Christian. If I didn’t like the label ‘gay’ when I was in a same-sex relationship, I suppose it’s no surprise that I like it even less now! I have no problem whatsoever in accepting that many of my gay friends are quite content with using that label, but personally, ‘gay’ is simply not who I am anymore.”

 

People should be able to choose whatever labels they feel works best for them.  Let people chose what they want individually.  Why does the COJCOLDS or any other institution feel inclined to force a label on people, especially for something so personal as sexual attraction or gender identity.  We need to be more respectful of the labels people choose to be identified by.  

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, alter idem said:

Thanks for doing some research on this.  This makes sense to me, I was surprised by the suggestion that Same sex attraction was generally considered an offensive term??  One thing to note;  The Church does not use 'gay' that I know of--the description they use is 'same sex attraction'.   Maybe I'm completely off base, but could it have something to do with the criticism of it's use? It could be a subconscious knee-jerk reaction....

I don't believe that's true.  What I think it comes down to is the attitude of "there are no gay members" and that those who are gay, "have" same-sex attraction....stating it that way implies they are suffering from an illness or malady (Scott's word).  That's where offense is taken.

I think that california boy's voice is important here (he is a gay member of the church) and he has expressed the reasons it is offensive to most gays to say that "they have same-sex attraction" rather just to simply state "they are gay".  

Edited by ALarson
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6 minutes ago, bluebell said:

When HJW says--

"Not everyone is comfortable with the same things so how can the church refer to gay or SSA in a way that is respectful to everyone? IMO it would likely involve a synthesis of using both phrases at different times. It would seem harmful to totally shun one word in favor of another, knowing it will upset a population. In this case I'd suspect that the SSA preference would be the minority choice amongst the LGBTQ community. So if the church digs its heals in and will only refer to SSA, or flat out state there are no h0m0sxual members of the church, it causes damage unnecessarily.  Making absolute comments about what is or isn't an appropriate self-definition is the problem"

--it sounds like he saying that neither term should be used exclusively.  

I get that. But how to refer to the universal population seems to be the problem. “Same-sex attraction” would seem, by definition, to have the broader application, as, ostensibly at least, it carries no cultural or political baggage (the attraction is there, whether or not one chooses to act on it). But, as I’ve been told repeatedly and forcefully, many people hate it. 

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1 minute ago, ALarson said:

I don't believe that's true.  What I think it comes down to is the attitude of "there are no gay members" and that those who are gay, "have" same-sex attraction....stating it that way implies they are suffering from an illness or malady (Scott's word).  That's where offense is taken.

I think that california boy's voice is important here (he is a gay member of the church) and he has expressed the reasons it is offensive to most gays to say that "they have same-sex attraction" rather just to simply state "they are gay".  

Is California Boy still a member of the church?  I thought the had left (not necessarily had his name removed but I thought he didn't consider himself a latter-day saint anymore)?  Not that it really matters, I'm just wondering if I had misunderstood that.

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Just now, Scott Lloyd said:

I get that. But how to refer to the universal population seems to be the problem. “Same-sex attraction” would seem, by definition, to have the broader application, as, ostensibly at least, it carries no cultural or political baggage (the attraction is there, whether or not one chooses to act on it). But, as I’ve been told repeatedly and forcefully, many people hate it. 

Those who hate it seem to do so because for them it does carry a LOT of baggage.  I agree though that having a universal term that works for everyone is really impossible.  

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6 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

People should be able to choose whatever labels they feel works best for them.  Let people chose what they want individually.  Why does the COJCOLDS or any other institution feel inclined to force a label on people, especially for something so personal as sexual attraction or gender identity.  We need to be more respectful of the labels people choose to be identified by.  

I don’t see the Church doing much, if any, label forcing. 

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17 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So are you saying “the institution” (whatever that means) should use the term “gay” to apply even to those who don’t embrace or accept it for themselves? Wouldn’t that be just as inconsiderate as applying “same-sex attraction” to those who don’t like that term?

Use the term that most people in that group align with, its just a numbers game.  If 90% of the community feels that is the best term, then use that term.  

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Just now, bluebell said:

Is California Boy still a member of the church?  I thought the had left (not necessarily had his name removed but I thought he didn't consider himself a latter-day saint anymore)?  Not that it really matters, I'm just wondering if I had misunderstood that.

I don't know.  But he was raised Mormon and served a mission (and I believe was married in the temple and served in a Bishopric).  So he is qualified, IMO to speak as one who has experienced being a gay member of the church.  (I don't think he's at all active anymore.)

Here's a couple of his posts where he expresses his views that I think are open minded and good at explaining his views:

Quote

california boy:  "It has been explained numerous times.  SSA sounds like some kind of condition or disease.  The term you are looking for that does not have negative connotations is GAY.  I don't have SSA, I am gay.  There are definite negative connotations to SSA.  Maybe not for everyone, just like TBM is not negative to everyone."

 

Quote

 

california boy:  "I have absolutely no problem referring to someone who is gay that wishes to use the term SSA.  I believe Kindley is one of those who prefer the term.  I never refer to him as gay.  But by far, they are the exception, not the rule and the term is rarely used outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and evangelic community.  How many gay web sites use the term SSA.  How many gay magazines use the term SSA.  For that matter how many mainstream newspapers, magazines, radio stations, courts, businesses, petitions, commercials, vacation packages marked to gays, pride events, clubs, non profit organizations, songs, books, plays, motion pictures, television programs, history books, adoption agencies, use the term SSA.  Does that count for ANYTHING?  In no way are both terms on equal footing. 

Unfortunately, some on this board have the notion that all gays should be given that label.  And even though the majority of gays find the term offensive, still have no problem using it.   Knowing that the term SSA is indeed offensive to most gays, their intent is to offend most gays."

 

 

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4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Is California Boy still a member of the church?  I thought the had left (not necessarily had his name removed but I thought he didn't consider himself a latter-day saint anymore)?  Not that it really matters, I'm just wondering if I had misunderstood that.

Are you a member of the church still?  Maybe we need to add that qualifier to all of our posts, just so everybody is informed.  

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4 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t see the Church doing much, if any, label forcing. 

Ha!  What about Bednar's talk?  Come on...  Seriously

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7 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Is California Boy still a member of the church?  I thought the had left (not necessarily had his name removed but I thought he didn't consider himself a latter-day saint anymore)?  Not that it really matters, I'm just wondering if I had misunderstood that.

I asked him that when he first arrived, several years ago now.  I also asked him, when he confirmed he was going to leave the Church, whether he were quite sure, since "today isn't forever," and the inevitable consequences would be quite painful.  He said his decision was already made.  

Yet he still comes here, revisiting the same issues.  Something's going on.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Those who hate it seem to do so because for them it does carry a LOT of baggage.  I agree though that having a universal term that works for everyone is really impossible.  

That’s why I used the modifier “ostensibly.” What baggage there is must be inferred from prior association or context colored by one’s own inherent bias. It is not present in a literal definition of the term. 

“Gay,” on the other hand, draws a whole train of connotations: sexual behavior, political activism, social tribalism, involvement in “pride” parades and festivals, etc., stuff that one who is homosexual but doesn’t act on the orientation might not involve himself in. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Use the term that most people in that group align with, its just a numbers game.  If 90% of the community feels that is the best term, then use that term.  

Saying it’s “just a numbers game” is being too cavalier. Some who are homosexually oriented might not want to be classed with those who act on the orientation, or engage in the political, social and cultural elements that being “gay” implies. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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1 minute ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Saying it’s “just a numbers game” is being too cavalier. Some who are homosexually oriented might not want to be classed with those who act in the orientation, or engage in the political, social and cultural elements that being “gay” implies. 

This just leads to a proliferation of labels and people identifying as bi-leaning Demisexual non-binary dragon souls.

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7 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Ha!  What about Bednar's talk?  Come on...  Seriously

Elder Bednar seems to be the favorite whipping boy here. Do you have other examples? How do you account for the mormonandgay.org website? 

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5 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That’s why I used the modifier “ostensibly.” What baggage there is must be inferred from prior association or context. It is not present in a literal definition of the term. 

“Gay,” on the other hand, draws a whole train of connotations: sexual behavior, political activism, social tribalism, involvement in “pride” parades and festivals, etc., stuff that one who is homosexual but doesn’t act on the orientation might not involve himself in. 

Its your personal bias that brings all those perceived negative connotations along with the term Gay.  A whole lot of people around the world have a lot of negative ideas about members of our church as well, in essence a prejudice that goes along with the label.  

Check your bias at the door, and honor the wishes of the people LGBTQ community.  Its really just that easy.  

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5 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Saying it’s “just a numbers game” is being too cavalier. Some who are homosexually oriented might not want to be classed with those who act in the orientation, or engage in the political, social and cultural elements that being “gay” implies. 

Try to be respectful of individual variances like I mentioned earlier.  Its really not that hard.  And being gay doesn't imply anything about politics, thats just your prejudice speaking.  

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15 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

People should be able to choose whatever labels they feel works best for them.  Let people chose what they want individually.  Why does the COJCOLDS or any other institution feel inclined to force a label on people, especially for something so personal as sexual attraction or gender identity.  We need to be more respectful of the labels people choose to be identified by.  

As is all too apparent, 'people' have all kinds of different preferences and it's pretty hard to keep up with it--I'd say it's impossible to NOT offend someone, unless we just don't talk about it.  I don't perceive that in using the term 'same sex attraction', the church is forcing a label on anyone.  I also don't see it as disrespectful to use a term that clinically and unemotionally describes a situation.  The accusation that using this term means the church is suggesting they have some kind of illness or malady is a personal perception. 

Would it be okay to say a person 'experiences' same sex attraction, rather than they 'have' it?   Would that remove the offense being taken?

 

But, I can't help feeling that this is all making others 'an offender for a word', which was not a good thing.

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2 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Its your personal bias that brings all those perceived negative connotations along with the term Gay.  A whole lot of people around the world have a lot of negative ideas about members of our church as well, in essence a prejudice that goes along with the label.  

Check your bias at the door, and honor the wishes of the people LGBTQ community.  Its really just that easy.  

Exactly.  

Why even bring this up again?  It was discussed at length in the other thread and no one changed their minds and Scott refused to stop using a term that offends many.

Or have you changed your mind now Scott?

Do you no longer believe those who are gay have a disease?

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