Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Christian Ladies, Gay Mormons, and the Joys of Internet Eavesdropping

The first blogs I read regularly were conservative Christian lady blogs.  I can't quite reconstruct my original intent, but it was some mix of personal fascination and professional project.  Back in the day, I used to go to the library and read books on my day off.  I read lots of memoirs, and some sociological studies.  I had a copy of Lesbian Nuns: Breaking the Silence that I used to read on the train and hilarity always ensued.  Anytime that I became interested in a topic, I would quickly run through the available materials.  Now I have an academic library and ILL at my disposal, but even with those resources, I love the blog.  I love the peek into the lives of strangers (even those who seem to be unreliable narrators).  I love to see the intra-sub culture conversations to which I would never have access in another format.

Blogs like this one by a off the grid, homeschooling, submitted wife at First Fruits Farm, or the really gorgeous Eyes of Wonder blog, or the lovely and practical Like Merchant Ships, show me a world I do not know.  LMS was driven off the internets by nasty commentators.  I don't really understand the dynamic of hassling bloggers you read regularly, it's just killing one's own entertainment.  (I'm purposely only linking to defunct blogs.)  As a lesbian, it's an interesting exercise to read the blogs of people who are decent people in their everyday lives, and who would certainly vote against my interests as a gay person, wife, and mother, if not actively shun my family.  These blogs don't make me more sympathetic to their politics, I think that would veer into self-hatred, but they do help me understand conservative Christian cosmologies.

More recently I've started reading gay Mormon blogs (or moho, same sex attraction, and mixed orientation marriage blogs).  These blogs are as foreign to me as the Christian lady ones, but they make it much more difficult to maintain personal distance from the authors.  Moho bloggers are a varied lot, from those who see same sex attraction as a cross to bear-one best addressed through a personal commitment to celibacy, to those with gay identities seeking to make a marriage to a straight spouse work, to those who are seeking to lead a gay life while still maintaining a connection to a Mormon spiritual life.  In theory, I support the right of every individual to choose his/her own spiritual and sexual life.  However, when I read some of these blogs, I just want to hug the authors and rush them off to SF or NYC for deprogramming.  I suspect that many of the moho bloggers would find my perspective not useful or condescending.

The recent "It Get's Better" video featuring BYU students created a lot of chatter among gay Mormons and straight Mormon allies.  This link to Box Turtle Bulletin features the video and an interesting debate in the comments, featuring people who think the video is a great step forward and people who fear that the BYU students are being used by the Mormon Church as cover for the Church's homophobic politics.  Several commentators also worry, as I do, about young people who stay in a subculture that may never fully accept them.  The nature of acceptance has been the subject of one of several interesting posts related to gay issues of Feminist Mormon Housewives.  The author raises some very interesting questions about definitions of homophobia and acceptance, and the problems of "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

Long live the blog!


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