(I Hope) It Gets Better, the BYU Gay Mormon edition
On Facebook, I’ve seen this BYU-student-created edition of the It Gets Better video series (for the Trevor Project) linked so many times that I couldn’t resist watching it any longer. And so I did. I’ve embedded the video here for your viewing as well:
Many people have stated that this is the best edition of It Gets Better that they have seen yet…but for me, holy smokes, I’m depressed.
I’ll tell you the reason. It’s purely because of the guy who starts the video. In the beginning, he says:
“I know you expect me to say it gets better, but…if I’m going to be authentic, I can’t say that.”
OK, so this is honest, but…depressing. He qualifies his statement by saying that he doesn’t know where people are, he doesn’t know others’ experiences…which is true. But from the first line of the video, I was expecting him to at least say that — even if he doesn’t know whether it will get better for you or for me, that it has gotten better for him.
The video features a cast of other gay, lesbian and bisexual students at BYU, and they seem to follow the It Gets Better archetypical narrative more closely. I keep expecting that, at the end, the first guy will end up like the rest, just as satisfied that “it gets better” as the rest of them.
But this person’s last lines come at near the end of the video, around 7:37. After talking about his sister’s old opinions, he says:
…I know she loves, and she tells me that it gets better…and I hope it does.
Even as the video goes on to list a blurb about how BYU has changed its policies to be more tolerant of gay students in different ways, even as the video’s music slides into a more upbeat direction, and even as the other students enthusiastically announce that it gets better, that one guy’s line lingers in my head.
and I hope it does.
I am a bit afraid that some day, some weeks or months or years later, we might see a dreadful article in the news.
How does it get better for Mormons?
Some of the commentary to the video raised another point that particular applies to the Mormon/BYU edition of It Gets Better…the question that arises is this: to what do these students have to look forward?
Usually, the other It Gets Better videos don’t talk about how the various participants have found companionship, people with whom to share their lives…but at the same time, we don’t have to assume that this is a conclusion that is out-of-bounds. However, for these gay and lesbian Mormon students, that conclusion is certainly less than foregone. In what ways does it get better for a gay Mormon who accepts and affirms both her homosexuality and her Mormonism?
I understand that these people can look forward to celibacy. But notwithstanding the fact that the gay, celibate Mormon blogs I have read often seem too depressing for my comfort (although if that is the cross they want to bear, I guess I can’t fault them for that), it just seems to me that Mormonism and celibacy doesn’t work. It seems like an authentic, even valued option for many other traditions, but in Mormonism, celibacy and singleness seem to be a constant reminder of one’s failure to be the best human being he can be. It’s a tough situation.
In More Depressing News…
The other day, Justin had a post at LDS Anarchy about sexuality and sexual union. There were some interesting ideas in it, and the post reminded me of an article I recently read formulating marriage in terms of natural law and contrasting that to other formulations of marriage (I believe that is Girgis et al’s What is Marriage?) While I still find myself chewing around with the Girgis article — I have to say I find it rather intriguing — I’ll just say that some of the comments to LDS Anarchy were less amusing or thought-provoking. As liv435 wrote:
I think we have enough scriptural evidence that homosexuality is not ordained of God. We can pick apart the scripture all day to make them fit what we believe, but it won’t change the truth. Also I believe that’s called wresting the scriptures and if I remember correctly that’s bad. Some people prefer adulterous relationships because they are exciting. Some people like multiple one night stands. I mean there can be a lot of sexual preferences that I would say are weaknesses to be conquered. I have gay friends and I know the struggle they have gone through but I don’t think it’s any different than the struggle a man would go through if he found himself attracted to little boys.
If there were a version of Bingo with bad arguments about homosexuality and gay relationships, I think I would have won on any bingo board.