Finding Church

I’ve been a member of my church for about five years. I started going shortly after I first moved into the neighborhood. I’ve wanted a church to call home for a very long time, but as a youth did not want one that prescribed a belief system I could not get behind. Mostly, I’m talking about Christianity.

When I was in high school, those were still the days before the cross-Canada legalization of same-sex marriage. I was starting to explore organized religion after my studies in individual spiritual systems left me feeling unfulfilled, and an unidentified nagging pushed me onward. I decided to attend a local United Church and loved it. The friendliness, the singing, the shaking hands. It wasn’t overly preachy. I couldn’t wait to dive all the way in.

I had many chats with the church’s youth pastor and eventually the subject of confirmation classes came up. I only had to clear up one thing.

“How important is the belief in the divinity of Jesus?” I asked.

“It’s the core of our belief system,” he told me, slightly bewildered.

I thanked him for his time and never went back. I would find Church elsewhere. Continue reading “Finding Church”

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#YHZ – Spelling It Out

Hi! My name is Mo, and I’m super gay!

Being loud and proud can be a tricky thing for an introvert. I’m a private person by nature, and whenever I find myself in a crowd of strangers (a scenario I actively avoid at all costs), my first instinct is to find a quiet, out of the way corner where I can sit and breathe and be left alone. In moments like this, I wish to be invisible.

Kate and I recently returned from our yearly trip to Nova Scotia. This was our first visit as wives! My family is always extremely warm to Kate (if you ask me, they could stand to tone it down a bit), but the area I’m from is rural and extremely small. I’m never confident of how non-relatives will interpret us. I don’t expect harassment, necessarily, but I do prepare myself for mild confusion and inappropriate questions.

The Mrs and I aren’t big on PDA in front of strangers. I think that’s equal parts introversion and queer nervousness. If we’re out together and we’re not holding hands or touching, I can understand someone not immediately guessing that we’re a couple. But sometimes people don’t clue in even when I’ve explicitly spelled it out. When this happens, it comes across as selective hearing, and that sort of bums me out. Continue reading “#YHZ – Spelling It Out”

No Monsters Here

Mothers-in-law are seemingly the stuff of nightmares: they are the antagonists of horror stories told between friends and coworkers, and as villains in pop-culture, right up there with evil step-mothers.

I’ve had my share of horror stories concerning the parents (especially mothers) of people I’ve dated. I dated a Filipino guy in high school, and his mother would lecture him – right in front of me – about how he should be dating a nice, Catholic, Asian girl. I am neither Catholic nor Asian. It was about as awkward as you’d expect.

My only multi-year relationship (aside from my wife) was with a Canadian-Indian son of immigrant parents. His parents refused to acknowledge me once we started dating, and for two and a half years I was not allowed at his house. He would never tell them when he was with me. His parents frequently pressured him to not only leave me, but also tried setting him up with other women.

This was all before I came out – imagine the reaction if I had been openly queer, too! So it only makes sense that wading into the queer community’s dating pool was a little intimidating, especially concerning parents of prospective partners. Continue reading “No Monsters Here”

#YHZ – Small Town Homo

(Originally posted on May 12, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I grew up in a tiny hamlet in rural Nova Scotia. Our backyard was big enough to play baseball in, and we lost more than a few fly balls in the woods behind it. My grandparents lived across the road from us, and aunts, uncles, and cousins were within walking distance. Flowers and blueberries grew wild, and on summer evenings the air sounded like crickets.

The beach was less than a ten-minute drive away. I would spend whole days there with my cousins, braving the cold water and painfully stumbling over uneven rocks to get to the wavy sand that waited for us waist or chest deep. We walked along the shore looking for shells, wearing our towels as skirts and letting the sun dry us. We chatted on damp picnic blankets, crunching slightly sandy potato chips and wishing the juice boxes had stayed cold.

Cable TV didn’t become available until I was seven or eight. Sugar cereals (beyond Alpha-Bits and Honeycombs) were almost exotic… we had to go all the way to “town” for those. Strangers weren’t really a thing – on any given Sunday drive, Mom and Dad could tell me who lived in every single house we passed. Whenever we needed a babysitter, my folks had dozens to choose from.

People knew whose kid you were just by looking at you. If you were getting into mischief in the afternoon, your parents knew about it by the time you came home for supper. For better or worse, you really felt like the whole village was raising you. Continue reading “#YHZ – Small Town Homo”