Why I Understand, and Why They Will

Uganda is trying to kill us, President Obama wants us to be patient, Sutherland Institute wants us homeless and Chris Buttars thinks we’re Militant Muslim Terrorists who want to force him to have “pig-sex;” Welcome to the age of enlightenment.

I’m confused as hell right now. How is it after centuries of oppression, the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement, the gays are still the ones holding the shit bucket? Is it because we’re not an “easily recognized” group of people? Our skin isn’t all the same color or we’re not all the same religion, economic class, political group or country? What the hell makes us the brunt of every joke and the “biggest threat to America going down?”

I’m going to get really personal here, so be forewarned. Many of our readers may know that I was raised LDS, aka Mormon. I attended Nursery, Primary, was Deacon’s

Me

Quorum President, Teacher’s Quorum President and a counselor in Priest’s Quorum. I served in leadership positions in Boy Scouts, was president of my Seminary class several times, attended Institute in college and was eventually married in the temple. My father served in leadership of the Young Men’s, the Bishopric and the High Council. My mother was Primary president, Young Women’s president, and Stake Rough Camp director for many years. My sisters and younger brother each held leadership positions in their respective classes and groups. Our family was the pillar of the Mormon community, doing exactly as it was supposed to be doing. With the small problem that I’m bisexual.

I came out for the first time my senior year of high school when I was seventeen. It didn’t go well, Mom cried and Dad threw me out of the house for a few days calling me a disappointment. I was eventually let back in but was under strict command that I would be following the Church to the “T.” When I graduated high school I was given a choice, go on a mission or get out. I got out. During the next two years I was lost and on my own. Because of no money I lived in rough neighborhoods, I had a gun in my face twice, and was physically assaulted 3 times while they yelled fag. After 2 years of no contact with my family I was so emotionally drained and unprepared that I whiplashed hard back into the church. I went through a disciplinary hearing where they decided that since I had never been given the melchizedek priesthood that I would not be excommunicated, only disfellowshipped and placed on probation. I was told I needed to get a girlfriend and start working towards marriage immediately to help combat my feelings, which I did and was married in the Salt Lake Temple a year and a half later. Needless to say it didn’t work out, and 2.5 years later I came out again, this time fully prepared.

Why do I tell this story? Why should I post something this personal online? Because I can. Because I want you to read it. Because I want Paul Mero and Chris Buttars and my Father in California to read it. I want everyone to know what I have been through, and what so many of my brothers and sisters have been through. This is a horrible story, and I was subjected to things that no child should ever go through. And my story isn’t nearly half as bad as it could have been. At least my father was only minimally physically abusive.

This city, this state, country and world is filled with hateful, ignorant people who want to kill me. People who would do horrible things to my body just because of what I feel in my heart and who I am in my head. Because they don’t know any better. And that right there is my point. THEY.DO.NOT.KNOW.ANY.BETTER.

I am a white man, I can never truly know what it’s like to be a black man or a woman. But guess what, I have an idea. I have an idea because I’ve read the stories of others and listened to friends who were my age during the 60’s and lived in the South. I have an idea. And because I have an idea I can sympathize. And because I can sympathize I fight for these rights. Because I can sympathize I will promote the freedom of religions to teach what they want as long as it’s not violence, even if they say I’m a sinner. Because I can sympathize I will never stand silent when I see someone called “nigger” or watch a woman be abused.

And if you know my story, and you see what I have been through, you will start to have a glimmer of understanding and you will begin to sympathize. My mother now has some understanding, my little sister yells at anyone she hears saying, “that’s so gay.” People will hear you, people will listen. Tell your story, so they will sympathize.

My name is Eric Ethington, and this is my story. Please repost this wherever you would like.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Justan Peterson on December 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Eric, thank you for your honesty. Thank you for sharing this. I will share it as well. This morning I was thinking what I needed to do to let people sympathize with our cause, and I thought, “I’ll write a brief history of my growing up gay”, and then kicked it out of my thoughts as soon as it came. You’ve now motivated me to also share my story, so thank you. Thank you so much, dear friend.
    Justan

    Reply

  2. Posted by Adair on December 17, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    God, Eric, I am so sorry. I grew up in a (mostly) nonreligious family, geographically far from the LDS church, so it still seems so unreal to me that people really *physically abuse* LGB folks, including casting out their own children. Much less how in some places killing us seems like the right thing to do to the majority of people…

    Thank you for sharing this story. I’ll link to it if I get to disagreeing with someone who doesn’t think gay rights are important.

    (Also, where did you get that photo at the end? It’s amazing.)

    Reply

  3. Posted by joel on December 31, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I absolutely hate the fact that you posted this picture of gay couples raising this flag. You have no idea what that is do you? The reference is to soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima. Do you realize the carnage that took place there? Soliders get teary eyed and emotional just thinking about it. That is absolutely pathetic. You probably dont even have the balls to post my comment. Shame on you for trying to equate your battle with that battle. In no way are the two even similar and you are disgracing all of them.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Dominique on December 31, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    My Dear Joel,

    You, my dear sir, have no bloody idea what Iwo Jima was about. My uncle was THERE. He was blown out of a foxhole and was the only survivor of his group.

    He did NOT fight for your self-righteous religiosity. He fought for the safety, equality, and principles of the Constitution of The United States of America. “That all men (and women) are created equal.”

    Your inference that gay people are less than worthy of equality is what caused that great war. Your inability to accept does not speak well of your principles, either.

    I get teary eyed every time I see that picture knowing I may never have known my uncle because he nearly died fighting to make sure that I had a chance to live in safety, not fearing for MY life because of insipid fools like you.

    Reply

    • Posted by joel on January 2, 2010 at 10:30 am

      Dominique,
      I never said gay people werent worthy of equality. Did I ever say that? nope. I am referring to the fact that people at Iwo Jima physically died and were injured fighting for a worthy cause. The LGBT movement is hardly at all at the same plane as what happened there. Also, I would appreciate it if youd get off your high horse about your uncle fighting at Iwo Jima. My grandpa was shot down in WWII. But guess what? He was held in a prison camp. He fought just like your uncle and saw his friends die. But guess what? I wasnt there, so I dont really know what it was like, and NEITHER DO YOU. I never experienced it, but I respect the soldiers there. My grandpa definitely was NOT fighting for gays to be married to each other. He would DESPISE that. So by calling me an insipid fool is a matter of opinion, held only by you and other LGBT persons. You do not fear for your life. Gays have tons of rights, and they should. As a matter of fact, Ethington is the last name of a gay living in San Francisco who is an attorney for wells fargo. He might be a relative of this Ethington, who knows. He is extremely wealthy and very successful. So dont give me this “gays dont have any rights” plea, because they do. Marriage for gays is NOT a civil rights issue. Its a plea to make a special exception to the norm because of all this “progressive” garbage in the nation.
      By the way, a common argument for LGBT community is that “all men are created equal.” What does that mean? Does that mean we should also become socialist? NO! It means all people have inherent rights as human beings. Gay people should enjoy those as well. Marriage is not one of those. Im not going to say my reasons, because they are religious, and Im guessing you would not want to hear them, so Ill leave it at that.
      You really need to not put words in peoples mouths when making your arguments.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Dominique on January 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    You never said gay people did not deserve equality. But everything in your words insinuate that and you. Your words betray your sense of superiority.

    Walk in my shoes, Joel. I DO fear for my life. I DO fear for my job. I DO fear for safe housing.

    I have been threatened with my life for being gay (and transgendered). In your “Christian United States of America”, one transgendered person is killed every month simply because they are transgendered or gay.

    I read between the lines of your 1st post. I called you on your shit, and then you got indignant because I called you on your heterosexist bullshit.

    I can imagine your grandfather didn’t fight for gay marriage in WWII. I’m also pretty sure he didn’t fight for interracial marriage; which was just as illegal and just as unpopular with the Christian communities.

    He was wrong then.
    You are wrong now.

    What our soldiers fight for is to protect the vision of our Forefathers (most of whom were not really religious, contrary to history rewritten by religious zealots).

    That vision was that all people are created equal and should have equal rights.

    That vision is that in our REPUBLIC (not Democracy), our government was designed with three specific and separate branches of government. Check and balances… to make sure that no majority can vote away rights of any minority.

    And don’t even get me started on all the bollocks, goulish, satanic prophecies of all the new false prophets decrying “socialism”.

    Our law enforcement is socialist.
    Our educational system is socialist.
    Our library system is socialist.
    Our Postal service is socialist.
    Our military is socialist.

    I can give equal examples that Capitalism is the devil.

    I like to believe that a blend of both (as the USofA has enjoyed for 2 centuries) can work.

    I also like to believe that we can find a way to respect and honour diversity and all the find the joy and splendor in how different we are.

    I also like to believe that we can learn to respect and love each other in spite of our differences instead of hating, maiming, belittling, and killing each other because of them.

    Reply

  6. Posted by joel on January 2, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Dominique,
    Once again, even after I mentioned it, you have put words in my mouth. Did you know I have gay friends? No, of course you didnt. Because once again you have assumed. I have GAY FRIENDS. Should I say it once more? Would I have gay friends if I had a superiority complex?

    I have no doubt that gay marriage will eventually exist. Prop 8 barely passed. Sooner or later, another claim against that will arise. I doubt the citizens will uphold another one of those in ten years. Who knows. But gay marriage in my book will always be wrong. I dont care what the majority thinks. You guys will get your way in terms of marriage eventually I think.

    You are right. Capitalism by itself doesnt work. We need a few “socialist” ideas. I was referring to a completely socialist state.

    By the way, the postal service really sucks because the government doesnt know how to run it correctly. Also, have you ever heard of Amtrak? Talk about millions of wasted dollars, all thanks to our ever-so-eager-to-help government. Amtrak has never made a profit. But thats another issue!

    Anyway, to summarize: I dont hate gays. I am disgusted by the fact of a man with another man or woman with a woman, but I dont hate them. Yeah, you probably think I do, and thats your problem. Get over your bitterness.

    I will fight (well, if you ask me to I guess) for your equality in terms of jobs housing etc. But I will never hold that marriage is open to anybody, and I will teach it to my kids as well. Sorry.

    Reply

    • Posted by ethingtoneric on January 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      Joel:

      Just FYI, the reason you post with a real email address is to ensure the system will post your comments immediately rather than me having to manually approve them each time. Also just FYI, I’m familiar with the Eric Ethington in California you mentioned, no relation though.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Dominique on January 2, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    “By the way, the postal service really sucks because the government doesnt know how to run it correctly. Also, have you ever heard of Amtrak? Talk about millions of wasted dollars, all thanks to our ever-so-eager-to-help government. Amtrak has never made a profit. But thats another issue!”

    I’ve heard of Amtrack. Heard of pharmaceutical companies? Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche? Talk about BILLIONS wasted by overcharging.

    How about another popular conservative corporation? Haliburton. Billions lost in non-competition bids where work we the taxpayers paid for were either not completed or were completed with incompetent workers and materials that wouldn’t pass code here.

    “Anyway, to summarize: I dont hate gays. I am disgusted by the fact of a man with another man or woman with a woman, but I dont hate them. Yeah, you probably think I do, and thats your problem. Get over your bitterness.”

    You’re disgusted, but you don’t hate? Sounds like an oxymoron. Again, the spirit of the words you use betrays you.

    This is the exact same argument I heard in the 60’s and 70’s regarding blacks marrying whites and when my white neighbor married a Japanese American.

    Same (in your word) “disgusting” argument, same bigotry.

    Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

    Reply

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