I know this story title might sound inflammatory, but it's really not intended that way. I could have called it "ambivalent," but that doesn't quite capture how I feel. There is definitely ambivalence in me, but it might go deeper than that.
You know how sometimes when you're standing on the roof of a 100 story building or on right on the edge of a 1/2 mile deep canyon and part of you feels the very real possibility of jumping? That might be the kind of gay I am. I'm not sure. It might be a crappy analogy.
And you know how in those brief moments where you really think you might do it, there's another part of you that knows gravity is real and will certainly work on you the moment you jump? That might be the kind of Baha'i I am. Again, possibly a crappy analogy.
But here's the thing. I'm not sure it matters. I'm in my early 40s (!), married unhappily (again), at the very least bisexual, possibly fully lesbian, and (almost completely) celibate. I've been a Baha'i longer than I've been aware of my sexuality, and I've come to have 100% confidence in its Teachings, including those from Shoghi Effendi and the Secretariat of the UHJ. It could just be my old age taking hold, but I honestly feel like leading a celibate lifestyle on my own might be the best possible option for me. When I think about that, I'm actually filled with relief and excitement - to be alone and free from unmet expectations of intimacy and partnership. Any way I type it, it doesn't come out right. I don't say this with feelings of resignation or regret, nor with a flippant attitude...more with a kind of conviction that comes from experiencing two lonely marriages. I've never had a relationship or even an encounter with another woman, nor will I ever. Any way you slice it, this will be a sexually unfulfilling life for me, aside from the 3-year fully sexually perfect and awesome heterosexual relationship I had in my brief "non-Baha'i" experimental phase in my late teens/early 20s. One of the reasons I don't think it's such a big deal that I will never be sexually fulfilled is that I know what it feels like to have sexual utopia, and it still doesn't fulfill my purpose in life.
I've only just discovered this website and the existence of GLBT Baha'i groups, but I have neither sought them out nor felt drawn to them. I found this site tonight just on a whim of curiosity.
Unlike most of you here, I've never experienced homophobia in the Baha'i community, but then again, I am neither homophobic nor openly gay with the Baha'is, so I guess there'd be no trigger for it. I've been blessed to live in some of the most open, deepened, and amazing Baha'i communities (arguably) in the world, but I also realize that one experiences the world through filters, and mine is not polarizing on this issue, I guess.
I'm sorry for rambling. My point, if I have one, is that while I am (mostly?) gay myself, I don't really see, feel, or experience it as a serious issue. My unhappiness in my marriages has little, if nothing, to do with it. My experience in the Baha'i community is unaffected by it. The most expression it ever finds in my life is something like once every month or two watching girls kiss/have sex on the internet with a bit of masturbation, and the odd fantasy about being with a woman, for which i seek forgiveness, but which doesn't paralyze me with guilt.
I don't know. I'm pretty sure I'm in even more of a minority than most gay Baha'is, although I guess I don't (knowingly) know any gay Baha'is. I am gay but hardly act on it, don't feel bad about it, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything, for example, that's in the letter to the NSA of the US in the 90s written on behalf of the UHJ. I have 100% faith in Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ. On the other hand, I agree with most here that the Baha'i community has a long way to go in terms of its maturity. Homophobia anywhere is wrong. Discrimination is wrong.
But in the end, I feel like it's much ado about nothing. Like every other aspect of sex in our modern day society, there is too much emphasis on it, and the fact that there is so much emphasis on it within (and on the fringes) of this Faith is just another manifestation of the backwardness of our age.
I am lonely, but not because I am gay. I am lonely because loneliness is, I believe, a bigger disease in our society than most people are willing to admit. Most people - straight or gay - are lonely. If you're not, you're lucky (or spiritually evolved). This loneliness is caused by remoteness from God, and nearness to God is the only remedy. Addressing this is one of my primary concerns, but I believe the answer doesn't have anything to do with my (or anyone else's) sexuality.
I appreciate you reading this, if you've made it to the end. I hope you're not offended. It's not meant to be an offense to anyone or a judgement about anyone else's paths or feelings. It's just weird for me. I can't remember whom I've told and whom I haven't told about my sexual preferences - I think I've told most of my family, but mostly just in passing, with no drama - I can't even remember their responses. My husband knows, as well as a few other friends...I don't hide it, but I don't celebrate it, either...it's just another little element of who I am that is evolving as I move through life, and it just seems superfluous to me.