Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Lesbians Next Door

Some years ago, two women and various children moved in next door to our family, and, after hearing them have a loud and rather "coupled" sounding argument, I concluded they were lesbians. A couple of days later I had a conversation with them and one asked me if I was Mormon. I was surprised but she had seen enough in a short period of time lving next door (family heading off to church, kids to seminary, etc.), where she was certain that we were. She then mentioned that she, too, was LDS. I told her when Church was and invited her to attend. She declined the invitation and indicated that she hadn't been in sometime following an awful divorce and didn't plan on going any time soon.

I remember telling my Bishop about my new neighbors and letting him know that I thought they were lesbians. To which he rather testily told me that I didn't know that, that they could just be sharing expenses. As it turned out, both women became friends and after the LDS sister reactivated and married one of the local single guys from the ward, I finally told her and she laughed and laughed, although she admitted that other people had concluded the same thing. Bishop was right and I was wrong.

As I've thought about this over the years, I've decided that this is a profound case of my laying my own bias, experience and preference issues over a situaiton to come to a conclusion that I really had no facts to support. As a practical matter, nothing was different in terms of our family's dealing with our supposed "part member lesbian couple" next door, but I made some assumptions that I think were more based on my own same sex attraction experiences than on any other credible evidence.

Therefore, I have had to acknowledge over the years that people as unique individuals often do perceive the same things differently. Until recently when I had to confront the issue more directly, I had always thought that most if not all people had some same sex attraction. I suppose this is why I never found my own experience troubling. If everyone really is bisexual, what is the big deal? But, as I am now finding out, the overwhelming majority of people claim not to experience sexuality the way I do.

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