Hello, my name is Brad and I have to start by saying that I am not a gay man, but all my life I have had tender feelings for other men and it has been somewhat of a struggle to develop close male relationships in our culture. It has caused confusion and frustration until with the help of the Spirit I was able to come to understand why I had such feelings and in the process I have learned the Eternal nature of my relationships with other men. In this blog I will share with you my journey in coming to terms with who I am and my relationships with men. I hope you learn and if you are carrying a similar burden, I hope it can be lifted.
School was the hardest. I hated it with all my heart. I had a low self esteem and I have to admit I was a feminine boy to say the least. I hated school. I did not fit in anywhere. We were also poor growing up and children can be very hard on others. When the teachers would take off my tennis shoes and wrap my feet in a blanket to keep them warm they really were doing me no favors. Children pick up on the underdog and tend to make life terrible for him. I was the underdog in every way. As I grew older it got worse. I was terrified of people and could not even look them in the face.
I really tried to fit in, but was not allowed. If I had an idea it was shot down with scorn only to be accepted a few minutes later by a popular person. I have memories of being kicked down the hall by a huge football player. The part that got me was the teachers allowing it to happen because the football player was popular. I remember being spit on, pushed around, laughed at, harassed, teased, and called horrible names.
I think the hardest part of the whole experience was being called a faggot. From as long as I can remember I was called a fag (a very used term in the 70's). Everyone in the school called me faggot. I remember going into the locker room one day and hearing "Hey coach, have you heard the latest, Brad is a faggot". I remember looking right at the coach thinking he would defend me, but he laughed with them and did nothing.
It was all so confusing to me. I knew I was not a faggot, or as we say now, gay. Yes I liked doing so called girl things, but I had no sexual attractions to men at all. I was what I like to call a tender sensitive person who didn't care for sports. It is not that I didn't like sports, I tried, but I just was not that great at it and I enjoyed doing other things more.
By the time I was 18 years old I was really confused. Everyone, including family members told me I was a sissy, girl, fag. I have to confess, I still had no sexual attractions for men. At about age twelve I started working in a local coffee shop. I spent many, many hours there with women mostly. I think because of that and because I was sensitive in nature I developed some pretty feminine characteristics. My voice was soft, and my hand gestures were feminine. I worked in the restaurant business and often I was told the first impression of me is that I was gay. The confusing part is that I knew I was not gay, but everyone else thought I was. People can be so judgmental at times. If we are a little different they assume or make up what they think in going on.
By this time I was totally confused, but determined in my mind that I was not gay, what I was I had no idea, but I knew that I was not gay.
I decided at 18 years of age to get active in the Mormon Church. It was a hard thing to do. Most of the people were the very ones that had abused me, but none the less I moved forward and a year later found me in the mission field. I served two wonderfully hard years as a missionary and developed amazing relationships with companions. It was a life changing experience for me to be loved and accepted as never before. I grew to be confident and secure in who I was.
I realized that I was a sweet, sensitive, tender man who loved others easily and in particular felt strong bonds with other men. I was not sexually attracted to them, but I was emotionally, spiritually, and physically attracted to men. It was still a struggle because I worked in the food and beverage industry and everyone thought I was gay. Just last week I showed my family a video of me on a TV show when I was 25 years old and my daughter understood exactly why people thought I was gay.