Thursday, June 18, 2009

Facing East

So Max and I went and saw Facing East tonight. For those who have not heard of it, it is a play that takes place at the grave of Andy, a gay Mormon who committed suicide. Andy's parents are left to consider what led to their son's suicide, and at the end are met by Andy's boyfriend, Marcus. I enjoyed it, and it definitely got better throughout the show. In my opinion, Carol Lynn Pearson was pretty spot on in terms of LDS culture and beliefs. I could see my mom in the character Ruth (Andy's mom) so much. I think it also helped me understand some of the thoughts that my mother has had.

One thing that I have thought about recently and that was really driven home in the play was how LDS mothers often feel. Because many LDS mothers (including my own) do not have careers outside of the home, they are very much defined by how "successful" their families. Now, my family has their fair share of crazy, but I would say overall, my mom has a lot to be proud of. 

Unfortunately, in LDS circles, my mom probably does not have a whole lot to brag about. Out of her five kids, one is married in the temple, one served a mission (me), and she has only two grandchildren. Number three is on the way, but since my sister is getting married next week, and her daughter will be born in September, that's probably not much to brag about among other Mormons. I often wonder how my mom handles that part of Utah/LDS culture. My parents have lived there for almost 3 years now, and by Mormon standards, things have gotten significantly worse. Ruth (Andy's mother in Facing East) breaks down a couple of times during the play and you see how terrified she is of being considered a "failure."

Besides the obvious tragedy of Andy's suicide, this is the other impression that Facing East left on my mind. Mormonism is not just unduly hard on gays, but I would also say mothers. The success of their families in placed on them, and any failure is usually implied to be their  fault.

Anyway, overall, I really enjoyed Facing East. There definitely were a few moments when the audience was pretty choked up, and I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to not only get out alive, but to have a relatively supportive family. I feel so blessed to be in the situation I am in, and someday when I am a little bit more established, I would really like to be able to provide a safe home for gay Mormons who feel they have no where to go. Being one who has often felt at the end of my line, it kills me to think of the gay Mormons out there that feel so desperate and torn by the paradigm thrust upon us. 

If any of you are in Southern California within the next couple of weeks, I recommend seeing the show. It is playing at the International City Theatre in Long Beach through the first weekend of July.


Anonymous said...

"spot on" are you a closet brit?

this is the first time i have read anyone make a real comment about the mormon moms of gay children. it is a tragedy. but then hey, both of my kids lived with their partners before marriage, and my daughter has announced her intention to remain childless, so i'm just careful in conversations in church. i really like my son and daughter in law, and the latter has provided a male heir, so all's well in zion.

MoHoHawaii said...

I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to not only get out alive.

Amen to that.

D-Train said...

Santorio, I don't appreciate you outing me on my blog. :P

I had no idea that "spot on," was a British phrase, but my vocabulary does include a number of phrases that are perhaps not part of the American vernacular. I am glad to hear that you love and respect all of your children, despite their apparent shortcomings according to Mormonism.

MoHoHawaii. I don't think one day passes in which I don't consider myself one of the luckiest people on Earth. Contrary to what I always feared, life outside the closet and Mormonism has brought my life more meaning and true happiness than I ever thought possible. I think it is that message that I would want to share with other gay Mormons who are conflicted with who they are.