Mom’s View: Attention All Writers and Poets A Place to Write:
A few months ago I was invited to attend the Gay Writes Community Writing Club sponsored by Salt Lake Community College. We meet the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m., SLCC Community Writing Center, 210 E. 400 South, Suite 8, Salt Lake City, UT 84111.
This group is open to the LGBT community and allies. There is poetry, fiction, nonfiction, a lot of variety. Members get feedback and help on their writings; it has helped me a great deal with writing my articles. Please join us.
I am not a zero
By Kelly Albrecht
My therapist took a white sheet of paper and placed it on the table between us. Along the top he made a row of about eight X’s. Near the bottom he made a single zero.
That visit to his office was our final interview, and his analysis would determine if I go on a mission, or stay home and undergo more treatment.
It was my Bishop who decided I needed therapy in the first place. When I talked to him about my desire to serve a mission, I also repented about my homosexual experiences. We talked in great detail about them for several months, but he decided I should undergo treatment for my “so-called” confusion.
He made all the arrangements and covered the cost. But the process turned into months of intense guilt and shame. Sometimes I would drive home from my sessions and need to pull off the side of the road so I could cry.
I may have been a confused teenager but I never truly started to hate myself until after I repented for my sins.
Up until that point I was one of the lucky ones, part of the chosen few to be born a member of the only true church upon the face of the earth. I was held back in heaven to be born during this time because I had proven myself worthy to live in these times, during the fullness of the Gospel, and to be a warrior to defend its truthfulness.
The first time I learned about discrimination was in 1978. The church announced that they received a revelation allowing blacks to receive the Priesthood. Though I was only ten years old at the time this really bothered me; not because blacks could receive the Priesthood, but because up until that time I never knew they couldn’t. I did not know that God would discriminate against certain people.
Little did I know that later in life, I myself, a chosen child of God, would become the target of such hatred and discrimination, and become an outcast.
I did finally get to serve a mission, but I will never forget about the X’s and the zero that my therapist wrote on the paper. He told me that the X’s represent ‘the dudes.’ He said they like to get together and do man things like play basketball. It helps them to bond and become good friends with one another.
Then there was me on the other side of the paper, the big zero. I watch them play basketball and I notice how they become friends. My therapist said that I long to be a part of their group, to fit in. But since I didn’t play basketball, I didn’t know how.
Somehow I became confused and began to associate the penis as a path to male bonding. I started thinking that if I could make their penis feel good then they would feel good, and if they felt good about what I was doing to them then they would accept me as their friend.
“So, in conclusion,” he told me in his monotone voice, “All you need to do is play more basketball. Eventually you will stop thinking about them as a penis and bond with them in more natural ways.”
Nearly a year of therapy twice a week and that was the final analysis.
It almost makes me laugh when I think about it now, but I can’t help but think how life is still like that, us and them, the X’s and the zero’s. But I no longer feel alone, and I no longer feel I need to change who I am to be accepted by them. I accept them and myself completely. That does not mean they need to like me anymore than I like basketball, but only when they learn acceptance for all, will true growth begin. I still don’t like to play basketball, but my therapist was right about one thing. I sure enjoy making their penises feel good.