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Old 01-05-2011, 04:49 AM   #1
Ample Pie
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So, as some here may or may not know, I'm in a relationship. A pretty serious one, actually, with someone who was my best friend for two years before we decided to take the big risk.

The thing is...he's straight. Like. straight straight.

Like, Christian Youth Minister, no kinks, straight.

Not narrow. Just really really really straight.

Really. really. really. straight.

And I am not. Hell, I'm not even 100 percent sold on my gender identity.

Does he know this? Of course

But...I think I'm having a Chasing Amy moment. I never ever saw myself with the straightest man on earth, but here I am...and I'm happy and I know that is what counts, but it's strange. Like I'm no longer in the queer club or something.

And, honestly, I think I feel really guilty that the people I love--so many of them anyway--who are not straight or in "straight" relationships still have to struggle just to be in those relationships, just to effing exist, and I have found my happiness in a relationship that will let me "pass" even though that isn't what I wanted or what I was seeking.

Not sure how much sense any of this makes....and really not sure how to deal with it.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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I am straight. I've never imagined myself in anything other than a vanilla type relationship, maybe with a few sprinkles and odd chunks thrown in but otherwise pretty average. I do think that if someone unconventional came along and spiritually we had a connection that could not be denied then I would go with that without ceremony. I would simply announce my intentions to my family and friends, same as I would for anyone else I was serious about. I think in the modern day stampede to be accepting and 'pro' about people outside what is considered the norm we have to remember the core issues that we are ALL human beings, unique and complex in our own way. To be accepting of one should not imply that the other is something cheap or a let down if love should bloom in that garden. That is, IF you are happy in that circumstance. My only worry would be that my true leanings would in some way manifest itself later and I may potentially end up hurting someone I care so deeply for. My delema would be to check myself and then check myself again for his/her sake if nothing else. For me, hurting them would be worse than anything but of course my musings are hypothetical. I've never been faced with anything like that so I don't know how it feels. I just got tired of seeing this post sitting here unanswered so I blundered in to keep you company with my musings.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:05 PM   #3
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We can't really help who we love, and if he accepts you as you are a person can't really ask for much more. Its not you're fault that from the outside you two would look like a typical straight couple, the whole truth is rarely visible from the outside. It doesn't change who you are or how you feel about issues of equality. If you friends can't accept that you have found your personal happiness that is really their loss.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:23 PM   #4
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FWIW, plenty of people (Hanne Blank in Big Big Love comes to mind) argue that fat people's sex/intimacy life is inherently queer, because it challenges mainstream ideas about what sexy is, and what sexual desire can and should be, as well as aesthetic ideals about what our partners 'should' look like. In that regard, you and your SO can comfortably claim to be in a queer relationship as long as one of you is a size that society would label as 'fat.'

Others are free to disagree with that sort of fluid definition of 'queer,' but I think it is quite handy. I also agree with people who argue that those on the farther end of the fat spectrum can at times queer gender by the ways that fat bodies upend mainstream ideas about how male and female bodies 'should' look (men hard and angular, women softer and hourglass shaped). We can see that happen here all the time, where people reinforce gender norms by saying that thin women look like '12-year-old boys,' for example.

To me queer at its core (and yes, queer isn't always the same thing as gay, lesbian, bi, or trans) is about lack of boundaries, and those people who expose the social construction of most so-called 'natural' boundaries of sex, gender, and so forth.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:49 PM   #5
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To me queer at its core (and yes, queer isn't always the same thing as gay, lesbian, bi, or trans) is about lack of boundaries, and those people who expose the social construction of most so-called 'natural' boundaries of sex, gender, and so forth.
Exactly! I've thought this for a while now, but had no idea how to voice it!

Queer: Deviating from the expected or normal; strange: a queer situation. 2. Odd or unconventional, as in behavior; eccentric.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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I totally agree with your definition of queer, Butch and...I'm not sure where my post went, but...

None of my friends are un-supporting of who I love; if they were they wouldn't be my friends.

I just guess I feel a bit of guilt because many of, if not most of, the people I love best still have to struggle just to love the people they love. My uncle and my friend Kristen, for instance, who are both very out and happy, but still can't get married. Just loving the people they love is a struggle...and I feel like I get to "pass" because I've made a lovely hetero coupling.

Though, sure, it's absolutely true that I am fat--back up to 400 lbs from the 380lb of the summer--I'm sure people do wonder why he would pick me when he had a world of other women who are more what you might call pretty by common definition or, at the very least, women who share his faith. I'm really neither. Though he's the kind of guy who picks friends who wouldn't really question that because they know him and like him for who he is...so they just keep telling him they're happy for him.

He and I have faced no struggle, no disapproval (though I do think his friends would prefer I was a church goer in general). And, while I'm not looking for disapproval or struggle, I think I feel guilty identifying as queer myself (which I still do, of course) when, for the most part, I'm "passing" for "normal." It's just very much the antithesis of what I've always done, been, and experienced.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:47 PM   #7
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As long as there is real love here, it's all good.

I know I wouldn't have a problem unless that "Youth Minister" means he is judgmental or an asshat to any non-Christian, queer, non-his-group people.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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As long as there is real love here, it's all good.

I know I wouldn't have a problem unless that "Youth Minister" means he is judgmental or an asshat to any non-Christian, queer, non-his-group people.
If he were, he certainly wouldn't be with me...

The "Youth Minister" just means that he's exceptionally considerate of the example he sets for people. Meaning that he lives what he preaches and only ever preaches what he believes. He's exceptionally defined himself, but he isn't narrow-minded or at all judgmental.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:31 PM   #9
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I included his title, because it speaks to his character, not his religious or even political beliefs.

For him, his faith is a living breathing thing. He nurtures it and it, in turn, has helped him to be a very loving person. But that wouldn't matter to him in his choice to be a Youth Minister if he couldn't be sure that he'd be a good and honest leader. He is just exactly what you see when you see him--there is no ambiguity with him. If there were, he'd never want to put himself in the position of leading anyone, let alone impressionable youth. That's the kind of person he is...and that's why I included the title. I guess, because I know him, the connection was obvious, but not in general.

Meanwhile, everything about me is a bit ambiguous. I mean almost.

He loves me just as I am. He always has. Honestly, honestly, that isn't the thing that concerns me. Know this: I am secure in my feelings for him and in his for me. We have had NOTHING less than 100% support from our family and friends. Actually, my mom was angry with me when I was seeing someone else last year because she's been hoping I'd pull my head out of my bum and see my best friend for what he really is.

It's like in Chasing Amy when she falls for a dude, despite the fact that she's always considered herself a lesbian. I feel like, even though I know this is right, I'm somehow a traitor. I know it's stupid and silly. And I wouldn't give him up even if I was kicked out of every "queer club" on the planet, but...I still feel a bit of guilt.

btw, no I am not saying that LGBTIQ folk shouldn't be youth leaders or ministers and neither would he what I am saying is that he could have gone into any religious field if that were all that mattered to him, but he chose Youth Ministry because he was confident that he could always present an honest face to the kids--no matter what that face is, it's always honest. It's unambiguous in every way...and, in his case, it just also happens to be very straight.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:26 AM   #10
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You may know this, Ample Pie, but my partner is a person of faith, too, and I am not. Well, let me clarify that, I am agnostic. I used to be atheist, so I obviously change, but that change happened before I met my partner.

My partner is also openly queer, and is blessed to be part of faith communities that welcome queer people. My partner also lives in a state where your uncle and your friend could get legally married. My point, if I have one, is that maybe someday you and your partner could live together in a place that is open to all the various aspects of your identities, and is welcoming of the identities of people you care about who are treated like second-class citizens in other places/contexts.

Love changes every single thing you think and feel, and so the person you were before love snags you is rarely the person you become after you 'fall in love,' and the trick, I guess, is to make sure that person you change into is a better person than the one you were before. At least that is what it feels like for me, this 'being in love' business.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:39 AM   #11
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Iím a fairly Ďambiguousí person myself, and it has long frustrated me that I had to follow one choice in life; why canít we do three or four things all at once? This whole having only one body, one existence, thing is just frustrating!

But ultimately, since we canít be multiple people at the same time, we either have to choose to time multiplex (do one thing for a while, then another, then another), with all that implies, or make a choice and stick with it. If you have a pretty spread out identity, no matter what the choice is, no matter how great that choice is, there will be parts of you that are neither engaged nor visible to others. Which can mean that how others see you is not how you see yourself and that what you are doing with your life is not fully engaging all parts of your identity. But what else can you really do?

At times I envy people with much more compact identities, but then again would I have wanted to not have as many options as I have had?
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:11 AM   #12
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Firstly, I appreciate a great many of the comments here. That is especially true of your comments, Butch. You, as always, have given me something to think about and reminded me of things I'd obviously not considered. I appreciate that.

Secondly, and I have to say it's kept me up most of the night, I feel as though I've made a flub of this thread from beginning to end and mis-represented my boyfriend in the process--something that absolutely breaks my heart.

I would like to try one more time to make the point I was trying to make WITHOUT adding confusion to it or making tangents out of things that were only meant to be details of the original point. The confusion-making and tangent-introducing are my fault--my lack of clarity of late is a bit disturbing to me and I really feel that, especially in this case, I'm rather making points that are completely outside the realm of what I think and feel.

So...as clearly as I can (again, recognizing that any confusion has been caused by me)...

1: Duckbutt (that is what I call him after all) was my best friend for two years before we decided to become a couple. He's still my best friend. He knows everything about me. There isn't a single thing I've held back from him or sanitized for him. If I've said it here or anywhere else, rest assured, I've said it to him. That includes my "what the hell am I thread" on this very forum. In that thread, I think I make quite a big deal about my own sort of ambiguity and, not only has Duckbutt read the thread, he's heard it all from my lips previously.

He knows all of that and much much more (good and bad and truly awful) about me--he knows everything. He's even met one of my ex girlfriends. He quite likes her. He has never once, not even for a second, made me feel bad for who or what I am--whatever that is. If he did, I wouldn't be in a relationship with him. I hope I have not even sort of implied that any negative feelings I have are due to him or his faith--because that simply is the exact opposite of the truth.

2: I mentioned his faith, not to draw a link between the disapproval that many in the LGBTQI/Queer community receive and the Christian sects that so often hand it out, but because his faith is just such an immense part of who he is and it defines him in many ways. I meant for no connection to be drawn between those points at all. I mentioned it because to me (and if you knew him, to you), knowing that he has chosen the career that he has means that he has, from the earliest of his years, given it a CONSIDERABLE amount of thought.

He wouldn't have ever ever entered into a job where he could lead people astray if he ever had any kind of doubts in his faith, or his ability to live it rather than force it down someone's throat, or in his ability to be just exactly what he says he is. He could never get in front of a classroom full of kids and say something he didn't believe or mean 100%, he just couldn't. So before he ever took the job/career path, he gave himself a VERY deep look. He answered many of the questions that I (11 years older than he) still haven't answered.

He did this deliberately. He made sure he knew himself inside and out so that he could always always always be the most honest teacher and guide he could in such a serious topic. It didn't so much matter what he found himself to be, so long as he knew whatever it was completely. He wouldn't have become a Youth Minister if he'd not gone through this process and been exactly sure who and what he was--because of that, I know that he's straight. Completely straight.

I mentioned his career to add light to the fact that his life is an examined one (very much so) and not because I was trying to say that to be a Youth Minister he had to be straight. I hope I didn't ever cause confusion to such a degree that it sounded as though I were saying that. He didn't have to be straight to be a Youth Minister, but before he could have allowed himself to be a Youth Minister he had to know everything about himself--including his sexuality. And, so, he does. He's straight.

Which brings me to the last bit:

3: My feelings of guilt don't come from him or his faith. He's never condemned me or who I am/seem to be/dress as from time to time. All he's ever done is love me unquestioningly. Even when we disagree completely on matters of faith. The guilt I feel is completely in me/in my own mind/of my own creation. And it isn't because I love him.

It's because, by loving him, I feel I'm sort of removed from the fight that so many people are still fighting--a fight that is my fight and has been since I was 2 years old. I mean, I felt it in me then, the sense of being different and here I am in the most "normal" relationship you could possibly imagine with someone who is completely completely unambiguously not Queer. I didn't see that coming and, while I wouldn't change it, I do wonder if it makes me a traitor. But that's a thought coming from me, from my own head, my own insecurities, my own worries. I posted it here for some perspective.

And, thankfully, I feel like Butch has given me a lot--firstly by reminding me that Fat Love is Queer Love and secondly by reminding me that not only does love change us, love is how we change the world. It is, probably, the biggest baddest "weapon" we have in the fight for equality and acceptance. And to deny this love or to worry about it because it doesn't fit some standard would be really asinine on my part.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:36 PM   #13
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If he were, he certainly wouldn't be with me...

The "Youth Minister" just means that he's exceptionally considerate of the example he sets for people. Meaning that he lives what he preaches and only ever preaches what he believes. He's exceptionally defined himself, but he isn't narrow-minded or at all judgmental.
It's all good then!
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:27 PM   #14
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It's all good then!
As I've now mentioned at least three times--this was never the issue.


....

Also, in one of my posts on the topic, I made a reference to "pulling my head out of my bum." In doing so, I made it sound as if my mom thought the person I was seeing last year was just a case of me having my head up my bum--that is not the case. She liked the young man I was seeing. But she did, previously, think I was being foolish because I failed to see what my best friend (at the time, but current boyfriend) really meant in my life---mostly because I was afraid. That is how my head was up my bum.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:18 AM   #15
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Ample Pie,

We ourselves, our friends, our families, society, etc. are continually attempting to define who we are as individuals. It's all a part of identifying, finding common bonds, finding some aspect that makes us feel like we 'fit in', belong, and are a part of something bigger than ourselves. It's part of self discovery and coming to terms with who we are as individuals. It's a huge part of finding our place in the world.

We can view that continual and sometimes ever changing process as one of lifes positive ever expanding journeys or we can view it as putting (or forcing) ourself (by our or another's chosen definition) into some invisible rigid box having firmly defined walls with only one expected (or acceptable) future path in life.

How we self-identify does not have to exclusively fit within any (or every) realm of another's definitions or expectations. Our paths (past, current, or future) do not have to follow what another's ideals or expectations may be even if their self-identity is similar to that of our own. Life isn't always an if this - then that situation. We don't have to fit or conform to any of the commonly defined definitions. We really can be, and are, unique individuals.

Getting others to accept who we (or others) are, well, that is another story. We can't force anyone to accept us. Either others will or they won't. We can't choose how others react to ourselves, our choices, or to those we love and care for. We can't answer for anyone other than ourself. The only thing we can do is be supportive when those we care for are not being supported or accepted by their loved ones. The guilt isn't yours to carry. You are not the one being unsupportive or judgemental. The guilt should belong and lie within the hearts of with those who are guilty of not showing unconditional love.

What many fail to understand is that sincere love is not based upon our own desires or ideals for another. Sincere love has no conditions. Sincere love is not based upon expectations. Sincere love is emotional affection and adoration that expects nothing in return. Unconditional simply means without conditions. For some reason that concept has almost become lost in this current me-first self-centered instant-gratification get-what-I-want-at-any-cost current age. Selfishness has become priority and taking the time be understanding and supportive have been tossed to the wayside. Unconditional love can't exist when there are selfish motives or selfish expectations. Unconditional love can only exist when we allow others to exist as who they truly are. From what you have posted, I believe you show unconditional love, and are also the recipient of unconditional love.

Don't be afraid to accept whatever blessing is sent into your life. We don't always know why things happen as they do or why they happen when they do. Be open to the blessings from above.

And remember, don't feel guilt for something that is no fault of your own. Empathy? Fine. Sharing another's pain? Fine. Being understanding and caring and supportive? Fine. You are not responsible for shouldering the guilt of those who are incapable or unwilling of showing unconditional love.


- this from a former Children's Church Director/Minister, former Youth Leader/Youth Minister, formerly certified nursery/childrens/teens/adults Sunday School Teacher, and former Pastor's wife


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Old 01-07-2011, 07:43 AM   #16
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again, no one is being unsupportive or judgmental.

Seriously, I never said that even once.

I'm giving up on this topic because I don't feel I've made myself very clear and instead have misrepresented me, my boyfriend, AND my ex all in one rather failed attempt to merely talk about how I was handing some internal (and PURELY internal) strife.

Thanks to everyone for the support, but...I'm not being treated badly by anyone (that I know of)....
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:00 PM   #17
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I understand what you are dealing with, as I've been in your partner's place in this kind of situation.

My first wife was a lesbian when we got together. Even after we got together she still identified as a lesbian. Sometimes she said "bi-sexual," but I always knew what she meant. She was a lesbian who fell in love with a man. Me. She pursued me, in fact. It took me a while to realize she was after me because I never imagined a lesbian would fall in love with a man. Shows what I know.

Many (not all) of her queer friends disowned her after our relationship became known to the world. Her previous partner lived across the hall from her in an apartment building, so that was a hard situation to avoid. That woman looked at me as if I were a monster for a time. It finally sunk in that it was Corinne's choice, and she grudgingly accepted the reality - though we never came anywhere close to being friends.

Corinne dealt with a lot of shit from people in the "community" who considered her a traitor. It caused her pain, and it made her doubt, but in the end she chose love.

You are not a traitor. You are not "passing." You cannot help who you love, nor should you try. True love is too rare in this world, so seize it when it calls you by name.

PS: You are being treated badly by someone. Yourself. So knock it off!
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:28 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ample Pie View Post
again, no one is being unsupportive or judgmental.

Seriously, I never said that even once.

I'm giving up on this topic because I don't feel I've made myself very clear and instead have misrepresented me, my boyfriend, AND my ex all in one rather failed attempt to merely talk about how I was handing some internal (and PURELY internal) strife.

Thanks to everyone for the support, but...I'm not being treated badly by anyone (that I know of)....
I think you've made yourself clear enough, AP. I don't think there is anything anyone can say except to point out that your feelings are perfectly normal to have. There are things that I can compare it to in my one existance though in my case I did experience some backlash from the people around me. If I meander about how wrong it is and bla bla bla, it's not really deirected at you. Moreso and expulsion of personal stuff. Your post was thought provoking and I don't think there was any intention to malign your friends and acquantences.

Though there are many unconventional aspects that would apply to me I would not qualify myself as being queer. With those unconventional characteristics in mind I will say that I have had some outstanding and unexpected successes where those in similar dispositions have not. Many times I've been the one who got the gig, the one who didn't get fired, the one who didn't suffer any ill effects of whatever it was I was supposed to suffer ill effects from. At some point I shared a common comraderie with others that centered around the struggle but when I achieved some form of success that ended the struggle for me, I was bittersweet. I don't know if this is anything like what you are describing but reading your thoughts reminds me of this. I imposed upon myself a feeling that I could not share my joy with my friends, that doing so would be insensitive and obtuse. Nobody was doing anything but *I* felt awful when by all accounts I should have been on top of the world. If this isn't at all what you're talking about feel free to slap my hand away, but in reading this thread this is what was brought to mind for me.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:59 PM   #19
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I understand what you're saying. I'm a straight female, but I do understand that the guilt is entirely internal. First of all, I'm going to join the "stop beating up on yourself" chorus. I think the point is that you aren't in your relationship so that you can pass, but rather you're in your relationship because this man is a soul mate to you. I would imagine that all those who care about you would be happy you found something so special and would most likely feel badly if they knew you felt guilt over it. Another thing to think about, is that much of what you offer your queer friends and relatives hasn't changed at all. You still provide them love, friendship and are their political ally. I understand that you feel your life has been made easier because your partner is male, but I actually think anyone who finds a deep, connecting love has had their lives made easier anyway. And that's a good thing. The brilliant butch mentioned many of the things true love can do, I would add one more thing, it can make you feel stronger and more empowered. Knowing someone "has your back" can give a renewed sense of energy and purpose to the things that are important to you and you can use that to fight even harder alongside your loved ones. Just my take on it.

ETA: I am so annoyed I'm out of rep on the day I read this thread. There is a lot of wisdom written here.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:10 PM   #20
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As I've now mentioned at least three times--this was never the issue.


....

Also, in one of my posts on the topic, I made a reference to "pulling my head out of my bum." In doing so, I made it sound as if my mom thought the person I was seeing last year was just a case of me having my head up my bum--that is not the case. She liked the young man I was seeing. But she did, previously, think I was being foolish because I failed to see what my best friend (at the time, but current boyfriend) really meant in my life---mostly because I was afraid. That is how my head was up my bum.
I guess I oversimplified it, but what I was trying to say is that as long as supportive love is there; which it is, then it's all good in that aspect of the relationship. The fact he is not judgmental or having a lessening affect on your actions fighting for GLBTQ rights is also all good. You can still be a proponent for glbtq issues, even if they affect you less in this straight relationship.

I think you read into my statement differently because it was a short statement not differentiating things well(at all lol). I meant that previous statement in relation to the paragraph above.
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