Zelophehad’s Daughters

More on Being Gay and Mormon: Some Simple Ways People Have Been Supportive

Posted by Lynnette

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: being a gay Mormon often feels like being in an impossible situation. But I also have to say that there are ways in which I consider myself quite fortunate. My family has been fabulous, and I have a lot of truly amazing LDS friends. So as a follow-up to my previous post, which as one commenter pointed out was mostly “don’t”s, I’d like to mention some of the things people have said and done that have been particularly positive.

1) Simple, genuine expressions of love. When I came out last November, I was blown away by how many people responded simply by telling me that they loved me. It meant a lot to me that for so many, that was the first response. I wish every gay person could have a similar experience.

2) An emphasis that I’m a part of the church, that I’m wanted and needed. Some of the comments that have most touched me have been ones along the lines of, “it matters to me that there’s room for you in the church.”

3) Being matter-of-fact about the whole thing. I told my bishop’s wife I would tell the story of how I told her. We were sitting in Peet’s Coffee (probably while skipping Sunday school), and we had a conversation along these lines. Me: “I’m gay.” Her: “Okay. What would you like to drink?” That sort of simple acceptance is something I also appreciate.

4) Speaking up. It means a lot to me when other people mention in Relief Society that the church’s position on this is something they’ve struggled with, or when I hear someone questioning casual generalizations about gay people.

5) Willingness to learn. I’ve had people admit to me that they weren’t sure how to react, or express the concern that they weren’t sure what to do or what to say. I’ve appreciated the honesty, and the openness to conversation.

6) Letting me know I’m not alone. One of the things that helps me the most is that I don’t feel I’m in this on my own. When I hear crazy things, I know that I have a whole network of people who don’t think that way. I really need that.

7) Willingness to let me find my own path. This is huge for me. I’m figuring this out as I go, and I so much appreciate the people in my life who aren’t pushing me to go in any particular direction, and whom I trust to be there regardless.

6 Responses to “More on Being Gay and Mormon: Some Simple Ways People Have Been Supportive”

  1. 1.

    Excellent. Thank you. (I appreciated both posts.)

  2. 2.

    I’m so glad to hear of so many positive responses you’ve gotten, Lynnette. Your bishop’s wife’s response is my favorite!

  3. 3.

    Even though I have some reservations about 4 and 7, I really like the other suggestions.

  4. 4.

    Thanks, all! Ziff, I thought that was pretty classic. For some other great responses, one of my sisters said, “well, I love [Ziff''s wife], and I’ve always wanted another sister-in-law.” Another sister said, “to tell you the truth, I have no idea how to process this.” (I said, “it’s totally fine, I have no idea how to process it, either.”) I loved that for its simple honesty.

    Jeff, this may not help with your reservation, but I actually did want to clarify something about 4. I don’t mean that you have to speak up along the lines of, the church’s teachings are challenging, if you don’t think that (I was simply pulling examples from my own life). But you could nonetheless speak up if you heard it asserted that gays were anti-Christian baby-killers (for example).

    And since I’m chattering away, a couple more thoughts on 7 as well. I feel pretty strongly that this is between me and God. I take that quite seriously, that I need to work out whatever decisions I make with God. (Which, I submit, is a very Mormon thing to do.) But it means so much to me that there are people in my life who aren’t basing their acceptance of me on my following a certain path. From both directions–I was stressed that some of my non-Mormon friends would pressure me to leave the church, and I so much appreciated it when they didn’t. And on the other side, the support I’ve gotten that has in some ways touched me the most has come from my more conservative friends, whom I know strongly agree with the church’s position, but who also respect that it isn’t their job to make these decisions for me.

  5. 5.

    That’s absolutely fantastic to hear. Truly. While I do have some reservations about the normalization of LGBT in society and their proclivity to label anybody with such reservations as hateful or fearful, I sometimes need to remember that a lot of people really are hateful and fearful of LGBT’s! While I can never pretend to share in the acute anxiety which you surely feel at church or amongst your friends and family, I most certainly can take just as strong a stand as you against any person who would demonize you in the ways you mention.

  6. 6.

    Wait, what? You’re GAY? OMG!

    (I kid, I kid. Love you, Lynnette.)

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