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.
- 2 April 2014