Whenever a gay Mormon hits the media spotlight, I follow their story. Why? Because each story unfolds differently and reminds me that what we all want from life is a good life. (Another reason is I feel more and more relieved as I see attitudes and understanding change: Mormon families are becoming more and more accepting and the LDS church is becoming less and less harsh.) Recently, Jimmy Hales (the gay Mormon who hit the spotlight after filming himself coming out) shared this song, and the song took me down memory lane.
People who haven’t asked questions about how I got to where I am might assume I got to where I am because I fornicated and lost touch with God, or that I drank alcohol, or that I drank coffee, or that I had some secret party life I didn’t tell anyone about. Hopefully, this blog post will shed light on what actually happened. (And I’ll add a similar warning that this is the path I chose that was right for me and may not be right for everyone).
“I never thought this would be my story.”
- When I took Russian courses and the topic of gay marriage came up, I never thought I’d be walking down the streets of Alexandria with a classmate and my husband.
- When I back packed across Europe with a friend from the mission, I never thought I’d be walking the Freedom Trail in Boston with her and my husband.
- When I walked the streets of Estonia with a mission companion, I never thought I’d attend a soccer game with him and my fiancé.
“However we go, we’ll hear ‘this is wrong’”
- When I was alone with my religious beliefs, I heard it was wrong just to be me.
- When I found people who were like me, they said it was wrong to be around gays.
“I’m used to being pushed away, so I’m not used to this… Sitting here we both feel this is actually real, not a fantasy.”
- My religion taught me that when I fell in love, my life would be full of darkness and I’d get AIDS and die (slight exaggeration, but you get the point). What actually happened was I was full of happiness, and my family noticed. Not to be too gay about it, but this is what it was like:
- That video clip is the opposite of an exaggeration (an underexageration?). I had never understood love songs. I had never understood gooshy movies. I didn’t understand what the big deal was. And that all changed in an instant and ushered in new questions, one of which was: If Mormons were wrong about love, are they wrong about other things too?
I’m not suggesting anyone question their faith in the Mormon church. I am suggesting that being a gay Mormon is a challenging and complex situation that isn’t understood well enough right now. In short, I agree with Jimmy:
“This needs to change; we need your help, even if sympathy is all you can offer.”