Oh, there are so many things I want to talk about today. I am so behind on my posts that I am full of things I want to write to catch myself up. And even though I haven’t really addressed issues such as abortion, gun control, housing for homeless, climate change, or feminism yet, I have decided to talk about something I talk about a lot. Something that is near and dear to my heart: homosexuality.
Some of my family members agree in spirit, that homosexuality is not a choice; but none of them have any interest in joining any sort of campaign showing support to gay people. I can understand those who are afraid that their ward members might not understand, but this is not the case with my family members who live nearby. The reason for their reticence is very simple. As my conservative neighbor, who agrees with them, says, “I don’t march around telling people I’m straight; why do they need to march around telling people they’re gay?” Wow. If it were only that simple.
Imagine this scenario. You were born with blonde hair. You grew up with blonde hair. When you look in the mirror, you see blonde hair. You can dye your hair and pretend that your blonde hair doesn’t exist, but deep down you know that your hair is blonde. People tell you that it’s not true, that you’re not really blonde. They tell you that they disagree with you about being blonde. They tell you that a loving Heavenly Father would never allow any of his children to be born blonde, and that you can stop being blonde if you pray hard enough. People make fun of you, they tell blonde jokes and threaten to hurt you because you are blonde. They tell you that being blonde is a sin, and that you absolutely MUST give up your blondness if you ever want to go to heaven.
You want those people to understand that what they say is not true. You want them to understand that you HAVE tried to pray your blonde away. You want them to understand that you’ve died your hair black, but the blonde roots keep coming back. You want them to understand that their words hurt. You will never tell them that you once thought that the only way to get away from your blondness was suicide. You have studied your scriptures, listened to general conference, and prayed, and there is one thing you KNOW for sure. God doesn’t care that you’re blonde, he loves you unconditionally.
I don’t exactly know what a gay person goes through, but there is one thing I know. I was loud and awkward as a kid. I’ve worn glasses since I was two, and sometimes my clothes weren’t as stylish as the ones the other kids wore. And now that I’m older, I’m fat too. I do know what it’s like to be bullied. I know the frustration of having studied hard and come to a true knowledge of a much-debated subject (like evolution and climate change), only to be told that despite my education, I’m STILL wrong. And yes, Molly, I even know what it’s like to have a firm knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a deep understanding of His love for me, only to be told that I am not Christian because I am Mormon, or that I am leading people astray because I actually believe in any sort of god or book of religion.
It hurts to be misunderstood. It hurts to have loved ones tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about even though you know that you do. I have never been truly suicidal, but I do know that I would have been if had lived in a situation where so-called Christian family members teased, bullied and preached against me because I couldn’t see without my glasses.
I get it. I know why they have gay pride parades. It’s the one time when GLBTs can be surrounded by others who are like them and have a chance to show that they deserve respect because they are human beings–and hopefully, they will be heard. I want gay people to know that it is NOT Christian to judge someone or say hurtful things because they are different. I want them to know that even though I am a Mormon, I never would have voted for proposition 8. I want to give them a hug and try to reassure them that there are Christians and Mormons who truly understand.
There is a gay pride parade in Salt Lake this Sunday, and I REALLY want to march with Mormons Building Bridges, or at least to help run the hugging booth. I normally ride the train into SLC because our only car has black transmission fluid (it’s supposed to be red). We were told that the transmission would last longer if we don’t change out the fluid, and we really do need to wait until August so that we can get a good loan on a good car. But the train doesn’t run on Sundays. Family members who live close by just don’t see the need to go. My visiting teacher is marching with her family in the parade on Sunday, but her car will be full of family members, so I can’t ride along.
Blogging is my only way to participate this year, so I decided I’d better do it loud and proud. I’m a Christian. I’m a Mormon. I’m trying to be like Jesus, and love everyone just as he asked me to do. I hope you hear me.
Consider yourself hugged.
*** “Molly Mormon” is a term often used to refer to Ultra-Conservative Mormons who adhere strictly, and often blindly, to misunderstood or outdated teachings of the LDS church.