Neca Allgood, Jen Blair, Beth Ellsworth, Ron Raynes and Sara Jade Woodhouse were voted on as new Board members in February and have now joined the Board of Directors. We are grateful for their willingness to serve and volunteer their time and resources to the important work we do to support LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends worldwide.
Need some affirming quotes to share with family and friends? These should help, as we all know that…“Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.”
I’d never been involved in political causes and had never been to a political rally in Utah. That changed after 2011 when my son Grayson discovered that he was FtM transgender. I was horrified to discover that it was still legal to discriminate against my child because of his gender identity, or against others because of their sexual orientation.
My role was to strategize an approach, to implement activities that operationalized LGBT outreach in the stake. Our efforts were not without precedent – I spoke with one former Bishop who had fellowshipped gay members locally two decades earlier, and I knew a stake leadership training on the topic of homosexuality had occurred here in more recent years. I got wind of the recent Beaverton, Oregon firesides and I was an online acquaintance of Mitch Mayne, who I figured would be a source of good ideas (given his highly-publicized role in LGBT outreach as the executive secretary in his ward in San Francisco). So I solicited advice from various sources.
This past Sunday and Monday, March 1 and 2nd, LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends gathered in the San Diego and Denver Area for what will become an opportunity for continued support to this community. One attendee stated on Facebook afterwards, “Felt the Spirit so strong at the LGBT Mormon Affirmation gathering tonight…”
Affirmation and Northstar leaders participating in the meeting committed to setting a tone of personal respect for each other, acknowledging that people of good will have personal experiences leading them to see different solutions to similar challenges. We do not have to agree with specific aspects of each other’s mission or practices in order to acknowledge the goodwill with which we each approach our purposes.
I wanted so badly to fix the situation. That’s what I did as a father. I fixed everything, that was my job, and this was just another “fix-it” project. At one point in our conversation, I asked; “Why would you choose this lifestyle?” I was met with a look of shock as he replied,
“Are you serious? Why on earth would I CHOOSE to be associated with one of the most misunderstood and hated groups on the planet?”
John Dehlin presented his LGBT Mormon research at Affirmation’s Annual International Conference in 2012 and received our Ally Award. This research has been a blessing to LGBT Mormons, their families and friends in helping better explain the complexities of being LGBT and Mormon. We mourn with him and those touched by his excommunication. We express our love for him and gratitude for all the work he has done and will continue to do on behalf of LGBTQ individuals.
We want to hear your stories. To hear who you are, how God speaks to you, what you need in life, how you’ve been hurt, and how you’ve healed. Whether you are an LGBT person, self-identify as queer, have a family member or child who is, or are someone who simply wants to speak out and say that they wish to see more kindness, acceptance, and understanding come from the pulpit and from our communities… we need you! Feel free to submit your stories to Affirmation at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Story Submission in the subject line.
There are brief moments which pass very quickly where there is a space, an envelope, an opening, an infinitely small possibility, in which I can be true to both my sexuality and my faith