To many individuals, phrases like “strengthening and preserving the family” or “defending the family,” sound like a commonsense invocation of concern about the well-being of one of the fundamental building blocks of society. Of course we should strengthen, preserve and defend the family. However, to most gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people, and to their families and loved ones, such phrases often sound menacing and demoralizing. We are accustomed to hearing people describe the very existence of LGBT people as a threat to the family.
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There are a variety of ways that folks are responding to these situations. Some are skipping lessons that have a potential to open up hurtful class discussions. Some are attending Church and finding positive ways to participate in such discussions.
One mom of a gay son has responded by writing a letter to her Sunday School teacher, urging him to take into account the effect that negative comments about homosexuality would have on her son and her family.
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.
Even with my new family being quite untraditional, church is a place I continue to enjoy. In my darkest, craziest moments–the times when it would’ve made sense to feel uncomfortable and unwanted at church–I nonetheless felt the same peace I always had. God is my friend.
Love had begun to change her, to empower her. Suddenly she was fearlessly living her life. She was accomplishing amazing things, because someone loved her for who she truly was, and believed in her, she believed in herself and dared not only to dream, but to strive to make those dreams a reality.
It seems odd for us to apply the term “allies” to parents. In a normal world, every child simply assumes that their fiercest, most loving defenders are and will always be their parents. The term “parent” ought to be synonymous with “ally.” Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily live in a world where that can automatically be assumed. In the meantime, we are deeply grateful to parents who — sometimes quietly, sometimes boisterously — stand by our sides and let us know through action and through words that family matters, and that we are family.
I received spiritual insights, bit by bit, teaching me and giving me peace and understanding. Being gay would not keep me from becoming the man God wanted me to be. I now believe that it is only the gay me, not some imaginary straight me, that will be able to do and become what he is supposed to in this life.
Once I had accepted myself, the self esteem issues melted away. I came to terms with my religion. I realized I could never leave the church. I am a Mormon; being gay will not change that. I am gay; being a Mormon will not change that. I am not some mistake that God made, he knows me and he wants me to be happy.
The recent Supreme Court refusal to rule on four appeals in cases where lower courts had struck down same-sex marriage bans (and the subsequent legalization of same-sex marriage in the four appealing states) has elicited strong responses across the country, but especially in the states affected. We asked a few within the Affirmation community to share their thoughts and feelings with us.