Fighting for a Place in the Sun as LGBTQ Mormons

This post is also available in: Spanish

Cristina Moraes is President of Affirmation Brazil and member of the Affirmation board of directors. Cristina has been married for 12 years to Viviane Moraes. She is a postgraduate in quality engineering and a returned missionary from the LDS Church. She acknowledges the Saviour’s atonement in her life and has self-acceptance as a lesbian. Cristina believes in the work of Affirmation as a “ransom of lives.” She totally dedicated to the principles of this work of love. This talk was given as part of the 2018 Affirmation International Conference held from July 20th to July 22nd, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Good morning. My name is Cristina Moraes, from Brazil. I am the president of Affirmation-Brazil, as well as a member of the Affirmation International’s Board. It is a great pleasure to be here with you today, and I am particularly thankful for the opportunity to talk about Affirmation’s work in Brazil.
All the struggle and suffering I have had to live through in my life, in addition to making me stronger and helping me accept myself for who I am, have also taught me quite a few things,. The main lesson I learned was: The sun rises every day. It is amazing, but it is true. The sun rises every day. The sun rises every single day.

Even when you wake up and the skies look overcast, I can assure you: the sun rises every day. There are days in which we wake up in the morning missing the will to shine. However, it is our responsibility to makes sure the sun shines in our hearts and in the hearts of those around us for whom we are responsible.
Our time here has a purpose. We were born LGBT. We were born to lead, and to fight, for this cause. That is our privilege.

We are living in an era in which only the strongest warriors are able to accomplish fabulous victories. We are here, now, aligned, and determined!

We have a cause to fight for and goals to reach.

We, all of us, are strong, brave, worthy.

Some may have a bit more and some may have a bit less of a Mormon heritage, but we are all fighting for a place in the sun. And the sun rises every day. The sun rises every single day.

We all have, for a long time, been fighting in our own inner struggle for self-acceptance.  Anchored in our personal achievements and in Affirmation’s principles, many of us have developed more than a thick skin, we are fully armored. We have already become powerful warriors.

We are growing bigger and stronger before the world and for, because we want to have the opportunity to prove that we are worthy and that we are enlightened as members of the LGBT community and as members of the LGBT-Mormon community.

Brazil is a very large country, and we are working hard to find all the LGBT-Mormons who are living through a current state of spiritual vulnerability. As a country, we have already experienced some great achievements, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, permission for LGBT couples to adopt children, and government-paid sex reassignment surgeries for transgender individuals.

However, we are also the country with the highest rate of LGBTQ murders in the world. More than 500 LGBTQ individuals are reportedly murdered in Brazil every year. Note, however, that those are just the reported numbers. We know very well that the real number is, in fact, much higher.

We are making progress in our work. We are now starting to walk our second mile. We have to wear our armors every day because the job is tough. Nonetheless, we are determined.

We keep on finding people who need to know that they have the power to shine, to be a beacon.
We have been organizing many meetings and conferences and we have been increasing our presence in social media. We are searching for our Heavenly Father’s children who are alone and lost in the swirl of pain that it is to be an LGBT-Mormon, and we need to establish a goal.

We, in Brazil, believe that it is our responsibility to prevent the murders and suicides motivated by transphobia, by homophobia.

I am a lesbian woman, I have a beautiful wife, and I believe that Affirmation is part of our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. I have a Mormon heritage. But that’s not the only thing I fight for. It is my belief that everyone has the right to shine in the world.

As a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who honorably served a full-time mission from 1998 to 1999 in Porto Alegre and Santa Maria, cities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, I believe that: “To serve the LGBT-Mormon Affirmation is more than just a job. It is an opportunity to save God’s children from the state of despair in which many of them find themselves. It is an opportunity to show these children of God that they too deserve Jesus Christ’s atonement.

I believe that the purpose of Affirmation is to save lives and we, at Affirmation-Brazil, are fully dedicated to the principles of this labor of love.

Note: Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, this talk in its entirety was not live streamed or recorded.

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