Jairo Fernando Gonzalez Diaz and Laurie Lee Hall Join the Affirmation Board

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In October the Affirmation Board voted to fill the vacancies created by the departure of Fred Bowers and Kathy Carlston from the Board. Jairo Fernando González Díaz of Manizalez, Colombia and Laurie Lee Hall of Tooele, Utah are the newest members of the International Board of Directors of Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends.

The family of Jairo Fernando González Díaz was among the first LDS converts in Colombia, hence the unusual trajectory of an active Mormon since boyhood in a conservative and Catholic society where Mormonism was barely known. The mission he served in different cities of Colombia, accentuated his leadership skills and his religious convictions.

His professional training included a professional degree from the Colombian Polytechnic, as well as the development of his expertise as an auditor in renowned law firms such as Price Waterhouse Coopers and Nexia International. In the latter, his performance included the assembly of a conceptual technical structure that is still in use today. In more recent times, he established himself as a Founding Partner of Infinity, an accounting and consulting firm that develops its activities in important companies in western Colombia and Ecuador.

His current professional goals include the inclusion of inclusive platforms for the LGBTI population through active linkage with the LGBTI Chamber of Commerce and diverse employment, as well as support for Affirmation as a compassionate organization for those who want to reconcile their emotional life without losing sight of their moral principles and self-esteem.

Laurie Lee Hall joined the LDS Church at age 18 while studying architecture at Rensselaer in New York. After completing an honorable mission in Argentina, she was sealed to her wife in the Washington DC Temple. They are the parents of 5 and grandparents of 11 children. Laurie Lee has served in numerous callings throughout her life, including as an elders quorum president, high priest group leader, bishop, stake high counselor and stake president. Twenty-one years ago she became a Church employee, and worked for 17 years as a department director in Church Physical Facilities. She considers as one of the greatest honors of her career her work as an architect responsible for the design and construction of scores of temples and many special projects, including the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Church History Library, and many of the Church history sites. Her most enjoyable and most recent project was the expansion of the Missionary Training Center in Provo.

From Laurie Lee’s earliest memories, her gender identity has invariably been female, contrary to her apparent biological sex. For fifty years, she accepted living with gender incongruence as a necessary sacrifice, until emotional and personal health risks forced her to address the issue directly with the guidance of medical and mental health professionals. Still she did not feel able to allow her feelings to find expression, until receiving several sacred experiences with the love of God affirming her true identity as a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents. After asking to be permitted to transition gender presentation and remain a Church employee as a matter of accommodation, her stake president cancelled her temple recommend, forcing early retirement. Shortly thereafter, she was excommunicated after rejecting an ultimatum from Church  leaders to detransition or resign from the Church.

Living authentically as a woman, all of the negative effects of gender dysphoria which had been entirely untreatable up to that point were immediately mitigated and soon eliminated from her life. She found myself with an increased compassion towards others and a greater desire to serve, especially those at risk. She continues to have a testimony of the Gospel, of her Heavenly Father, of the Atonement, of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which she continues to enjoy. Her only wish is to live and worship according to the dictates of her conscience, which conscience includes her gender, which she believes to be immutable and an essential characteristic of her eternal identity.

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