LGBTQIA+ Latter-day Saint Community #GiveThanks
by Joel McDonald
In a video released on November 20, Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared his belief in the healing power of gratitude as a remedy to societal ills. He challenged all to make social media their gratitude journals, encouraging viewers to share what they are grateful for, who they are grateful for, and why they are grateful for seven days using the hashtag #Give Thanks.
“Working together, we can flood social media with a wave of gratitude that reaches the four corners of the earth,” said Nelson.
My social media feeds now indeed include many posts from my friends who are members of the Church, following the encouragement of their prophet, to share what they are thankful for. Even friends who aren’t very active online have begun to pop up to share their gratitude. It’s been nice.
What’s also been interesting is to see LGBTQIA+ current and former members of the Church and their families and friends use this campaign as an opportunity to share their gratitude from a queer perspective.
Nathan Kitchen, President of Affirmation, shared his gratitude for his “Mormon and Mormon-adjacent transgender friends” on November 20, which was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The following day, he shared his gratitude for his husband with whom he’ll be celebrating their one-year anniversary next week and his gratitude for the Obergefell ruling that secured the right of same-sex couples to marry in the United States
Laurie Lee Hall, Senior Vice President of Affirmation, expressed her opinion that “the most profound impact of the #givethanks effort which began this weekend has been to positively displace endless months of politically divisive posts and frightening pandemic news with truly kind and uplifting words.” She’s shared her gratitude for her partner, Nancy, for their nine children and nineteen grandchildren, and the blessing of parents, siblings, and other loved ones.
All around the Internet are LGBTQIA+ folks and allies who are connected with the Church participating in the #GiveThanks campaign. Here’s just a small selection of posts so far.
— Peter Moosmxn (@petermoosman) November 21, 2020
Thankful for all my LGBTQ friends—and their contributions to make this world a better place ‼️#GiveThanks
— Papa Ostler (@Papa_Ostler) November 21, 2020
My family accepts me as gay.
— Mother of Punctuation (@suave_lou_who) November 21, 2020
I’m thankful for when one of my family members first decided to come out as a gay person more than 20 years ago, that I sincerely was one of the first, few people who they told. ♥️♥️ #GiveThanks
— Bill (@a49ersfreak) November 21, 2020
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There’s no doubt in my mind that pausing amid our daily activity to take note of what we have in our lives right now helps to calm and center us and renews our appreciation for what we might take for granted. Whether you share your gratitude for the world to see on social media or just silently count the blessings in your life, I hope you do find the healing power of gratitude as we begin the holiday season.