By Roxana López, President of Affirmation Argentina
Translated by Joel McDonald
Tania is a young transgender woman from Argentina lives in the province of Chaco. For a long time, she stayed away from the Mormon community to avoid confusion while she was transitioning. She aspires to be a professional and working as an English teacher.
For a long time, she meditated on how to achieve the desire to return to church. She feared what would happen if she returned as a transgender woman, and retreated from the idea of returning many times. Her spirituality didn’t change with her gender. She has always felt united to the Church by her testimony. It was her testimony that kept the desire to return to the Church alive, but she waited for what she felt was the right moment and for any answers to come on how she should proceed.
The Decision to Return to Church
On November 12th, she took the first step toward the blessing of returning to church. For some time Tania felt she could not personally advance. The most important thing to her was to have the understanding of her parents. She felt returning to church would allow her to be inspired and resolve, once and for all, her relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Good friends placed an important role in her life, and her driving force was her desire to progress. She didn’t want applause, but she did want to be trusted, respected, and be assured as she advanced toward her long-awaited goal. Often, LGBT Mormons are asked, “Why do you insist on staying in a space where you are not understood and are often excluded?” For Tania, the answer to that question is very simple to answer:
“The gospel is true, that’s why I want to stay there.”
Your Parents, Your Support
No one ever said it would be easy for an LGBT person to be an active member of this church. In this story, Tania’s parents have been her support. They provide her with the necessary support to persevere in her faith and religion. His friends and others who know him in the Church encourage and motivate him with loving and motivating words. Tania’s branch president was surprised at her desire to return to the Church and was educated about LGBT issues in the Church.
Tania shows interest in discussions and shares her testimony where she expresses her relationship with Heavenly Father. She has not lost her rights as a member of the Church as of now. Today, she is preparing to become active in her branch’s Relief Society. She has organized her life to be more secure, stable, and is strengthened by her parents who accompany her in her efforts to progress personally. Every member involved will no doubt grow spiritually through this.
From Affirmation Argentina to LDS Leaders
Our Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families, and Friends Argentina we are very happy and grateful for the good disposition of the Authorities of the Church in Argentina. From our organization, we ask all leaders, teachers, and siblings to provide their understanding and all the necessary support for people who identify themselves as LGBT Mormons who remain within the Church. We ask that they not feel threatened or intimidated, they are in front of an act of pure love towards the true gospel.
We know that they may be unsure because they are going through a learning process, a learning that we are all children of a Father who loves us and no one can be excluded or forbidden to approach the Lord. Be respectful, understanding, considerate, and grateful to have an active LGBT person in their chapels with an intense desire to comply with the principles of the gospel and doctrine without criticizing or modifying anything.
As LGBT people, we do not know why we were born this way and, while we wait for the answer, we must continue with our lives as best we can. Our challenges are not simple to understand, and that’s why we ask the leaders to please take care of their words because they can cause mortal wounds to those who are eager to get out of their abyss. Our struggle is not against the Church but against the depression and pain that is caused by the emptiness of not being heard or understood, when we are abandoned or when disinterest is shown, or when we ask for help.
Our Way as LGBT People
We ask for your empathy. We have to go through extensive challenges where our self-esteem and personal acceptance are at stake. But first, we must define what kind of person we want to be, whether or not we continue in the Church.
Even if we decided we must separate ourselves from religion, we do so in order to live healthy lives, without conflicts, desiring to progress personally. We study, work, and sometimes form families. We educate siblings and take care of our parents with gratitude for the love they give us. We do everything possible to preserve our families.
Our Work as Affirmation Argentina
We don’t have any reports of discrimination against LGBT people within the Mormon Church in Argentina. Fortunately, we have not received news of suicide attempts that would be cause for alarm in the community. We greatly desire to engage in dialogue with authorities and encourage parents and relatives not to abandon their LGBT children. We encourage our Affirmation members to keep a grateful spirit of solidarity to all those who may wish to discuss our goals. We consider all people who have a testimony of the Gospel and history to believe that every person is valuable and that everyone deserves the opportunity to live in harmony in the best way possible without causing any harm to anyone.