Time to Pass the Baton: Vice President of Affirmation Stepping Down
I’m tired, but I’m happy.
I realize that’s a big statement to make, and not everyone agrees on what happiness entails. It was not an easy path to get to this point. Those who came before me put in a lot of work to help me arrive at where I am now. I have done what I could to continue that trend.
As stated in the Affirmation mission statement, we assist people in the intersection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the LGBTQ community. Affirmation doesn’t take a position on whether or not a person should remain a member of the church. Religious belief is entirely up to the individual. From my personal point of view, I don’t trust the church, nor should I.
The church has made it very clear how they really feel about the LGBTQ community. Their support for organizations and programs that seek to make life for the LGBTQ community that much more difficult says all that I need to know about them and renders their proclamations of love for us as meaningless, empty fluff meant to impress rather than support. It is a church that talks a great game from the top to the bottom, but is guilty of some of the most blatant influences to legislate away the rights of LGBTQ people around the world.
It has been just over five years since I came out. During that time, I have discovered the real person that I call me. My family is happy, healthy, and doing better than ever. I have discovered that I am a better person when I am not confined to the church’s definitions of me. I don’t need the church to tell me what makes me happy nor do I need to settle for the spiritual table scraps offered to me as a concession because the church refuses to see beyond their bias. I must admit that one of the best decisions I have made in my life was to distance myself from the church.
Since coming out, I’ve been working hard to place myself at the front lines of advocacy. My family has been very patient as I’ve spent countless hours on the phone, over Zoom calls, or in person doing what I can to affect change and make the lives of LGBTQ people better. A little over 18 months ago, Nathan Kitchen contacted me and asked me if I would consider serving with him on the Executive Committee as the Vice President of Affirmation. We had a long conversation about my concerns — specifically the pain the church had been in my life and how tough it may be for me to stand at that intersection to fulfill the mission of Affirmation. I debated with myself over the decision for two weeks before ultimately deciding I would accept the position.
But now, I’m tired.
It’s time for me to fully disconnect from the church entirely and fade back into the background where I can rest and the next line of leadership can step in and pick up where I step out. Effective today, I will vacate the position as Vice President of Affirmation to focus more on my family and the many happy years of life ahead of us. I have laughed and cried with so many of you. I have made life-long friends and I will always cherish being able to advocate for all of you. It’s time for me to pass the baton to the next leader to continue building the path that is going to result in more people finding the same joy that I have managed to find by simply being true to who I am.
Thank you for your hard work on behalf of our community. We’re indebted to you for many reasons. And as someone who as worked in the LGBTQ space for over 20 years, including Affirmation, I can assure you that you are having a huge, positive impact on our youth.
Executive Director & CEO