If you’re gay and you live in Utah, you most definitely know a lot about the Mormon religion.  If you’re from here, in any way, you most likely have relatives that practice and maybe even a long line of devout members.  They’re everywhere!  Politically, it hasn’t been a good experience for me but otherwise, I love where I live and who surrounds me.

They consider themselves Christian – so we have that in common.  They speak (mostly) from a place of love & compassion.  They focus their lives on their families and they do wonderful things for people in need… well, some people.

I may be jaded from working so closely with the LGBT community here but I’ve also seen the flipside of what they do to many gay & trans members.  It’s always been a “hate the sin, love the sinner” type of thing but it’s just not that easy for people who try to follow.  They have a check list of things to do to get in to heaven and a lot of the “must haves” just don’t work for me.  Even if I didn’t drink caffeine or vodka tonics, I also couldn’t have sex before marriage – which really sucks because (in this State) we’ll be lucky to see that in the next 20 years.  That means I’d be a virgin until I was my parents age!  Blech!  And c’mon, any time you “love me in spite of who I am”… I’m just not gonna feel warm & fuzzy about that.

We have a really high suicide rate here.  No one likes to talk about it but it’s true.  & it’s not just teens, although mostly.  It’s also grown men who can’t find a way out of a this religion without feeling like they’ve lost everything.  – their status as a priesthood holding man, their children who now think they’re a sinner, their friends & family for the same reason and also knowing their giving up their salvation to live a “chosen, selfish life”.  I’ve heard all of these things – some in suicide notes that families eventually share.  And it’s just not okay.

A while ago, Cristy and I met monthly with Mormon leaders and some members of our community.  We met in our house many times to just talk and get to know each other.  These particular people wanted to take steps forward – toward each other – and I think it worked.  There were also super fancy people have “closed door” meetings – trying to find ways to compromise.  And just yesterday, a lovely group thrown together by a lovely lady, gathered together in their church clothes & marched at Pride Day.  They didn’t talk about loving the sinner and hating the sin.  They said nothing of loving you in spite of you.  They simply said that “No doctrine is more important than God’s children.”  Amen.  You simply can’t speak more Christian than that.

So maybe this is something.  Maybe this is a new movement within the movement.  Keep it up, friends!  You fill me up!

The group that headed off the parade – 120 entries, 15,000 onlookers!


Post Pride

Another year, come & gone!  It still feels a little strange not being so immersed in the whole weekend but it also gives me perspective that I’ve never had before.  What an amazing weekend!

This year, we marched with eBay.  We’ve never marched “un-political” and it was actually kind of nice.  No chanting.  No signs to advertise.  Just our cute marching shirts and our adorable baby girl on her decked out big wheel.  – she rode the entire route!

The most amazing part of the day was watching the 300 Mormons kick off the parade!  They showed up in full church wear (typically suits & ties, dresses, heels, etc.)  They had lovely, supportive signs to show their support of the LGBT community and I’m sure it meant a LOT to a LOT of people.  Although I wasn’t raised Mormon, it meant a great deal to me – just knowing what it meant to so many people I love.  (I think I’ll be talking a bit more on this later in the week.)

For the 2nd year in a row, my new family marched with us.  My dad, our Annie, my sister Kristi & my adorable niece & nephew!  It was fun watching the kids – mostly because they all thought the parade was simply for them.  Thousands of people (close to 15K, I hear) lining the streets to take a peek at the worlds cutest cousins!  I loved having them there and hope it’s becoming an annual tradition.

Most likely, it’s Pride this month where you live too and I just wanted to wish you all peace & love & celebration where you are!  I feel lucky to live a life unafraid and unashamed of the person I am and the family I have.  If it were a choice, I’d choose it.  If there were a “healing pill”, I wouldn’t take it.  Be who you are – YOU are loved!

Proud like Crazy!