5 Things to Know About My Experience As An LGBT Mormon
1. I am an LGBT Mormon.
This may come as news to many, since it’s not something I’ve probably discussed with the majority of people reading this. So, I will begin this article by “coming out,” as it were, to the whole world. In all reality, I don’t know if I have one “coming out” moment, as we live in a heteronormative society, so I’ve had to do it several times, nor do I expect this to be the last time, but from here forward, it will be fairly public information.
Now, some of you may have known me in the past and say, “But I remember you dating a boy!” or “Didn’t you like that guy, that one time?” To clarify, I identify with the B in LGBT.
2. My sexuality is not a defining factor in my personality.
Fun facts about me, Rebecca Moore: I have brown hair, I’m 6 feet tall, I am attracted to more than one gender, and I’m allergic to sulfa drugs.
Seriously, it’s no bigger deal to me than those things.
Now, don’t get me wrong. My orientation has more of an affect on my day to day life than my other fun facts because of the society we live in, (I’ve never had to sit in a conversation where people all sat around talking about how everyone with allergies to sulfa drugs were just lying sluts, but you can bet I’ve had to hear that about bisexuals), but to me personally, it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not interested in repressing it, or making it go away. It’s just there.
Obviously, this affects me enough that I’m writing about it, but my decision to share my perspective has much more to do with how other people view LGBT individuals and how it affects my life, than how I personally view myself.
3. The LDS Church has been my safe haven.
Many people have had tragically negative experiences within the church, but mine has been far from that. With one or two minor exceptions, I have never faced homophobia, nor any sort of discrimination from my fellow members.
My friends never treated me any differently, my priesthood leaders were compassionate, and overall, everyone treated me with the same respect after knowing as they did before. None of their actions ever changed, and that, for me, was beyond ideal. I didn’t need fanfare or a ruckus, I just wanted to be seen as a complex human being, and this is simply one of a thousand other things that make up who I am. They see me as a child of God first and foremost, and I will always be deeply grateful for being blessed to have been surrounded by so many who are living the gospel of Christ, not just preaching it.
4. My parents accepted me long before I came out.
Both of my parents raised me in a very empathetic and open home, and I credit them to be a major reason to why I never had to go through an identity crisis with my own sexuality. While I can say that I have always experienced attraction the way I do now, or at least as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until I was 14 that I finally put a word to what I am. This can be a trying time for anyone, the rage of youth starting to come on in full swing, but when I came to grips with myself, I felt no shame or guilt. It simply was.
In my younger years, when my mother had explained sex to me, she had always done so in a positive way. When we addressed the topic of homosexuality, she told me a story.
My uncle Luke, her older brother, is gay, and years ago, she was sitting at home with her mother when their phone rang. It was Luke, calling to ask if he could bring his partner home for Christmas, as his partner’s family had essentially disowned him, and he had nowhere to go. My grandmother, a staunch Mormon who had grown up in the South, assured him he was welcome at their home for Christmas. Afterwords, she turned to my mother who was 16 at the time, and said, “No one who would ever treat their child like that deserves to be a parent.”
While it was several years before I would come out to either of my parents, I knew that whenever I was ready to talk about it, I would be loved and always have a home with them.
5. My sexual history is not up for discussion.
We live in a world that has hyper-sexualized people whose orientation is different from heterosexuality, and mostly see LGBT people as sexual beings first. When many think of a gay man, they think of his relationship with other men before they think of his accomplishments in, perhaps, astrophysics or banking. They see the person’s interest in sex as their primary interest, when in fact their primary interest could be in cultivating a rather impressive herb garden.
But here we are, and so I feel the need to address what may become a barrage of questions about my own sexual experiences.
You don’t get to know about them, nor do you need to.
I am more than one thing, and while it has been my decision to be very open about a lot of personal things on this blog, this will be where I draw the line. Delving into my own sexual history to satisfy someone’s curiosity about my own orientation is wholly demeaning to me as an individual, and completely unnecessary in understanding the simple fact that I am attracted to men and women.
Also, while we’re here…
Sexual orientation is not about your current or past sexual actions. It is about to whom you find yourself attracted.
I am currently not sleeping with anyone, but that does not make me asexual. It simply means I’m choosing to not have sex with anyone right now. I do not intend to change this fact until I’m married.
As far as monogamy and bisexuality are concerned, they are not mutually exclusive. If a bisexual settles down with one person, they do not become “straight” or “gay” depending on the gender of their partner. Or in even simpler terms: “I don’t stop being Italian whenever I’m not eating Italian food.”
Lastly, I currently worthily hold a temple recommend, which means I am living LDS standards. I do not intend to change this at any point in the future. This decision was my own, and I ask that, while some may not understand it, it still be respected. I am my own person. However, I also would never wish that my choice be used to prop up bigotry toward individuals who have chosen a different path. Respect should come from all sides.
As I leave this with you, I also issue a challenge to others similar to me, if they wish to accept. Share your story. My time in the church as an LGBT member is neither unique nor common. I know plenty who share my feelings and experiences, and plenty who don’t. I believe that if we want to improve as a community, open and honest discourse is vital to bringing us closer to a more Christlike society. If only certain stories are told, we cannot see the entire picture, and will not be able to truly improve ourselves.
In the end, I admonish everyone to seek to see humankind as Christ sees us.
Worthy of love.
Note: I will not be reading the comment section of this for my own sanity. If you have serious inquiry, I’m considering writing a follow up post, and of course want to engage in this discussion, so I will be accepting questions or comments at email@example.com. These will all be screened before being forwarded to me.