And yet, on Saturday afternoon in Washington DC, I will walk in the Capitol Pride Parade. Last week in Utah, the group ‘Mormon’s Building Bridges’ walked together in the Salt Lake City Pride Parade to show support for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community. They wore their Sunday best. They carried scriptures and posters with quotes and songs on them. I am humbled by this show of love and bravery. It would be tough to do in Utah. Here’s a must-read news article about it: Over 300 Mormons Join Utah Gay Pride Parade (AP) The group can be found on Facebook HERE.
|Used with permission: Clinically Nomadic, http://www.flickr.com/photos/clinicallynomadic/|
In Mormon’s Building Bridges “about” page, they share this quote from the LDS Church:
“This [LDS] Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history … Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment — to love one another.” (“Church Responds to HRC Petition: Statement on Same-Sex Attraction”, http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-mormon-responds-to-human-rights-campaign-petition-same-sex-attraction, 2010)
I will walk.
I will walk to show the LGBT community that Mormons do not hate them. Most disagree with gay marriage, but (still) love and have compassion for all people, as this is what our Gospel teaches. Disagreeing in this area does not mean bigotry. If you look at the comments of my Gay Marriage post you will see that there were many who lovingly and respectfully disagreed with me. They feel as strongly in their convictions as I do mine. I respect them for standing for what they believe in. They are not bigots. These are people, like my own husband, who love and care for gay people, have gay friends and relatives, who are not judgmental or rude, and who have absolutely no problem with their wives attending gay pride parades (The present-tense wording in that sentence make it sound like Lance is a polygamist). Within this group, though, I still see some room for improvement. Disagreements do become hurtful, and in these moments, any message of love or acceptance is lost. People feel judged, not welcomed. How is anyone going to reach anyone in the church, the youth especially, if we quietly, though sometimes not purposefully, push them away?
I will walk because after I posted about my support for gay marriage I felt the sting of judgement from people who thought they had a right to condemn me as. I have felt just a tiny portion of what gay people, especially those within mine and other churches must feel. It is truly painful. I have always felt like church was for sinners, for building faith and growing our testimonies and yet, the minute I didn’t act in their view as 100% faithful 100% of the time, I was not welcome. These people are a very loud minority. Our church does not teach its members to treat people this way. To say the terrible things they said to me in my post and in emails. As you see though, even just in the comment section these people are a small, albeit freakishly, outspoken group of people.
I will walk with and for those members of my church and others who believe as I do. That gay marriage is a civil issue, a right that should be given to all people. Straight people like me who LOVE being married. Who see it as the greatest blessing in our lives and want others to have the same joy.
I will walk to show my gratitude for the people who walked in the Women’s and Civil Rights Movements. For those who stood with others who could not and walked for Disability Rights. Rights my children benefit from today. I will walk because my children have shown me how importance acceptance of differences is. I want to show them that I am learning.
I will walk to show publicly–outside my virtual world–the support I have for the people who have emailed and shared their heartbreaking stories with me. It will be an honor for me to thank them for trusting me with their pain. I will walk alongside members of the LGBT community that are living happy, fulfilled lives.
I will walk because I feel in my heart that it’s the right thing to do. If you live in the area, I hope you will join me. To learn more about the group of LDS members who will be walking in the DC Pride parade this Saturday, visit: http://www.facebook.com/events/308167089263872/ . We are meeting at 3:30, most of us plan on wearing our Sunday best.
As the community walks this weekend it will emphasize the abundance of support for those who are closeted of their orientation, whether it is a teenager or middle-aged man or woman. It be a public display that it gets better ( follow the link or see below).
I will walk, will you? If you’re not in the DC area, you can find other LDS contingents in parades here: http://mormonpride.org/
I’ve turned off “anonymous” commenting for this post. If you’re going to be hateful, at least have the guts to do it publicly.
It gets better at BYU.