I will walk

I am a frumpy married Mormon mother of four. I have all of three gay friends that I know in real life.   I’m scared of crowds and in general, just don’t like people. And before my post last month, a Gay Pride Parade is the LAST place I think anyone would think I would be.

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.

13 thoughts on “I will walk

  1. I don't know if I should comment or not…But here it goes…And this comment is not meant to be hateful or anything…I'm just bothered by some of this…First, I think it's fantastic that people in the LDS church are now starting to embrace and show kindness towards members who are gay, because they certainly never use to. But what bothers me is the LDS church only jumps on a bandwagon when it is popular to do so. They have always done this…Plural marriage, blacks and the priesthood, and now being supportive of people who are gay. Don't get me wrong all these changes are great, but it makes the Church and it's members seem incredibly wishy washy. I can't respect a religion that constantly changes with the times only because it's popular to do so.

  2. Jenny, this isn't the Church. These groups are made up of members and ex-members of the church, but the groups are in now way sponsored or even approved by the church. Does that make sense? You have to know how much we-people who believe like I do- are the minority in the church. I'm walking to affect change just as much inside the church as to show the LGBT community that I care. Times change. Do you disrespect people who have a change of heart about the civil rights of gay people? It's slow, but as society changes, people change. Though I highly doubt the LDS church will ever change its stance on gay issues, I do believe that the members will have their hearts softened towards them if people continue to speak up on their behalf.

  3. Words cannot say how proud I am that you are doing this Lexi. Both for the post you wrote last month and now by participating in this walk. I'm not Mormon and I wish I could walk with you in solidarity!Also, I doubt that any of the "anonymous" haters from last month will leave any comments on this post. They like hiding behind their mask of superiority entirely too much to ever remove it.

  4. I'm too much of a blubbering mess to say any of the things i want to say to you right now. So, just know if ever some crazy woman, who looks like she hasn't remembered to brush her hair in 6 years comes up to you dragging two boys she clearly has no control over and plants a big sloppy kiss on your head, well that's just me trying to say thank you for being the brave and incredible person you are.

  5. Ya, I see what you are saying…And I guess I thought this was a church thing and I didn't realize that you guys were a minority when speaking out for the LGBT community.I guess I get angry when I hear of leaders in the Church being supportive of this issue now…I'm angry because my best friend is gay, and where the hell were these understanding leaders when we were growing up in the Church? It makes me sad that people were not this kind years ago.I love what you are doing Lexi 🙂

  6. I can not begin to articulate the depth of my pride of you yet I don't know you.Each day I come here I am amazed at your strength. But you must stop making yourself sound less than (frumpy mom – ah c'mon you are not!)The fact that you added that you understand the woman's movement as well as this issue blew me away. So many women your age don't get it. Think feminism is a bad word. Oh no I'm not a feminist. Yes, you are if you want to be equal. It doesn't mean you hate men for heaven's sake. It means you have choices. You can get a credit card in your own name even if you are not employed outside the home. (and isn't that employment anyway ladies?)I am proud of you for all of this. Standing up for what you believe in. Standing up for equality of everyone man, woman and child. Standing up and having the coglioni's to stand up to the haters. and lastly here is what I don't get – why haters would come here then?I get the same stuff as well.Look if you don't like what i'm saying go somewhere else you don't have to say vile things in comments like a coward.i don't like certain television so I avoid it. I don't believe in guns so I don't have them.i can make choices you know? I don't have to ridicule, berate or belittle someone.So poo to the haters who have bugged you and again. I admire you immensley Lexi.I wish I were home right now because I'd march with you! (i live in the burbs of DC but out of town today)

  7. Good for you, Lexi. Maybe your next step should be to show the atheist/freethinker community some love — we're nice people who get a bad rap, too! Safe to say your plate is full for right now, though.

  8. i agree totally. It kills me how some people treat other people and do it all in the name of the church! Crazy! What do you think Jesus would do?? Awesome thoughts and posts as always!

  9. Frequent reader, first time comment:) I consider my self an activist, fighting the good fight, but when it came to "fighting" with my church about this issue, I chose to leave the Catholic church rather than stay and fight. It is my belief that there is nothing harder than being an activist in the faith community that raised and nurtured you. It was too hard for me. What you are doing takes courage and strength of character and is making me rethink staying in the Catholic community, but with a voice of loving opposition. Haters gonna hate, you do your thing proudly!!!!

  10. Just stumbled upon your blog (via JMBC, autism correlation post. hilarious). Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for writing this. I'm not LDS, or gay for that matter, but love so much about the mormon church that I've almost convinced my husband to hit up a ward with me…except the whole gay thing kills me. because I love gay people too. And not in a, I love you just please never fall in love or have a family like I can way. Anyway, this makes me feel better. like the two can coexist.

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