Mormons in Pride Parades — Okay, I need to vent…

The way things are unfolding with Mormons in Pride parades this year has surfaced questions/concerns in my mind about the current “moment” — not just a “Mormon moment,” but also an “LGBT moment.”

Mormons Building Bridges was the group that organized the march in Salt Lake City on June 3rd. To march in the group, they requested/required no one have signage for “political causes.” That meant specifically no one in the group took a stand either way on marriage equality. Their signs were quotes from LDS General Authorities, the Bible, and LDS hymns about loving your neighbor.

On the surface, the message seems positive — “love” — but the “bridge” can be interpreted as toward the Church with its current policies. As one organizer has written on a Facebook page — and as is stated in substance on MBB’s public Facebook page:

The primary demographic of concern for MBB is the LGBT LDS community (particularly LGBT LDS youth) who are the most vulnerable among us. The secondary demographic is the LGBT community at large. Based on that understanding, the original plan for MBB’s identity post-SLC march was to turn the Facebook group into an open forum for exchange of ideas and encouragement on how to translate the sentiment of love into action on a local congregational level via FHEs [Family Home Evenings], dinner groups, firesides, 5th sunday lessons, etc. Actions like those will be most effective in addressing MBBs primary demographic. MBB is trying to bridge the gap between active LDS folks and those most vulnerable.

Permit me to translate this (as it relates to the current position of the Church):

The primary demographic of concern are gay Mormons, especially youth, who are already on the bridge, but might be walking toward the other side of the bridge — or might even jump off the bridge — without our help. The secondary demographic is the LGBT community who is on the far end of the bridge. The plan was to use the Pride parade as advertising. Gay Mormon youth who might be thinking of living a life in sin, feeling lonely, or plan to hurt themselves will see us in the parade, and know there is a place for them in the Church. We can continue the policy status quo with greater force: that is, to convert “love” into “action” such that active heterosexual Mormons can help those with this “identity crisis” in a number of forums.

Now, a number of folks for marriage equality did march in the Mormon contingent of the SLC parade, so my intention is not to pigeonhole everyone who marched. But since they agreed to not hold marriage equality signage, they basically agreed to be subsumed under the message of the official church (which is the “Divine Institution of [Hetero] Marriage,” “homosexual intimacy is a sin,” but “everyone is a child of God Who loves them”). There were questions in people’s mind about whether the message of “love” would be patronizing, but the message was well-received in SLC in part because of presence of Dustin Lance Black and folks like Troy Williams requesting the LGBT community there be nice.

I don’t suspect the message of “love” would be as well-received in marches outside the Mormon corridor.

Seattle, Portland, San Fran, San Diego, NYC, D.C., and perhaps a few other cities will have Mormons for Marriage Equality banners. These M4ME contingents will probably be smaller than SLC’s for obvious reasons. But hopefully they will garner enough media interest that the Church will have to address them externally and internally. (Btw, Deseret News was able to easily fold the MBB group in SLC into the Church’s previous statements. They’ll not be able to do the same with the M4ME groups.)

In terms of the “Mormon/LGBT” moment, it’s not hard for me to fathom that there are Mormons marching in Pride parades this year. It makes sense if you think about this in terms of current national power dynamics. There is a presidential incumbent who supports marriage equality and a presidential candidate who doesn’t and is a Mormon, so both groups feel empowered these days to relax their borders a bit. Likewise, I’m sure some members of Mormons for Marriage Equality feel compelled to not have Romney represent the whole church.

Still, I bet many Mormons would only think of marching if their contingent is a little bubble that represents the Church’s official position. Personally, I would rather see 10 Mormons refuse to march because 1 Mormon wants to hold a marriage equality sign, than 11 Mormons marching only after an agreement that no one hold a marriage equality sign. We don’t want the same shame heaped onto LDS LGBT youth you can be gay and think gay thoughts, but dont act on it to creep into these contingents: you can support marriage equality in your head, but dont represent the Church with that position.

Edit: There is now a Part 2 to this vent.

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30 Responses

  1. I think the LDS Church wants to have its cake and eat it too — they want to appear as though they have put the events of Prop 8 behind them, without actually putting in the thought or effort to genuinely mediate the damage. And the poor members who are genuinely in support of gay rights and marriage are getting caught in the middle.

  2. Alan says:

    Yes, it seems the members who want to support gay marriage are going out of their way to make their fellow Mormons comfortable — because they see their presence in a Pride parade as somehow a watershed moment. But really, it’s not a watershed moment at all if you cater to the “love the sinner, hate the sin” component. In fact, it’s arguably damaging.

  3. Just something to think about… Paul Wellstone participated in Twin Cities Pride for years, despite the fact that he voted for DOMA, and never endorsed marriage equality. (It seems reasonable to speculate that he would have evolved on this issue, were he still alive today — though we can’t know for sure, obviously.) But while he was alive, he participated in Pride year after year, officially refusing to take the politically correct stance on that particular issue.

    I guess my question is, why shouldn’t Mormons who don’t support marriage equality, but who do support efforts to curb suicide, bullying, and other forms of discrimination, be allowed to participate in Pride?

    Honestly, I think you’re missing the forest for the trees here… A few short years ago, no active, faithful LDS would have touched gay pride with a 30-foot-pole. The rhetoric Mormons have been accustomed to described Pride as an unabashed celebration of evil. Now we have a group of 350 – 500 (depending on which account you believe) Mormons marching in Pride. In any other universe, this would be considered extremely good news, a sign that the tide of understanding around same-sex sexuality is finally raising even Mormon boats. Instead, it seems to be triggering a snipe fest among people who now feel that the Mormons who marched just weren’t radical enough.

  4. Alan says:

    John, it’s not that they’re not “radical enough.” It’s that the message of MBB is the same message the Church has had since the late 1980s. The only difference is that it’s being repackaged in a Pride parade.

    M4ME, on the other hand, is a different message.

  5. Alan says:

    And it’s not that a lack of support for “marriage equality” is the issue. There are plenty of folks in the LGBT movement who themselves are iffy about the concept of marriage equality.

    The problem is that many of these Mormons in MBB don’t think God approves of homosexual intimacy. Catering to them, just so they’ll march in a Pride parade, is counterintuitive — regardless of how evil Mormons used to consider Pride parades.

  6. chanson says:

    I’m kind of divided on this, especially after seeing all of the positive posts on SLC Pride in my blog reading.

    As I said earlier, I find the MBB message deeply problematic. As you (Alan) point out, they’ve explicitly left their message wide open to being interpreted as “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

    OTOH, their Mormon bubble is floating in the same stream right alongside the people who want full rights for the GLBT community. Considering how far that is from the mainstream of Mormon thought (for example, I recently saw a jaw-droppingly insulting suggestion that gay people want marriage-protections for their families simply as a way of flipping the bird to the Christian Right), marching in the same parade with people who want marriage equality is a non-trivial positive step.

    Paul Wellstone participated in Twin Cities Pride for years, despite the fact that he voted for DOMA, and never endorsed marriage equality.

    This is an interesting point. Maybe the pride parade is a place where it’s better to err on the side of inclusivity. (Of course I’m not GLBT, so take my opinion FWIW.)

  7. Alan says:

    marching in the same parade with people who want marriage equality is a non-trivial positive step.

    It’s non-trivial in the same way the Church’s support of SLC’s nondiscrimination ordinances was non-trivial and was celebrated locally.

    On the one hand, the Church is saying, “We support your right not to be discriminated against just because of who you’re in a relationship with” and on the other hand, it’s saying, “unless you’re Mormon.”

    The Church wants to float down the same stream with everyone else, but still finds a way to remain a bubble — in that case, not have the ordinances be applied to itself. If it had to apply the ordinances to itself, it wouldn’t have supported them.

    In this case, of course Mormons will march in a Pride parade surrounded by differing opinions, as long as they can do so as “Mormons” and all that entails. It’s a regular theme these days to compare Mormon persecution with gay persecution, and while many see this as a sign of Mormons becoming more “understanding,” I see it more as a new strategy of how Mormons think about their relationship/interactions with the LGBT movement. “We’re both discriminated against. So, let’s stand together [even though we still won’t budge on the belief of homosexual intimacy as sinful].”

    Then again, I’m concentrating on the actions of MBB in this analysis. The M4ME movement is also an important development.

  8. Sara Long says:

    My involvement in this has led to me to some strange discoveries. For instance – openly gay men serving in leadership roles (and I don’t mean just the most well-known, Mitch Mayne) in several cities. Openly gay men in relationships receiving full fellowship at church. It would seem Utah’s reticence to enter the 21st century is not extended everywhere. And it’s totally unofficial – I can’t even find where I might visit a Welcoming LDS ward or congregation by searching online, even though I know such a thing exists.

    Are they (church leadership) turning a blind eye to these developments, which are at minimum a few years old? Members of the church are demonstrably not monolithic in their beliefs and political persuasions, but how is it that the church itself, being such a centrally controlled organization, allows for completely going against what is strictly administered elsewhere?

    I mean, it’s good, but it leaves me baffled as to what the actual stance of the church is today regarding their gay members and gay rights. We know in the past it was basically nothing but pure, unadulterated rejection. And by extension I don’t know whether to be concerned over what personal consequences for “public opposition against doctrine Church leaders are obliged to uphold” I might face. (Reference.)

  9. Sara Long says:

    For hilarity, I check this site every few days. Apparently those who marched in Utah Pride are the minions of Satan and should have had a hail storm dumped upon them.

  10. aerin says:

    Is it that far from “love one another” to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? In terms of marriage equality, I think it’s not a big step to go from love and acceptance of a person to love and acceptance of their choices (and fighting for the right to make those choices). But perhaps I’m being overly optimistic.

    I also think it’s unlikely that someone who marched in a parade would cut off their GLBT son, daughter, sibling, cousin, etc. Right now that’s a very real danger that mormon GLBT members face (social isolation from friends and family members). Would they also encourage straight marriage for gays (i.e., being gay can be “overcome” by the atonement)?

    I’m making assumptions here without proof. I see the point that there is a significant difference between MBB and M4ME.

  11. chanson says:

    Openly gay men in relationships receiving full fellowship at church.

    In same-sex relationships? Wow!

    Thanks for the links (@8 and @9), BTW — very interesting!

  12. Suzanne Neilsen says:

    Tentative first steps are tentative first steps. I suspect many of the people too scared to march with Mormons Building Bridges this year, will (to use the word of the moment) evolve, and in a year or two boldly advocate in Utah for such things as ENDA and marriage equality.
    Many Mormons marching in Utah live in Mormon neighborhoods and work with Mormon coworkers. Their kids are in Mormon play groups and go to school with other Mormons.
    Mormons marching outside Utah are not facing the same cultural conformity. And in California, because of Prop 22 and 8, they have a longer history of dealing with the issues. (For instance, many vocal Mormons against Prop 8, were silent during 22)

    But yeah, vent away. Here’s my vent–What drives me up the wall and bouncing on the ceiling are people because they don’t favor putting gays in camps, think they’re moderate. In fact, some of them are sooo far out there liberal that they favor ENDA with lots of exemptions that render it useless. And then (this is what really gets me) they’re so full of self-righteous indignation at folks like for me not showing proper gratitude for their generous benevolence.
    So I’m thinking marching in support of the idea that gays are human, our brothers and sisters, is a good first step.
    Even better is getting firm footing and standing for equality. Especially when you’re confronting a dominant hierarchical organization.

  13. Alan says:

    Heres my ventWhat drives me up the wall and bouncing on the ceiling are people because they dont favor putting gays in camps, think theyre moderate.

    Exactly. MBB seems more progressive than it is only when it’s set alongside M4ME — which I suspect it will be in the coming days (and probably to the chagrin of many in MBB). If the press for M4ME becomes enough, then everyone will forget about how progressive MBB was not, and this truly will be a watershed moment. But until that happens, I don’t see how this post is anything but realistic.

  14. Taryn Fox says:

    I’m bisexual and transgender.

    I think the importance of this event can’t be overstated, and the biggest reason for that is that it got Mormons out of their chapels and homes and out where their church’s victims are. It put them in contact with us, and put a face to the subjects of its abstract doctrines.

    Those people, their children especially, are going to remember everything they saw at that parade, including when their church makes life difficult for them or their loved ones. They’re going to know that things don’t have to be that way.

    Let’s voice our concerns, every time they come up, and not let the church get away with claiming to be on our side. But let’s do our best not to scare these people, and their kids, away. I have a lot of angry things I could say to them, that I desperately want to sometimes. But they’ll never understand why I’m hurting unless they get past the barriers their church erects in their minds, which keep them from having empathy.

    This is a step towards breaking those barriers.

  15. Holly says:

    Taryn’s right. I witnessed this, I talked to one of the parade organizers about the decision to let the LDS march and where to put them, I talked to Mormons who marched, I talked to LGBT people who saw and talked to them. It was hugely important. Once you’ve wept with someone and accepted a hug as they say, “I forgive you,” it’s a lot harder to deny their full humanity. It was monumental for representatives of the LDS community to ask for forgiveness and get it, and to feel, as those who march say over and over, forgiven, accepted, and loved. As Suzanne points out, marching in this parade was actually quite risky for active LDS. The mutual compassion demonstrated at the parade makes it a lot safer for Mormons to not merely insist that they “don’t hate gay people,” but to feel and express love and genuine advocacy. Those active LDS who already supported full marriage equality (and there were LOTS) are far more emboldened in their defense of it, and they can have franker conversations with those who marched but somehow don’t support it.

    And fyi: it was partly at the suggestion of parade organizers that the LDS marchers carried no signs advocating marriage equality. As one of the organizers put it, overall

    This was about common ground between LGBT and LDS. Clearly, we don’t have that with regards to marriage. But we do share common ground that kids shouldn’t be bullied. Teen suicides need to stop. Families should stay together. We need to be in conversation with each other. The question for me is quite frankly, do we want to see things improve within the LDS Church or do we want to maintain our anger?

    No one thinks that this is any indication that all is now well. But as Suzanne and Taryn say, as first steps go, it was in the right direction, and it covered a lot of ground.

  16. Rob says:

    I share some of the sentiments expressed here.

    @Sarah, you’re “baffled as to what the actual stance of the church is today regarding their gay members and gay rights” because senior leadership are divided and confused about it. Repeated anecdotal reports are that the Top 15 disagree vigorously amongst themselves on this issue, and their president seems quite uninterested. This leaves middle management and local leaders to implement what they think are church policy and priorities as they see fit. Result: everything from hard-liners holding church courts to liberals allowing committed relationships. Personally, I look at this situation and remember 1 Corinthians 14:33: “God is not the author of confusion.” To me it’s all just another proof that the LDS church, with its history of wild fluctuations and contradictory positions on the gay issue, still has never accurately understood homosexuality or taught what I know to be the truth about it. I can’t ever trust such leaders again, or their predecessors.

    As to the whole MBB thing, all the agendas and infighting are no surprise. I understand the perspective that says “any progress toward understanding is good progress,” and to some extent I agree. But with Alan, I think there are pitfalls here too. Because even with all the love and tears and hugs and outreach, the fact remains that MBB adherents are supporting a church whose doctrine excludes gay people and their relationships from full equality theologically, socially, and legally, and whose leaders by their silence continue to permit and even tacitly encourage a religious culture that remains overwhelmingly homophobic, especially in the Corridor. The suicides and the bullying continue. If it’s grassroots MBB individuals marching in Pride parades that have to pressure their “inspired” leaders to drag the institutional church forward to more tolerance and acceptance, then I’d say something is seriously backward here. Truly inspired leaders should be out in front advancing more understanding and new knowledge, not being dragged forward kicking and screaming by the ones they’re supposed to lead.

    These are just a few of the types of observations that finally led this gold-plated church resume-holding, lifelong TBM RM BYU grad and former temple sealer (me) out of the church. I couldn’t in good conscience stay in or support an organization whose leaders remained so confused and contradictory while at the individual level, where the Savior always focused, such incredible pain and tragedy and hurt continued to be inflicted in the name of orthodoxy. To the extent MBB tries to reverse that trend, great. But because at the end of the day it still supports that homophobic organization, I can’t see it as anything but temporarily cosmetic. It’s incapable of the only change that matters.

  17. Goldarn says:

    I’m not gay, so maybe I shouldn’t say anything, but I believe that when Mormons build a bridge, that bridge goes in one directiontowards them, not towards you.

    Like I said, though, I’m not gay, so maybe I don’t get it.

  18. Taryn Fox says:

    @17 Goldarn, I agree. But I feel that’s how the institutional church operates, not necessarily how individuals do.

    I would never have realized that I didn’t have to hate myself, if I’d never come into contact with the people who showed me.

  19. Chino Blanco says:

    I guess I’m maybe a bit more sanguine about what this all means than the OP. In 2008, the institutional LDS church threw its weight behind a campaign that demonized LGBT folks. Fast forward to 2012 and those same LGBT folks are welcoming Mormon participation in Pride parades. Lance and Troy made the right call.

    The reality is that no matter how many times Melissa Harris-Perry invites Joanna Brooks et al to join her for a friendly chat about Mormonism, the contrast isn’t going away anytime soon.

  20. Alan says:

    Something we already know about the suicides of gay Mormon youth is that, in many cases, “love” is what kills them. Hate kicks people out the Church — or leads them to choose to leave it voluntarily, seeing love on the outside. Love makes it harder to leave. Gay people in the Church get bogged down by expectations to uphold LDS standards, loved by their families, their peers, their bishops. I know personally someone who is very strong-willed and independent — but became suicidal at the point at which he felt most supported as a gay person at Church — an atmosphere that does not accept the “sin.”

    The part of this that I would be sanguine about is if the culmination of M4ME banners over the next few months forces the Church to officially respond with an acknowledgement that there is a diversity of opinion within itself — not just on the question of marriage equality, but implicitly on the question of homosexuality as sin. Otherwise, all I see are a culmination of factors that would have Mormons marching in Pride parades this year — i.e, a diffusing of Prop 8 animosity, Romney for President, an incumbent that supports gay marriage, etc.

    Sure, as Holly notes @15, after a hug from someone forgiving you, it’s harder to fight against their rights. But civil marriage equality is coming and there’s nothing Mormons can do about it even if they wanted to. Her point about those for marriage equality being more emboldened to have franker discussions with fellow Mormons is important. But they’ll have their work cut out for them because, post-SLC, the impression I get from the MBB Facebook group is that it attracts a hodgepodge of people where “upholding LDS standards without promoting the gay lifestyle” wins the day because that’s the current position of the Church. Basically, a lot of folks seem self-congratulatory about the march — like they did a good thing for the PR of their Church and an amorphously good thing for the gay people in their Church. What good thing? They showed “love.”

    I don’t mean to sound cynical, but unless I see movement on the “sin” question, all I see is the same dialogue being played out on a different front — even if in this particular case, Mormons are the minority participants. Again, though, the actions of M4ME are different.

  21. Alan says:

    A NYT opinion piece comparing a possible fate of MBB to the pro-ERA Mormon groups in the 1970s:

    The church began to pay attention to the groups increasing political activism, and members of Mormons for E.R.A. began to pay a price for their political apostasy. Some women received letters from church officials warning them about their spiritual fates. If you are really serious about being a Mormon, a high-ranking church official wrote to Teddie Wood, one of the original four founders of the group, you will sustain the Prophet, before concluding, So far as I am concerned you are not a Mormon.

    This comparison is flawed because Michael Otterson has expressed in relation to the M4ME banner in D.C.: “The church is not directive to its members in relation to public policy or how they vote, but would obviously hope that church members would advocate for policies consistent with its moral position.” IOW, Mormons need not fear reprimand for marching behind marriage equality banners.

  22. chanson says:

    That may be what Otterson is saying. However, considering the interesting dynamic Rob described…

    senior leadership are divided and confused about it. Repeated anecdotal reports are that the Top 15 disagree vigorously amongst themselves on this issue, and their president seems quite uninterested. This leaves middle management and local leaders to implement what they think are church policy and priorities as they see fit. Result: everything from hard-liners holding church courts to liberals allowing committed relationships.

    …it’s not clear that we can necessarily assume that Otterson’s position is the final word on the subject.

    I’ll go read the piece you linked and see what I think of it.

  23. chanson says:

    OK, here’s my reaction to the piece: I think the parallel with ERA is close enough that it makes sense to analyze it. However, how far the parallel will really go remains to be seen.

    OTOH, I’m glad to see MBB changed their goal phrase from “love and understanding” to “understanding and respect” — though “love and respect” might have been better still. “Understanding” is something that gets mutually built, not something you start out with on your side of the chasm and hand across your bridge to the other side.

  24. Holly says:

    This comparison is flawed because Michael Otterson has expressed in relation to the M4ME banner in D.C.: The church is not directive to its members in relation to public policy or how they vote, but would obviously hope that church members would advocate for policies consistent with its moral position. IOW, Mormons need not fear reprimand for marching behind marriage equality banners.

    The comparison is apt because it is due to the fallout and devastatingly bad PR from the way that Church approached members who supported the ERA that Otterson asserted the church’s present neutrality about the political positions of its members. If the anti-gay leaders thought they could get away with censuring and punishing members in M4FME today, they would. But they know it would be too costly to do so, and they know that because of what happened when they punished people like Sonia Johnson over their support of the ERA.

  25. Alan says:

    @22: I would need to see more evidence that Monson is uninterested (not that such evidence could be easily brought forward). I mean, he’s certainly not disinterested given how the directive for Prop 8 was a First Presidency thing. I can see how the Q12 would be in disagreement. It’s just that I’ve heard reports of stake presidents okaying members’ involvement in pro-marriage equality politics (e.g., M4ME) after what I assume is a directive above them. You’re right that later down the line, the Church could backpedal on this neutrality: “We can’t tolerate this snowball. It’s getting too big too fast, and it’s causing too much internal dissonance.”

  26. chanson says:

    @25 I’d love to see more evidence too. I think his claim is intriguing, and it leaves me curious as to how accurate it may be.

    Regardless of that, I have a hard time taking Otterson too seriously. I get the impression that Otterson and the newsroom are more concerned with reacting to (and massaging) public opinion on Mormonism than they are with actually relaying content-bearing information from the leaders of the CoJCoL-dS.

  27. Holly says:

    “I would need to see more evidence that Monson is uninterested.”

    “Uninterested” is likely an extremely kind euphemism. Monson is not “interested” in much at all these days. I have family who saw him dedicate a temple a year or two ago, and know people who have seen him either at other functions or even in the building where he purportedly works far more recently than that. His cognitive functions are severely impaired–he’s clearly suffering from age-related dementia at the very least, if not something more serious like Alzheimer’s. He sometimes doesn’t even know where he is or why he should be there. He was never the brightest bulb, and now he’s becoming quite simple, but they still have to dress him up and trot him out on important occasions, and find ways to support to his titular authority.

    Ah, the joys of a gerontocracy.

  28. chanson says:

    They would be doing themselves a favor if they’d set a standard term length for a GA calling.

    This is totally random, but I was thinking the same thing about the Supreme Court the other day. Not that that one is necessarily a gerontocracy, but it seems crazy to grant so much political weight to the luck-of-the-draw of precisely when somebody dies (or becomes too infirm to continue working).

  29. Julia says:

    I am not of the LGBT persuasion, although some of my favorite Ursula LeGuin novels explore various sexual societies and communities and I imagine that I could fit into a completely female society, or one in which polyandry was nirmal, and be just fine.

    For me, I guess I just got the peacemaker, radical acceptance, rarely judgmental gene splice. I think that the empathy and ability to see people as themselves was more environmental. I am not saying that to brag, but I wanted to make sure I am clear about why I believe a believing member of the church can love the person, love their path through life, and believe that any “sin” is not my business and should not impact my ability to identify with people who don’t make the same choices I did.

    Staying in the church, loving my visiting teaching route entirely made up of essentially exmos who are still on the records of the church and are willing to have limited contact from a church member, as long as we don’t talk about church, being willing to talk about the incest as a child and then rape as a teenager, and the local leaders being pretty un-Christlike when I disclosed the abuse. I can easily see how my experiences could make me resentful and mad at the church, unwilling to have any contact, and to stay as far away from the church as possible.

    I get it. I don’t judge people for leaving, or being mad. I am not even surprised anymore that people who know my story are judgmental because they think I should leave and shout my reasons from the rooftops. If I believed that was right for me, I would do it. It isn’t.

    What is right is for me to become friends with the women I visit teach and respect their desire to not talk about the church or be given church materials. So, I send them homemade cards, text them if they are willing to let me do that, come to the christening of their granddaughter who has two moms, and pick up milk, ice cream and hamburger in the middle of a snowstorm because she didn’t have chains or snow tires.

    I approach my friends who are LGBT in the same way. Two of my three best friends growing up have “come out of the closet.”. The third asked to be taken off the church rolls at 18, and never looked back. It took years of one sided contact for them to believe that I missed them, and I didn’t want to convert them. I wasn’t loving the sinner, I was loving my dear friend(s). One of my gay friends challenged me to go to a Gay Pride rally in Portland with him. I am sure he was not expecting me, my four year old and two year old twins. I made rainbow hats with lots of glitter, and gave my friend and his partner matching ones I made for them. His partner was especially confused by the hats. My oldest was very direct, “Mom made hard for all are family. I met uncle C*** before. Which way do you spell your first name Uncle Sean?”

    I haven’t been to parades or marches every year, although I did do a lot of advocating for several state laws that at least made civil unions available here. Until the constitutional ammendment is over turned I can’t do a lot, other than continue to love my gay brothers and sisters. The same applies to people who have been members but aren’t now, who have never been members, and even people who love onions.

    I know this got way long, don’t worry you will either love me or hate me for needing to always finish a thought.

    My basic view, on everyone is, “Hi, I’m Julia, I am imperfect just like anyone else. Since I would never want to have someone love me but hate a vital part of me, so I choose not to hate or judge you. Now, to get down to the serious stuff; do you like SciFi, can you make scones from scratch so we can have hot scones to keep the kids happy while we eat some and talk? No, okay I will teach you the next time you come over. If my surgery goes well, I will even take you on a shirt hike on one of my favorite trails. Live ya!”


  1. July 29, 2012

    […] that the Pride parades are almost wound down for the summer, there are concerns I have about the Mormon presence that I would like to […]

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