The idea for this post has been on my mind ever since Mostly a Martha’s post about the BYU Understanding Same-Gender Attraction group’s video. It has taken me some time to write as I am sure to either offend someone or sound naive, possibly both at once.
I have very conflicted feelings about the issue of homosexuality. I had a wonderful gay friend in grad school. We would often talk about how being Mormon and being gay were similar; both complicated our dating lives and made us feel different than everyone else around us. I have come to the realization over time—the more I meet people and read about these issues—that a certain percentage of the population is genetically gay. It is how they are. At the same time, I really feel that children deserve—and do best when—they live with loving and supportive biological parents. (I also believe other family structures can work when the biological one fails.) I am not against homosexual couples having rights such as insurance, tax, hospital visitation rights, etc. To me, that is not the issue. I just cannot say I am for homosexual marriage because of my belief in the biological family when it is done correctly.
I was really impressed by this post about an openly gay man who is married to a woman and has three children. While I am NOT saying this is the route for all homosexuals facing the seemingly huge divide between religion, family, and same-gender attraction, a few things about this man’s experience struck me. First of all, his parents were completely supportive of him when he told them at age 11 or 12 that he was homosexual. I am amazed he could have such a safe relationship with his parents, let alone have them accept his same-gender attraction.
The second thing is how open he and his wife were about the issue—they knew each other since they were young and had many, many open discussions about it. Every homosexual LDS person needs a friend like this, one who can support them and talk openly about the issues within the context of being religious. Too many gay people have to find that support outside of the church. This kind of openness is what we should be striving for, no matter the ensuing decisions of those involved.
I have been asking myself, what am I doing to make it better? I realized I needed to change my mental reactions to people who are homosexual. I too often cringe at their differences and don’t know how to respond. If I start to accept mannerisms, then maybe they could start to feel that I care for them. It won’t decide theological battles, but it can help someone live an easier life.
We as a Mormon church have a long way to go to be more accepting of gays. Gay people deserve to feel more loved. No one should have to feel like suicide is the only way out. There have to be better answers to resolving this issue, and it starts with more open communication.
What do you think the Mormon community could do to make it better for homosexuals?