Queer Mormon Women*: The Effects of Inclusive Television

gleeby Allison Renee

This post is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

My story begins with the TV show Glee.

That’s right. Glee.

I started watching Glee back when I was a pretty hardcore Mormon in college. The show appealed to me and my friends because they sang “clean” versions of popular songs and it seemed like a fairly wholesome show. Of course, when the character Kurt started exploring his identity as a gay kid, we got a little uncomfortable. Was it really okay for us to be watching this show that so clearly promoted homosexuality? After about the first half of season one we all made the conscious decision to stop watching it because we just couldn’t support such a show.

I probably would have stuck with that decision if it hadn’t been for Darren Criss and his debut as Blaine, the lead singer of the competing show choir group called the Warblers. Darren was a big name in the Harry Potter fandom and I was intrigued by the fact that he was going to be on Glee. So I watched a video of the Warblers singing “Teenage Dream” and I fell in love all over again. Soon after that I decided it was probably okay to watch the show, so I caught a few episodes here and there but was never quite as dedicated as that first season.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Unweaving the Past

K and C at CA Wedding

This is a post by Kendahl, aka kmillecam, and is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote a post for The Exponent.  Over the years I have written about ceremonies, healing, and bodily rights.  I have written about my journey in Mormonism and feminism, and found solace in the voices here, blogger and commenter alike.  This particular brand of feminism here at The Exponent is my cup of tea.  These women are thoughtful and accepting.  You can see my other previous posts here.

As I perused the body of the work I have done here, I see that I have left out a defining portion of my life.  I am a Queer Mormon Woman*.

I have been officially “out” for a little over a year.  On National Coming Out Day, October 11, in 2013, having come out to a few people in my life, I decided to finally write a post on Facebook about how I identify as a queer woman.  It was a spur of the moment decision, and really just served to make official what most people already knew about me.  I was in the process of my divorce, and I was dating women exclusively.

I will be 35 this year.  I don’t know why, but that detail is prominent to me.  I keep finding that I beat myself up for not “figuring out the gay thing” earlier in life.  After all, I was an LGBTQIA+ advocate for several years.  I even identified as bisexual for a few years before I finally realized that I am queer.  And my partner Corinne has known she was gay, in spite of also growing up in a Mormon family, since she was about 15.  Why has it taken me so long?  Why wasn’t it obvious to me?

My sister has expressed that she has known this about me for a number of years.  My late grandmother said the same when I came out to her about a year ago.

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Book Review: Moroni and the Swastika

Utah residents: Weller Book Works is hosting a book launch tonight at 7pm in Salt Lake’s Trolley Square for Moroni and the Swastika. David Conley Nelson will read a passage from, answer questions about, and sign copies of the book for attendees. 

 

Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany, written by David Conley Nelson, is a confronting historical look at Swastikathe relationship of the Mormon Church and Germany. The book itself is a result of Nelson’s 20-year project researching the German history of the church that culminated in his doctoral dissertation from whence this book is derived. Relating much more than only the Nazi regime, this is an account of the church and its German membership from the first missionaries sent to Germany in the 1850’s, well into the telling of the reactions of attendees of the Alaborg, Denmark Mormon History Association conference in 2000 where Nelson presented some of his research.

 

The breadth of the book is both positive and negative. It is positive in that it squarely positions readers to understand the historical relationship of the church with German Mormon pioneers, German church membership and Germany in general. Conversely, in undertaking such a broad report, the first section of the book felt long in anticipation of the upcoming analysis of the relationship of the church and the Nazis, which is not discussed until section 2. Nevertheless, Nelson’s writing style, a combination of narrative examples that engross the reader, peppered with analysis and context, make the book easy to read and engaging. Less academic in style than other comparative historical texts, it gives the reader a good foundational knowledge in regard to the position of the Mormon Church and its German members leading up to, following, and during World War II.

 

In reading the text, it was disconcerting to understand the admiration of the Mormons by the Nazis in genealogical research, and distressing to discover that such detailed genealogical records appeared to be equal, if not more important than actual living, surviving church members in the post-war rebuilding of Germany.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Family and Love and Family and Love

Guest post by Charmaine

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.  Please be sure to read Charmaine’s previous post here

Hi! I’m Charmaine and I’m a queer Mormon woman.

 

exAs a bisexual woman in a heteronormative relationship, it’s easy for me to hide my queerness. I don’t do so intentionally, it just doesn’t come up that often. When I’m directly asked, I usually tell people I’m bisexual or I’m in the middle range on the Kinsey scale. I think my family members know, but we don’t talk about it very much – maybe only once or twice ever. My partner knows and I think all my closest friends know. My ex-husband knows. I don’t know if my kids know, they’re 9 and 6 and while I don’t hide it from them, I think the most I’ve ever said about my sexuality is that I like everyone.

 

I come from a very staunch Mormon family. Growing up, we never left meetings before the closing prayer was said, none of us dated before we were 16, all the men in the family have served missions, and all of my parent’s kids have gotten married in the temple and worked hard to multiply and replenish the earth. So, I’m kind of the black sheep in the family.

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Feedback is Not Enough

mormon-women-leaders-videoMormon feminists have long advanced the notion that women should have the opportunity to offer feedback on policy decisions that affect women. Recent reports suggest that this message is being heard. However, an overemphasis on feedback, without female inclusion in other stages of the policy-making process, leaves much to be desired.

Recent examples of church policy-making suggest that there is more inclusion of women in churchwide policy-making today than there was in the nineties, when important initiatives such as the Proclamation on the Family and the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church curricula were advanced without female feedback. Reference D

Yet, a model in which feedback is the female role is still an androcentric model, with women excluded from both the beginning and end stages of the policy-making process. Certain women are offered opportunities to provide feedback after ideas are formed by men and before decisions are made by men but all of these women are selected by men through church callings or special invitation.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Truth

by Charmaine

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

For over 30 years I lived as if the church was the greatest truth. That one thought shaped my whole world. And it was a good thought – my world was really beautiful.

EFY 1990s

EFY 1990s

Growing up, I was a bit “boy crazy.”I dated a lot of different boys and went on a lot of group dates, but I was a bit socially awkward. I used to hear the word “intimidating”a lot. I was smart and spoke my mind, sometimes to the horror of my parents, Sunday School teachers, and/or Young Women leaders. In college I blossomed though. I dated more in the first 6 months of college than all the previous years. I had my first boyfriend and my first broken heart. I was attracted to women, but I never considered it to be a problem, because I definitely wasn’t gay – I loved boys! I loved cuddling with them, I loved kissing them, I loved talking with them and hanging out and being around them. Boys were awesome!

I remember at one point in my adolescence, my mom pointing out that Anne Frank talks about the naked female form in her diary. This could only mean that it was normal to appreciate a human body – male or female, it didn’t make you gay! That made sense to me. I always just assumed that all girls were attracted to girls in addition to boys. Even today, I am surprised when women aren’t attracted to other women in even the smallest part. I forget that some women are completely heterosexual, I’m just not.

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Queer Mormon Women*: I Don’t Like Pizza

Guest Post by Michaela

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

Michaela is a twenty year old girl with a passion for writing and film making. 

 

I want you to imagine for a second, that you have found the person of your dreams.cards

This person is fantastic.

You spend time with them, you get to know them, and you start to realize that you genuinely like this person, maybe even love them.

You talk a little, flirt a little, maybe go on a few dates.

There’s only one problem.

You don’t like pizza.

When you tell them, they laugh a little and play it off as a joke. “No, it’s true. I really don’t like pizza.” You say. Their humor turns into confusion. They don’t understand. How can you not like pizza? Everyone likes pizza. “I don’t know. I just never have. There’s no appeal to it at all.”

Ah, but of course you just haven’t tried the right kind of pizza. Or you were denied it so much as a kid you’ve convinced yourself you don’t like it. You’ll learn to like it eventually.

“No. I really don’t like pizza. I don’t think I ever will.”

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