Queer Mormon Women*: Truth
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.
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.
When I was the ripe old age of 22, I got married. For a couple of years he and I lived in Iowa. We happened to be there when same-sex marriage was legalized and we were living next door to the best neighbors we had ever had – two gay men. Our gaybors, in addition to other new LGBTQIA+ friends, opened my eyes up to what kind, loving, accepting, and service-oriented people who were non-Mormon AND queer could be. I’m ashamed to say that up until that point, a small part of me still held onto the notion that queer people were somehow deviant.
It was not too long after that when I began to look more closely at my own sexuality. Luckily, during this time, I was able to talk to my husband about my attraction to women. We were still active, practicing, and mostly believing Mormons at that point, but I had begun to wonder about (at that time) the Church’s stance on homosexuality
For 30 years, I had been living as if the church was the greatest truth. But something shifted. It wasn’t very big at first. I remember that first shift – I thought, “Huh. I guess some people really are just hardwired that way. There is nothing that can change them. AND THAT’S OK.”That one thought began to color everything I was seeing. Before, I saw the world in black and white. Black and white was really gorgeous and it worked for nearly 30 years, but gray opened up a lot of possibilities.
Eventually, my marriage ended, and not too long after, my faith in the Mormon church and God fell apart also. For me, this was essential in my ability to explore my sexuality. I was as Molly Mormon as you could be before this point. I was a virgin when I got married, and I had never even reached second base with anyone other than my husband. I had certainly never explored my sexuality beyond a couple of Truth or Dare games in adolescence. Now, things are a little different.
I can definitely say that I like girls at least as much as I like boys. I love cuddling with them, I love kissing them, I love talking with them and hanging out and being around them. Girls are awesome! I have a hard time settling on one specific label – bisexual, pansexual, demisexual, and sapiosexual all seem to describe me in different ways. “Queer”is a great catchall. Currently, I am in a “heteronormative” relationship with an amazing man who loves and supports me and encourages me to live authentically. While I still consider myself a cultural Mormon (sort of like a cultural Jew), I don’t believe or practice Mormonism, but it’s my heritage and I’m proud of it. I loved my time as a believing and practicing Mormon. It shaped who I am today, but for me to be able to live authentically, I had to take a step back from that faith and lifestyle. Luckily I have many amazing friends and family members who continue to love and support me in my new life choices.
For over 30 years I lived as if the church was the greatest truth. Now I live as if I am the greatest truth.
Charmaine is a thirty-something living with her two kids and two dogs in the heart ofTempe, AZ. She’s currently a student at ASU studying psychology and religion. Her favorite things are her boys, her dogs, her books, hanging out with Adrian, authentic Mexican food, and her collection of earrings (in that order). She is a self-proclaimed water snob and in blind taste tests can accurately tell you which Phoenix-metropolitan city tap water originates or which brand of bottled water she is drinking. In her spare time, she practices yoga and takes pictures ofpretty things. If she were a superhero, she would be a philosowarrior.