Guest Post: I Love You, So I Say This, parts 17-19

Guest post by Anonymous. This Mama got a gay kid for Christmas in 2019. In March 2020 BYU signaled LGBTQ acceptance in an update to the Honor Code, and hastily retracted it. Feeling protective, this Mama wrote what she wished she could say to her Mormon family members. A week later, the first major COVID lockdowns started, and the BYU incident was pushed to the background. A year later, this personal appeal to the better angels is a plea in remembrance of that horrible week. There are 19 short pieces. This post is parts 17-19 of 19.

Parts 1-4
Parts 5-8
Parts 9-11
Parts 12-13
Parts 14-16

I love you. So I say this. Part 17

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

I will say this simply:

The Church is a Not Safe space for your granddaughter.

If you wish her to be there, you are wrong to do so. If you took her there this Sunday, it would be Not Safe.

If you are ready to face reality, check out what a Mormon context does to gay youth. It is a trainwreck of tragedy. There are stories, statistics, and established psychology around it. Read about it. Becoming informed is part of being Safe.

If you imagine sending me information on Evergreen, North Star, Church talks or books, conversion therapy, ruminations on how this is a phase, or if you plan to talk to her directly with anything but absolute acceptance and belief of her reality, please know these will not be received as expressions of love.

These would be Not Safe. I will act to keep her Safe.

They are coming: photos of her dating a girl, photos from Pride marches and Queer Camp. Stories of relationships and crushes and heartbreak and first kisses. Perhaps updates to her identity, appearance, and behaviors. Introductions to a girlfriend. Sharing a room with her girlfriend at family gatherings. An invitation to a gay wedding. Discussions of insemination and/or adoption. Friends with they/them pronouns and top surgery. Expose yourself to these things now, so you are not surprised.

Find time to learn some language: sex, gender, identity, expression, attraction, and how these all relate to each other. Practice using they/them pronouns. These words probably mean something different than you expect. If you get that far, you’ll find lots more new language too.

Watch Queer Eye on Netflix, consider the member of the team who grew up Mormon, don’t look away. If my bebe sends you a playlist, listen to the lyrics. Buy us tickets to LoveLoud so we can go as a family.

This is what it takes. You’ll be uncomfortable. Good. You deserve to grow.

I love you. So I say this. Part 18

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

My gay kid is into stories. ALL stories. She reads, listens to, watches, and writes stories every day.

I went to the bookstore to find stories. I asked the person who curates the LGBTQ section.

I flipped through books. I discovered quickly that most of them contain LGBTQ characters in trauma.

Your grandchild has not been traumatized. She has been worried, and she still cries in relief sometimes. But she is not, as far as I can tell, scarred.

Right now, I need her to see herself in stories of joyous queer normality. In the bookstore I was sad that this is not the default of queer literature and it seems hard to find.

But angels are in the world. I found a neighbor who is bisexual. She used to read my stuff on the LDS blog back in the day! She’s not Mormon, and never has been, but she found the blog comforting and fascinating. Having read my stuff back then, she now will guide my reading. She knows where to find the stories of non-traumatized queer characters. Isn’t the universe funny? Or maybe that’s God.

I want the happy stories to be the stories that are easy to find. I want them to be the stories we tell and the stories we live.

Be part of her story. Be Safe.

I love you. So I say this. Part 19

“So how are you guys feeling about the Church?”

There is holiness in being wrong. I have walked that path, I continue to walk it. I try to push away my accountability for my actions that hurt others.

I understand, it is a reflex.

If for a moment I consider I have been wrong, then I know I have done wrong, and this wars with my concept of myself as a good person. This is more painful than anything else a person can experience. So, we usually choose to believe we are right, even when we are wrong.

The hinterlands of being wrong, however, are a sacred place. It is a place of vulnerability, change, progression, discomfort, anguish, and absolution. It’s okay to be wrong. It’s the place we grow.

I invite you to be wrong. You will not be alone. It is the most important place you can ever go. There is love here.

I love you. So I say this.

Be Safe.

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3 Responses

  1. Elisa says:

    Love this series, love this paragraph:

    “The hinterlands of being wrong, however, are a sacred place. It is a place of vulnerability, change, progression, discomfort, anguish, and absolution. It’s okay to be wrong. It’s the place we grow.“

    I need to remember to be wrong more.

  2. Di says:

    So good – thank you for sharing this journey.

  3. Katie Blakesley says:

    Thank you for this series–for your words and your love and your openness and your vulnerability and your truth.

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