Last week, a blogger by the name of Josh Weed, posted a personal story that quickly went viral. Why? Because Josh Weed came out as a gay Mormon man who is happily married to a woman. I’ve decided to write a response to Weed’s story, not so much because of what he said, but mainly for what was not said: his omissions and the implications of his story on the wider LDS and LGBT communities.
You can read his story on his blog, The Weed, here: Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary.
Last week, I came across a news article entitled, Gay Students vs. BYU Honor Code (archived here), which was an editorial showcasing three cases of how gay students were being discriminated against by LDS-owned Brigham Young University’s honor code. I found this article to be interesting since it touched on a few of the same issues that I have with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“the Church”).
After reading the article, I made the decision to share it on Twitter and Facebook (something I do regularly with articles I read). After clicking the “share” button, it asked me to add my own comments to the link, so I wrote the following:
Post-secondary education should be about challenging the status quo, pushing boundaries, innovation, exploring the world with new eyes, and free-thinking. Yet BYU’s Honor Code represses all of that, and is simply “about controlling the production of the next generation of Mormons”
(Note the last line being a quotation from the article itself.)
I knew that what I wrote would be provocative – especially for my LDS family and friends who would be certain to see it on Facebook – but this was kind of the point. I wanted the article to get people’s attention, because I feel that such discrimination happens all too frequently and shouldn’t be tolerated, let alone institutionalized, by a prestigious post-secondary institution. At the time, I didn’t expect to get much of a response from posting it on my Facebook wall, seeing as I post numerous other articles on a daily basis, with only a few comments here and there. This one, however, gained a lot more attention than I could have imagined, and turned into a large 4 day debate.
Tonya Miller, speaking at OUTSpoken (a LGBTQ week long event consisting of many public events and forums in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada - March 10, 2011
This is a touching speech from Tonya Miller about her struggles with the LDS Church and her bisexuality. I find this particularly interesting in that it deals with a topic that I have been in a heated debate over on Facebook for the past several days. (Ill have a post on that later.) Tonya is also from my own province of Alberta.
What struck me most about her story is that, though she identifies as bisexual, she remains in a faithful relationship with her husband and therefore hasn’t acted on her bisexuality. By LDS standards, she has not committed any sin, and yet she is still made to feel unwelcome and chastised by fellow LDS members. She’s had to let go of the family and community she’s held dear for so long. The LDS stance on the LGBTQ community is not one of compassion as some might suggest.