The last year or two has been called a Mormon moment by some. If that's true, then the past couple of months have been a gay Mormon moment. I remember the old days when stories like this one and this one would have made the rounds with other gay Mormons, but would have stopped there. Remember when it was like pulling teeth to get anyone who wasn't directly affected by homosexuality to care enough to educate themselves? Or maybe it was because we were too afraid or ashamed to bring it up. Certainly, not everyone was though. Either way, it's fantastic (and a little surreal) to see not just other Mormons, but national media getting involved in discussing the intersection of Mormonism and homosexuality in thoughtful ways.
If you want a pretty thorough and fair exploration of what's been happening in the world of gay Mormons lately, check out this Slate article. It also links to other articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Joanna Brooks has also done some write ups at Religion Dispatches about Mormons marching in gay pride parades. Check them out.
Also of interest is Taylor Petrey's paper in Dialogue called Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology. This one has been out for a while, but I only read it recently and Ryan and I listened to the Mormon Matters podcast in which Taylor and Kristine Haglund (who I've been fast developing a crush on) discuss the paper. Both the paper and the podcast are excellent. As Taylor says near the beginning of his paper, it is a "thought experiement on the question of how Mormons might imagine different kinds of sealing releationships other than hetersexual marriage. Such an experiment neither constitutes Church doctrine no intends to advocate itself as Church doctrine. Rather, this essay provides an occasion to think critically about the intellectual and theological problems posed by the reality of alternative relationships outside of heterosexual norms."
I think the paper and podcast are both incredibly helpful because I think they serve to break up the hardened, calcified soil of what we think we know about gender, sexuality and their eternal role. I really wish more people would be willing to allow themselves to embark on these types of thought experiments. I believe that's when revelation comes. Not when we assume we have the fullness of truth and that there is no more knowledge or insight to be gotten.
Also, I haven't seen this getting much attention yet, but I think it's probably the most important link in this post. It's easy to get caught up in discussion of current events and theology, etc. The reality though, is that there are youth/young adults who are caught in the middle of a very intense struggle who question their worth and question the value of their own lives. The link is to a booklet published by Caitlin Ryan and Bob Rees. Dr. Ryan has done a lot of research about what hurts and what helps same sex attracted youth in their interactions with their families after coming out. As it turns out, LGBT kids who are rejected by their families are much more likely to struggle with depression, commit suicide, abuse drugs, and engage in other risky behavior. Bob Rees is a former bishop and has long been involved in reaching out to gay members of the church long before most other people wanted to talk about it. He helped Dr. Ryan adapt her research to LDS families and I have to say, they did a great job of making this palatable to Mormons almost anywhere along the belief spectrum. This is vital reading for any Mormon parent, whether you have gay children or not. There's just good advice for how to have a better relationship with any of your children when discussing any kind of sensitive issue.
That is all. If you read nothing else, just read the booklet by Ryan and Rees.
Also, I can't stop eating tomato basil wheat thins and cottage cheese.