Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Allies in Christ

Let me start by acknowledging that yes, I know I am different.  Because of my experiences, my choices and how I choose to believe and think, I have feelings that are different from most of the LGBT community.  Nevertheless, that's pretty much why I share.

The "gay/straight alliance," or the term "LGBT ally,"  has always bothered me in a way.  I was rather oblivious to all of it before I knew more about myself, but as time has gone on, the concept still bothers me.  Are we at war?  Who are we fighting against?  I know many people will tell me the answers to these questions...and they will all be different.

Perhaps it's similar to the words "gay" or "bisexual."  Some people have a specific lifestyle or behavior in mind when it comes to those terms (but hopefully that's changing).  Similarly, the term "LGBT Ally" draws up some specific nuances for me:  "We're not like those other Mormons."  "The Church doesn't accept you, but I will." "Look at how loving I am!  I have a rainbow on my timeline!"  "I'm all for gay marriage.  I support equality" (which translates to me as you don't think I was equal before, or that you don't think the Church views me as an equal, or that anyone who supports the "traditional" definition of marriage favors inequality).

By many connotations of ally-ship, I'd most likely be characterized as a gay rebel.

Now, I have good friends who consider themselves allies, and that's OK.  Naturally, allies come in many forms.  Yet I prefer to see them genuine, fellow disciples of Christ.  Many self-proclaimed allies do possess many Christlike attributes that I think all members should have.  Many allies feel that they are doing what Jesus would do.  Yet from my perspective, sometimes that is coupled with forces that I feel are working against the Church or seeking to change core doctrines.

I need allies who will continue to develop their faith in Christ, learn the gospel and learn how to more accurately defend it (blanket statements about LGBT-everything is no longer defending the gospel).  I need allies who will walk beside me and value me first and foremost as a son of God, a fellow disciple, but also with the understanding that my same-sex attraction carries with it some unique needs, talents, abilities and BLESSINGS! I need allies who won't apologize for the Church and it's stance on marriage and sexual morality.  It's something of which I've gained a deep, yet malleable understanding, meaning it's something that can still be added upon as I gain further light and knowledge.  I still sometimes can't get over how awkward or ironic it is for a gay person to come to such a conclusion.  And no, I'm not redefining things in my head...I'm talking about man-woman marriages and sexual relations within those bounds.

Even with that in mind, I need allies who will be there for me even if I were to find a partner (the marrying part seems a little far out, but even so...).  I need allies who would treat my partner and any children (also far out...considering my testimony of the family) just like any other family.  That does not in the least mean changing sincerely held beliefs in order to do this.  I do not believe supporting individuals is the same thing as "supporting same-sex marriage" on a large scale.  I wouldn't expect people to leave the Church, work against it or, in effect, "counsel God" on my behalf.

I've learned from a few sets of parents in my realm of the gay Mormon community.  They love the gospel.  They live the gospel.  They love the leaders of the Church.  I suspect they even maintain a testimony of specific doctrines that have become controversial in our day.  Yet they unconditionally love their gay children and partners, if any, even if they do take a path outside of the gospel.  I reckon that their own love for the Savior and His commandments is what enables them to love their children in such a way.

Anyway, everyone's in a different place in their journey, no matter their sexual orientation.  These are just some of my thoughts and perspectives of the concept of "alliance" in LGBT land.  I am truly grateful for the people that are in my life.  I've had very few negative experiences with other members of the Church.  Perhaps I know who to avoid or when to speak up about the topic, but overall it's been amazing.  I feel more at home in the Church than in the LGBT community.  Granted, I haven't traveled far in the latter, but if I'm at home in the gospel, I don't think I'd need to.

No comments:

Post a Comment