Powerful self advocacy. LDS leaders are perpetrating hate speech towards LGBTQ+ members and for the hundred thousandth time… I have to call it out…
Speeches like Elder Hathaway’s are what continue to keep suicide risk high. It’s inexcusable… it’s mean spirited… it’s uneducated… and at this point it’s flat out embarrassing. I’ll keep saying it until it changes and our LGBTQ+ members are safe within our own ranks.
Today’s guest post is written by Blaire Ostler. Opinions shared on guest posts may not completely reflect the positions of the blog’s author.
Blaire Ostler is a philosopher and leading voice at the intersection of queer, Mormon, and transhumanist thought. She is a board member and former CEO of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the world’s largest advocacy network for the ethical use of technology and religion to expand human abilities. She presents and writes on many forums, and speaks at conferences promoting authentic Mormonism. Blaire holds a degree in design from the International Academy of Design and Technology-Seattle. She is currently pursuing a second degree in philosophy with an emphasis in gender studies. She is also an artist, and spends her spare time hiking, painting, writing, and bickering with her friends about almost any topic imaginable. Blaire and husband Drew reside in Utah with their three children.
Dear Elder Hathaway,
There seems to be a misunderstanding that you think you get to label my sexual orientation. I get to label my sexual orientation and I do not “struggle with same gender attraction” as you put it. My orientation is not my struggle. My struggle is dealing with other’s inability to see my queerness as something divine and part of my heavenly attributes.
It’s hypocritical of you to call me something other than what I have asked you to call me. President Nelson has asked that we refer to the Church as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to refer to members as Latter-day Saints. I have kindly obliged to that request because I think it’s important for labels to be respected. I only wish our leaders reciprocated the same courtesy to their LGBTQ+ congregates.
If you’re worried about the “acceptance” of my orientation, that’s fair. You should be. I legitimize myself and everyday more and more Latter-day Saints are legitimizing me as a worthy member of the Heavenly Family. If your goal is to mold me into a caricature that resembles your version of a heavenly being you will be met with resistance. Why? Because I have a personal witness of my queer divinity and no one can take that away from me. The linguistical tactics of a patriarch will not deter me from the work I am called to do.
Sincerely, a queer Mormon sister
Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST can be reached at natashaparker.org and runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She hosts the Mormon Mental Health and Mormon Sex Info Podcasts, is the current past president of the Mormon Mental Health Association and runs a sex education program, Sex Talk with Natasha. She has over 20 years of experience working with primarily an LDS/Mormon clientele.