Be Careful Who You Shun in the Name of the Lord

ATHENA: As General Conference weekend spins up, I find myself dreading the fallout even more than I usually do. This past year has been a rough one for people on the margins of Mormondom, and I am one of those people. I tried for a very long time to maintain a position in the center, to belong to the in-crowd, until I just couldn’t anymore. The LDS church was hurting me in very specific ways, and because of that, I grew to understand how much pain church membership was causing other people for whom I cared deeply. I guess you could say my empathy chip finally activated.

Continue reading “Be Careful Who You Shun in the Name of the Lord”

Can You Care about My Trans Son Now that He’s Denied His Spot on the Team that’s Been His Lifeline?

TW: Transphobia

READER POST: A couple days ago, as I was heading out the door, I received an email from the high school tennis coach requesting a meeting to discuss my trans son’s eligibility to play. I knew, I just knew, what was going to happen next. I drove to my medical appointment fighting back tears and mentally repeating, Put it in a box. Just for a minute. It’s got to go in a box right now. I live in Texas and, for those unaware, the state legislature signed HB25 into law last October after several failed attempts with other, similar legislation, and a commitment from Governor Abbott to continue calling special session after special session until one of the anti-trans measures passed. 

Continue reading “Can You Care about My Trans Son Now that He’s Denied His Spot on the Team that’s Been His Lifeline?”

BYU Chooses Fealty Over Ethics by Denying Voice Therapy to Trans Community

BRANDY: When my child came out to my husband and I as trans just a hair over two years ago, we were offered counseling through LDS social services. We refused. Adamantly. While I am sure that there are compassionate, sensitive, professionals within their ranks, the fact of the matter is I didn’t trust their commitment to professional codes of ethics to be stronger than their adherence to the parameters set for them by their employer, the LDS Church. In that moment, we recognized that their professional credibility was affected by the policies and attitudes of men completely outside of their professional sphere, men who have no affiliation or association to any of the professional psychological organizations or bodies that issue evidence-based standards of care or codes of ethics.

I wasn’t willing to take that chance with my son’s mental health. Instead, we sought counseling that we could be confident would not struggle between evidence-based therapeutic treatment and religious dogma. Recently, BYU announced that its speech therapy department, which gives student therapists the experience of treating patients, would no longer offer services to trans individuals, proving that professional ethics falls second to an ever-changing LDS church policy handbook (see section 38.6.23).  Once again, it’s policy over people.

Continue reading “BYU Chooses Fealty Over Ethics by Denying Voice Therapy to Trans Community”

I Have Words, too, Elder Holland

READER POST: I have a flag that sits atop a silver flag pole which is mounted on the deck of my home, overlooking a peaceful blue pond, with mountains and a green field where deer come out in the evening to graze. The flag has shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and unfurls pretty in the wind as it flies high.

Continue reading “I Have Words, too, Elder Holland”

My Trans Teen and the Sting of Being Active LDS

TW: Policy exclusion of transgender individuals

BRANDY: Several weeks before Christmas, I stood in my kitchen wrapping pralines. It’s tedious, monotonous, work, and the worst part of making the damn things. My mind was racing, stressing, about all the things I still had to do before bed, before tomorrow, before I left town for a few days, before Christmas. My husband walked into the kitchen and something in his expression made me ask what was going on. He said, “You have four sons.” And I felt the floor fall out from under my feet. Continue reading “My Trans Teen and the Sting of Being Active LDS”

Love and Respect My Trans Child as if Your Own

TW: transphobia, brief mention of self harm

READER POST: I file into the restaurant with my beautiful (and often difficult) children. I gave birth to several boys—all gangly limbs, misplaced aggression, anxieties, and intense grudges. But they’re mine, and I love them, though maybe I regret this particular dinner decision. As we wait beside the Christmas tree, I notice the host is staring at my oldest with a puzzled look, one that feels judgmental and borders on disgust. For my oldest child holds a deep secret that only we know: a hard, life-changing, devastating, and beautiful secret. With this look my firstborn is receiving from a stranger, I realize his secret is becoming less so. For my oldest “son” is a girl. Continue reading “Love and Respect My Trans Child as if Your Own”

LDS Policy and My Political Journey

TABITHA:“As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.

We also urge you to spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates you will be considering.” (First Presidency 2016 Letter)

In the United States, some version of this announcement is often read over the pulpit in LDS congregations shortly before Election Day. Since it’s election season (including the run up for presidential caucuses and primaries), I want to share a few of my experiences about how “becoming informed about issues and candidates” has lead me to positions that frequently put me in the minority of my family and church friends.

Immigration/Refugee Acceptance Continue reading “LDS Policy and My Political Journey”

We Need the Church to be Good: a Top 15 List for the 15 Top Brethren

SQ: After General Conference, the staff here at SQ realized we don’t need the Church to be true, but we do need it to be good. And consistently honorable.  To this end, we’ve compiled a list of the top fifteen things we want the Brethren to know. Here is our list, in no particular order: Continue reading “We Need the Church to be Good: a Top 15 List for the 15 Top Brethren”

The Hard Work of Zion Building

READER POST: Earlier this week, in a leadership session of LDS General Conference, Pres. Oaks said some really hurtful things about queer people. He’s ignorant and his statements were factually incorrect, scientifically speaking.

This is not the exception for Pres. Oaks or other members of LDS leadership, including Pres. Nelson, who also made really harmful statements in a BYU address recently. Because members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view these men as speaking for God, their opinion, however hurtful and incorrect it is, carries a lot of weight. It can do a lot of good, and it can do a lot of harm. Continue reading “The Hard Work of Zion Building”

Mormon and Transgender: A Human Response to Institutional Mormon Transphobia

READER POST: Tonight, as I go to sleep, I am deeply troubled, and so are others in the LGBTQ community of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint.  This weekend, at the bi-annual General Conference, our leaders waxed spiritual over the pulpit.  Most speakers talked of Jesus Christ and of his healing atonement.  However, one speaker chose another way and probably turned away both members and perspective members.  Continue reading “Mormon and Transgender: A Human Response to Institutional Mormon Transphobia”

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