Gay, Transgender & Mormon

Last week I posted Mormon Valedictorian Comes Out reporting on Matt Easton’s gutsy announcement during commencement at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. Visit that post to see his speech and related features including a TV interview with Charlie Bird who had been BYU’s mascot “Cosmo the Cougar” from 2015 to 2018 — and is gay also.

This week I have additional coverage of Matt Easton, and then take a deep dive looking at the LGBT community and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

Matt Easton Appears on Ellen

As she usually does after a big event in LGBT rights, Ellen invited Matt Easton to her afternoon show. It was a good interview during which Matt shared a touching part of the backstory behind his decision to come out in such a big way at BYU. He decided to do so after a fellow BYU student committed suicide.

Mormon & LGBT… Then

Mormons are the fourth largest denomination in the United States. Like in every other religious denomination, LGBT Mormons are finding their courage and voice. These next videos look at the history of LGBT people in the church, past and present.

We start with the story of Tom Clark, a gay Mormon who fell in love in 1974 with an Italian Communist named Gianni.

This next video reports the struggle many have experienced in the Mormon Church.

The church has followed a perplexing path weaving its way through the contradictions of opposing anti-LGBT discrimination and defending its traditional doctrine.

In January 2015 the church came out in support of laws that would protect LGBT people against discrimination while also reaffirming and defending its teachings and traditions. The Associated Press covered the church’s announcement of their policy.

Later that same year, in November 2015, the church adopted a Draconian policy against same-sex marriage — so severe that it punished the children of same-sex parents by barring them from baptism. To escape this, children had to denounce their parents! This deeply controversial policy was suddenly reversed in April 2019 — which is breaking news from just over a month ago. It will be interesting to see where this leads.

Mormon & LGBT… Now

The struggle continues but things are definitely changing. A vocal and proud LGBT community is growing in the Mormon Church as seen in these next three videos. First up is a look at Affirmation, the organized voice of the LGBT community in LDS.

This video looks at being transgender the Mormon Church. We meet Emmett Claren who shares his life, struggles, joys — and surgery.

Finally today is a video about J. Seth Anderson and Michael Adam Ferguson, Utah’s first same-sex married couple — and Mormon.

For more on religion and homosexuality, see Thou Shalt Not Love.

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