This lesbian Mormon has posted an incredible coming out message
A Mormon student has revealed her coming out story in a powerful post.
An unofficial LGBT student group at the Mormon Church-owned Brigham Young University (BYU) has created a photojournalism project detailing the experiences of its members.
The group, called Understanding Same-Gender Attraction, posted the messages from the woman, who provided photos but kept her name secret.
She recalled how for her whole childhood and longer, she thought that homosexuality was a choice.
“I didn’t think that being gay was something that could just happen to me without my permission, she said.
“For many years, my mantra was ‘I never have to be anything I don’t want to be.’
“I deeply believed that I had a choice in the matter; I thought there was no way I was simply born gay.”
She lied to herself repeatedly and imaginatively, she said.
“I crafted some truly creative explanations for myself over the years. When I noticed as a kid that there were a few girls who made me especially nervous to be around, I decided it was just admiration that I was feeling.
“When I thought to myself, ‘This sure sounds an awful lot like what people say crushes feel like,’ I thought back, ‘well you’ve never had one of those so what do you know?’
“In my adolescence, I thought I must be a really good, righteous Mormon girl because my peers were all getting into trouble with boys and I wasn’t even tempted.”
When she arrived at BYU, she wrote that “things got a little harder to explain to myself.
“I was old enough to date now, so why did I still have no interest in boys at all?
“I then had my first experience in which I recognised that it wasn’t just admiration; I was having feelings for a girl.”
Self-acceptance didn’t happen just yet, though. First, she had to struggle through more conflicting feelings.
“I became quite angry with myself,” she said.
“I still believed that I wasn’t born gay and I was certain these feelings were my fault. I thought it was my responsibility to stop having those thoughts and I wouldn’t qualify for Heavenly Father’s help until I did.
“So, I did everything I knew how to do: I prayed more, I read my scriptures more, I listened to conference talks every morning, I tried to be the picture of righteousness.
“But I wasn’t perfect and every time I could sense the feelings creeping back in I blamed it on the day I didn’t write in my gratitude journal or the night I prayed in my bed instead of kneeling down.”
The woman said that when she finally was able to acknowledge her sexuality, it changed her life.
“When I finally allowed myself – at age 22 – to consider that maybe I had no choice in the matter, it felt like a whole new world opened.
“Everything started to make sense.
“For the first time in my life, I was beginning to understand myself. I was the same person, there was just more of me than I realised.
“God didn’t hate me, I wasn’t a monster, I was just gay.”
Looking back, she said: “I regret all the shame I used to feel. I’m proud of who I am. Knowing that I am a lesbian is a privilege and a blessing.
“I know it might not make sense to some people but I firmly believe that my Heavenly Father made me to be gay and He wants me to know who I am.
“When I think about it that way, I can’t be ashamed.”
In another post, the woman pulled back the curtain on LGBT life at the Mormon university.
She said that religious discrimination she had faced as a child was “not unlike how it feels to be an LGBTQ person at BYU.
“We’re often talked about as if none of us could possibly be present. People talk about us in snide, mocking, or outright antagonist tones.
“Assumptions are made about what we’re like and what we believe based on things that aren’t true.
“I want so badly for someone, anyone, to come to me and ask what I experience, rather than tell me how I feel and what I should do.”
Five days later, she urged for LGBT acceptance in a heartfelt post.
“I want people to see my face.
“LGBTQ people at BYU have been anonymous for too long. I have been anonymous for too long.
“I want people to know that we are here. We go to class, we study in the library, we eat … many of us hidden in plain sight.
“I hear people say that we’re welcome at BYU – and I’m grateful – but we’ve been expected to stay quiet about who we are.
“I’ve been afraid to speak up for a long time because I think some people just don’t want to hear it. And I understand why; the existence of homosexuality makes things complicated.
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“But people like me can’t be expected to carry the burden of secrecy to allow others the luxury of ignorance.
“We are here. I think it’s time we all stop pretending that we aren’t.”