LGBTQ Latter-day Saints have often faced judgment and ostracism as they’ve tried to come to terms with who they are in the Church. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we strive to love all of God’s children while still standing firm in our faith. This balance isn’t always easy, but it is possible. If you are looking for a way to better support your LGBTQ friends, ponder on these five ideas.
Face the Uncomfortable Grapple
In today’s world, especially when it comes to how we communicate with each other online, things are stark and harsh. Many do not feel they fully understand the issues facing LGBTQ members or the deep spiritual questions behind the topic. In loving relationships, risk is involved and it has to be ok to be uncomfortable. Be willing to say you don’t know or understand something. Be willing to own up to past prejudices.
Just as you face struggles and questions, so do LGBTQ members. It just so happens their struggle is also wrapped up in one of the most volatile political and cultural discussions out there. Don’t let this scare you. Be willing to sit with someone in their struggle, even if you don’t know what to do.
Ask About Their Experiences
All people want to feel heard. LGBTQ members may not feel like they have a safe space to ask questions or discuss their experiences when it comes to the Church. Be willing to talk with them. Better yet, be brave and reach out to an LGBTQ member you know and tell them you want to better understand what they’re going through. Ask them, if they’re comfortable, to talk with you about what being an LGBTQ member has been like.
Stand Up For Them
Do you hear people around you making homophobic jokes or slurs? Do you participate in conversations that would be hurtful if an LGBTQ member heard them? If you answered yes, try to bring love and kindness back into the conversation. Let others know it’s not ok to make fun of the LGBTQ community around you, even if you don’t always agree with them. After all, it should never be okay for a disciple of Christ to ridicule, mock, or speak angrily of anyone.
If you see bullying or exclusion going on in your ward, do something about it.
Assert Your Love
Always assert your love, even as someone tells you they are struggling with the Church or their own identity. Let them know your love for them will not change. It’s natural to want to create distance when you don’t feel you can relate to someone or what they’re going through. Do your best to maintain contact and friendship as appropriate for your relationships. Try not to treat someone differently if they are a member of the LGBTQ community.
Share Content from MormonAndGay.org
The Church has worked hard to create loving, clear resources for LGBTQ members. All of it is available at mormonandgay.org. Go through the resources and pay attention to how the Holy Ghost prompts you to act or change towards those you know in the LGBTQ community. Share the resources with others.