Tonight an era has ended.
The President of the Church who presided over Prop 8 and then gave us the exclusion policy has died. These are some pretty hefty bookends holding together his 10 year ministry. As an LDS LGBTQ, I acknowledge the good President Monson did as president while grappling with the personal pain he caused me, my family, and so many of my fellow LDS LGBTQ. If anything, he brought the LDS LGBTQ issue front and center for the church to see in full daylight.
Previously our LGBTQ members, as well as the policies managing us, were shamefully hidden and interactions were transacted away from the public eye. President Monson’s advocacy and policies educated us all as members of the church. They elevated us from perverted caricatures straight out of the pages of “The Miracle of Forgiveness” into flesh and blood brothers and sisters with real and valuable stories to tell.
The LDS LGBTQ are now seen. We tell our stories without shame on official church websites and to our families. The bright lines drawn by official policy now give clear boundaries for lay leaders and members alike to thoughtfully and morally consider (as well as cross) as they figure out what to do with us.
You cannot confront an enemy you cannot see. From President Kimball’s time to President Hinkley, our existence was whispered about and only occasionally spoken of. We were not seen. We even became one of the three nebulous dangers of the church. However in President Monson’s day he shoved us out of obscurity right into the conversation. And then an interesting thing occurred. Once visible we turned out not to be an enemy after all.
Instead of seeing us as an enemy, we were (and will continue to be) seen as fellow saints… as brothers and as sisters. As children, nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts, uncles, mothers, and fathers. As family equally worthy to be sealed together in Zion.
This era of high visibility and relevance is one of the gifts President Monson left us. And like any LGBTQ who has fought for authenticity, we will not return to the closet of days past.
Welcome President Nelson. We are ready for you. ♥