I wanted to be a voice for anyone who needed one. I wanted to talk to the kid in the congregation that might still be in the closet, and let them know I’m a friend. I wanted to help them be brave.
“Being gay isn’t easy. It feels like I have more responsibilities on my shoulders than straight people do. It’s hard being afraid of what will happen if people won’t accept me.”
These thoughts occurred to me in elementary school, but really started to overcome me in sixth grade. I think I dealt with them poorly, by trying to keep them secret, or pretending they weren’t real.
I felt left out when my friends would talk about the cute boys that they had crushes on. I never felt that way.
I started making friends about three months into sixth grade. One of them was the most amazing girl; I loved her personality. I was confused about my feelings for her. Was it jealousy? Was it deep friendship? I finally realized that deep down inside, I was attracted to her. Our friendship bloomed into something beautiful: best-friendship. My attraction to her grew, but I kept telling myself that what I wanted was impure and wrong. When I finally accepted my feelings for what they were, it was too late. The school year was over, and I moved to a different school. My best friend was gone.
Over the summer between elementary school and junior high, I built up the courage not only to accept myself, but also to tell my mom. I was terrified that she wouldn’t accept me, and so I started feeling depressed. My mom asked what was going on. Everything changed in the moment she said, “I will love you no matter what.” Those words pulled me out of my sorrow; my mother in tears changed my perspective of myself. I built a newer and stronger courage.
Soon after, on a daddy-daughter date to the water park, I came out to my biological dad. He told me he accepted me, and that he had known since I was little. This again helped me gain courage and grow stronger. I waited many weeks to tell my stepdad, and when I finally did, it was one of the hardest days of my life.
We talked and he told me he loved me no matter what. It was a deep breath of fresh air.
Starting junior high was hard, having just lost a best friend, but not even a month into school I had met many new friends and even a new crush. I came out to a few friends; some were accepting, others not so much. One in particular was really hurtful. Many of my friends were both classmates and members of my ward, or congregation.
I had the idea to come out to my whole ward. Maybe if I showed them all that I was the same person, that I wasn’t weird, they might be more accepting.
Recently my church adopted a policy that doesn’t allow gays to participate in certain church activities and ordinances if they are in a homosexual relationship. It also excludes the children of gays. I had been struggling myself, and had only been going to church off and on because I felt like maybe God didn’t want me there. I prayed a lot, and finally felt like I got an answer that I am good, and that there is nothing wrong with me.
In January I asked my mom and dad if I could bear my testimony at church. My answer was a simple “No,” but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I started writing, and begged my parents to let me do this. I asked many times, and finally, they said yes. I went through many rough drafts until I had my perfect testimony. I went over it with my mom and dad, and they made sure it was respectful and appropriate. When it was done I waited until the next fast and testimony meeting to get up in front of the congregation. I was finally going to say what I needed to say after four months of waiting!
I had many feelings that were all mixed together during the experience. I felt overjoyed that I was able to share my words with my ward, and eventually the world. I also felt a great sadness that some people felt like my words shouldn’t be heard. I wanted to be a voice for anyone who needed one. I wanted to talk to the kid in the congregation that might still be in the closet, and let them know I’m a friend. I wanted to help them be brave. I wish that everyone would have wanted to hear my testimony, but I also know that people all have their own opinions, and they have the right not to want to listen.
Overall, I feel love.
So many people have shown support and love to me and the LGBTQ community, and that is what is important. From now on I will be a voice of change for those in my new community that might be suffering.