Monday, August 1, 2011

It Must Get Better: Reaching our Gay Brothers

Somehow, we have to figure out a way to reach young Mormon men who are struggling silently, painfully, alone, with feelings of same-sex attraction.

It has to get better.

Young men who have been raised in the Church, who love the Church, who love the Gospel, who love their families – are out there, harboring a terrible secret. 

It is a secret that they are afraid to tell their parents for fear of rejection and condemnation.  It is a
secret that they can barely bring themselves to admit to themselves, let alone others. 

Each day of their life is a silent struggle.

They feel trapped. 

They carry a burden of putting up a front, trying desperately to continue on as they have before this thing happened to them.  They did not seek it; they did not want it.  It came one day and refused to leave.

These young men feel that they are betraying their families because of this secret; yet they cannot bring themselves to give voice to their silent fears and wonderings for fear of being rejected, cast out, condemned.

At the risk of sounding like a drama queen, this breaks my heart.  I have in the past known of the existence of such young men.  Now, it has become personal in that I know of such a young man.  I have felt the raw emotion that has seared his soul, the sting of his pain, the cold, cutting fear of being cast off, the bitter taste of self-hatred.

I cannot be silent in the face of such pain. 

How many young men are out there, silently struggling? 

How many are experiencing periods of darkness, when they wonder whether or how long they can go on? 

They wonder whether it would easier just to end it, so as to have peace. 

It makes me want to cry out, to weep in frustration.

Brilliant, beautiful, sensitive, funny, spiritual, caring, conscientious young men – some of God’s greatest sons – who are being silently decimated, rent asunder, poisoned.

How can we reach them? 

What can we do?

It MUST get better!  But how?  

Please, consider share your comments and thoughts for the benefit of those young men who will read this in the privacy of their secret world, to give them hope and perspective.


  1. I don't have any advice, but I think what you are doing and what so many other bloggers are doing is a great step in the right direction. You provide a safe place for others to have a voice, and for those who lurk to realize they are not alone.

  2. I have felt strongly for the last year that I needed to do more to help these young men, but I really haven't quite found a way. Perhaps we ought to have an evening at Scott's called "brainstorming of the bloggers" where we try to figure out what can be done.

  3. I've been thinking about this, and I think it'd be pretty great to have some sort of organized effort to form or aid Gay Straight Alliances in Utah, I guess more specifically Utah County. I was impressed by the number of organizations that were represented at Utah's Pride parade, but I feel like there is definitely more that can be done. People need more than the internet, they need faces and names and lives to look up to. I'm afraid people see too many suicides on the news and think "those homosexuals are such a wreck."

    Perhaps the USGA group at BYU can start some sort of outreach effort, now that it isn't against the Honor Code to advocate homosexuality? I'm not in Provo right now, but will bring it up when I get back.

  4. I'm hopeful we can reach out to our gay women as well. Many of them in the church have also gone through the same pain-intensive struggles that men go through. Just saying...

  5. IV, don't worry, there is NO RISK of being a "drama queen" in the treatment of this subject!

    This is something I really struggle with, too. I feel like I should be doing more for people, but I can barely handle making decisions and dealing with my own feelings myself. I have a friend who I'm fairly sure is gay and has suffered a lot (of course he has--how can you not?) and I always feel like I should be talking to him, but I don't dare. It's so STUPID and makes me feel guilty and sad for him.

    Yeah, something needs to be done. Your blog, Mormon Stories podcast, etc., are a great start. I think that just being more open ourselves is the number 1 most important thing. Still, how to be open about it... how to find those tortured souls... Difficult questions.

  6. Heather and the two Anonymous persons, thank you for your comments. I agree that blogs can be SO useful in helping lurkers. When I hit the wall last fall, the first thing I did was read every blog I could find for gay Mormons. And I agree that we need to reach out to gay women as well. If anything, I would think they are even more isolated than their gay brethren.

    Trev, you make excellent points. Being open ourselves is the best starting point, but easier said than done, as you state. I know we each have our reasons for not being more "out there", but small measures from all of us will help change things.

  7. I don't know how to find, help, and reach them- but I think speaking out and pushing for improvement in our communities is vital. Blogs, conferences, conversations, YouTubes, coming out- I believe they all help.