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Mormons Build Bridges, Then Dance Across Them

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Most of my community is feeling all warm and fuzzy because today was SLC's LGBT Pride Parade. I went because the parade route passed quite close to my apartment, and because I had friends who were marching, and I wanted to be supportive, even though I'm not all that fond of parades. (Being in marching band and having to march--not just walk, but really truly MARCH, in rhythm, on the same foot as everyone else--for miles in a wool band uniform in September in Arizona will do that to a person.)

Nonetheless, this was awesome, and I'm totally glad I went, mostly because a group called Mormons Building Bridges arranged for active, straight Latter-day Saints to miss church in order march in the parade in their Sunday best. Some carried signs that said "LDS Loves LGBT" and other such positive messages, some carried their scriptures, some handed out candy. The SL Trib reports that over 300 people marched in the group; someone in the group reported in a facebook conversation that he counted close to 500.

Parade organizers were excited enough about the group that they arranged for it to march second, right after parade marshal Dustin Lance Black. I knew that a lot of my friends planned to march in this group and I hoped to see some, but there were so many people in such a large mass that I didn't actually recognize anyone in this particular entry.

Instead, I just cried. It surprised me, frankly, because I've seen Mormons do good things before, and I've been to Pride parades before. But this was still special. It was brave, and generous, and good. It deserves nothing but praise.

This New Commandment


Dear Readers: This post has a gooey caramel center, but before I present it, let me make some general comments. If you don't want to read them, please skip to second half, because what I say there really matters to me.

Not surprisingly, my blog has become more Mormony since I moved to SLC. It's partly the constant reminders--the balcony of my stairwell is level with Moroni atop the temple, and I have a clear view of him every time I walk down the stairs--and partly that I can't help but be more familiar with certain elements of Mormon politics. I guess it's not just moving here--it's also Facebook, where I have lots of liberal and post-Mormon friends who post links to the latest crappy or interesting thing going on in Mormonland. I blog so much about Mormonism, in fact, that I sometimes fear I'm going to drive all my no-mo readers away. So if you're a no-mo reader, thanks for sticking with me. I promise to blog about something besides religion at least twice before 2010 ends.

In some ways it has been healing to be so familiar with churchy stuff. I used to find it really stressful to visit Temple Square (or Temple Rectangle as someone pointed out it should be called) but now it's just a place in my neighborhood with pretty gardens. But during weeks like this.... well, it has been a mixed bag.

This week, for instance, there was the BKP shit to deal with.

But there was also the protest in response, on October 7.

I was there. I walked down the street to Temple Rectangle and joined somewhere between 600 (police estimates) and 4,500 (organizer estimates) other protesters.* I saw families. I saw babies. I saw not that many people I knew. (Where WERE you guys? I know some of you had class or stuff, but what was up with the rest of you?) I hung with the Urban Koda and two of his offspring for a while.

Mostly I hung with my friend Sara, an atheist Unitarian with a strong sense of justice and a fascination with Mormons.


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It's been a shitty week in Mormonland. If you aren't Mormon and don't pay attention to Mormon crap, you might be one of the lucky people who didn't hear all about the horrible, horrible speech by nasty bully Boyd K. Packer, who is currently A) second in command at LDS Inc and B) so old that he can't stand behind his bully pulpit but instead has to be pushed up to it in a wheelchair. You can find out all about his speech on Main Street Plaza--I don't want to embed the video here, because that will mean that I have BKP's face on my blog.

It has been hard for me to parse why Packer's talk upset me so. It was just more of the same sort of mean-spirited rhetoric he has spouted for decades, delivered not in the thundering tones of a fire-and-brimstone preacher (even though that's what he really is) but in the ponderous, flat cadence cultivated by Mormon leaders. (note: that cadence is really weird. It's supposed to make them sound reasonable or something, I think, but it just makes them all sound formulaic and DULL.) It was as self-righteously ignorant and devoid of facts as his stuff usually is. There was the usual dose of paranoia. Etc.

All of which, of course, is supposed to be a message FROM God conveyed BY BKP. Yeah, that nasty old bully speaks for God--for a really nasty old bully God. I know that already. So why was this speech so awful?

Rubbing Salt in Conservative Wounds

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Check out this fabulous piece in the new issue of OUT, by Dustin Lance Black about queer activism in SLC. And then, if you haven't already, check out Queer Gnosis, the blog by my friend Troy, who is discussed (and photographed) in the essay.

Faux Trapped Lesbians


Nineteen or twenty years ago I met a guy who described himself as "a lesbian trapped in a man's body." I'd never heard the phrase before, so I had to think about both what it meant and how it might apply to this guy. He looked pretty conventional male, aside from an extremely long ponytail, but since long hair on a guy stopped being totally outre by 1972 at the latest, the ponytail couldn't be read as a reliable sign of gender nonconformity. He claimed that you could get an idea of how good someone would be in bed by the way they danced, which meant he was probably a terrible lay since on the dance floor he was stilted, over-performative, self-obsessed and a tad graceless. I had two friends who were interested in him: one actually went out with him and said he was an OK date; the other only asked him out and was turned down--apparently he liked to be the one to initiate things in any relationship he was in.

When I asked why he called himself a LTIAMB, he said it was because he really liked women and found it easy to be friends with them, and didn't really like stuff like hunting or hockey or homophobia. Also he'd taken a couple of women's studies classes and figured out that the women he liked best--the really smart, edgy, politically progressive ones--liked guys who worked for social justice.

So really, there was nothing especially female or queer about him. The whole LTIAMB was just a way to make himself more attractive and fuckable within the bounds of the heteronormativity.

A week or so ago I ended up having dinner with half a dozen strangers. There were two 40-something guys who were pretty conventionally male--facial hair, cowboy boots, and while each had on a necklace, they were chunky and large and made from bone and wood. One guy was a complete douchebag; the other guy was only part douchebag. Before too long, the complete douchebag announced, "I"m a lesbian trapped in a man's body."

What She Said

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see also this really great piece by Deborah Orr, "Is feminism really killing the family?" Short answer: no.

Just a Normal Family

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watch both parts.

Well, What DO You Think He Fought For?


This combines two of my favorite topics: military history and gay rights. It's awesome.

An Anonymous Group That May or May Not Be....

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You've probably already seen this--it's on all the cool blogs. But to ensure that all three dozen people who check my blog with some frequency see it at least once, I'm posting it too.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Let's Don't Divorce Them



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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Queerness category.

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