Invisible, But Not Alone
By Mel Barber
Affinity, January 1985
There are 25 million Gay men and Lesbian women in the United States. 17 million Gay men and Lesbians vote. Gays constitute the seventh largest voting block in the country! By being well-informed, Gay men and Lesbians can have a significant impact on legislation that affects our lives. Most Gay and Lesbian people are "invisible" as Gays to their families, friends and neighbors, and even to each other! We tend to hide not only from everyone else, but often from ourselves. Although we are usually "invisible," we are equally as prominent within the Church as we are within the general population.
The reason we are invisible is because we are NOT different from most other people. We share the same morals, values, standards, needs, wants, desires, loves and dislikes as most other LDS people. The only major difference is that our mental, psychological, spiritual and physical need for a mate and companion can be satisfied only with a person of the same gender. This does not mean we are family haters, child molesters, self abusers or any other type of "pervert." Statistics show that we are, as a group, law abiding, moral, decent members of the Church and society who are generally indistinguishable from our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Lesbian and Gay people are interested in sex no more and no less than any other member of the Church or society. Heterosexuals have sexual needs that can only be fulfilled by a compatible member of the opposite gender. Homosexuals have exactly the same needs that can only be fulfilled by a compatible member of the same gender.
In a time when so many voices, like the moral majority, as well as many of our own Church leaders, are calling for anti-gay legislation, it is especially important for our voice to be both strong and loud. We must be informed, not only about what untruths are being told about us, but about the truths of who we are, what we are, what we stand for and why. As long as we selfishly remain "invisible," the lies and misconceptions will continue, and Church and government will continue to wreck lives and families based on their prejudices and misconceptions.
Many of us, as Latter-day Saints, do not agree 100% with everything that the Gay movement does or says, Likewise, we do not agree 100% with everything that the Church says or does in regard to homosexuality. We are in a very delicate position: when we express our love of the Gospel and our Mormon faith and heritage, we run the risk of disapproval by our Lesbian and Gay brothers and sisters in "our" (Gay) community; when we affirm our natural gay nature, we run the risk of swift excommunication from "our" Church. The easy thing to do, then, is to just remain invisible and live a double life. But is that the honest thing to do? Does it help others? Does it help you?
I encourage all Gay and Lesbian Latter-day Saints to 1) live the principles of the Gospel in your everyday life, and 2) let your voice join with other Gay and Lesbian Latter-day Saints in honesty, so that we can help our families, friends and Church overcome the misconceptions and prejudiced ideas they have picked up from the world about their homosexual brothers and sisters.
It took centuries of mistranslation and misinterpretation of the Bible before the world was successful in persuading the apostate church to finally twist a few scriptures to justify their prejudice against homosexuals about the 10th century AD. Our latter-day scriptures (the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) have not suffered the mistranslations the Bible has, but the evil ideas of the world have crept into the LDS community to the extent that our Church leaders tend to side with the apostate church's teachings and interpretations of the Bible on this subject, rather than turning to the purer word of our Standard Works or taking the matter to the Lord and asking for His revealed word on this subject. So long as the Prophet does not know we exist, he will not feel the need to take the matter to the Lord, and no revelations on the subject will be forthcoming. Only by our "coming out of our closets" and being honest with our- selves and our millions of Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters will we ever see the light and truth of this subject shed upon the Church members and leaders.
The choice is ours: 1) remain invisible and let the misconceptions, fears, hatred and prejudice of the world continue to fester against homosexual Church members, or 2) leave the Church, voluntarily or by excommunication, and attempt to live the Gospel (or discard it) on your own, or 3) stand up for honesty and integrity and admit that you are Gay or Lesbian and that you are a good, clean and worthy Child of God.
The choice is not easy. But it is the only choice that we have before us as Gay and Lesbian Mormons. It is a choice that must be preceded by prayer and fasting. It is my prayer that we will all have the courage to make the right choice after much study, research, personal soul-searching, fasting and prayer.
YOUR ideas and opinions on this subject are invited...