YMF has dedicated the month of January to the experiences of trans people. This is a guest post by Kimberly Clapp.
About LGBT matters, I didn’t really have an opinion one way or another until recently. I always believed in separation of church and state. I knew I believed there is such a thing as civil marriage and religious marriage. So I didn’t question my faith because it didn’t affect me. I always believed if one of my children were gay I would love them and support them openly and cross that bridge when we came to it, if we ever came to it. I never imagined I would be called to support my best friend and her transitioning husband (male to female). It’s unfathomable to me not to be supportive. I support families staying together and I support people being honest with themselves and others. That’s what our church teaches, right? Above all, I support people being happy and peaceful and being authentic.
I believe in the teaching: “Do no harm to yourself or others.” I had to question my whole LDS belief system. Is this the kind of church I want to raise my kids in? Is this the kind of church I feel comfortable in? Why can’t I walk away from it? I prayed about it and feel that the Lord has answered my prayers. I have to stay in this church because this church is being called to change and I am called to be a part of it, and if you are reading this you are being called to be a part of it. The Lord wants all of His children, all of our brothers and sisters, and we have to speak up for them and make them feel welcome. Not shame them or call them to repentance for who they are at the core of their being. Telling people to repent for being gay is like saying they themselves are the sin.
My best friend’s husband came out to her this year and I have been blessed to be a part of their journey. It’s been a long year. She didn’t expect this, but they were headed for divorce if something didn’t change. That’s when the truth started to come out, little by little. She has struggled to accept this, but knows now it had to happen. A person can live a lie for only so long. Tommy is now Tara and now Jackie and Tara are in what’s considered a lesbian relationship. They are happier than ever. When I met Tommy he was nice but distant — he didn’t socialize much other than talk about music or football. I usually connect with people easily. I thought maybe he didn’t like me because I was spending so much time with his wife. Turns out he was keeping this secret that prevented him from connecting with anyone. When I met Tara for the first time it brought tears to my eyes. She was so beautiful! I could see and feel her soul. I connected! Naturally I wanted to share the gospel with them. I wanted them to partake of this beautiful church I have the pleasure of being a part of. But now what? Our church culture doesn’t understand. It’s time to evolve. It’s time to change our church culture.
I became an Ally. I found my authentic self. Tara forced me to look inside myself. I couldn’t deny that this was real. We need to open our hearts and embrace people. That is what Jesus is about. Preach His gospel and “Love one another as I have loved you.”
In Love and Light,