Mormon LGBTQ organizing and organizations

Authored by: John Donald Gustav-Wrathall

The Routledge Handbook of Mormonism and Gender

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815395218
eBook ISBN: 9781351181600
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351181600-19

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Abstract

The very first organizing of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Mormons began in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was both necessitated and made possible by a shifting awareness around sexuality and gender and around notions of sexual and gender difference both in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in the broader American society. That organizing, and the organizations it spawned, was challenged by intense disconnects between LDS theology and discourse about gender, sexuality, and family; medical and psychiatric models and discourse about “homosexuality” and “gender dysphoria”; and discourse, self-definition, and activism within an emergent LGBTQ community. To the extent that LGBTQ identities and experience were denied or anathematized within LDS theology and discourse, LGBTQ organizing was plagued by a bifurcation between “Mormon” and “LGBTQ,” with a persistent sense that one could be either Mormon or LGBTQ but not both. Still, LGBTQ Mormon organizing has gravitated equally persistently toward integration of LGBTQ Mormon sexual or gender identity and faith. Organizations that have held up a vision of wholeness of LGBTQ Mormons and have sought to hold the tension between LGBTQ experience and LDS theology have been more successful in energizing and activating LGBTQ Mormons and their LDS allies.

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