I came across the most breathtaking, hilarious, gut punch shocker of a comedy special on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t been able to forget it. Halfway through, I was texting a friend of mine that she had to watch it pronto, yet she was the only person I mentioned it to. Part of me wasn’t sure how I could share it or if I could. Current society has me so afraid of speaking up for fear of an attack from all sides.
I’ve been trying to write about inclusion for three weeks and I’m not sure I’m going to have the right words to express my feelings. Let me begin with my point of view: I am a straight, white, conservative female that belongs to a very orthodox religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that God, our Heavenly Father created us in His own image and that our gender is a divine gift. I know that we are born the gender He wants us to be. I know that homosexuality is not part of His divine plan for His children.
With that said, let me continue by telling you that I do not have all the answers, but I can tell you what I believe. I believe that God loves all of His children equally and that He wants us to be like Him. Like any loving parent, I do not believe that God likes all of the choices His children make, but He loves them despite it all. Therefore, I choose to love all of His children equally, even if I do not agree with their choices in life. If a person feels that he/she is gay, I will do my best to love them and support them as best as I can as a person, but that does not mean I have to support their choice to live with or marry another homosexual person. If a person feels that he/she was born in the wrong body or that their biological gender does not match their internal gender, I will do my best to love that person through whatever choices he/she makes. I might struggle and stumble, but that will be for me to figure out with God.
The great thing about my country is our freedoms. This is a choice land where we are free to live as we see fit. We are free to speak our hearts and minds and worship whatever god we wish to or not. Just because my viewpoint does not match yours does not mean we aren’t still humans living on the same planet, just trying to live our best life. Just because our viewpoints are different does not mean we can’t respect each other as human beings. Have we forgotten our basic humanity?
The comedy special I mentioned is “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette.” Hannah is a 40-year old lesbian from Australia, coming of age in a time where 70% of the people who raised and loved her believed that homosexuality was a sin (it was a criminal offense until 1997). For a little over an hour, Hannah educates just as much as she makes you laugh. There are also some serious tension-filled moments that had tears rolling down my face. Hannah calls out white men and privilege like no other. She speaks to sexual abuse and being beaten for who she is in a way that rips your heart out. It made me want to speak up.
Two other things occurred recently that also spurred this post. A childhood friend, probably my only introduction into diversity in a small, redneck town, bravely contacted me after I had posted a video about the negative effects of puberty blockers on young children and teens. Her story is not mine to share, but needless to say, it’s amazing how your view shifts when someone you know has real life experience with the topic at hand. Now, my view hasn’t changed fundamentally and I still have a lot of research and learning to do. Even so, as soon as I got her message, my heart was in my throat and tears were in my eyes as I frantically tried to express to her that I still wanted her in my life and that whatever choices she made for her family will never be mine to judge and even if we disagreed, we were still humans deserving of love and respect.
Imagine Dragons has an LDS front man, Dan Reynolds, who calls himself a “unique Mormon.” He created a LoveLoud campaign/concert in Salt Lake City to embrace the LGBTQ community. If I understand correctly, it was turned into a documentary. I’ve only seen trailers and his appearance on Ellen. I admit freely that I don’t know enough about it to speak to it. It sounds overall like a great foundation. We do need to address teen safety, love, and respect of all children and peoples. However, I can express my concern that there are faithful LDS members agreeing to Dan’s view that the Church (the LDS Church) needs to change their policy on LGBTQ. What a lot of people seem to misunderstand, both inside and outside of the Church, is that doctrine is not going to change. If it changes, it is man’s change, not God’s. Asking that it be changed is apostasy. That’s a very simplistic view, but true nonetheless.
The root of the problem with hate or intolerance or exclusion lies very simply a lack of humanity. Hannah said, “We think it’s more important to be right than it is to appeal to the humanity of people we disagree with.” She’s completely right and if that doesn’t hit you hard enough, she also said, “Ignorance will always walk amongst us because we will never know all of the things.”