It’s not exactly a secret that the Church of Latter-Day Saints and gay rights haven’t gone hand-in-hand historically. In fact, for many decades now the Church has vocally campaigned against marriage equality, making it one of the leaderships pre-eminent political concerns and codifying heteronormativity in Church doctrine. While some discriminatory policies have changed over time (for example, the Church no longer teaches that same-sex attraction can be ‘cured’ and no longer requires children of same-sex couples to denounce their parents, as it did until 2019) it would still be inaccurate to imagine that the Church is embracing the queer community to its fullest.
In fact, if you go to the official website for the LDS Church right now you can read a statement where they claim that same-sex attraction itself is not wrong, but it is a ‘challenge’ and that acting on those feelings is a sin. Gay members of the Church who choose to publicly kiss and embrace the person that they love may face punishments including probation, disfellowship, or (for those who refuse to repent) excommunication—a total severance from the bonds of their community and faith. Official Church statements refer to same-sex relationships as ‘transgressions’ ‘temptations’ ‘wickedness’ and ‘sin’. The Church emphasizes the importance of marriage and family as absolutely essential for human happiness and salvation after this life, and yet it unequivocally prohibits marriage and family for gay people, condemning them to a life of celibacy and solitude. On today's episode we hear from two guests — Colette Dalton & Autumn McAlpin — who share their experiences with queer identity and the LDS Church.
On today's episode we hear from two guests — Colette Dalton & Autumn McAlpin — who share their experiences with queer identity and the LDS Church.
Colette Dalton (she/her) is a therapist in Utah and specializes in working with people around faith transitions and sexuality. She co-hosts a podcast called Called to Queer, which holds space for queer Mormon women, genderqueer, and intersex folks. In her free time, she enjoys practicing Pilates, reading, and listening to wayyyy too many podcasts.
Autumn McAlpin (she/her) is a writer, filmmaker and dedicated voice of advocacy and equality for our LGTBQIA+ population—in particular in the LDS space. Autumn pens the weekly LGBTQIA+ family profile stories at liftandlove.org, and is also an active supporter and fundraiser for Encircle, which provides safe spaces, friendship circles, classes, and subsidized therapy to LGBTQIA+ youth.