Saturday, June 24, 2017

Resources for LGBTQ+ Mormons and their friends

Okay, here's a list of a few resources I've found that have been helpful to me, in no particular order. Some of these are things that I hope will help LGBTQ+ Mormons directly cause they've helped me feel like I'm not the only one like me, and others can help those who have LGBTQ+ loved ones to understand and empathize with that experience. is a good site that has a bunch of resources for a bunch of LGBTQ+ people who are or have been associated with the LDS church. They have both online resources, some Facebook groups, and conferences and such. is a site maintained by the LDS church which I wish more people were more familiar with. It has several videos and stories from mostly lesbian, gay, and bisexual Mormons and their families. Church doctrine doesn't have many real answers for transgender people, unfortunately, so there's not much on their site in that regard. It's pretty good for what it is, and it tries to promote love and acceptance.

This essay contains a pretty comprehensive look at the LDS church's position and how it has changed throughout history towards specifically gay and lesbian people. He puts LGBT in the title, but again, it kind of leaves out trans people, and it doesn't really address bisexual people, either. There's not a ton to draw on from official church statements, but it is important to mention the omission. I haven't read the rest of the site where this essay is found, but it's, and it might be useful, too.

This post on Josh Weed's blog was the first thing I ever read that talked about being Mormon and gay. His case is somewhat unique, given that he's married to a woman, though they're certainly not the only mixed-orientation couple around. At any rate, this was pretty eye-opening to me a few years back when I read it, and maybe it will be helpful for others, too. In this post, Josh and Lolly apologize sincerely for the ways their original post was used to harm LGBT people, and they announce their divorce.

Finally, my friend Ben has an awesome blog which has been a good resource for me as I first tried to understand what it might mean to be Mormon and LGBT. It also gave me a good example for what it might look like if and when I decided to come out. This post is a good place to start reading his story.

If you don't know, LGBT individuals are often at a higher risk for suicide. Several studies show this, including one from BYU, which you can find reported here in the Universe, BYU's newspaper. Therefore, here's a list of hotlines and suicide prevention resources.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 is a suicide prevention program specifically for LGBT youth. 866-488-7386

Project Semicolon is another suicide prevention project tailored to people with a variety of mental illnesses. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has this page about how to recognize suicide warning signs. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Labels and Identity: coming out

Image may contain: 1 person, standingI've been thinking about labels lately. Labels can be harmful when people apply them to others without their consent, like insults. Labels that people use to use for themselves are a different matter. Some labels we choose and some we simply discover and then can choose whether or not to use publicly. Sometimes, they can be really helpful as tools to help explain our identity. A psychologist once told me that I shouldn't want a diagnostic label for the symptoms I was experiencing because people would judge me for it. She was wrong. I need to know how to identify what's going on with my mind and my well-being so I can know how to manage my mental health. It's just as important as knowing what's going on with my physical health. Getting the diagnosis of anxiety was so helpful, and though I did not choose to have anxiety, I definitely want the label. Anxiety is a thing I have, so I definitely want to know about it. I choose to tell people about it because I think it helps those I care about understand me and it can help destigmatize mental illness when I talk about it.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

About Dad

Tell me about your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on). Share some memories you have of your father.

My dad is Charles H. Lemon. He was born in Bermuda, on Davis Air Force Base. His parents' names are Boyd Reed Lemon and Ola Tess Lemon. Boyd was in the Air Force, which is what took them to Bermuda, Nebraska, the Philippines, and many other places during my dad's growing up years.

As I look back, the characteristic that stands out about my dad is his generosity. He and Mom took me and my brother with them when they took gifts of food and other things to friends and neighbors at Christmastime. I remember shopping with my dad while he picked out things to put in the gift baskets and realizing that my dad really cared about helping others. This is also obvious in his choice of profession as an emergency physician. Dad would work all hours of day or night.

When Alexander and I were little, Dad would choose to work night shifts so he could be home during the day. He would also make time to come to our music recitals and he would carry my violin and Alexander's cello. Now he works teaching a medical Spanish course at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. No matter what he does, Dad puts lots of time and energy into it. He doesn't do anything halfway.

When I was a kid, we'd watch the Home and Garden channel together and he taught me how to do some of the projects we saw. We made lamps out of stacks of books from the thrift store that we painted to look like leather and a seat out of old doors. The hardware store reminds me of him.

He was also the only one who would watch Singin' in the Rain with me for the umpteenth time after it was the only thing I wanted to watch one summer. He's always been supportive of my interests, even if he doesn't share them.

Happy Father's day!