Rebecca Moore is a writer and NASA enthusiast. She has a personal website here. She is also quite tall. We’re grateful that she sent us this guest post.
Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.
Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world.
This weekend, as I sat at my ward retreat listening to a few people make homophobic remarks, I thought to myself, “Do I want to get into this right now?”
Navigating LDS circles as a queer person is tricky. For one, even if you’re like me and have taken that proverbial step out of the closet, you’re never really “out.” Unless you’re wearing a rainbow sticker that says, “I’M NOT STRAIGHT,” on your forehead, there will always be those who are unaware of your sexual preferences. It’s a side effect of a heteronormative society.
Most people are not total jerks, and will likely not make disparaging remarks in your presence if they are aware, however, as I experienced on my ward’s annual attempt to get people to go on more dates (kidding, I actually really like my ward retreat), some people will be unaware and say things that they probably wouldn’t have, lest they had known one of The Gays was among them.
And now we’ve arrived back to my initial, “Do I want to get into this right now?” You might assume that I would be making this judgment based on whether or not I was afraid this person would be mean to me were I to reveal myself, but in all reality, I couldn’t care less. The real question would be, “Will this person use me as a prop for their homophobia?”
Let me elaborate. I may be queer, but I am also an active, endowed, temple worthy member. I believe in agency, and this is how I have decided to exercise mine. However, I am not interested in becoming a poster child on how all LGBT members should behave. It’s the Josh Weed effect. In coming out while maintaining your religion, you open yourself up to people looking for proof that clearly their child/brother/guy in their elders quorum really just needs to be more faithful. They say, “Here look at this one person! They are happy! You should be too, if you just become more like them.”
The problem with that mentality, the idea that there are some active LGBT members, so therefore all members who have sexual or gender identities outside of what is considered “normal” can and should be like them, shows a profoundly unchristlike attitude. It assumes that all of us are essentially one homogeneous blob. It does not take the time to know the one.
I come from an incredibly privileged place. While I don’t wish to downplay the seriousness of my choice, I do know I have things that others simply do not. For one, I still experience attraction to men. While I know I will deal with erasure  most of my life, I still have the knowledge that I have the option to marry someone I am both romantically and sexually attracted to in the temple, if I so desire. It may not happen, and to be honest I often wonder if it will. After all, I’m not sure how many of those lists we all used to make describing our future spouses had, “queer feminist” on them, but that is probably another article all together.
But beyond that, I also had a supportive family. I had older family members who had already come out. I had a wonderful group of friends who I knew would always stand by me. And I knew that other people, even ones I wasn’t close with, would never give me flack. I am extroverted, funny, attractive, and “large in stature” as our friend Nephi likes to say. I am a unique blend of likable and intimidating. Other than a few comments from strangers on the internet, people are simple not mean to me. Do I think this is fair? No. There are wonderful people who are shy, or slightly socially awkward that are not given the same respect I am for really no good reason. But I am aware of what I am, and that, more than anything, is why I could come out with little fear.
Not all of your brothers and sisters are me. Some of them have cruel communities. Some of them have devious friends. Some of them experience gender dysphoria. Some have faced rejection and unkindness all their lives, at the hand of the very church many so adamantly insist that if they were just more active in, they would be happy. Some of them simply have different feelings than myself. I do not believe it is our place to decide what another’s limits may be, nor how that person should go about finding God.
It is our place to mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. It is our place to know those who may be lost and lonely as a person, not a project. All deserve to know the love of our Savior, and blessed are those who help them do so.
My advice to you today is not only something to remember when interacting with members outside of the heterosexual cisgender  group, but really with all of God’s children. Take the time to get to know a person. Practice empathy, not just sympathy. Seek to understand who they are as an individual, as opposed to just sticking them in a preconceived box.
All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.
This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children. He does not esteem one flesh above another, but He ‘inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.’
– Joseph B. Wirthlin
 The feeling or experience of one who is attracted to multiple genders being invisible due to the appearance of a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. (i.e. Bisexual or sexually fluid individuals that are assumed straight/gay depending on the gender of their partner)
 Cisgender- where individuals’ experiences of their own gender agree with the sex they were assigned at birth.