Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Love Us

(Painting by Catherine Nessworthy)

I know, you say you love us. But you cannot accept sin. I get it, I do. But what you don’t seem to get is that my “sin” is me. You may think I’ll be “fixed” in heaven and I’ll be changed in the twinkling of an eye into something that resembles your version of a celestial being, but it wouldn’t be me. I’d only be a shadow of my former self trapped inside an artificial avatar, and that sounds like hell to me.

I know, you say you love us. You probably think I’m dramatic because you have made it clear we are welcome, pending one small contingency: celibacy or heteronormativity. But what you don’t understand is bisexuality isn’t just my sexual orientation. It’s my world view. It’s my reality. It’s how I love. It’s how I live. It’s who I am. No matter whom I marry, whom I sleep with or whatever sexual acts I engage in it will not cure me. And I like me. So when I conform to your request of celibacy, monogamy, or heteronormativity, it’s a charade—nothing more than a costume donned to participate in your play.

I know, you say you love us. You might assume this isn’t my problem because I’m bi. It’s true I have the privilege of blending into a heteronormative society, but don’t you think for one second that when an LGBT person kills themselves I don’t have to confront the demons in my head. Don’t you think for one second that I haven’t known isolation. Don’t you think for one second that when you deny the children of practicing homosexuals the waters of baptism that I don’t look at the faces of my three children knowing that the only reason they are exempt from your policy is because I married a cisgender man. Don’t you think for one second I don’t live in fear of being the victim of sexual violence or a hate crime. Don’t you think for one second that I don’t suffer with them, cry with them, and march with them. I am them and I am also you.

I know, you say you love us. You look at my flawless heterosexual family and how could you not love us? We fit so perfectly on the cover of the monthly Ensign. So why does it have to be different if the person by my side is my wife? I understand, as a woman, no amount of celibacy could ever qualify me for the priesthood. Where would a family be without a patriarch?

I know, you say you love us. So why does your love hurt me? I wish you wouldn’t say “I love you” like a caveat to justify your behavior. You say there is room for us in the family, but what does being in a family look like to you? Does it mean excluding us from eternal connections? Or molding ourselves into a caricature that fits your ideas of holy until we are no longer recognizable? If there is anything I learned from my Mormon heritage it is the importance of family. Family means we atone with one another.

I know, you say you love us. So love us—wholly, completely, immersively—love us.