Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Standing Room Only

Breaking The Silence: a discussion panel on understanding same-gender attraction was held this evening, Thursday February 24th, at the Provo City Library. There was over 100 people in the audience, which filled the room.

Debbie, straight LDS Church member, acted as moderator for the event. The panel was composed of Brent, who is a temple recommend holder of the LDS Church, and Eric, a bisexual living with his partner, a lesbian couple: Kerri and Bonnie, and Rebekah, an active LDS member who is the daughter of a lesbian.

Tiffany Demings, the organizer of Breaking the Silence,  opened the meeting with a quote about the importance of sharing stories. She said, "First of all, all of us matter. All of us have stories...and they all should be told...I forget that everyone is living out their own world. Their own tragedies, their own triumphs, their own everythings. We are so much alike. and different. But alike. We should be writing it down. We should be talking more. We should be telling more. So that we never feel alone. So that we aren't scared of people or assume things about people or discount people."

There was a wide range of perspectives, and the discussion touched on topics from political activism to homelessness, advice on coming out to sensitivity with word choice.

Here are a few highlights from the meeting:
Rebekah said, referencing her mother's coming out, "Just because someone identifies as one thing or other, it doesn't change anything about that person."

"What you think you know about a minority means nothing until you talk to one of us." --Eric

When the issue of expectations from other people and personal spirituality came up, Kerri said, "Fulfill within, not outwardly." And she talked about how she was never happy when she tried to please everyone around her.

"You're not alone. You don't have to figure out everything at once."--Brent

To members of the LDS Church, Rebekah said, "It's important to understand what the Church's stance is and what it isn't." She went on to say that Christ would not turn anyone away, and that members of the Church have a responsibility to help those in need no matter their sexual orientation or their position in life.

"Love: isn't that what everything is about?"

One woman in the audience stood up and talked about PFLAG (Parents Friends and Family of Lesbians And Gays). She said that homeless youth is at 47%. Anyone seeking to be involved in PFLAG is welcome to join the Salt Lake chapter every 2nd Tuesday of the month.
for more info click here: PFLAG Salt Lake City chapter

Eric is the founder of Pride in Utah
Kerri is an active participant of SWERVE

Tiffany is planning to hold another discussion panel at the end of March. Details are TBA.

 Photos are courtesy of Erik Westesen

1 comment:

  1. thanks for posting this! it was a great night.