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Emergence 2021: Debra Jo Borden

 

My Church Accidentally Taught Me: God is THEY

     By Debra Jo Borden

Intersections: Bio/Adoptive/Foster Mother, Latter-day Saint, Educator, Cisgender, Female, Heterosexual (Rated with Kinsey Scale), Preferred Pronouns (She/Her/Hers, will accept They)

*When referencing deities, the use of capitals is a cultural practice of respect. I was taught to pray using Thee, Thy, and Thou and it is my opinion that the gender-neutral, modern use of They/Them fits in with that practice quite nicely. This article is written with the intention of respect, but I acknowledge that I likely still have unintended bias embedded within my commentary. I have experienced privilege in my overall life and in my church-related endeavors as a white, cisgender, heterosexual female, married in the temple to a husband who supports me (temple marriage being the highest obtainable honor for meeting all sexual purity standards deemed by the church in LDS Purity Culture). Finally, I have been immersed...

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Emergence 2021: SkyDxddy

 

SkyDxddy (also known as Skylar) submitted the lyrics to her song, "For the Misfits" for Emergence 2021.  

Find it on Spotify.

Find the lyric video on YouTube as well.

Check out all her links, like AppleMusic, etc.  http://smarturl.it/skydxddymusic

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Emergence 2021: Rowan VanGoda

Growing up I had no idea that you could go from being perceived as a girl to a boy. When I finally realized it, I didn’t think it was an option for me. At the time, there was one other kid at my school who was trans, and they weren’t in the best place mentally. I tried to turn to the internet, but what I found was mostly hate.

 The trans community in movies was portrayed as prostitutes, dead, or hated. One movie that stood out to me was “Boys Don’t cry.” It was a movie based on a true story where Brandon was raped, and his girlfriend was forced to look at his genitals and then they were both killed. In reality, they also had a friend staying there that was also killed.

Another was "Pet Detective". In the movie main character realized that he’d made romantic contact with puking, forcing himself to puke, plunging his face. Later he literally and forcefully strips Ventura to reveal her as a “man” and the entire police department...

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Emergence 2021: Josh Miller

 

 

I grew up in a small town just west of Indianapolis, Indiana that didn't tolerate differences. I was taught through abuse at school and scripture at church that I was irreparably broken, and that how I was born was inherently "bad" or "wrong." They made my sexuality out to be a thing I was afflicted with instead of a natural aspect of existence, and that disembodied a part of my identity and turned it into something they said could be removed. I wasn’t a gay man, I was sick with homosexuality and Jesus was the cure.

In secret, I tried to pray away my sexuality. I cried myself to sleep regularly, begging God to heal me or at least explain why he was unmoved. I was told that God didn’t answer prayers when someone lacked faith, implicating that I was a bad Christian. I needed to try harder. I also heard that God’s silence could sometimes be the result of living in sin. If that was the case, how could I get Him to answer me when my entire existence was sin...

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Emergence 2021: Kara Ballenger

 

I came out as bisexual when I was in High School to my friends but my parents would take me years to tell them. I always knew that I was not considered “Normal” in society's eyes when I was 8 years old. I had a crush on the very first boy of what I thought was my dream...but something seemed odd about it. I was always hanging around boys in my class and had very few girls as friends. One of them ended up being my first kiss with my neighborhood friend. I would invite her to my house all the time and even to my 8th Birthday. On one of the occasions, I remember her asking me if I knew what kissing was. I said only from movies and she wanted to know what it was like. So, we kissed and it was a little awkward at first but when I look back on it….it was very innocent. 

Jump forward to high school where I started making art and watching a lot of tv shows. One of them was Xena which inspired me to create my own stories as I got older. I had boyfriends through my...

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Do We Really Need to "Come Out" in 2021?

I joined a networking group last month.  At our first meeting, a tall blond woman asked me "Oh is homophobia still even a thing?  I'm surprised you run an entire organization that is fighting it.  I thought the younger generation didn't even care."

 
Yes.  Homophobia is still a thing.  Therefore coming out is still a thing.  
 
I came out at 38, after being a Mormon suburban housewife for 17 years.  When I came out, I lost my church, my business, and my entire social network.  I gained an entirely new community of friends who cheered on my coming out process.
 
Looking back I realized that how people reacted to my Coming Out was a massive tell in how our relationship would progress.  Almost all of my then-current friends and family said to me "Well, I love you no matter what."  It's three years later and hardly any of them are still speaking with me.  Once my partner and I moved in together, it was radio...
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Emergence: Share Your Story!

 

October is just right around the corner, and with National Coming Out Day drawing near, we want to do something special for you.

As a foundation, our goal is to encourage and lift you up. So this October, we want to bring visibility and validity to every queer experience - we believe that all coming out journeys are valid and need to be shared. If you let us, we'd love to share yours with the world.

Whether you've JUST come out, are thinking about coming out or have been out for years, we want to share your story in whatever medium or form of expression comes most naturally to you.

Every story is different, some experiences are unexpectedly easy and some have unexpected and lasting consequences. Whatever your journey is like, it's definitely worth sharing and deserves to be in the spotlight.

That's why we organized Emergence, to celebrate the different coming out stories from the community and bring attention to queer experiences. Share your...

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#QueerBusinessBook is here!

We wanted LGBTQ+ business and self-empowerment books to support our goal of reducing suicide and homelessness in our community.  

The “big publishers” said there wasn’t a big enough market.  If LGBTQ+ authors wanted to get a traditional publishing contract, they had to figure out a way to get at least 50k followers to justify the “investment”.

We said, “Thank u, Next.” and created our own publishing company.  

Pride and Joy Publishing is proud to announce our very first publication, Thriving in Business: Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Entrepreneur.  This book is a compilation of the best tips and heartfelt advice from successful queer entrepreneurs around the world.  14 new friends are waiting to support YOU and your business goals.  

Pride and Joy Publishing has set a goal to reach Bestseller Status in the first two days of its launch.  This will set the book on a powerful trajectory and Amazon...

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Attracting Key Talent in the LGBTQ+ Community

How Pride and Joy Foundation’s Impactful Benefit Survey can increase diversity and talent retention in your workplace 

By: Becca Ladd


 

When employers are looking to attract key LGBTQ+ talent into their workplace, a good place to start is with employee benefits. But how can employers looking to become inclusive leaders create a benefits package that truly reflects what LGBTQ+ workers are looking for and brings in those key employees? That’s where the Impactful Benefits Survey comes in.

 

How the survey helps the LGBTQ+ Community

The Impactful Benefits survey gives LGBTQ+ people, their allies and parents the chance to tell employers which workplace benefits are most inclusive and beneficial to members of the LGBTQ+ community. If you've been looking for a way to share your thoughts on workplace benefits, this is your chance to have your say.

The survey seeks to create the workplaces people in the LGBTQ+ community have been fighting for. Whether it's...

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Start Your Journey: Keynote Queers is Here!

"My TEDx talk changed my life."

- Elena Joy Thurston, Founder of Pride and Joy Foundation

Being on stage and connecting with people is something that Elena never struggled with. In the past, when she found herself in the middle of a messy divorce and struggling to take care of her four kids, these skills are what saved her.

With no other marketable skills, no work experience for the past 15 years, and no savings, she relied on her eagerness to dominate the stage and her ability to connect with people. She worked with one of the best speaker coaches for four long months to master public speaking and her hard work paid off.

She got accepted on her first try in applying to a TEDx event. This may not be for everyone, but she knew at that point that it was meant to be - it's her journey. As she stood in that iconic red circle carpet on stage, in front of about 900 people eager to listen to what she has to say, she realized a crazy new reality.

Being queer is a superpower.

As a...

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