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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: 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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It Was Time For Him to Go

 

Editor’s Note:  We first published Jake’s story in July 2020.  It is now a year later, we felt (and Jake agreed) that the timing was right to share his story again.  Jake is one year into having “fired” his homophobic side and if you’ve followed him on Social Media, you know just how amazing his life has become.  If you’re new to his story, have a read and then check him out.  It’s a beautiful journey.  

 

It Was Time For Him to Go

I’m coming off a high. I just fired someone, and it was one of the crowning achievements of my adult life. I made sure to make a scene of it too by gathering everyone into the conference room, laying out a long list of offenses, and walking him out of the room and building to never return. It was awesome!

Nine months earlier I came out as gay to my wife of 13 years. I married her with the best of intentions, desiring to do all that was expected of me as a man in...

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Summit Speaker: Isabella Armour

allyship coming out summit May 11, 2021

Isabella Armour (she/they) is a Digital Marketing Specialist who serves LGBTQ+ owned and inclusive small businesses.

They focus on normalizing queerness within digital spaces, like Pinterest and Instagram and they push to make the online business world a place that is human-first and trauma-aware.

She is speaking on the Coming Out Early in Life track at the Allyship, Communication, and Boundaries Panel about "Supporting your Fellow Queer People".

 

Join us to learn more!

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Summit Speaker: Samantha Hernandez

coming out finances gay summit May 10, 2021

Samantha (she/her) is a lesbian money coach. She founded The Money Institute to educate the queer community on how being gay affects their finances.

She has several coaching programs dedicated to empowering the queer community to eliminate debt, save thousands and live their best life.

Sam is speaking in the Coming Out Early In Life track on How Being Gay Impacts Your Finances - And the Real Cost of an Apartment.

 

Join us to learn more!

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Summit Speaker: Jenna Slaughter

Jenna Slaughter is a breaker of rules, a trauma-informed Self-Love Coach, and host of The Unlearning Podcast.

They help their clients unlearn limiting beliefs, release the emotional baggage and go their own way-- in both life and business.

Jenna will be speaking in the Coming Out Early in Life Track of the Pride and Joy Summit. Their talk is about Conquering Loss and Uncertainty with Vulnerability and Imperfect Action.

 

Join us to learn more!

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