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  • Writer's pictureqmwproject

What Ashley Told Me

I remember shutting half of my body down once to tell a gay friend, “Having same sex attraction is comparable to mental illness in the sense that you’ll be made perfect in Heaven!”

I justified it by telling myself this is what I was supposed to believe.

I remember so deeply desiring to attempt conversion therapy. 

I justified it by reminding myself “I am a Mormon; I can’t be queer. I can be fixed.

I remember several friends giving me variations of “I love you no matter what,” followed by “but you don’t really plan to act on those feelings, right?” 

And so, I justified staying in the closet from then on to ward off conditional love.

I wish I could say I remember wanting to die, but this isn’t just a memory for me. Why? I am a queer Mormon woman, terrified to come out of the closet. 

I justify staying in the closet because it won’t matter if I can’t do anything about it. 

I justify staying in the closet because if the people I love won’t want this part of me to exist, why should it see the light of day?

I justify staying in the closet because if I am the only gay who is out at church, I probably won’t kill myself, but the stares, the judgement, and the priesthood leaders telling me to “pray it away” just might.

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