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.