Growing up in the Mormon Church, especially when you’re part of the LGBT community, is no easy feat. Katie Chastain, a bisexual, 22-year-old ex-Mormon, knows that better than anyone. Even though Katie herself no longer associates with the Mormon church, she still lives with her parents and siblings, who are Mormon. (“Well,” Katie says, “two out of four of my siblings are.”)
In response to the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Mormon Church released a statement saying that all members who were engaged in a same-sex relationship were “apostates”, and that in order for their children to become baptized in the church, they have to renounce their parents and leave the home. To Katie, this ruling shows where the church stands on homosexuality: “being gay isn’t a sin, but acting on those feelings is a sin.” When asked about how the Mormon Church’s statement affects her, even after she has left the church, Katie says:
“It shifts my whole dynamic. My parents are very Mormon…you can’t just not be Mormon. It’s part of your culture, your own personal ideology, and you can’t just turn that off. And so I know that they would try to teach my children about Mormonism, and, you know, that’d be annoying, but I’d be fine with it before this announcement. Because now, if I’m in a same-sex relationship, then my relationship with my children is in danger if they are exposed to Mormonism. Because if they want to be Mormon all of the sudden, it’s not even that they have to just renounce their parents and their homosexual relationship, but they have to be moved out of your house, and you know, at 18 I wasn’t ready to be moved out of my house…I’m still [at mine], living with my parents. It shifts how much of a relationship they can have with my parents, because they can’t just turn off Mormonism, but I don’t want [my kids] exposed to that.
“It’s punishing the children. It’s very anti-family, because at 18, all of the sudden you’re tearing a family apart. But the church tries to say that ‘No, we’re pro family, because now we’re not going to tear the family apart until they’re 18!’ That’s the kind of thinking that they’re following and I don’t like it at all.”
-Contributed by Reva Short