Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pride

I survived the last week of school, pride weekend, and my daughter's sixteenth birthday today. In another month I will have survived being a single mother of five for an entire year!


Pride was amazing this year for several reasons. First, it was incredible to have other straight spouse friends walking beside me at both the festival and in the parade. Second, it was a day that will go down in history for the Salt Lake Gay Pride celebration as a huge group of LDS members dressed in their Sunday clothes, not to attend church as usual, but instead to walk together at the front of the pride parade, sending messages of love for all of God's children. It proved to be an amazing spiritual and emotional experience for those marching as well as those watching, and attracted all sorts of media attention.

For me, it was just happy. I enjoyed reading of the experiences on Facebook, both from the LDS group as well as from my straight spouse friends. I enjoyed being with my family, happy that Scott and I have found peace and friendship in our separation and relationship with each other as well as with the kids. I especially marveled at the gratitude I felt from some of the gay fathers as they saw me and my friends supporting each other and supporting our gay loved ones, even though many of us are or will soon be ex-spouses. We have started an important network of straight spouses that has much work to do as we reach out to others and encourage a positive journey of growth for us and our children. Last night as I spoke with fathers and spouses at a family BBQ that ended our pride celebration, I felt a confirmation that we are truly doing God's work with these organizations.


Just for fun, I decided to go back through my blog to posts that I wrote about my experiences with the Pride celebration over the past three years. I've also included photos from each year, and am amazed at how my children have grown. I am so proud of each of them and the choices they are making in their lives. I continue to be a little bit concerned about our journeys not including the church at this time, and I don't know where we are going with that decision, but there has definitely been peace for all of us in taking a break.


PRIDE 2009

CTL--Choose to Love

Scott came out in July 2008, so June 2009 was our first awareness of the Pride celebration and any desire to observe or participate in it. I wrote in this post of the guilt I felt from deciding to attend the parade as a family with Scott instead of going to church. But then as I chose a hymn to be sung in Relief Society in my absence, aligning it with the topic of "obedience", the words of hymn #237, "Do What is Right" spoke to my heart. I wrote:

My guilty feeling lifted as I felt the words of the song talking to me. Don't worry about the consequence of going in the morning when the day-dawn is breaking (and missing church); instead, fight for freedom, be faithful and fearless, and accept the fact that God is leading us, protecting us, and blessing us in our quest.
After sitting through heavy rain for an hour or more during the parade, and then wandering through endless booths, our feet hurt, we were wet and cold and hungry and tired, and yet our oldest son said, "This was the best Sunday ever!" Oh dear, what am I teaching my children? :) I hope they are learning to love.
PRIDE 2010

Bring it on

For this particular Pride event, I was eight+ months pregnant, and our oldest son had his appendix removed just a week or so before. In addition, the last few months had been emotionally taxing for me as it was evident that Scott was most likely unable to continue our marriage relationship. He had begun clubbing and dating and drinking, and so with all of these changes combined with a physically miserable pregnancy, I often found myself hopelessly wishing I could just be relieved from this mortal hell. Pride was apparently one of my better days:

The Pride festival today was hot, but fun, and it was exciting to see the students in the GSA club at my school, along with the club from a neighboring school (and my own children) march in the parade with Equality Utah. By the time we were done wandering the festival, however, my daughter and I were almost wishing it was rainy and cold like last year. :) Scott and I splurged on rainbow tie-dye shirts for the kids that match the ones he and I bought last year, so our family was just adorable everywhere we went today! (We even got a onesie for the upcoming kid to wear next year. :) Scott and I traded shirts, since I have gained a lot of size out front, and he has lost a bit this past year and is wearing a shirt size smaller. 
For the most part I am happy and well. I appreciate all of my friends. I appreciate that my eyes and heart have been opened to the gay part of the world. I appreciate my blog readers, the prayers, the emails, the realization that we have this amazing thing called the internet to find each other across the world and offer support to each other and know that we are not alone in what we face. To all of you readers out there that have/are/or will face what I am (or worse!), my heart is full and I wish you the best and pray for you. I wish for you to have the support of family and friends, to stay friends with your gay spouse, to feel the arms of your Heavenly Father around you, carrying you through, regardless of whether or not you stay active in the church. So bring it on. With God's help we can make the best out of what life gives us. Happy Pride day, happy Sabbath, and God bless! 
PRIDE 2011

Troubled

Pride last year came at a time when I was apparently really struggling with church. I was attending, but not enjoying my attendance. I was going through the motions, trying to do what I was supposed to do, but not really feeling anything. A recent article had come out in the LDS magazine called the Ensign, and it seemed that it had been written with the gay marriage battle in mind just in time for the June gay pride celebrations around the country. I wrote this the Sunday following pride:

...but today I really struggled with being at church. I tried to seek the spirit in prayer, specifically during the Sacrament ordinance. But I felt nothing, and my mind wandered to the experience of our third pride celebration last Sunday as we walked in the parade with the Utah Gay Father's Association. The euphoria and chills I experienced as the crowds of people along the parade route cheered on the fathers (some with, some without their children) was much more powerful than the "nothing" I felt at church today, and I desperately wanted to feel something. Where is my testimony going?



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