Sunday, November 18, 2012

Facebook Groups and Gay Mormons

Finding a Safe Place

There's much in the news and spoken of in communities about the dangers of social media, especially when it comes to youth. I've come across a few facebook Groups focussed on gay LDS/Mormons as well as Groups focussed on bringing different parties together.

One such group is Mormon's Building Bridges on facebook. When I joined the group I didn't take the time to read their version of Apple's Terms & Conditions, it went on for pages. They probably could have summed it all up by listing their Terms & Conditions as "Be Christ Like". 

I found the group a little dry and very Utah centric, even very Salt Lake City focussed. I found most of the posts confusing, confusing in the sense that gay folks were talking about Church meetings they'd attended, firesides they'd been to and family home evenings they'd be participated in. 

On the surface, they seem confused to me. I get that they still have their faith, as do I, but I don't understand what is to be gained by participating in Church activities where people essentially believe you're a sinful creature and that there is room to repent and change.

Governor Romney

The recent US election saw some pretty dirty politics and division among people around a number of issues. I have some wealthy LDS friends from the North West of the US who shared with me their voting choice after they'd cast their vote on election day.

They voted for Romney and for gay marriage but against marijuana. :-) So it seems there are plenty of active LDS people who have a conscious and perhaps don't believe it's the Church's role to push a view on issues that are essentially secular in nature.

"Group" Discussion

There was much election discussion in the facebook groups that I participate, but not in the Mormon's Building Bridges group. Their 'charter' calls for no political discussion. How that's possible, I really don't know. Especially in the context of the LDS Church's political involvement in California's Prop 8 vote.

One group I do find myself spending a lot of time is "Breakthough Branch". I think it's meant to be "Breakthrough Branch" but facebook don't let you fix typo's is my understanding :-) This is a great group, far more open and the discussion is excellent and supportive. There's is a mix of gay and str8, LDS and others, active and less active in the group.

The group is facilitated by a wonderful str8 LDS women, Carol. She does a great job, she's not heavy handed in her moderation of the group and she's created a safe place for discussion.

Why Sexism Still Exists

There is a mix of gay men and women in the group. Some of the girls have told stories of their participation in Mormon's Building Bridges and the sexism they've experienced which has driven them from that group. They've shared stories of comments they've made, similar to those made by gay men but they've then been shot down by str8 members, usually men, for their comments.

There seems to be a double standard at play. It appears that gay men are more accepted than gay women. I don't understand that, it's just plain odd. 

Where to From Here?

I think overall the groups serve a great purpose, they enable people to come together in what should be a safe place, some are safer than others. The agenda behind the groups differs and that's cool, but I've learnt that reading the "small print" of these groups is a good idea in order to participate in a meaningful way.

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