Having two LGBTQ+ children makes me hyper aware of the challenges they face growing up in the LDS church.
Growing up gay in the LDS church is problematic enough. Identifying as a gender outside of the conventional binary of either male or female adds even further complexity to the challenges queer youth face in the church.
The LDS church strongly adheres to the typical gender binary. It’s reflected in their scripture stories, in their temples, in how they approach parenting, in leadership responsibilities, and so on. Segregation of the sexes begins at 8 years old, with boys being shipped off to weekly Cub pack meetings and girls being shuffled to biweekly Activity Days. This segregation continues into adulthood, right to the day one dies.
This is problematic for people who don’t identify as male or female. They feel out of place when forced to segregate, and the discomfort (to put it mildly) can lead them out of the church ultimately.
Few resources are provided to youth leaders to help them address the unique experiences of the non-binary youth they are asked to lead. This goes not only for young men and young women leaders, but bishops and stake presidents, too. So, it’s not surprising, then, that leaders do little to accommodate their non-binary youth.
I reached out to our gender-fluid child, Ash, who will be entering the youth programme next month, and we worked together to compile these 11 tips on how leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church. Continue reading “11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church”