By Courtney Galloway
It’s not an uncommon question to ask why LGBTQ stay in the church – sometimes against overwhelming challenges. But it’s often overlooked just how important straight allies are.
Yes, I could leave the church, become inactive again, and in many ways my life would be far simpler that way. And I won’t claim there aren’t times I don’t still consider it. Especially if a member of the Stake Presidency is at my ward on any given Sunday. Honestly, I’m developing a paranoia about when they show up — those tend to be the Sundays with talks filled with rhetoric that does little more than rub salt in the wound, or bring new fresh wounds. Today, was one such Sunday. I left after Sacrament meeting because honestly I couldn’t flee the building quickly enough. I was over-tired and over-sensitive, and frankly I hate to let anyone see me cry. Under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t return. I don’t stay where I’m not wanted or where I’m hated.
But, I will be back next week. Just like I’ve come back after previous such Sundays. Because for all that the talks may wound and hurt, the people in my ward who’ve gone out of their way to befriend me — they make it worth it. Those folks who go out of their way to offer comfort, to check in on me after I’ve gotten home to make sure I’m ok, who find ways both blatant and subtle to make me laugh, offer support , and just offer kindness and acceptance – they truly make all the difference in the world. And if they can summon the courage to stand by me, to even offer to protect and defend me if/when it comes to that, to be willing to offer me friendship and comfort… If they can summon the courage to do all of that, then the least I can do is to keep showing up. And so I do. And because I’m blessed with a truly warm, welcoming and embracing ward for the greater extent I do honestly enjoy going to church. And when the exceptions to that pop up, those loving people around me remind me that it is, for my experience, the exception – not the rule. That things are getting better. That’s it’s worth going back. That the next week, will be a better one.
So for those dear sweet folks, and for you marvelous allies everywhere. Thank you. You make more of a difference than you might know.