A doe-eyed 13-year-old Mormon boy named Jordan looks into the camera and says he was planning to disappear after college so his parents wouldn’t have to suffer any shame because of him.
Why? Because he is gay.
In a riveting new video produced by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, Jordan and his LDS parents describe their experience of coping with the boy’s sexuality in the context of Mormonism.
The 20-minute video traces the California couple’s transition from viewing same-sex attraction as evil and supporting the state’s Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage, to recognizing that their son was the same child they had adored since birth and wanting to help him achieve a “magnificent” future.
While their world was rocked by the news, their love remains steady, the parents say. “If you take your family support away,” says Jordan’s dad, “I don’t know how you [manage] it as a kid.”
That is precisely the project’s message: How a family responds to their gay children can mean the difference between life and death.
Caitlin Ryan, the film’s producer and director of the Acceptance Project, will be unveiling the video, “Families are Forever,” as well as sponsoring a panel discussion about it Tuesday night at Weber State University.
The invitation-only event is in the Wildcat Theater in the Shepherd Union Building on the Ogden campus.
“Eventually we’ll disseminate this video in a variety of ways so that families, religious leaders, schools and colleges, health providers and training institutions can use this and our other videos,” Ryan writes in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune, “in their work to help strengthen families, decrease risk and promote the well-being of LGBT young people.”
At least one magazine writer, though, seems to think that the LDS Church has changed so much since Prop 8 that the Utah-based faith is now responsible for helping several other states pass gay marriage — simply by staying out of the fray.
“The church seems to have returned to focusing on homosexuality as a personal issue rather than a political one,” writes Stephanie Mencimer in the left-leaning Mother Jones. “After years of working behind the scenes, hiring lobbyists, and mobilizing its members to fight state referendums sympathetic to same-sex marriage, it appears to have simply dropped the rope.”
Peggy Fletcher Stack