This new series from The Exponent features Queer Mormon Women*. Join us as we hear the experiences, voices, stories, and musings of Mormon people who identify in some way with being a woman, being Mormon, and being queer! The series is written by several queer Mormon women*, which we all hope will provide greater visibility and reach for queer perspectives.
Click HERE to find all the published posts in the series, to date.
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First things first: what do all these terms even mean!?
Why do we use an asterisk after women? Why do we use the term “queer”? Why aren’t all LGBT women just called lesbians? Why do we need all the letters in LGBTQIA+? What does the plus sign stand for? Let’s give you a brief overview, that covers these terms, but doesn’t necessarily represent all queer experiences.
Woman*/Women*: Based on a similar practice with the word trans* with an asterisk, using the asterisk with the woman* or women* means that we are including any person who identifies as a woman in some way. Similar terms: womenish or womanish.
Queer: A useful umbrella term that can be used to refer to anyone who feels like they are queer, as well as “who feels somehow outside of the societal norms in regards to gender or sexuality” (source)
LGBTQIA+: The acronym represents the following terms: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual. The plus sign includes all other terms that queer people may claim under this acronym. There are many versions! Another useful umbrella term.
Gender Identity vs. Sexual Orientation: Gender identity is “the internal perception of an individual’s gender, and how they label themselves”, i.e. female, genderqueer, non-binary, etc. Sexual orientation is “the type of sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction one feels for others, often labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to” i.e. lesbian, bisexual, asexual, etc. (source)
Gender and Sexual Minorities (GSM): This is a term that can be used in conjunction with LGBT or LGBTQIA+, or it can be used alone. It’s another umbrella term for those who do not fit into the mainstream binary of “male or female”, and/or have a sexual orientation or gender identity that is a minority in broader culture.
Genderbread Person 2.0: To understand the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sex, orientation, and identity, take a look at the image below. Very helpful! (source)
Why Queer Mormon Women*?
You may have seen this Dear Mormon Allies, Now What? letter signed by “A Group of Queer Mormon Women”. This group of LGBTQIA+ and Gender & Sexual Minority (GSM) Mormon women* and womenish people, are starting a conversation that is unprecedented in the online Mormon community or the Mormon community at large.
We are here. We exist, and we also have stories to tell. We are with you, weaving into the history of Mormonism.
We hear so often of queer Mormons in the context of being male, but have historically heard very little from female perspectives. The experience of being a Queer Mormon Women* has been unrepresented, hidden, and even shamed. It’s time for LGBTQIA+ women*, queer women*, non-binary and GSM people to become more visible. We are a part of the Mormon family. We are your siblings. The experience of being queer and Mormon is an inherently challenging one. We need to hear these stories.
If you are a Queer Mormon Woman*, we welcome you to the conversation and ask you to speak up if you are moved to do so. You have a place here with us. You can even use this photo as a profile picture on Facebook, or in other social media. If you are an ally, we invite you to listen. Thank you for supporting us!