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June 9, 2008


Mesa is right next door to Tempe where I live and beside its conservative Christian population mentioned in the article below, it also has a very sizable Mormon community and you don't get much more conservative than that. My partner, Peter, is Mormon - or rather ex-mormon since he resigned from the church and had his name taken off their membership roster so they couldn't claim him as a member. Their very homophobic teachings and policies just became too frustrating for both of us. We've been partnered for 7 years and have been friends for over 10.

The following is from Box Turtle Bulletin and I include it here in its entirety.

Jim Burroway
June 9th, 2008
Eighteen-year-old Kyle Hutchinson accomplished something that no one at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona, has ever done before. He was crowned king of the high school prom as an openly gay man.

Kyle’s parents were present when he was crowned king Saturday night amid cheers and boos:

“He kept telling me he was going to win, and he had convinced me,” said his mother, Doreen Hutchinson. “When they called his name, we heard the cheering, but then we immediately heard the boos,” she said. “My heart went into my stomach. It was so awful. My husband said he was expecting it, but I wasn’t prepared. It was so sad.”

Hutchinson said he felt bad that his parents had to hear his classmates who weren’t supporting him. But he also said their reaction is something he has known his whole life, and he wasn’t about to let it ruin his moment.

Kyle said he had always been picked on for not fitting in with the other boys in school. He came out to his parents on his sixteenth birthday, and he moved from his former high school to Red Mountain the following year, he started his first day of class being open about his sexuality. And while Mesa is known for having a large conservative Christian population, Kyle found that he had very few problems until his prom night.

Kyle was crowned king after winning the contest in a landslide, which is perhaps indicative of the changing attitudes among the younger generation — even among young conservative Christians, 80% of whom thought the church was “too anti-homosexual” in one recent survey.

By the way, there is a very good Gay Mormon support group called "Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons" and if you're Morman and are having trouble coping with being gay and reconciling the contradictions between that and your church's teachings, I suggest you check them out. They have chapters all over the country and their website is www.affirmation.org. You are definitely NOT ALONE.