This last week USGA hosted a Mixed-Orientation Marriage panel, which consisted of opposite-sex couples where one was straight and the other was queer.
The subject is a sensitive one among USGA members, to say the least. Too often we have been pressured by well-meaning parents or local church leaders to enter into mixed-orientation marriages, even when that may not be the best option for an individual. At times this can create resentment towards such an option and those who take it. Despite this unfortunate past, USGA is committed to a neutral position where all are welcome, regardless of what life-path they may choose. We believe in empowering our members to choose for themselves, and entering into a mixed-orientation marriage is certainly a valid choice. For those seeking such a marriage, we wanted to present the tools they will need to make such a marriage successful, and we also wanted to help those who do not pursue such a marriage to develop better understanding and empathy.
Two of the couples in the panel were gay men married to straight women, one was a cisgender woman engaged to a transgender woman, and one was a gay woman who was divorced. Some had been married two decades, one five years, others engaged and others only days off their honeymoon. With this diversity of experiences, we hoped to gain a better understanding of mixed-orientation marriages and how those who choose to enter them can navigate these unknown waters.
The panel was a great success, in no small part due to the charisma of our panelists. Several times the room was engulfed in laughter or applause. We learned about the importance of honesty, openness, acceptance, commitment, and love, as well as the unique challenges that come with such a marriage. Panelists talked of their love of Christ. One spoke of the intolerance of her former spouse, the pressure to get married prematurely, and their subsequent divorce. We heard of the bad along with the good.
In the end, this panel was a reminder that all of us are on this journey together. The intersection of faith and sexuality may present a challenging crossroads, but we can all support one another as we advance on the roads of life. USGA remains committed to improving the quality of life and happiness of queer BYU students, and this uplifting panel certainly met our goal.
Jeff and Sarah Case were two of our amazing panelists, along with Nicholas Gregory and May Rice (pictured above).