The words ‘Mormon’ and ‘openly gay’ are not often associated with each other.
After all, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which helped fund the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008 which banned gay marriage for a time.
But Tyler Glenn, the lead vocalist and keyboardist of the American alternative rock band Neon Trees, is trying to find out what it means to be openly gay and to still be a Mormon.
‘I think people are interested that I’m still claiming to be a Mormon, and a lot of people who associate the Mormon church and homosexuality together – usually there’s a rift, and rightfully so,’ Glenn tells Frontiers magazine.
‘I mean, there’s been a very public negative look from the church on homosexuality in the past few years. But for me it’s hard to reconcile now wanting to be my whole self and wanting to live my entire truth, because part of that does include my faith.’
Glenn, who came out publicly in March, says it’s not easy to walk away from his faith: ‘I wasn’t wanting to be so quick to just throw away things that I believe in that I still find are true.’
But he’s not trying to say that it’s always a comfortable religion for him to practice these days.
‘I do have my issues with the Church, and I’m sure there are plenty of religious people who don’t necessarily fully agree with things. I think we’re all trying. But for me, I still really have a belief. It’s an interesting thing to balance right now, but I’m figuring it out I guess.’
Glenn hopes that by being open about his sexuality and remaining Mormon, he can help others in the church.
‘I know there are a lot of LGBT youth in Utah that are still getting kicked out of their homes because their Mormon families don’t know how to deal with it. That’s really saddening to me.’
He adds: ‘I guess my story has helped some of those families locally. I’ve heard from them, and I think that’s cool. … I appreciate those people who have woken up – that being gay isn’t something you should look down on someone for.’