None of us were prepared for 2020. I don’t need to tell you that, I also don’t need to point out that a lot of us are feeling anxiety about what 2021 might bring. There is a concrete way to feel like you’re in control though. And for many of us, that’s the biggest thing we need right now.

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The author with her girlfriend. Prior to the fondue story.

You can become an inclusive leader so that no matter what social upheaval comes our way in 2021, you’ll be the person to lead the team through the experience. …


Years ago, when I was married to my husband, he was a rising star at an infamous “Big 4” accounting firm. He was tapped as a potential partner in the firm and was asked to go to many Human Resource trainings. He was already a great accountant, but his company wanted him also to possess great management skills. I always knew when he’d attended a training, because he’d come home that day ready to practice what he’d learned.

He’d try “active listening techniques” as we got the kids ready for bed, and he’d ask for a “feedback meeting” that night. It made me giggle, but actually I always appreciated it. When he was at work, he was motivated and in the right mindset to learn new skills. His instructors were always top-notch and the skills he learned at work to become a great manager translated into our relationship at home. Even though he was working extra-long hours for clients most of the year, I felt a strong loyalty to his company that invested in his growth. …


The discrimination lawsuit you never saw coming

three employees collaborate around a laptop computer sitting on a table
three employees collaborate around a laptop computer sitting on a table
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Georgia Scott* works for a midlevel production company. They have just under 3,000 employees, spread through five states in the midwest. Georgia has been there about five years, they’re getting a touch bored but they like their job and frankly, it’s a pandemic. It doesn’t feel like the time to jump ship.

So when the company offered them a small promotion, they readily took it. Even though it meant moving two states away, they decided maybe the change of scenery would take care of their boredom. …


A brown leather club chair is the focus with a desk and other chairs in the background.
A brown leather club chair is the focus with a desk and other chairs in the background.
Photo by Cater Yang on Unsplash

I was married for 18 years when I realized that the basis of many of my struggles was that I wasn’t attracted to men. Then I found myself crazy in love with one specific woman. I had been heavily involved in the Mormon church since I was 16 and at age 38 I was strongly indoctrinated that homosexuality was a grievous sin that would keep me separated from God for eternity.

Therefore when my husband and bishop were made aware of my “same-sex attraction” and the discipline was doled out, it made sense that I searched for a way to “fix” myself. To make everything return to normal. …


On not feeling safe around self-identified Christians

A cell phone with a white screen and an emoji. It represents “I wonder…” with an eyebrow raised and a finger on the chin.
A cell phone with a white screen and an emoji. It represents “I wonder…” with an eyebrow raised and a finger on the chin.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Hey, Christians on Clubhouse and throughout America! I see you. I see you in your profiles and your bios.

“Daughter of the King 👑”

“follower of Christ”

“Prodigal son in the house”

And to be clear, I’m speaking to ALL Christians. White, Black, Australian. You guys are everywhere and in all colors.

Cool. Totally cool. You do you, boo. I love it when someone knows who they are and they feel safe enough to be upfront about it. And it really helps me out!

I wander into virtual spaces like a Clubhouse room or a Facebook group, and like many Americans, I “read the room” first. Whether the topic is politics or building a platform or debating the efficacy of the neighborhood watch group, I first check out the moderators and the active commenters. …


AIDS taught us what happens when we lose a generation of queer elders. We can’t let Covid-19 do the same thing to Gen Z.

A white woman who looks to be young grandmother age, stands on a parade route, holding a small rainbow flag and smiling.
A white woman who looks to be young grandmother age, stands on a parade route, holding a small rainbow flag and smiling.
Photo by Rene Böhmer on Unsplash

If you’ve heard me speak at all, you know I often make the statement that LGBTQ people are one of the few marginalized populations NOT born to parents of the same marginalized population. Unlike many communities, we are not raised in familial groups that retain the stories and memory banks of experience. We have to seek out our elders, our mentors, our sages.

I am a later-in-life lesbian, having come out at 38 after 18 years of traditional marriage and decades of conservative religious beliefs. As I began my journey of finding my place in my new world, I looked for the Masters. The ones that have walked the path before me and confidently knew how the maneuver. While I found many that inspired and guided me, I also found….a …


It took a pandemic to prove it but now it’s been done.

an empty classroom with rows of chairs connected to desks
an empty classroom with rows of chairs connected to desks
Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Imma say it. Our relationship with our kids is in serious trouble. They now know that the education that we convinced them they needed in order to amount to anything, can actually be accomplished in three hours from anywhere, not strapped to a desk for eight hours. They know we’ve lied to them. We didn’t mean to be dishonest, but we were.

They KNOW that there is way more they could be doing in a given day but “school”. …


Gender pronouns are simply a clear way to communicate how a person needs to be addressed and referred to. They are most typically he/him, she/her, and they/them, although there are a few variations. The closest thing we can compare this to is if you worked your tail off to earn your Ph.D. or other doctorates, and your co-workers and management keep referring to you as Mrs. Smith instead of Dr. Smith. It’s just disrespectful and rude. And like all rude behavior, it says something about who you are when you engage in it.

Therefore it really says something about a company when we look at how they engage with Preferred Pronouns. …


Hey guys,

The LGBTQ community is having a collective realization and it involves you.

My daughter and I were driving in the car when the Dixie Chick’s song Gaslighter came on. She asked what it meant and I explained that gaslighting is what happens when someone hurts you, but when you call them on it, they refuse to apologize.

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Paul Bulai on Unsplash

Instead, they say things like “You’re being really sensitive!” or “You took it that way, that’s not my fault. I wasn’t intending to be hurtful.” Or the BEST is “I never said that. I think you’re imagining that.”

Overall, gaslighting creates a sense of confusion, of not being able to trust your gut or the validity of what people say and mean. If you notice your LGBTQ co-workers, family, and friends, looking at you a little strangely, there’s a reason. …


I failed to do a therapy assignment for almost a year. And now it’s too late.

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In August of 2017, I had just come out to my husband and my bishop. No one else really knew (except for the Relief Society sisters that would happen to catch me when the prescribed Xanax was working a little too well. Boy those visiting teachers got an earful!)

I was just starting conversion therapy, having been recently told by a prominent Mormon marriage counselor that if I ever came out to my kids, it would destroy them. I was reading my scriptures for hours each day, searching for the right combination of service I could do to prove to my bishop that I was worthy of being reinstated to my full privileges as a member. …

About

Elena Joy Thurston

Nonprofit founder. Public speaker. Lesbian. Mom of 4. ExMormon. Flyfisher. http://www.AllyQuiz.com

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