Neca Allgood (she, her, hers) is a wife and mother of three. Her middle child, Grayson Moore, is FtM transgender. Since he transitioned at age 16, Grayson and Neca have been active working with Equality Utah to extend non-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. They testified before Utah State Legislature committees in 2015 as part of the efforts to pass SB296. Neca serves on the board of Affirmation-LGBTQIA/SSA Mormons, Family and Friends. She has a PhD in Molecular Biology. She and her husband own a small engineering consulting firm. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, currently serving as her ward’s Relief Society Compassionate Service Leader.
Ann Pack is a transgender woman and member of the church. She is married to an amazing woman and together they an 11 yr old daughter. For most of her life, Ann struggled accepting herself as transgender. But with the help of her wife, she is working on finding peace. Her hope is that one day all transgender individuals will feel that they have a place in the church.
Kyle Merkley is a transgender Mormon who is striving to find a place where both a transgender identity and membership in the Church find some degree of reconciliation. Kyle is married to a wonderful wife and together they are trying to find happiness in their own way. Some people have dreams of a white picket fence, but they are happy with the purple picket fence that they are building together.
Laura Dulin is a gay Latter-day Saint who also holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from San Diego State University where she specialized in LGB/SSA related issues and multicultural therapies. Prior to this, Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Brigham Young University and worked primarily as a group therapist. With this background, Laura designs and promotes LGB/SSA Mormon outreach interventions which draw on both the LDS church’s official website mormonsandgays.org and LGBT mental health research, with the goal to help move the LDS community further beyond a reparative therapy framework to a more evidence based multicultural approach. Examples of her outreach include teaming up with her straight friend and fellow ward member, Kristen Lindsay, to produce “The Forefront Talks: A story about coming out in church and how to ideally support those who do,” as well as jointly hosting the Mormons and Gays: “What is changing and What needs to change” Facebook Community Page. Presently, Laura is also a co-producer on the Far Between project — a forthcoming documentary directed by Kendall Wilcox, exploring the question: what is it like to be homosexual and Mormon? Laura is married to the intelligent, handsome and ever affirming, John Dulin, whom she was sealed to in the San Diego, CA Temple 12 years ago. Together, they are blessed with two daughters, ages 7 and 9.
Born and raised in Idaho Falls, ID, Jonathan Manwaring currently lives in Glendale, AZ with his wife and 5 children. He has been actively involved in the intersection of faith and sexual orientation since his younger brother, Jamison, told him he was gay in 2004. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that Jamison came out publicly, allowing Jonathan and the rest of his family to “come out” in supporting the cause of understanding of LGBT matters within their family, church, and community. He is married to Rachel, who understands and feels the heart of this issue as much as anyone he knows. He is currently serving as high councilor in his stake and previously served as bishop until 2011. He works as a physician in an urban community health clinic in Phoenix, with clinical interests in diverse patient communities, mental health, and LGBT health.
Meagan Colwell is a born-and-raised Utahn with a pioneer-stock mom, a Catholic-convert dad, 2 brothers, and 4 sisters (including her twin sister, Melanie). With a strong conviction of her LDS faith and orientation as a Lesbian, Meagan works to foster a better understanding of what it means to be a queer mormon-both within the LDS church and within the queer community. Her greatest hope is to raise a family someday with the woman, or man, of her dreams. Meagan graduated from Snow College in Utah with an Associate’s Degree, served an LDS mission in McAllen, Texas, spanish-speaking, and has an on-again, off-again relationship with the University of Utah pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. She has interviewed with Far Between and she and much of her family were interviewed for an I’ll Walk With You video. She feels very fortunate to have such a supporting and loving family. She currently works from home in Orem doing Technical Support, and fills her days with gardening, hiking, and playing with her nieces and nephews.
Josh Weed is an openly gay Mormon man living in a mixed orientation marriage with his wife, Lolly. Together they have four daughters. Josh is a writer and a marriage and family therapist. He lives in Washington State.
Erika Munson is a sixth-generation Mormon who grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Early on she was pushed to negotiate her family’s faith tradition with the social and political change in the larger community all around her. She received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Harvard University where she met her husband; together they have raised their five children in the northeast United States and Europe. She has held every church calling available to women in the church — from nursery leader to Relief Society President. Feeling the need to show love and support to her LGBT brothers and sisters while maintaining her committment to her faith, in 2012 she founded Mormons Building Bridges with Kendall Wilcox and Bianca Morrison Dillard. Now living in Sandy, Utah, she is an English teacher at the Waterford School, an enthusiastic grandmother, and serves in the Primary of the Willow Canyon III Ward.
Jay Jacobsen grew up in the rolling hills of the Palouse in the United States’ inland northwest. In his twenties, circumstances and realizations urged him to more proactively navigate the tension between his orientation, life path options, relationships, and beliefs about life, the universe, and everything. Having been a literal believer who happily served a mission and held many church callings, eventually parting ways with the LDS Church was a careful and demanding decision propelled by personal principles and profound changes in beliefs towards a mysteries-appreciative but naturalistic secular humanism. As co-founder of North Star in 2006 (which he left in 2009 due to diverging beliefs), blogger off and on since 2007, occasional assistant for Far Between and the Empathy First Initiative since 2010, and current Circling the Wagons Conferences Coordinator, Jay continues to feel a vested interest in building open, authentic dialog, hopefully with light-hearted streaks. Jay graduated from the University of Idaho, works in specialty food distribution, and lives in Salt Lake City with Clint, his partner since 2011.
Roni Jo Draper is married and the mother of three sons (two of whom identify as straight, and one of whom identifies as queer). Two of her sons came into her family in conventional ways (they were surgically removed from her body). Her third son came into her family by simply requesting a place in the family. Roni Jo has enjoyed mothering all of her boys. She has appreciated the opportunity to help her son make sense of his sexuality and his place in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her family also consists of two daughter-in-laws and two grandsons. Roni Jo is a professor of teacher education at Brigham Young University where she teaches courses in literacy and multicultural education. She earned her bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her current scholarship focuses on the preparation of future teachers to create opportunities for all children to learn and to thrive regardless of race, class, religion, language, sexuality, or gender. A convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Roni Jo has enjoyed activity as an LDS woman for more than thirty years—serving primarily in the Sunday School and Young Women organizations.
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Kendall Wilcox grew up in an LDS home, served a mission for the LDS church in Barcelona, Spain, and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Critical Studies in Film. Over the years, Kendall has produced hundreds of hours of Emmy Award-winning nonfiction television programming for the Discovery Channel, BYU Television, and PBS and has taught courses in documentary production at BYU. Kendall has enjoyed his church service over the years in callings ranging from Ward Clerk to Elder’s Quorum and Sunday School President but his favorite callings have been Sunday School Teacher and Home-Teacher. Since 2010, Kendall has been producing a documentary called Far Between that portrays what it means to be LGBTQI/SSA and Mormon. In 2011, Kendall founded the Empathy First Initiative which is dedicated to cultivating habits of empathy for addressing divisive social issues. In 2012, Kendall stepped in to help Erika Munson found Mormons Building Bridges. Since 2013, Kendall has developed and grown Circles of Empathy, which is a small-group discussion practice that helps straight and LGBTQI/SSA Mormons engage in the critical and challenging conversations about the conflict between the teachings of the LDS Church and their feelings about homosexuality or homosexual loved ones. Kendall continues to gather and curate stories of what it means to be LGBT and Mormon in various venues including the ongoing partnership with the Utah Pride Center called Utah LGBTQ Stories as well as the upcoming documentary The Kitchen Case: Utah’s Battle Over Same Sex Marriage.
Berta Marquez currently works with several organizations that work at the intersection of Mormonism and the LGBT community, including Mormons for Marriage, Affirmation, the Mama Dragons, Out in Zion, Utah LGBTQ Stories and ldswalkwithyou.org. She has collaborated with Equality Utah and the ACLU on social justice work specific to LGBT rights and is working with Operation Shine America which advocates for homeless youth. She and her wife live in Springville.
Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen is a licensed marriage and family therapist and PhD candidate at Brigham Young University who sees clients at the Provo Center for Couples and Families. She specializes in couple and adolescent-family relations, including addressing LGBTQ issues in family context. As a member of the LGBTQ-Affirmative Therapists Guild of Utah, she focuses on the mental health stressors experienced with respect to the LDS community. Lisa offers continuing opportunities for gay and straight people to participate in mixed dialogue groups at the BYU Comprehensive Clinic called “Circles of Empathy,” a practice for sharing and appreciating each other’s lived experience of the conflicts between religious, spiritual and sexual attraction issues. Her most recent publication, “Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore,” a collection of essays about how women see themselves, is sold at Deseret Book. Lisa currently sings each week with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She and her husband, Bill, are the parents of seven children (and a few extras) and are the composers of the “I will go, I will do” Primary song, Nephi’s Courage.