On April 14th, Amanda Smith decided she was tired of hiding. It was time for her to officially and publicly come out as gay. Despite being out to those close to her for years, she decided it was important to share her story and let others know they aren’t alone.
As a member of the Mormon church, Amanda’s story is complex. Her faith is a key component in her life, and because of this, she has chosen to remain married in a mixed-orientation marriage. While he always knew Amanda had a same-sex attraction, she officially came out to him 7 years ago.
“We have an incredible relationship and get along so well and parent really well together and do love each other and it works for us,” Amanda tells Love What Matters. “Ending the amazing marriage and family we have had never felt right. I have a hard time believing I will find someone I mesh as well with as him. Even though there are key parts of the relationship that are challenging, the good far outweighs the negative.”
Her story started while she was a young woman when Amanda dated women exclusively for years. However, she didn’t feel completely right, as she wanted to honor her connection to the church. With this, she moved and eventually met her husband.
“Again, I tried to play it off as more of a phase but realized that I am in fact gay. I kept it to myself and a few close friends for years and recently realized it was doing too much damage to myself to continue to try and hide this part of me, so I talked to my husband about officially coming out in the hopes of helping others feeling the same things I was.”
Amanda hopes that by sharing her story, she can continue to inspire and support other LGBTQ people. Even so, she recognizes that her decision isn’t the right answer for everyone and wants other LGBTQ people to feel comfortable in their own skin and decision, no matter what that might look like.
“You have to do what feels right to you. What works for me may not work for everyone and I recognize that being in a mixed-orientation marriage you’re entire life is not the answer for you, you have to do what feels right to you. God understands,” Amanda says to other religious LGBTQ people.
Amanda has begun to share her story on Instagram to break the silence so often cast upon the LGBTQ community. Sharing her story has already begun to create a community, reassuring her that she’s doing the right thing.
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In an Instagram caption, she says, “I received another message last night that brought me to full-blown tears from a woman who was in a similar situation to mine. It confirmed to me, yet again, why I felt the need to put myself out there like this. There are so many of us sitting in dark closets all alone, and if I can bring my light to someone in their dark closet… I’m here for it.”
With this platform, Amanda hopes to bring more than just community, but the real proof that LGBTQ people can live and thrive, even in a traditional place like the Mormon church.
“I hope others who are in my situation feel validated in their feelings, don’t feel so alone, that if they can’t find their voice I can help be their voice,” she says. “I hope that others in the church will learn and have more understanding and compassion for those of us in the LGBTQ community. I hope I can help save someone’s life.”
This article was written exclusively for Love What Matters by Anna Steingruber. Follow Amanda Smith from Orange County, CA on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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