Tuesday, February 9, 2016
You're taking a break from the church. Now what?
I really struggled on the social aspect since I stopped attending church. When it was time to branch out and meet new people, I was set on meeting other gay Mormons or gay ex-Mormons in person. They were in my comfort zone. But with the millions of people in a 50-mile radius of me, I can count on both hands the number of gay Mormons I know personally. I needed to branch out even more. But how?! For all my life, my main circle of friends have been LDS. Where do I go from here?
Fortunately, there ARE other ways to find friends/dates with similar interests. Below are some ways you can branch out if you've decided to suspend those weekly visits to the LDS Church.
*Reddit - If you'd like to have intelligent conversations with like-minded ex-Mormons or unconventional Mormons, Reddit is a great place to start. The ex-Mormon and Mormon forums are filled with thoughtful information; and a good amount of folks found here are gay. (Some will put a rainbow flag next to their username.) The problem with Reddit is that most people stay anonymous. The nice thing about Reddit is there is a Private Message function to contact potential new friends. If you choose to converse with ExMo's, no matter where you live, you're not alone!
*Tinder - The app helped me come out of the closet. It was the first time I've attached my face publically to a profile. Yes, you gotta weed out those just looking for hook-ups, but I still found great conversation with other gay dudes who live near me. (I have not used Grindr, Jack'd or Scruff, but I'd love to hear experiences/success stories from those who have.)
*OKCupid/Match - I signed up for OKCupid about a month ago, and have had success. I've gone on a few dates with some awesome guys. Match lets you label yourself as "LDS/Mormon" while OKCupid lets you label yourself as Christian. Many people will include the importance of church/religion/spirituality in their profile, which may help you on your search. However, there are some crazies on these sites. Be careful who you give your phone number to. (I learned this the hard way and now have to deal with a gazillion texts from a couple weirdos.)
*MeetUp - If you're not ready to date, it's nice to find people with similar interests near you. Take note that there is an LGBT category.
*Gay Christian Network - I don't know much about the group, and the forums are kinda slow, but if you're set on finding gay people with a similar upbringing, you may peruse a bit here. After a search of the forums, you may find a local Facebook group that's likely a little more active.
*Gay sports - My buddy Evan left this comment on a blog post: "Can I recommend gay sports? I joined a rock climbing group last year and it completely changed my social life. Everyone was so friendly, welcome, and genuine and we get to do just casual hang out stuff (this Friday some guys are going to do karaoke). I know they are particularly common in my area, but there are often a range of LGBT sports and arts groups in each city."
My point is that your social life doesn't have to evolve around Mormonism. It took me awhile to figure that out, but now I've spread my wings a bit and am in a much better place.
What outlets have you used to find new friends/relationships/dates? Leave your thoughts in the comments!