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Affirmation Celebrates 30th Anniversary
“Let us continue to sing our songs of redemption loudly, clearly, fearlessly!”

Connell O'Donovan presenting his paper at the event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the founding of Affirmation. Holladay United Church of Christ, Holladay, Utah, 27 May 2007.

With beautiful music, inspiring art, and powerful speakers, Affirmation celebrated the 30th anniversary of its inception. The event was held at the United Church of Christ in Holladay, Utah. Among others, the program included presentations by Connell O'Donovan, Alyson Bolles, Millie Watts, Leraine Horstmanshoff, Mark Packer, Mike Green, and Scott Mills. Renowned artist Trevor Southey featured some of his artwork and shared some thoughts.

“I stand before you today I AM ALIVE TODAY because 20 years ago I started attending Affirmation,” said writer and Affirmation member Connell O'Donovan. “I showed up at what was then the Wasatch Chapter, a confused, embittered, frightened, and deeply suicidal 25-year-old Gay Mormon, struggling in my soul to reconcile my sexuality and my spirituality, and I thank God that wonderful people like Russell Lane, Chuck Thomas, Dave Malmstrom, and Keith McBride reached out to me with the strong hand of fellowship, friendship, and unconditional love.”

“In the early spring of 1977, Salt Lake MCC sponsored an organizational meeting in their gymnasium on 900 West 400 South,” he added. “Bob Waldrop and several other Gay Libertarians and MCC members (all of whom had been LDS, by the way), including Thor Upwall (1944-1995), Kay Kellerman, Rev. James Sandmire, and a Lesbian named Dorothy M., had come up with the idea to organize a ‘Salt Lake Coalition for Human Rights.’ ... Stephan Zakharias and his network of Gay friends at BYU, decided to use the Salt Lake Human Rights Convention as the vehicle to organize what was then called Affirmation: Gay Mormons United.”

“Every single one of us LGBT Mormons is a personal witness of the strength and power of homophobia in LDS culture, as well as a witness of our own strength, power, and resilience in the face of such institutional oppression. Building upon the work of our own pioneers ..., let us stand strong together as witnesses to the continuing plight of the homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered within Mormonism. Let us continue to sing our songs of redemption loudly, clearly, fearlessly!”

The full text of Connell O'Donovan's remarks is posted at www.affirmation.org/ memorial/ singing_our_song.shtml

© 2012 Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons