Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Canada Trip, Part 4

Lester Leavitt in downtown Cardston, Alberta.

Historical marker near Leavitt, Alberta.

Lester Leavitt

My trip to Cardston took a surprising turn when I got to meet Lester Leavitt. He recently gained some media exposure when he criticized the LDS Church for the way it treats gay and lesbian members. Ironically, Lester hales from a rich Mormon heritage. His ancestors left Utah to escape government pressure against polygamy and founded Leavitt, Alberta (my aunt lives in the same town). He married in the temple, became a husband and father, but finally realized he was gay. Now he travels the country as an activist.

In a strange coincidence, Lester returned to Cardston for a high school reunion on the same day as my trip. We met for breakfast, but I fear Southern Alberta isn't ready for an open dialog regarding same-sex issues. A woman sitting at the next table overheard our discussion and looked absolutely pallid. Another man looked on with red-faced anger and pounded his fist on the table as we walked by.

Regardless of what people believe on matters of morality, I hope Lester's work will increase understanding and compassion for those who experience feelings of same-sex attraction.

More to come...

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