LGBT Pride month occurs in the United States in the month of June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. It is not to be confused with the annual month-long observance of LGBT History Month, which takes place in October.
In the United States, Canada, and Australia, LGBT History Month is celebrated to coincide with National Coming Out Day on 11 October and to commemorate the first and second marches on Washington, D.C., in 1979 and 1987 for LGBT rights. It was founded in 1994 by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. As of 2020, LGBT History Month is a month-long celebration that is specific to Hungary, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Greenland, and the city of Berlin.
Over the years several celebrities, prominent sports figures, and well-known entertainers have begun talking openly about their sexuality — identifying with the LGBTQ+ community. Just recently another world-renowned entertainer joined that list.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, 12 June 2021, Season 7 finalist of American Idol, 30-year-old recording artist, David James Archuleta, announced that he is part of the LGBTQ+ community and encourages others to show more compassion and understanding towards members of that community. Although he identifies with the LGBTQ+ community, he admits that he still has questions about how he identifies.
David, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commented in his Instagram post, “I like to keep to myself but also thought this was important to share because I know so many other people from religious upbringings feel the same way.” He continued:
I’ve been open to myself and my close family for some years now that I am not sure about my own sexuality. I came out in 2014 as gay to my family. But then I had similar feelings for both genders so maybe a spectrum of bisexual. Then I also have learned I don’t have too much sexual desires and urges as most people, which works I guess because I have a commitment to save myself until marriage, which people call asexual when they don’t experience sexual urges.
David wants members of the LGBTQ+ community to know that he sympathizes with those members like himself who may be “Wrestling to follow” their religion and reassures them that a person “can be part of the LGBTQIA+ community and still believe in God and His gospel plan.” He added, “I’ve tried for almost 20 years to try and change myself until I realized God made me how I am for a purpose. And instead of hating what I have considered wrong I need to see why God loved me for who I am and that it’s not just sexuality. So many other traits of who I am come from how I’ve been created.”
He invites everyone to “consider making room to be more understanding and compassionate to those who are LGBTQIA+, and those who are a part of that community and trying to find that balance with their faith which also is a huge part of their identity like myself.” He passionately believes that people of faith and Christians, including members of his own faith — Latter-day Saints — can do better in trying to understand the struggle that some people face between being LGBTQ+ and a person of faith.
David adds, “There are more than you may realize going through that wrestle after all the misunderstandings that come with it. I don’t think it should come down to feeling you have to accept one or the other. For me to find peace the reality has been to accept both are real things I experience and make who I am.”
David Archuleta Interviewed on Good Morning America and Nightline
On Wednesday, 23 June 2021, David Archuleta appeared on Good Morning America to talk openly about his sexuality and his faith. In an exclusive interview with ABC News‘ Steve Osunsami, who identifies as gay, David reflected on what it has been like for him since sharing the news that he is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in a social media post on Instagram on Saturday, 12 June 2021, and how it feels like a heavy weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
Osunsami called David a kind spirit, and noted that David still has the car that he won on American Idol back in 2008 as runner-up on season 7. At the start, Osunsami stated, “David is sharing his truth this morning about his sexuality, his faith, and where the two meet.” He continued, “No matter how anyone feels about what he wants to share here this morning, David Archuleta says, he is still a man of faith and a child of God.”
David told Osunsami, “I think I was a lot more scared before. . . .because I always felt there was something that I had to keep to myself. There’s so much relief to not feel like you have to hide a part of yourself, like a secret.”
When asked to describe his sexual orientation, David replied, “I don’t know. . .some form of being bisexual because…I’m still attracted to both whether I want to or not.” Nevertheless, David says that his faith is a major part of his life. He also confessed that he has never dated a man. He said, “As I mentioned [in my post], I still believe in saving myself for marriage.”
David admits that the road to coming to grips with his sexuality has not been an easy one. Eventually, he came to terms with his feelings. He says that the first time that he was truly honest with himself about his sexuality was while he was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South America from 2012 to 2014.
The first person that David told his same-sex attraction was his mission president. He said, “I just felt like he was the person.” David was always afraid of what a man would think of him being attracted to other guys. He continued, “But to know that he wasn’t afraid of me, he just gave me a hug and he didn’t condemn me. He didn’t make me feel like I was less than.” That helped David to finally believe that he could be loved no matter what.
Osunsami asked David if he had made this a matter of prayer. David commented:
I was praying like God, you can do all things. You are a God of miracles. And I know you’ve allowed the blind to see and the dead to rise again. And I thought, you know, if I do everything I’m supposed to, maybe he can change me as well. So I would say, ‘Please take these feelings away from me because I don’t want to feel things I shouldn’t. I don’t want to feel things that would be wrong.
So that’s been the process I’ve had to learn how to love myself, even when I don’t understand why I’m the way I am but to learn that’s how God has created me. And I have to discover that, and there’s so many millions of other people who’ve gone through the same thing as me where they’ve tried to change who they are.
Since coming out, David has shared his truth with a few leaders in the LDS Church and says that he hasn’t felt rejected. He hopes his story can help others and urges people to “please consider making room to be more understanding and compassionate to those who are LGBTQIA+, and those who are a part of that community and trying to find that balance with their faith which also is a huge part of their identity like myself.”
Osunsami reported that David Archuleta still believes in chastity, but isn’t sure whether he’s waiting to save himself for marriage to a man or a woman. He added, “He is a super sensitive guy, who could be a lot easier on himself.”
David continued the conversation with Steve Osunsami on ABC Nightline on Thursday, 24 June 2021. In the interview, he revealed that he had recently experienced a difficult breakup with a girlfriend. He also admitted that he may have been running away from his attraction to his same-sex his whole life.
He told Osunami, “It got to a point where I felt so guilty…and I didn’t know why. I was starting to get angry.” David had been upfront with his girlfriend, but still, he would become so frustrated. He continued, “I’ll be with her and…I noticed a guy more than I noticed my own girlfriend. And I feel a lot of shame in that and I feel embarrassed.”
At a very low point in his life, David became suicidal. He thought to himself, “Maybe it’s better that I’m not here anymore than to live in a way that isn’t how God would want me to be living.”
David further commented:
When I started feeling numb and empty, I was questioning my faith. I was questioning if God was real, because I couldn’t feel anything. And here I’d done everything I can to try and be close to him. And in these last couple months, I was starting to have to come to this conclusion. . .I had to accept that it’s something I’m not going to be able to change.
David also said, “I do love the aspect of being proud of being who you are. And that’s really the point of my post was to help people feel that love for themselves and to be okay with themselves.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not take a position on the cause of same-sex attraction. In 2006, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction.” The Church’s website about same-sex attraction states, “The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is.” Those who do not act on their sexual identity, “enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple.”