The Trans Mormon Who Won't Let His Church Excommunicate Him

Broadly follows Emmett Claren as he tries to negotiate his gender identity and faith within a historically anti-LGBTQ church.

|
Dec 7 2017, 6:35pm

Emmett Claren, a young Mormon man living in Utah, was barred from entering his temple after disclosing to his pastor that he was trans. Before doing so, Claren decided to come out publicly with his transition in order to raise awareness and acceptance for other trans people within the Mormon community. Claren has been documenting his transformation on YouTube since beginning hormone replacement therapy. "I wanted to be there as support to anybody who is Mormon and transgender," he says. "I wanted to give somebody hope."

Broadly follows Claren as he risks complete excommunication from the Mormon Church for undergoing breast removal surgery, an operation he says he's wanted since he was 12 years old. Claren describes the factors that motivated him to go through with his transition: After returning from serving as a sister missionary, he became severely suicidal. In the midst of those feelings, Claren had a revelation which ultimately led to the acceptance of his own gender identity. “It just felt like God was saying, ‘You’re my son, and I love you and this is who you are and it’s okay,’” he says.

Since then, Claren has faced substantial obstacles in negotiating his gender and faith within a church that has historically instituted anti-LGBTQ policies. Claren introduces Broadly to a group of trans Mormons, each currently facing similar obstacles, who rely on each other for support. Despite both their struggles and Claren’s own, he believes it is not Mormonism but rather its misinformed leaders to blame for their mistreatment. "I don't feel like it's God pushing me out [of the church]. I feel like it's leaders of the church who don't have guidance right now and they're scared," he says. “Even if I get kicked out, I’ll still come every Sunday… we each have our own ways and I’m going to be myself by staying in this church.”