A 12-year-old girl named Savannah had her microphone turned off while explaining that she was a lesbian to a Mormon church in Utah County, Utah (video below).
Savannah made her announcement during the church's fast and testimony session, notes The Independent:
I believe I am a child of heavenly parents. I don’t know if they talk to us, but I feel in my heart that they made me and that they love me. I believe I was made the way I am, all parts of me, by my heavenly parents.
They did not mess up when they gave me brown eyes, or when I was born bald. They did not mess up when they gave me freckles or they made me to be gay. God loves me just this way because I believe that he loves all his creations.
No part of me is a mistake. I do not choose to be this way and it is not a fad. I cannot make someone else gay and being around me won’t make anyone else this way. I believe that God wants us to treat each other with kindness, even if people are different – especially if they are different. Christ showed us this.
I believe that we should just love. I believe I am good. I try my best to be nice to each other and stick up for those that are hurting. I know I’m not a horrible sinner for being who I am. I believe God would tell me if I was wrong.
Savannah went on to say that she hoped to go dates, get married and have a family someday:
I know I can have all of these things as a lesbian and be happy. I believe that if God is there, he knows I’m perfect just the way I am, and would never ask me to live my life alone or with someone I am not attracted to. He would want me to be happy. I want to be happy. I want to love myself and not to feel shame for being me. I ask you…
However, at that point Savannah's microphone was turned off, and she was told to sit down. An unidentified church leader reportedly stood up and gave a short statement:
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to recognize that we are all children of God, we are loved by our Heavenly Father. And, I have no doubt that Heavenly Father has made us all unique in different ways and for that I am grateful.
And I am grateful for all of you that are here today as sons and daughters of God. And I know very much and I’m grateful for Heavenly Father’s plans for us. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Savannah's mother, Heather, explained to the Daily Mail what happened after her daughter's speech was cut short:
She came off crying to me. We both walked out to the hall, and I held her face in my hands and told her over and over that she is perfect and good. That there is nothing wrong with who she is, that she is brave and beautiful.
I was angry that they chose to hurt her for whatever reason they had. My husband and I both were reluctant to let she share her testimony because of the potential rejection. She asked to do it in January, we finally agreed in May.
She had worked so hard at perfecting it so that it would portray exactly how she felt. We decided to let her do it because we thought it would be more harmful to silence her or give her reason to feel she is wrong in any way.
Savannah told the podcast "I Like to Look for Rainbows" that she was both sad and happy about the incident:
I was sad because I wanted to finish it, and I felt like what I was saying should've been heard by everybody else. I was happy because I could finally get out to everyone and show that gays aren't weirdos.
I only had a couple more sentences of a paragraph to read out loud and I got cut off by my microphone being turned off by the stake president.