Name: David Melson
Hometown: Washington, DC
Occupation: Sales and Executive Director of Affirmation
Why I Found Him at The NEM:
As the Executive Director of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, Dave knows that we are long overdue for equality in this country and that it is important we get some momentum going. Only if we make our demands known can we get our leaders to do what they should have done ten or more years ago.
Affirmation is a group of and by gay and lesbian Mormons. Having gone through their own challenges coming out, they continue to work with others going through the same struggle. (Click here to read Dave’s coming out testimony.) Dave points out that discrimination is worse in the Mormon Church for gays than in mainstream society. Not only is the Church one of the leading sponsors of anti-gay discrimination, but the very negative attitudes within the church also lead to a very high rate of suicide among gay and lesbian Mormons. As one of many gay Mormons, he feels he has an obligation to speak out and end this discrimination.
What He’d Change in America:
Dave sees a big disconnect between elected officials and constituents. As he puts it, we need to “break down the barrier around the beltway.” Dave points out that for LGBT issues, for example, most people in our country don’t have a problem with equality. Representatives continue to delay action even when majorities of their constituencies would be supportive, so Dave hopes they are able “to catch up.”