SALT LAKE CITY — NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young spoke to a group of gay and lesbian Mormons late Saturday night at the 32nd Annual Affirmation Conference.
Young briefly spoke about his career as a shorter-than-average quarterback. He said he sometimes had to throw the ball blind and have faith his receiver was there.
“He drew from his own life experience to say, ‘look we are all the same,’” said Tina Richerson, who is the vice president of Affirmations: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. “And we all struggle, and we are all short in some way, and if we go ahead and move forward with blind faith we are going to make it.”
Young knew he wasn’t talking to a football crowd, but his fame among the LDS faithful goes beyond the game.
“His speech was amazing. His wife’s speech was amazing, and the second it ended my son sprinted across the crowd and embraced Barb Young,” said Meg Abhau, who attended the conference with her gay son.
She said while Steve Young’s presence was significant, his wife’s words were more expressly supportive. Barb Young is an LDS convert whose older brother is gay. In recent years, she’s become an advocate for the Mormon gay and lesbian community.
“His wife gave more of the explicit messages talking about the LGBTQ community,” said John Gustav-Wrathall, senior vice president of Affirmations. “I would say certainly what Steve said was very relevant to the community he was addressing.”
People who attended the conferences said sometimes it takes a big name to bring awareness to an issue, and for the Mormon community, there are few names bigger than Steve Young.