Charlie Bird, a Missouri native, was Cosmo the Cougar at Brigham Young University from 2016-2018. He received national acclaim for his multiple dance performances with the BYU Cougarettes after ESPN and many other news and social media channels picked up his video that went viral of Charlie dancing (and keeping up!) with the Cougarettes. Charlie served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Redlands, California. He is the author of Deseret Book bestselling memoir, Without the Mask, and hosts a top-ranked religious podcast called Questions from the Closet. Charlie recently received a Masters in Social work from BYU.
Today you'll hear my interview with Charlie where he opens up about his identity first and foremost as a son of God, and a gay Christian and member of the church of Jesus Christ, and the journey he's been on toward accepting himself fully and completely. Charlie’s story is heartwarming and inspiring and was so helpful for me to have more awareness, compassion and understanding toward other LGBTQ+ people. I'm honored to call Charlie a friend and am constantly entertained AND inspired by his social media content so it really was a treat for me to just sit and talk with him today and I hope you feel the same way as you listen too.
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[01:22] – Charlie Bird and Corrine met in Hawaii in the midst of food and dancing.
[03:28] – It can seem that identities matter most when they influence how you can be viewed and treated.
[06:27] – Charlie explores how his connections to the church and the LGBT+ community originally felt polarizing.
[09:17] – Charlie recalls a moment of shouldering shame at 14 years old when he first started considering his sexuality.
[11:39] – What does Charlie hope his story will help others with?
[13:04] – Charlie gets honest about the time he almost became homophobic to try to get away from his internal battle.
[15:43] – What is the story of becoming Cosmo the Cougar? PART 1
[18:11] – What is the story of becoming Cosmo the Cougar? PART 2
[20:08] – Charlie talks about his first time really being exposed to the LGBT+ community. Where was he?
[22:56] – What happened when Charlie started to more openly accept his sexuality?
[25:14] – Trying to be something you’re not inhibits every other part of life.
[27:45] – The feeling of freedom is contagious.
[30:46] – Charlie speaks about the realization he needed to share his story of embracing his entire identity.
[33:19] – What is a good example of being supportive when someone comes out to you?
[35:40] – Charlie suggests ways to approach these vulnerable conversations.
[37:25] – Why did Charlie decide to come out more publicly?
[40:11] – Corrine appreciates Charlie being a positive and relatable advocate for the intersection of the church and the LGBT+ community.
[41:58] – How can we help church communities feel more safe and welcoming for the LGBT+ community?
[44:46] – Life’s too short to not do what is calling your heart.
[46:29] – What is Charlie looking forward to these days?
[48:25] – The best you is “the real you.”
[50:22] – Thank you Charlie! Thank you for listening!