A Gay Mormon Describes The Impact of Seeing His Own Mother Marching

By Matthew Haws (also posted at his blog at trentnmatt.com)

My mom has always said to me that she could hug anyone who was gay, she could accept and love them, but she could never walk a parade to support gay rights. Honestly I am just glad she accepted me and that she loves my partner. I know she will always love my family. This is more then many in my community could ever hope for. My mom has come so far in this journey with me. I have to say, I was a little surprised when she said she would be attending the pride parade with us this year. I was a little nervous about what she might see or what she might think.

The morning came and we were running a little late, she called me and said that she had saved me a place and to hurry and get there. As we arrived at the place where she was I saw an interesting sight. My mom and sister (who is preparing to serve a full time mission for the LDS church) sitting in a camp chair, dressed in church clothes, and surrounded by a sea of rainbow flags held by gays and lesbians. I ran up to see a big smile on my moms face, she was having a great time. The feeling of the celebration was electric. The events of the last year and the court decision looming over us had amped up the energy and the numbers of the crowed. We watched as the bright colors went by, cheered for different groups and laughed at others.

Then a special group passed… It was the Mormons Building Bridges Group. My mom stood from her chair, head held high, and walked out to join the group. As she walked she turned and blew me a kiss and waved goodbye, I could see in her eyes what she couldn’t say “This one is for you son.” She turned back and marched on. I was not expecting the emotions of that moment… I cheered her on with a smile and the tears started to come, my sister came up gave me a hug and we wept together. Trent also couldn’t believe what she had done, and tears streaked his face as he joined the hug.

That moment was so powerful and special to me. I could have never predicted that she would do that, and I could never have predicted the power of such an action. That step into the crowed was the first step in a journey for her. She represented the mother of so many that were in attendance that day, mothers that would never do what she did. People in the crowed ran up and hugged her and thanked her for marching.  After finishing the route with her group, she came back changed forever, I was also changed. I hugged her and said said “Thank you” it was the only thing I could say. A few moments later My sister and I stood side by side, with Trent and his niece (who is also preparing for a full time LDS mission) while holding the enormous rainbow flag that finished the parade. I felt the love of my family so strongly that day, I just want to thank them for standing with me. Family – I LOVE YOU :-)

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