Saturday was the Phoenix Gay Pride parade. Although I was pretty much along for the ride, I was thrilled to march with my two sons holding signs we made that said, “LDS Heart LBGT” or “Scouts for Equality” (I wore my cub scout mom shirt) and “Mormons for Marriage Equality.”
Thanks to all of the people who organized the Mormons for Marriage Equality, we had a great turnout. The signs, banners, and rainbows made me so proud to be a Mormon and supporter of gay rights. It felt good to be speaking up for something that I care about, like feminism, but am not directly affected by. But, even though I’m not gay, I am invested in the fight for gay rights. In addition to friends and acquaintances, I have a sister who is bisexual. I want to make sure that she knows I support her and want her to have the right to marry whomever she chooses.
In fact, one of my friends confided that she didn’t think that the Mormon church should get the credit for the support our group was giving through the Pride Parade. I could see her point, I mean we weren’t an official LDS endorsement sandwiched between the roller derby girls and the Chipotle guy riding the bucking burrito. But on the other hand, by surprising everyone on the parade route (some were very surprised) that Mormons could love and support them despite what seems to be vast social differences, we were giving everyone hope. We are giving the gay community hope that even conservative Christians can embrace gay rights and giving the LDS members hope of a future of understanding and love for the gay community within our walls.
My favorite sign was made by my friend Stephanie, who helped organized the event. It said, “Gay Kids Grow up Mormon. I’m Here to Keep them Safe.”
At the end of the parade, a young man chased down our group and choked back tears as he told us he was raised Mormon. He didn’t know a group like ours even existed. I showed him Stephanie’s sign and he said, “Can you take a photo of me with the sign?” Stephanie jumped in the photo and put her arm around him as I snapped the picture.
*Thanks to Micah Nickolaisen for the amazing photos!