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Marching Mama Dragons: Standing up and Speaking Up

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Mama Dragons traces its roots back to a brave group of women who belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). The organization’s early blog posts (like this one) reflect that strong identification with the LDS church and how its policies affected moms with LGBTQ kids. While Mama Dragons has expanded to include members of many faiths (and none) and while our outreach and activities have shifted, these early blog posts remind us of our foundation and history.

Long before Mama Dragons began marching in the Gay Pride celebrations of today, mothers of LGBTQ+ children have been standing up for and speaking out for their children’s rights. I can’t imagine the courage Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG organization, had as she walked with her gay son Morty over 40 years ago in New York City following the Stonewall protests. We as Mama Dragons, have a rich history of examples from the first Mormon moms who stood up for and celebrated our rainbow children long before we formally organized. I am committed to recording that history and this post is just a brief beginning.

In my beginning, there was only me, that’s how it felt. I was the mom of a gay son who had only been out to our family for one year. I spent that year loving Stephan and his partner into our family. These things were more than I could handle very quickly so I took my time and I made plenty of mistakes, but the one thing I did right was LOVE. I loved my kid and we were a family, that is what mattered most.

Near the one year anniversary of our son coming out to us, I read about Mormons who were marching in Pride parades. Some wanted to show love and some wanted to also show solidarity for the equal rights of LGBT persons. I read so many articles and cried so many tears. I sat outside, in my garden, on my swing, with my iPad and read and looked at pictures of Mormons at Pride for days. I could not stop the tears and floods of emotion which only meant one thing for me, I also must do this.

That June my son, my friend from high school, and I walked together in Salt Lake City in the Utah Pride parade. 2013 was the beginning of being a Pride mom for me. There are other Mama Dragons who served at Pride festivals in many ways before I did. These mamas walked with their children before me and continue to celebrate every year with me. There are new mamas with us every year as Mama Dragons grow in numbers.

Mama Dragons love making parade signs with all kinds of messages of love. Mama Dragons love all the glitter and rainbows and getting dressed up in their favorite rainbow clothes. We have to have the outfit that matches our joy. Mama Dragons love to be together and laugh and cry and hug each other and our children.

Vicki Wimmer Johnson is a wife, mother, and grandma. She loves being a Mama Dragon and is devoted to showing love for her LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.

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