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Paying it Forward

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

By Lindsay Brunt

Four and a half years ago, I walked into the Utah Pride Center with my son for the first time.  He’d been there before and went off to his youth group without missing a beat.  I, however, was like a deer in the headlights.  It had only been about a month since my kiddo let us know he was transgender, and I had NO idea how to handle the information, or what to do for or about any of it.  So, I’d asked him to wait.  Wait until you’re 18.  Wait until the world can accept this.  Wait… because your mom is terrified. 


It was in that moment, in the lobby of the Pride Center, that Brook saw me.  She didn’t even hesitate, she just came right up and asked me how I was doing. The next thing I knew, the tears were coming, but she’d already wrapped me in a hug, and was guiding me into a side room so we could talk (it was more of a breakdown, in actuality).  All the fear and emotions of the past month were overflowing, and Brook was there to catch them, and me, as I fell apart.  She had already been down this path.  She knew exactly where I was and what I was going through.  She became my guide in that moment, and for many moments to come.  She helped me see what I already knew about the validity of my kid’s identity, and gave me access to the resources to do what needed to be done for Max.  

The ride home from the Pride Center that day was a new beginning, my chance to chart a new course with Max.  So, I started with an apology and told him we would send a “coming out” letter to everyone that week and figure it out from there.  And we did!

In June, Brook and her kiddo came over to my house to watch an episode of CNN’s United Shades of America called “Out and Proud in SLC”.  Max and I had been interviewed as part of it.  In December of 2018, we spent about an hour with the host, W. Kamau Bell, talking about so many different parts of our journey, so I didn’t really know what our 6-minute segment would include.  The whole episode was poignant and beautiful, and, about 45 minutes in, Max and I were up on the screen (the show is available On Demand with cable and satellite, if you’d like to see it).  

Not too far into our segment is the part that meant the most to me, the part of my interview when I’m asked to talk about the Mama Dragons and I get to tell the story about my first moments at the Pride Center – my story about Brook – while that same sweet angel, sister, exceptional friend, and fellow Mama Dragon sat next to me on my couch.  She was a little overwhelmed, as she doesn’t seek or really even like, attention.  It was such an incredible opportunity for Max and me to acknowledge her and the impact she has had on our lives.

Once we’d finished watching the show together, the conversation at my house boiled down to Brook modestly saying she hadn’t done anything that day!  Can you even imagine??  I insisted to her that she didn’t have to see me that day in the Pride Center.  She could’ve put her head down, stared at her phone, and just gone about her day…but she didn’t.  She saw me that day, my pain, my confusion, my fear, and she threw me a lifeline.  She brought me to the Mama Dragons, and a world of sisterhood and support I could never have conceived of before meeting so many wonderful moms who support their LGBTQ+ kids.  As she continued to protest that she didn’t “do anything”, her kiddo jumped in with the perfect retort, “Like Neca (another Mama Dragon) didn’t do anything for you??!!??” which brought Brook up a bit short but made the point perfectly.

It was then I realized that what we’re all doing here is playing the most beautiful game of “Pay it Forward” ever.  That’s what Mama Dragons is all about, right?  I am incredibly grateful for the moms, like Brook, who helped and supported me in the beginning of my journey. I’m grateful for the continuing love and support I feel from moms, both new and seasoned, in this journey with our kids. My sincerest hope is to carry on this amazing tradition of support and love for the moms coming after me on this path as well.

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