Erika Munson, 52, a devout Mormon and mother of five, founded the group Mormons Building Bridges and led it in the annual Utah Pride Parade in support of the gay community. She had grown uncomfortable with the image of their church as anti-gay.
“I feel like this is the time to speak up. I’ve always felt like I was supportive in my own way of the LGBT community but I’ve had to keep that and my commitment for the church separate,” she said, using a common term for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people…
The Mormon group in Sunday’s parade waved signs saying “LDS (loves) LGBT” and drew cheers from bystanders lining the route, just blocks from the Mormon Church headquarters. They marched in suits and conservative dresses and were in stark contrast to the thousands of other participants.
The revelers ranged from supporters of Planned Parenthood to members of the Queer Utah Aquatic Club who danced along the street wearing only swimming suits, bow ties and top hats. A man who went by the name of Penelope Pap Smear marched in a pink dress.
Sharon Griffiths, 58, a lesbian and former Mormon who recently lost a gay nephew to suicide, said she was grateful for the Mormon representation in the parade.
“My heart is absolutely full in gratefulness that this Christ-like love they talk about in church, I see here in action today,” said Griffiths, who came out in the 1970s after years of being active in the church.