A.P.E.X. - Ask, Ponder, Educate, [X]

February 22, 2018
Claudia Bradshaw
My Journey into a New World
The Whiting Room

Reflection | Video | Podcast | Photos




Most members of the LGBTQ+ community in St. George know Claudia Bradshaw. And so do their parents. And siblings. And close friends. Bradshaw, who has been described as the loving mother of the gays in Southern Utah, started PFLAG St. George in 1999; it was the first gay organization of its kind in Southern Utah. Since then, Bradshaw has touched hundreds of lives and has held countless meetings, lunches and personal appoints with gay people and their families. She helped plan the Southern Utah Pride Festivals and she has been an invaluable resource for young lesbian, gay and transgender youth in St. George. She holds monthly meetings in her home that can attract up to 50 people, depending on the week. Claudia is passionate about sharing her and her son's story and her "Journey into a New World."
PFLAG - Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays


Event Reflection

by Billy Clouse

For this week's A.P.E.X. Event, Claudia Bradshaw talked about her transition from being the shocked mother of a gay son to a vocal LGBTQ ally. Following her lecture, she and her son, Braden, answered questions from the audience.

In the summer of 1998, around the time that the most recent freshman class was born, Bradshaw and her family were staying at a cabin in Kolob Canyon. On the drive down the mountain, Braden came out to her.

She was a Temple worker at the time, which made Braden nervous about her reaction. At the same time, serving this position and having a gay son put Bradshaw in a closet of her own.

She said that while she was coming to terms with the news, Braden was willing to listen and answer her many questions. He also suggested she read "Prayers For Bobby," a true story of a boy who committed suicide a few years after coming out and facing religious intolerance.

After many workshops and Family Fellowship Meetings, Bradshaw had an epiphany while in the Temple. She realized that she should love everyone no matter what, an idea that changed her life.

Bradshaw left the church after this, saying, "I can't pledge my all to a religion that wouldn't accept all of my children." However, she said that leaving religion isn't required for LGBTQ individuals and allies.

When asked by a bisexual LDS member of the audience how he should respond to individuals in both communities who think he doesn't belong, Bradshaw said, "I'm the authority in my life, you're the authority in your life. You know yourself more than anyone else."

Another member of the audience asked which other books Bradshaw would recommend. For LDS individuals, she suggested "Goodbye, I love you" and "No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones" by Carol Lynn Pearson. 

Throughout the talk, Claudia and Braden emphasized that coming out to family members is an act of love because the individual wants to let people into their lives instead of shutting them out.

Bradshaw, a natural hugger, has worked with PFLAG, an education, support and advocacy organization founded after the Stonewall Riots. She loves what the organization does, saying, "It was one of the best things I've ever done, but I wouldn't have believed you at first."

The Cedar City chapter of PFLAG convenes during the first and third Wednesdays of each month. The meetings take place from 8-9 p.m. at the Cedar City Library, 303 N 100 E.

Join us next week, March 1, for Elizabeth Churchill's lecture as part of the Eccles Visiting Scholar program. The Director of User Experience at Google will present at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center.


Resources


In Utah:

Other Web Resources:

Films:

  • Viva (available on Netflix)
  • The Way He Looks (available on Netflix, subtitled in English, film in
    Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Paris is Burning (to be screened on campus, March 21 @ 7:30 PM in Church
    Auditorium of the Student Center)


Video


APEX Hour Podcast

Audio Transcript


Photos