This Mom’s Love for Her Sweet Gender Non-Conforming Son Knows No Bounds

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Zach and Lori Davis were recently featured in the New York Times: “Growing up in a Mormon family in Utah, Nearly everyone Zach knew shared that faith, which considers “homosexual behavior” a transgression. In first grade, Zach wore a Hello Kitty sweatshirt to school and absorbed the stares and whispers of his schoolmates. ‘That’s when I realized I was different from everyone else,’ he said.”

Above: Zach in 2020.

Zach hid his gender fluidity until ninth grade, when he befriended some non-Mormon theater kids who accepted him fully. He came out as gay. Over the years, he began wearing whatever clothing, makeup or jewelry he wanted. He stopped going to church, but he remains very close to his family. Zach’s parents, who have always supported him, oppose Mormon ideas about homosexuality and gender roles, and they volunteer at Pride parades. But they remain connected to their local church, where congregants and even the bishop are mostly nonjudgmental.

Zach is particularly close to his brother.

When they’re together, they avoid discussions about politics or religion. Several months ago, at a ceremony to bless his brother’s baby, Zach kept his hands balled up the whole time to hide his long acrylic nails, to make the other guests comfortable and to spare himself their judgments. “As much as my brother and I have a strained relationship,” he said, “we hold our tongues. My mother loves both of us so much, and I would never want to do anything to hurt her in any way, and I’m sure my brother feels the same way.” At times like those, it helps to remember Camp I Am: “The biggest thing I learned from camp was that I’m not alone. I’m not the only boy who likes girl stuff.”

Zach’s mother Lori wrote to Gay Sons and Mothers: “A good support group changed the trajectory of our lives when Zach was small. As a mom from Utah – I had zero idea of where to turn when my it was clear that my sweet son was having a gender non-conforming childhood. Participating in Camp I Am was were I could finally breath – seeing all those kids who loved girl things as much as Zach did.”