A Story from Our Americas
Dustin Lance Black
This heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how a celebrated filmmaker and activist and his conservative Mormon mother built bridges across today’s great divides—and how our stories hold the power to heal. • Adapted as an HBO documentary now streaming on HBO Max.
“A beautifully written, utterly compelling account of growing up poor and gay with a thrice married, physically disabled, deeply religious Mormon mother, and the imprint this irrepressible woman made on the character of Dustin Lance Black.” —Jon Krakauer, bestselling author of Missoula and Under the Banner of Heaven
Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California’s anti–gay marriage Proposition 8, but as an LGBTQ activist he has unlikely origins—a conservative Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas. There he was raised by a single mother who, as a survivor of childhood polio, endured brutal surgeries as well as braces and crutches for life. Despite the abuse and violence of two questionably devised Mormon marriages, she imbued Lance with her inner strength and irrepressible optimism.
When Lance came out to his mother at age twenty-one, she initially derided his sexuality as a sinful choice. It may seem like theirs was a house destined to be divided—and at times it was. But in the end, they did not let their differences define them or the relationship that had inspired two remarkable lives. This heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how a mother and son built bridges across great cultural divides—and how our stories hold the power to heal.