Free mom hugs help guide parents through LGBTQ world

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma – Across the country, homeless LGBTQ + teens have proliferated, and some of the biggest reasons are parent-child relationship problems. One organization has joined the movement to help parents navigate the world if their children are part of the LGBTQ community.

The organization is called Free Mom Hugs and is aimed solely at helping and empowering those in the LGBTQ community and helping parents who need an education to raise an LGBT child.

“Not only does it give the community the ability to have confidence and peace and to live truly in themselves, but also to live truly with their parents,” said Sarah Cunningham, founder of Free Mom Hugs.

The nonprofit organization emerged from a relationship between Cunnigham and his son Parker after his mother stated he was gay.

“It’s personal to me because I have a gay son, and I didn’t know what that meant and how I loved and celebrated his identity,” Cunnigham said.

“There was no reality where in my neighborhood or in my church, anyone in my community would say, ‘Sarah, you’re fine. All you have to do is celebrate,'” Parker said. “He didn’t have that.”

Research by The Trevor Project shows that the mental health of LGBTQ teens can be related to the support of family members.

In 2022, research shows that 45% of LGBTQ youth have seriously thought about trying to commit suicide in the past year. Young people who have felt high social support from their family have indicated that they have attempted suicide with less than half the rate of those who felt low or moderate social support.

This study found that 28% of LGBTQ youth reported living homeless, which is why Free Mom Hugs exists to help educate other families about the importance of helping their children.

“I would have done different things then when Parker came out,” Cunnigham said. “I would invite him to sit next to me, and I would let him talk as much as he wanted. I would hug him and tell him how brave it was to share that with me and we would guess and everything is fine. I would say we will learn what it means to be gay and celebrate it. ”

Free Mom Hugs started in Oklahoma, and now a chapter has been set up in every state to provide a network of resources to help people in all walks of life. Families across the country are being provided with the tools they need to help parents build strong bonds with their children.

“My eldest daughter, Nora, grew up understanding who attracts you, your gender, or who you were, isn’t really relative,” said Ben Ezzell, a father who is part of Free Mom Hugs. “We tried to build that from the beginning. It can be a tough world, and a lot of things make me angry. But I found a way to focus my anger on something productive and being part of Free Mom Hugs to help others and help my daughter is that way out. ”

“A lot of parents approached me when they found out that their child was somehow weird,” said Stephanie Ezzell, Ben’s wife. “I think it’s just listening to the best advice I give these parents. That’s the most important thing and to help them know and give them the language to talk to their child. Don’t get me wrong, don’t kill names, which are words I don’t think everyone has in their vocabulary. But you have to let them know who that space is. ”

Some of the main tools that all these families have given to others are education, respect for identity, communication and trust. Research by The Trevor Project shows that 35% of LGBTQ youth report that their parents were educated about LGBTQ people and issues.

“I see relationships restored. I see members of the community who have internalized homophobia and have more confidence, ”Cunningham said. “They’re at peace and they really need to be themselves and they’ll have healthy relationships.”

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Free mom hugs help guide parents through LGBTQ world Source link Free mom hugs help guide parents through LGBTQ world

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