(CNN)Four years ago, when Sara Cunningham came home from a pride festival in Oklahoma City, she was covered head to toe in glitter. She had spent the day offering free mom hugs or high-fives (“Not everybody’s a hugger,” she says) to passersby, and the love and joy she felt was palpable.
“That day, I went home with real horror stories,” she says. “I was broken from hearing from the community — kids who had been living out of their cars, kids who had been kicked out of their churches or homes for just for identifying as LGBT.”
Cunningham’s son is gay, and her experience at that festival led her and other ally mothers to form what is now “Free Mom Hugs,” a nonprofit organization that offers mother-like support to LGBT youth.
In July 2018, that spark of support and celebration became a flame. Cunningham, frustrated with continued stories of parents rejecting their gay children, sometimes during the most important times in their lives, wrote a simple Facebook post.
“PSA. If you need a mom to attend your same sex wedding because your biological mom won’t.”Call me. I’m there. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll even bring the bubbles.”
In a matter of days, the post went wildly viral. Cunningham knows exactly why.
“When people ask us about Free Mom Hugs, they usually say, ‘How can I join,’ ‘What can I do,” Cunningham says. “That’s what made the post go viral. It was people all over the world saying, I want to do that, I can do that, I’ve been doing that,”
Since the post, Cunningham has been asked to attend several weddings, and the post sparked something of a movement — one that ties back to the most important goal of Cunningham’s work: Acceptance.
“Everyone needs acceptance,” she says. “And when we fall in love, it’s a profound, sacred special time of our lives. To not have the validation for recognition from your parents, from people who are so important to you, You may think you can handle it.”
“But when it comes to the final blow,” she continues, “To them saying, ‘I’m not coming to your wedding, it’s just devastating. And I can’t imagine hearing those words out of a mother’s mouth.”
Before, a difficult journey
Cunningham knows what kind of pain can come from not being accepted by your own family, because initially, she and her family struggled to come to terms with her own son’s sexuality.
It’s a pain Cunningham is trying to relieve from other children, and their parents.
“We must learn to celebrate our LGBTQ children, or we will suffer with them,” she says.
“My biggest regret is not celebrating him and what was important to him, earlier — even during his high school years, and not being able to look past my own fears and my own ignorance to see him.”
She says the key for parents who are struggling is education — and an open heart.
“There is so much information out there, so many ways to get educated, so many ways to learn [about LGBTQ issues]. To be honest, the only other choice is to remain in fear and ignorance. And I use those words respectfully, because I was there once.”
And now, a new one of love
Honestly, Cunningham wishes Free Mom Hugs didn’t exist. She wishes her presence at weddings, either as a stand-in mom or an officiant (she got ordained in 2016 to officiate the same-sex wedding of two friends), wasn’t necessary.
“I hope some day that our organization won’t be in existence anymore, that we can help change the social norm,” she says.
And to all of those people who commented or shared her viral post, she has two words of advice: Show up.
“That’s the key,” she says. “Just show up. And when I say showing up, I mean we as parents, as friends or allies. I’m not the first mom to offer free mom hugs or attend weddings as a stand-in. But when we show up for any group that’s marginalized, that’s how we can make sure they really know they are loved and celebrated.”
Snapchat Massive Traffic Firesale 2.0 consists of 53-module of step-by-step tutorials on providing your audience how to get massive traffic, make cash on demand, and get viral traffic from social networking sites.
PixlyPro Lite - Conversion and Traffic Boosting SoftwareCutting edge software creates viral marketing campaigns across multiple platforms – slashing the cost of traffic to a few cents per click
New technology integrates call to action with 6 remarketing platforms, Never seen before concept Cheap, targeted tra
VideoSyncSITESYNC Is The Only Tool That Will Backup, Download and Restore Your Websites 24/7 On Autopilot
WP Optimiser Agency LicenseOptimise your site with the powerful WordPress housekeeping and site optimisation tool with exclusive auto-detection of theme and plugin load speed impact + automated image compression API
Leadzbuilder DeveloperDo You Want To Dominate The Local Search Engine Results For Your Local Business, Product or Service?
Now You Can With LeadzBuilder The High Performance Marketing and Landing Page Solution With A Difference!
Commission MagnetsAttract commissions into your business like never before. Commission Magnets is a complete affiliate marketing system that includes the tools, templates, training and even cloud hosted bonus pages and bonus PRODUCTS!
Internet Marketing ClinicThe IM Clinic is an intensive training course that teaches you how to properly do the 4 vital things that lead you directly to the money. These are the 4 parts of online business that most people totally screw up but Omar and Melinda will show you EXACTLY
IM Checklist Volume 12: Offline Business StartupIM Checklist Volume 12: Offline Business Startup - 18 Step by Step Checklists covering everything you need to know about setting up an offline business with Crowd Funding included. Full PLR Included
WP Easy Pages Extra TemplatesRapid, responsive landing and lead page builder with EXTRA templates. WP Easy Pages do not slow down no matter what theme you use.... now with even more proven templates.
Local Animation Studio UpgradeExpand your inventory and receive an additional 30 templates in 10 additional hot local marketing niches. That’s 30 commercials all ready to sell, for a fraction of what it would cost to create just one!
VidRankXpress ScaleA Revolutionary 1-Click Software Turns ANY Video into Endless Traffic Machine That Gets Page 1 Ranking on YouTube and Google and Drives Tons of Traffic from TOP Social Giants on 100% Autopilot.
AffiliateNinjaPro Premium-MembershipA Cloud Based App That Creates INSTANT 1-Click Profitable Affiliate Funnels to Build You a HUGE List and Gets Targeted Traffic and Affiliate Commissions on 100% Autopilot.
Live Vid Ranker Pro VersionA Point And Click, Cloud-Based Software Tool That Makes It Easy To ‘Go Live’
Within Minutes, LiveVidRanker Creates Hundreds Of Unique Live Streams With Just ONE Video
Dominate Hundreds Of Google And YouTube Page #1 Rankings For Unlimited, FREE Traffic
DealCount TemplatesEasily Increase Sales and Conversions With DealCount, The Brand New REAL-TIME Scarcity App With Live Audio Updates, Countdowns, Notifications And More!
Basic Supporters PackageCreate stunning websites with Pro Styler Theme, drag and drop your way to sexy, professional looking websites in minutes.
Email Jeet 2 LITE AnnualWith Email Jeet’s opt in code build your subscriber list straight from your blog or website. Go ahead and import all your lists at one go. Mail multiple lists or parts of lists easily. You can type in an email and send it on front end or schedule it to a
VidPixConvertPix Is The First 1-Click Software Lets You Put Buy Buttons, Opt-In Forms, Videos and More Right on Top Of Images - Resulting in a 300% increase in revenue!
Xtra Pro 2018 - Extract Real Emails from FacebookXtra Pro 2018 is a Must Have tool For Any Professional Marketer to Extract REAL Email Addresses from Facebook !, fast and precisely. It retrieves all valid email addresses by Subjects, Keywords, Interests, and automatically removes duplicates.
MY VIDEOS APP - 50 Apps PRO UPGRADE One-Time FeeMy Videos App is a cloud-based, template-based video app creation system. It is a video application that allows you to sell videos using In-App Purchase on iPhone/ iPad, Android devices, and Amazon Kindle.
MobileX: PROMobileX: PRO
With the Pro upgrade, you will be able to get developer rights and install on up to 5 different websites.
- 5 Site Install
- 2 Way Premium SMS Code Connectivity
- Keyword Shortcode with revenue payout
- SMS-Email Campa
ProfitBuilder - StandardGenerate leads and increase revenue using the #1 drag and drop landing page builder for WordPress with it's full suite of powerful tools for marketers...
ProspectrrWelcome To Prospectrr. The web's simplest and most powerful lead generation app!
AutoSoci - CINEMATIC Edition (LITE)AutoSoci 2.5D Cinematography Edition Magnificently Attracts BUYERS Like Never Before With Your Unique Motion Effect Cinematic Images and Videos On Social Networks For More Profits On Autopilot.
OnPoint CommunityOnPoint Community will give the user access to a new niche each month, plus extra footage, animations and music. And the community will be able to vote for this each month and shape how this package grows over time
(2016) VTG Special - SocialRobot (Monthly)New 4-Step Blueprint Reveals How To Rank Simple Videos On Page 1 of Google and Profit $500-$1000 Per Month Each…
New 6-Step Blueprint Shows You How To Rank In Google in 27 days or less Through The Power of Your Own Private Blog Network...
Tube Sniper BootcampNew Video Marketing Technology Exposes Your Competitors Weaknesses and Reveals Profitable Niches in 90 seconds or less...
...Plus it automatically tracks your videos rankings AND sends High PageRank Backlinks to your site all from within one central dash