There are those moments in life when you meet people that truly inspire you and change your outlook forever. Sara Cunningham (pronounced like Sarah for my fellow Brits) of Free Mom Hugs is one of those humans. I came across Free Mom Hugs when someone on Facebook shared an article about the organisation and I instantly was taken over by a desire to contact her.
Jack and I had been planning a Pride special episode of A Good Good Thing to coincide with Pride month and I just knew she would be perfect. I reached out to Sara on Twitter and was overjoyed when got back to me…
How wonderful! Thank you. How’s the best way to connect?
— Sara Cunningham (@MamaBearOk) June 5, 2019
So the day came to record and I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous or excited - partly in response to the fear of the tech holding out as we were recording 9am Oklahoma time and 3pm London! But we did it. We got to speak with Sara for around an hour and it was brilliant. Ther work she does, and her story is so important and so uplifting, I couldn’t wait to get it out into the world.
Sara started her nonprofit, Free Mom Hugs, as a result of the journey to acceptance she took when her son, Parker, came out as gay. An evangelic conservative, it was no easy conversation for Sara and her son to have and she freely admits she “did somethings, and said some things that [she] regrets”.
“I thought I was the only woman in the world wrestling between my faith & accepting my son’s sexual identity.”
But after seeking council and to educate herself, Sara’s view on the LGBTQ+ community changed and this lead to her attending her first Pride parade. After hearing the stories of young people and how they were abandoned by their families, Free Mom Hugs was born.
“It was a journey that took us from the church to the pride parade.”
Now Sara tours America talking LGBTQ+ equality and parenting, she has released a book called How We Sleep At Night: A Mother’s Memoir, and has appeared in Oprah’s O Magazine and on Rupaul’s new Chat show! Better still, iconic American actress Jamie Lee Curtis has bought the movie right to Sara’s book and plans on releasing it as a film!
We’ve had a wonderful response to the episode with listeners reaching out to tell us how much the episode affected them and encouraged them to reach out to their LGBTQ+ family and friends and open a dialogue about how better they can be at supporting them.
I can’t thank Sara enough for giving up her time to be with us.
Listen to the episode below, or click the links to your preferred podcast platform.
Watch Sarah on RuPaul’s chat show below