Last year, Sara Cunningham from Oklahoma made a short but sweet 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.”
That post then went viral and brought out a new campaign and change in Cunningham’s life.
But what caused such a post?
In 2015, Sara Cunningham attended a pride festival at Oklahoma City. While she was elated from the positive experience, she was also haunted by the stories of hate shared at the event.
“That day, I went home with real horror stories,” she told Fox’s Wisconsin affiliate named Fox6Now. “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.”
Having a gay son herself, Cunningham was horrified to think that there were parents out there rejecting LGBTQ people. This realization brought her to later publishing the Facebook post and creating “Free Mom Hugs.”
“Free Mom Hugs” is a nonprofit organization that offers mother-like support to LGBTQ youth.
“Free Mom Hugs is a group of affirming parents who love their LGBTQ+ kids unconditionally and take hugs of love and acceptance to others. We are dedicated to educating families, church and civil leaders, and not only affirming the value of the LGBTQ+ community, but celebrating it.”
“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.”
On top of that, Cunningham has been asked to attend several weddings and has even officiated two for friends.
“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.”
“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.”
If you want to contact Free Mom Hugs or potentially book Sara for an event, head over to the official website.