Even though I have a few years before the dreaded “birds and the bees” conversations with my kids, I do think about the future when they step over the line from childhood to adolescence. Will they feel comfortable talking to me about their sexuality? From the moment our kids are born, we are creating a type of environment within our homes whether we realize it or not. I have always wanted the environment in our home to be full of openness, acceptance, and unconditional love.
I hope my kids will never experience years, months, days, or even hours where they agonize over telling me something for fear of rejection. While I wish all kids could be a part of a family that loves them and accepts them for their true selves, that is not our reality. In our very own city of Atlanta, close to thirty percent of homeless youth identified as LGBTQ according to the Atlanta Youth and Needs Assessment. Youth being kicked out of their homes was cited as one of the most common reasons for homelessness. Even if kids are not being kicked out of their homes, they are often missing the support they need from their families.
There are many organizations in our community supporting these kids who have no one else to turn to, and sometimes the support is as simple as a hug from a mom. One of my favorite new organizations to lend their support to the LGBTQ community is Free Mom Hugs. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like! One mother, Sara Cunningham, began this non-profit organization after offering Free Mom Hugs or High Fives at a local pride parade. Since her post about being a stand-in mom at a same-sex wedding went viral, the organization has spread across the country. We have a chapter right here in Georgia, and its Facebook page can be found here.
As moms, some of our go-to phrases are “it takes a village” and “mom tribe.” Maybe our villages and tribes can extend out just a little further to wrap our arms around people who otherwise don’t get the love and acceptance they deserve. A hug or high-five may seem simple to us moms who give our kids affection on a daily basis, but to someone else, it may be a few seconds of acceptance they desperately need.
For other ideas on how to help LGBTQ youth in Georgia, check out these organizations: