On Austin Pride Week, Christian best-selling author Jen Hatmaker, and her church the Austin New Church, hit the streets and handed out ‘mum hugs’ to pride week attendees.
The idea behind ‘mum hugs’ was originally from Oklahoma author Sarah Cunningham, a religious woman living in a conservative town who struggled to cope when her son came out as gay, because she thought that she had to choose between her faith and her son.
However, after some education, and support networks provided by Facebook groups, Cunningham and her husband abandoned their bigoted views, and began attending LGBT+ Pride events in 2014.
Despite her own transformation, she realised that lots of LGBT+ children weren’t as lucky as her son, and were still suffering from rejection from their parents simply because of who they were. She wanted to help.
The post went viral, spawning the Free Mom Hugs organisation and Facebook page, and also inspiring Jen Hatmaker and her husband to open their arms to young LGBT+ people.
After the event, Jen posted photos to her Instagram account of the hugs being gratefully received, as well as a selection of heartbreaking quotes from people she’d hugged:
I miss this.
My mom doesn’t love me anymore.
My Dad hasn’t spoken to me in three years.
Please just one more hug.