The church in Texas showed its support towards the pride parade by giving the people free mom hugs. Because there's nothing as good and comforting as a mother's hug.
The fight for the right to practice whatever sexuality one wants to is an old and long fight. Thankfully, there have been huge strides made in the recent past and there's reason to celebrate. This doesn't mean there's not more to fight about, it just means we need to pause and celebrate open-mindedness whenever life goes us the opportunity to.
When a lot of people came out of the closet, this wasn't taken very well by some very orthodox parents. During the pride march in Austin, Texas, members of a church came out to offer free 'mom hugs' to all members of the LGBTQ community. This was done to comfort them and show them that there are people in the world who will love them and comfort them, no matter what. Everyone needs and deserves a mom hug once in a while, especially those who do not have a very good relationship with their parents. Pictures of the 'mom hugs' in Austin were shared by blogger Jen Hatmaker on her Instagram account. The idea was inspired by Sara Cunningham of 'Free Mom Hugs' and was supported by members of the Austin New Church.
Free Mom Hugs is a group of families and parents that show unconditional love towards their children. Most of the children who belong to the parents of this group are a part of the queer community. The group believes in spreading the hugs of love and acceptance to others who are part of the community as well. They do more than just giving out hugs, the group helps members of the community who are in need, help with legal name changes, support at same-sex weddings, notes of encouragement, and more. They also help by educating families, church and civic leaders, by not only affirming the value of the LGBTQ+ community but also celebrating it.
Hatmaker shared some really emotional moments that were captured during the parade. She shared how glad she was to be a part of it and how proud she was of her church to support the community as well. They offered everything from 'Free Mom Hugs, Free Dad Hugs, Free Grana Hugs, and Free Pastor Hugs' like it was a paying job. In one of the posts she shared, she mentioned in the caption, 'Our arms were never empty. We “happy hugged” a ton of folks, but dozens of times, I’d spot someone in the parade look our way, squint at our shirts and posters, and RACE into our arms.'
According to Jen, there were plenty of people who were part of the parade that desperately needed a good, warm, and comforting hug from a parent. “These were the dear hearts who said: ‘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.'” There's just something about a mom hug that makes you feel like everything's going to be okay. Many children who came out of the closet were disowned by their parents or families. This is something that needs to be changed, people need to be more open-minded and accepting. After all, we are in the 21st century. Things can't always remain the same way.
Jen mentioned that the members of her church who came to show their support made sure to tell every single person they hugged that they were 'impossibly loved and needed and precious'. They didn't just say it, they meant it. It was something a lot of people needed to hear. This simple and free act of kindness made the day for many a person. The parade took place in August 2018, but there are people who still remember the members of the church who made them feel wanted and important again.
Good heavens I love this! THIS gives me faith in religion. This is exactly what we are called to do: Love One Another!!— Christin Lehnhart (@grapevine0352) August 13, 2018
Jen concluded her caption by saying, "You can only imagine what 'Pastor Hugs' did to folks. 😭 So we told them over and over that they were impossibly loved and needed and precious. And we hugged until our arms fell off. This is what we are doing here, what we are here for." She also thanked Sara Cunningham of 'Free Mom Hugs' for her support and for making this happen. Sara is the executive director of the 'Free Mom Hugs' organization. She believes that the parents need to be the first ones to fight for their children's rights and freedom, because if they don't, then who will?
Spent the morning with @freemomhugs founder & fiercest advocate @saraphrased. Her first trip to Los Angeles! Passed the HOLLYWOOD sign up on the mountain & she touched the Pacific Ocean! Talking about strategy as we plan next steps for our movie! #freemomhugs #freemomhugstour pic.twitter.com/EndiBUjtVT— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) February 18, 2019
We are in a world where everyone is starting to open up about their desires and their sexuality. If everyone has the right to free speech and is allowed to have opinions, is said to be allowed to have complete freedom, this should include freedom of sexuality. It is sad that people still have to fight for acceptance in places across the world even today. It is not unnatural to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. People were born into it just like how people are born straight or how people are born into a family. It is natural and needs to be normalized.
The initiative that the Free Mom Hugs organization has taken along with the Austin New Church is much needed. People of the LGBTQ+ community need to be shown that they are cared for, loved, and supported. There are several organizations that are still going around to educate people on how the world is a lot more open now and how people need to be more accepting. It is kind of sad that these organizations exist because who knew that we would still need to convince people to be accepting? People's traditional mindsets need to change.