Though in many ways our culture has made strides forward when it comes to rights for the LGBTQ community, we have a long way to go. And many around the world are still not only struggling to earn basic rights but also with having support from their friends and family.
Luckily, there are some allies out there who are willing to offer support when no one else will, like one mother in Monterrey, Mexico. In a video shared on Twitter by the Latino progressive organization Jolt Action, at the Monterrey Pride Parade, a mom stood near a large poster board reading “Abrazos de Mami gratis,” or “Free mom hugs,” in English.
Next to the colorful rainbow-hued sign, parade attendees got emotional while walking up to the woman, who embraced each of them individually. And she didn’t give them just regular old pat-on-the-back hugs. These were real, meaningful mama bear hugs.
This Monterrey hero isn’t the first to offer up free hugs to those in need in the LGBTQ community. The concept came courtesy of Free Mom Hugs, a nonprofit organization started by a Christian Oklahoma mother of a gay son, who writes on her website: “If I don’t fight for my son (and his rights) like my hair is on fire, then who will? It’s time we celebrate our LGBTQ+ children.”
Free Mom Hugs now has chapters in more than 46 states.
Similarly, last August at the Austin Pride parade, members of a Texas church headed to the event to offer “Free Mom Hugs, Free Dad Hugs, Free Grana Hugs, and Free Pastor Hugs,” Jen Hatmaker, an author and speaker, shared on Instagram. “And when I say hugs, I mean THE KIND A MAMA GIVES HER BELOVED KID.”
Hatmaker added that simple gestures were indeed much needed.
“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. 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.'”
Watch all of the mom hug action from both events below:
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My beloved little church went downtown to the #AustinPrideParade and gave out Free Mom Hugs, Free Dad Hugs, Free Grana Hugs, and Free Pastor Hugs like it was our paying jobs. And when I say hugs, I mean THE KIND A MAMA GIVES HER BELOVED KID. . 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. 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.” . 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. . The last pic is what you look like at the end of Pride covered in glitter, sweat, and more than a few tears. . Thanks to Sara Cunningham and the @freemomhugs tribe for the wonderful inspiration.