Moms are amazing, right? So many of them are seemingly super human in their abilities to work hard and love and protect their families. Millions of them spend years leaving the home before dawn to work one or two jobs and come home to take care of their families well into the night.
Even when their kids are grown, a lot of moms of LGBT kids never stop protecting us, knowing we still very much need their support.
Here are a few moms at the forefront in the fight for LGBT equality. We know there are many more who deserve to be written about (please write and tell us about a mamá or papá, abuelo or abuela who has meant a lot to you).
The San Francisco Bay Area group Somos Familia was founded in 2007 by two moms with Latino gay and bisexual sons, to reach out to other families. The all-volunteer group established to create support and acceptance for Latina(o) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families. Like so many other groups, Somos Familia knows that family rejection can lead to a higher risk of depression, alcohol and drug abuse and other issues. And that family acceptance foments health and family unity. They're also created some great and moving videos.
International Organization Making Huge Strides
Familias por la Diversidad is an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds. GLAAD has helped the organization's leaders tell their stories in Spanish-language media, and we're so proud to see that this year a whopping 24 countries will be represented at their 5th international conference in Lima Peru June 27-30.
Bolivian immigrant and New York mom Nila Marrone has been a leader in Familias por la Diversidad, and founded Latino PFLAG in New York City. Her passion in life is to help mothers and fathers become strong advocates for their LGBT sons and daughters. She appears in two documentaries, one with her openly gay adoptive son, Frank, in "De Colores", and the other with her openly lesbian niece and goddaughter María in "Anyone and Everyone".
Moms Leading the Charge
I would bet good money that anyone who's met Los Angeles mom Leonor Holmstrom hasn't quickly forgotten her. An elegant lady of relatively small stature, Holmstrom has an infectious laugh and the kind of energy that motivates and inspires. Holmstrom, originally from Mexico, has been helping moms, dads and LGBT kids for years.
Rosa Manriquez is another great Los Angeles mom. A devout Catholic and active in her community and in the Latino Equality Alliance, Rosa has done interviews on CNN en Español and other outlets in order to educate others about the importance of family support. In Miami, two women who've made a huge difference are Isabel Gomez-Bassols, whose radio program on Univision Radio is listened to by millions and who helps guide her listeners toward acceptance, and super mom Eva Leivas-Andino, a community leader who never misses a chance to speak out about supporting LGBT kids.
Speaking Out on the So-called "Ex-Gay" Movement
Orange County, California mom Minerva Figueroa is fierce. A board member of the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC), she's been a longtime leader on LGBT issues. Minerva has written op-eds for Spanish-language papers and done television interviews about the importance of supporting LGBT sons and daughters and has been outspoken critic of the so called "ex-gay" movement.
Like so many of the moms profiled, Minerva has been a friend and protector to her own daughter and to many more who didn't have family support. Moms like Minerva and, like Rosa Feijoo Andrade in Mexico, along with moms in Latin America, are leading the way and making our world safer for their own kids and for us all--and for that we say, "Gracias Mamá!"
If you would like more resources to help your Latina family become more comfortable with discussing our issues, visit familiaesfamilia.org and on Sunday, don't forget to give your own mamá, or mom, some love and appreciation.