"What do you teach? What you've learned!": GLAAD honors our moms on Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, members of GLAAD's staff are reflecting on their relationships with their moms. While these folks are of different backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, and ages, one thing is clear and common across the board: their mothers are central to who they are.

Wilson Cruz: My mother, Iris, is amazing. When I came out to her when I was 19, she didn't exactly take it all that well. She was driving at the time and when the crying and wailing began I had to get her to pull the car over so she wouldn't kill us. It was very dramatic. We're Puerto Rican, it's in our blood. A few years later, my youngest brother Josh also came out. She was better prepared for that, I guess. Now, if anyone brings up her gay sons she says, "Listen, I have three sons. Two of them are gay. Two out of three, almost perfect!"  Happy Mother's Day, Mom… and THANK YOU!


Janet Quezada: Mi mami querida grew up in the countryside in Dominican Republic and raised me with those strong roots of generosity, humility, hard work, faith and love.  Despite the harsh winters and cold injustice that immigrants face in the US, she was determined that her children reflect those values. It took her time, but she sees now that my love for my partner and our work for justice for all people are those seeds she planted sprouted, vibrant and alive.  Feliz Dia de las Madres, Mami-te quiero mucho.


Ross Murray: The thing my mom and I do the most is laugh (as evidenced in this photo of us in a restaurant surrounded by so much kitschy crap). We genuinely enjoy each other's company, and we make it a point to have fun, no matter what we are doing. The first year I brought my parents to a Pride festival, we spent the whole time buying baby clothes for my newly born niece. For a long time, I didn't think of my mother as an LGBT advocate, in fact, I felt the need to protect her from my LGBT advocacy. But I realize now that she has been a strong and steady voice in the small town where I grew up. She's not only speaking on behalf of me, but for all those other people who don't have a voice to speak up for them.


Omar Sharif Jr: I tried explaining to my mom that I was gay:

"There are two arguments 'nature' and 'nurture', either way it's your fault."

Fortunately, her love was always unconditional anyways.

Happy Mother's Day.
I love you with all my heart.


Agata Dera: My mom is the most inspirational person in my life. She is my teacher of love, compassion and kindness.  She has helped me face the world at times which seemed the most difficult. During my coming out, my mom has been my greatest support system for which I will forever be grateful. Some mothers would bail their children from jail; my mom would be the person sitting next to me saying “That was fun.” This Mother’s Day I will make sure to buy her a bottle of wine as I am the reason she drinks in the first place. For the millions of laughs, tons of hugs and many shenanigans, thank you.  I love you with all my heart, Happy Mother’s Day.


Alexandra Bolles: My mom has taught me to always "strive for excellence." A lot of parents probably tell their kids something similar. But I think what makes my mom stand out from the rest is that she actually believes I am capable of excellence--even when I couldn't feel farther from it--and has been helping me find the tools to work towards excellence throughout my life. Because of my mom, I know that it is my responsibility to help make the world a more just and equitable place. I know that my Armenian heritage, my family members, and their histories are integral to who I am and will continue to become. I know that laughter, determination, and community are the keys to surviving and thriving. The thing I know most clearly because of my mom, though, is what unconditional love looks like. We joke in my family that, in a past life, we all crossed the country together in a covered wagon (just go with me on this). I am thankful every day that my mother keeps us together, keeps us strong, and keeps us moving forward in that covered wagon. Bacheegs and happy Mother's Day to the lady who teaches me to "keep moving."


Charlotte Wells: In the UK Mother's Day always falls on the 4th Sunday of Lent and is known as Mothering Sunday.  During the sixteenth century this used to be much more of a religious day where people returned to the church where they attended services as a child, which brought the family back together again. The tradition soon changed where it became customary for young people who were working as servants in large houses (think Downton Abbey), to be given a holiday on Mothering Sunday which they could use to visit their mum and they often took a gift or flowers with them.  And not much has changed since!!

Now living in the US, I get to celebrate my mum twice a year as the US holiday falls on a different day than the UK, but what can I say, she deserves it.  She has raised three fiercely independent daughters who now live in different corners of the world with their families with seven (and soon to be one more) grandchildren.  I'm sure that mother's day can feel a little bit lonely, but with new technologies like face time or skype the world has gotten a lot smaller in the last 5 years and we are only a call away.  I get to say hello face to face pretty much every week and catch up on what's happening back home, but I hope that she knows she is loved by all her daughters and her grandchildren no matter how far away from home we might be.


Monica Trasandes: I truly believe that luck has a lot to do with how we get to live our lives. Without the good fortune of being born into a loving, supportive family, a culture that doesn’t completely oppress you (especially if you’re a woman) and other factors, it is very difficult to make what you want of your life. Not impossible but difficult.  So I count myself ridiculously fortunate for the place where I was born, the country to which we moved, the family I have and the opportunities I’ve been handed.

But all my good luck began and still has at its heart one lady, Susana Ivonne Trasandes, my mamacita. I am so lucky to have a mom with her kindness and strength. She’s the person I think of when I suspect I’m making a selfish choice. I think ‘okay, wait, what would mom do?’ She’d probably do the thing that made her family happy. Don’t get me wrong, I know how important it is to balance your own needs and hopes with the expectations of others, but sometimes it’s good to think, okay what is the kindest choice? That’s when mamá’s influence is there to guide me.

I'm also very thankful for her great sense of humor. I enjoy it when I’m around her and now in a whole new way. My partner and I are caring for an amazing little girl, and parenting, it turns out, means you get to share and to teach pretty much every minute you are with that child. And what do you teach?—what you’ve learned! I love seeing my mom reflected in the way I am with the baby.

I’m so lucky that my first and best teacher had a bawdy sense of humor and an easy laugh, a warmth that draws people to her. I don’t even mind inheriting the bad qualities. Recently, I asked my mom the words to a lullaby in Spanish. She started singing and I joined her, trying to memorize the words. My dad walked in and made a horrible face.

“Wow,” he said. “That’s quite a sound you two are making.”

I hadn’t realized until then that I’d inherited my mom’s less than enviable singing voice.

Ha ha ha, callate viejo celoso/Pipe down, jealous old man,” Mom said, and we both kept singing.

Brendan Davis: I could go into how supportive my mom was about me coming out, how amazing she was in allowing me and encouraging me to pursue my dreams that led me from our little Georgia house to Boston, Los Angeles, New York and beyond, but I really just want to use two words to describe her: The Best.