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Sara Cunningham    

Founder & Executive Director of Free Mom Hugs, LGBTQ Advocate & Author

Founder of Free Mom Hugs, Sara has a heart as deep and wide as the ocean, and a commitment to the LGBTQ+ community that matches it. Raised on traditional christian teachings, when Sara found out one of her two sons, Parker (Free Mom Hugs board member), was gay, it initially devastated her. “I wrestled with my faith as if I had to choose between my faith and my son,” she said. “I reexamined everything I believed.” But she dug in and educated herself. In 2014, she attended her first Pride with Parker and her husband, Rex. The next year, she attended again, but this time wearing a hand-written pin that read “Free Mom Hugs.” She gave hugs and high fives and heard haunting stories of rejection. Her heart fell for the hurting and beautiful LBGTQ+ community.

With her unwavering passion and loyalty, Sara, author of “How We Sleep at Night; A Mother’s Memoirs,” spends her time advocating for equality and love. She is a gifted speaker and shares her story whenever she can. An ordained minister, Sara officiates same-sex weddings across the country, and went viral when she posted on Facebook to volunteer to be a stand-in mom for LGBTQ+ couples whose own families wouldn’t attend their weddings.

Sara is passionate about all aspects of LGBTQ+ equality and love but has found a draw to advocating for the trans community – a group that often gets neglected and experiences more pain and rejection than most. What does Free Mom Hugs mean to her? “For me, it just represents unconditional love,” she said. “Everyone needs love and understanding from their mother.”

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