Sara Cunningham, the woman behind the group Free Mom Hugs has announced that the organization will start offering its services virtually in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Members of the group attend Pride parades to hug participants.
Cunningham went viral in 2018 when she offered to be a “stand-in mom” for any LGBTQ person whose parent wouldn’t attend their wedding. Jamie Lee Curtis bought the rights to her story to make a movie about her life.
Cunningham is an ordained minister and one of her sons is gay. She said that when he came out, she decided to fight “for him and the LGBTQ community like my hair is on fire because I’ve seen the power of what fear and ignorance can do.”
She has performed several marriages for same-sex couples and repeatedly heard about parents who would refuse to attend their kids’ weddings or even acknowledge their relationships.
The Free Mom Hugs Virtual Tour will launch on Mother’s Day.
While the organization built on physical touch has already shifted to supporting LGBTQ people and parents online, the upcoming effort will include webinars, supportive environments, profiles of “heroes and activists,” and live broadcasts.