Today marks Mother’s Day, a day meant to celebrate the many mothers, grandmothers and parents who, for many of us, the first to show us what love looks like. It’s thanks to all kinds of moms — from adoptive moms to surrogate moms to lesbian moms to our “moms” in the gay and trans community — that we are here and we try to keep going in a tough world.
In honor of them, we’re recognizing and sharing some of the moms we’ve covered in the last year amidst this pandemic, maybe when their love was needed the most.
The mom who has tearfully testified before Texas lawmakers to protect her trans child’s rights
Amber Briggle, the mother of a transgender boy testified before the Texas legislature in tears as Republicans tried to pass a bill to criminalize parents who support their transgender children.
“When my son was four-years-old, he asked me if scientists could turn him into a boy,” Briggle said, adding that she didn’t understand that he was trans. “I only knew that he wasn’t like most girls his age and that something inside him was hurting.”
She said that she learned about trans youth and found that surgery is not performed on minors, despite how much Republican lawmakers talk about surgery in the context of bills to ban gender-affirming care for minors.
“Today, my son is 13-years-old, the most popular boy in seventh grade, and loved by our friends, family, our church, and our community,” Briggle said. “This is possible because he has parents who affirm him and provide him with the support he needs.”
“If this bill becomes law, that, senators, is child abuse,” she concluded. “And I promise I will call every single one of you every time a transgender child dies from suicide to remind you that their lives could have been saved, but you chose not to.”
Despite Briggle’s testimony, in addition to that of Kai Shappley, a fourth grader that also testified before the Senate, the bill they spoke out against still passed.
Ellen’s mom getting a buzzcut from her daughter as a birthday gift
When Ellen’s mother Betty DeGeneres turned 90-years-old last May, she got a present befitting a PFLAG mom: a butch buzz cut from her lesbian daughter.
“Why am I letting her do this?” Betty asks, to which Ellen responds: “Because it’s your birthday.”
Betty asks Ellen if she can use scissors, but it’s clippers all the way.
The mom looks in the mirror after the haircut exclaimed, “Oh wow, you really cut it short.”
Betty, born in 1930, has stood by her famous daughter’s side since she came out, even appearing in the coming out episode of Ellen’s sitcom. She became an active member of PFLAG, took on the role of spokesperson for HRC’s National Coming Out Project in the late 90s, and wrote an advice column for the old LGBTQ website PlanetOut entitled “Ask Betty.”
A mom & community advocates care for a trans teen after he is assaulted and left paralyzed
When Kristian Rouse’s mother, Eurydice Darrington, hadn’t heard from him for two days, she knew something was wrong. The two communicate daily and her intuition told her that he needed her.
Since he had recently moved, Darrington contacted his ex-girlfriend and the two went to find him. What they found was straight out of every mother’s worst nightmare. The two peeked through the windows after getting no response and saw Rouse lying on the floor unconscious.
Police arrived but didn’t enter the apartment since there was no obvious emergency and it wasn’t his apartment. Darrington convinced staff at the apartment complex to let her into the apartment. Rouse’s injuries were visible once they were inside the unit.
Rouse doesn’t remember being attacked, but he’s lucky to be alive. He was on a ventilator for a month, his right arm and leg were paralyzed, and he was speak or walk.
“Kristian and I are both taking things one day at a time and to be honest, it has been tough; we are both traumatized,” Darrington told LGBTQ Nation in August. Kelly McKinsey, one of the leaders for “Free Mom Hugs” in California, reached out to her and offered her support in that moment.
Since then, McKinsey has sought and collected greeting cards, “get well soon” messages, and notes of encouragement from the queer community – and supporters – for Kristian.
As of the end of August 2020, Kristian was “getting better day by day,” Darrington said. In the last update for their GoFundMe, Darrington said, “[Kristian] is very grateful for all the cards and letters and loves all the artwork/drawings that people have sent.”
As of publication, Darrington and those organizing on her behalf raised nearly $66,000 for Kristian’s recovery.
This reverend stood up to her father after he cancelled Christmas because of her trans daughter
In an emotional essay for Today’s Parent in December, Rev. Michelle Scrimgeour-Brown chronicled her unwavering support of her teenage transgender daughter, Layla.
Scrimgeour-Brown’s father (Layla’s grandfather) has refused to accept her, which has made Scrimgeour-Brown into an even fiercer warrior for her daughter’s acceptance and safety. The reverend described an incident that took place just before Christmas 2018 – the last time Scrimgeour-Brown saw her father.
That day, she told him that his fourteen-year-old granddaughter was trans, and that her name was Layla. Up until Christmas, she texted him reminders to work hard to call Layla by the right pronouns.
His response: “If you don’t knock it off, I won’t come.”
So Scrimgeour-Brown did not see her father that Christmas. In fact, she hasn’t seen him since 2018.
She wrote, “did he really think I was going to choose him over the person I made? Did he really think that his hate — his fear, really — would be what guided my choices as a parent? That man did not know me at all.”
She said to readers, “when they tell you, ‘no, this is me, actually,’ that is a privilege. You are being invited to truly know someone! That is a sacred trust, so step up and meet them.”
The grandmother of a trans woman thanks Elliot Page for coming out & encouraging them
In November, Maryann Durmer’s granddaughter came out as transgender to her. She knew that the road ahead would not be easy for her, let alone her granddaughter.
Then, Elliot Page came out. That partly prompted Durmer to write a personal essay, published in HuffPost as “A Love Letter To My Granddaughter (Who I Knew As My Grandson Until 5 Weeks Ago).”
Durmer credits Page, the 33 year old actor currently starring on The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, for bringing more attention to issues affecting trans people and creating an opportunity for people like Durmer to educate themselves, or others.
“After all, a matriarch’s position should not be underestimated.”
Thank you to everyone who loved my @HuffPost essay about my granddaughter! Together we will win inclusivity because love and acceptance is all that really matters ❤️ 🙏🏻
— Maryann Durmer (she/her) 🏳️⚧️ (@mdurmer) December 26, 2020
A lesbian mom was behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ infamous Inauguration-worn mittens
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was one of the few attendees at the historic, but limited attendance Inauguration of Joe Biden as president. A shot of the 79-year-old — sitting legs-crossed, socially distanced from others, with a disposable mask, and very large and distinct mittens on — went viral immediately. The mittens he wore were just as much of a reason than anything else for the viral moment.
Those mittens came from an elementary school teacher, mothering a five-year old with her same-sex partner. Jen Ellis calls them “swittens,” and she and her family lives in Essex Junction, a village of about 10,000 people just about six miles from downtown Burlington, where Sanders served as mayor for years prior to becoming a U.S. Senator.
“I’ve tried not to let all of the mitten business overshadow the gloriousness of sitting with my five-year-old daughter and my partner and watching the first woman be sworn in as vice president. that’s amazing,” she said later.
Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. pic.twitter.com/ErLr29lY2t
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) January 20, 2021
Mom of a transgender 6-year-old throws her a gender reveal party
“So, as the proud mommy of a six year old girl, I’d like to introduce you to my daughter, Avery,” Zoe Lynn wrote in a Facebook post last May.
Lynn went on to talk about her journey to accepting her daughter for who she is.
A year prior, Avery told her dad before school, “My life didn’t turn out the way I planned. I think I should just stab myself in the throat.”
Lynn wrote, “I have never felt a worse feeling in my body. How. How can a 5-year-old who doesn’t even know a fraction of what the world is or what life or death is, even think like that?”
She asked Avery what she meant after school, and Avery said that it was “a secret.” But after some prodding, the kindergartner came out as transgender.
“I was supposed to be a girl but I’m a boy,” the five-year-old said.
“I’ve CRIED over this,” Lynn wrote. “But then I stopped crying, because as much as I feel I’ve struggled, it will be so much harder for her. And while we already have a few people in our lives who are vocally unsupportive – we have an INCREDIBLE, AMAZING group of people that have never made her feel more loved.”
The lesbian moms that shared the story of raising a trans child in a commercial
In an ad for Pantene shampoo, two lesbian moms, Ashley and Ellie, who are raising a transgender girl, Sawyer, explain why hair is an important part of how Sawyer is seen by the world.
“She has always been super gender creative, and hair has been a big part of her transition,” said Ashley in the ad. “Once she told us that she identified as a girl, she immediately wanted to grow her hair out.”
Hair is a large part of our identity. And for LGBTQ+ youth like Sawyer, who choose to express themselves, their style, & their creativity through their hair style, it can help them feel seen.
— Pantene Pro-V (@Pantene) March 15, 2021
The lesbian couple that were planning to have a baby — but ended up with five
In January, Heather Langley and Priscilla Rodriguez welcomed home a gorgeous quintuplet of baby girls. Hadley, Reagan, Zariah, Zylah, and Jocelyn are only the second set of all-girl quintuplets ever recorded in America.
They join their older sister, Sawyer, in a very happy home.
Due to the pandemic, Rodriguez was unable to accompany Langely to her doctor appointments and wasn’t in the room when she found out they were having five babies instead of one. Langley texted her partner to break the news.
“She was incredibly shocked,” Langely told Metro. “She responded to my text saying ‘please tell me this is a joke’. She didn’t believe I was being serious at first because you rarely hear of people being pregnant with five babies.”
“At around 19 weeks we had a scan to find out the gender of the babies,” she added. “The midwife just kept saying ‘another girl.’ I could not believe we were going to have five more girls. I just kept thinking, ‘Wow that is a lot of girls, what are we going to do with them all?’ We would have six in total.”
“And then when we found out that they were going to be the second-ever set of all-girl quintuplets in the US, we felt so blessed with how rare and extraordinary they were.”
Quintuplets occur naturally in 1 in 55,000,000 births.
This mom who described her first pride with her son
Our annual Pride in Pictures program, which will be returning for 2021 soon, had this heartwarming submission last year from Dresden Grogan, the mom to her son, Dalton Goulette, who is out.
“ was my first time being able to attend a Pride event,” Grogan shared. “To be invited to attend this event by my son, Dalton, made it that much more special to me. His entire life I have told him, ‘to thine own self be true’, no matter what! I am so proud of the person he is, and the person he strives to be every day. It has always been a gift to be his mother.”
“So, I want to express my love and support to all of the incredible and talented LGBTQ young people that I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting through my son over the years, and share my gratitude,” she said. “They have welcomed me with open arms to be a part of their lives as well, and they will ALWAYS have a mother’s love.”
The lesbian moms that fought for their rights to the Supreme Court — and succeeded.
Eight lesbian couples who had children with the help of artificial insemination took officials in the state in Indiana to court, saying that the both women in each couple should be presumed to be their children’s parents instead of forcing one of them to adopt the children later. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill then asked the Supreme Court to side with him in Box v. Henderson and deny same-sex couples the same right of presumed parenthood that opposite-sex couples enjoy.
Since the Supreme Court has moved significantly to the right since 2017, Indiana’s attorney general might have thought that the high court would take him up on the offer to overturn the previous LGBTQ victories. But it did not. It chose to deny Indiana’s petition in December.
The two moms who use “fruit bowls” as a code name for their kids
Two moms joined several people who appeared in a Dole ad, which “highly offended” the so-called “One Million Moms,” which is just one mom working for the American Family Association, an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
We’ll take more mothers & mother figures like these incredible parents, instead of the ones behind the so-called “One Million Moms” anytime.