My name is Trisha Pyzik and I am the Northwest Regional Leader of Free Mom Hugs.
Free Mom Hugs is an organization started by Sara Cunningham (the mom of a gay son) and is a group of affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally. This is a movement growing one hug at a time and it is really quite simple: show up and give love. Anyone is welcome to join.
My daughter came out as lesbian when she was a sophomore in high school. My first instinct was to protect her from everything I knew was coming: family desertion, friend desertion, public scorn, etc. I became a fierce advocate for her and eventually not just for her, but all marginalized people. As humans we should do better to love and support each other because ultimately that’s what makes the world a lovely place.
We are originally from the Ann Arbor, Michigan area where LGBTQ+ is widely accepted especially due to the diversity of having the University of Michigan there. When we moved to the Panhandle, it was a wildly different culture. I knew one way I could make a difference here was to become involved in the LGBTQ+ community. When I saw the 2019 Bay Pride event on Facebook, I knew where I could start. I rallied my daughter, her fiancé, and my granddaughter and we showed up to the festival along with a couple of other moms to give out hugs. This event sealed the deal for me and I knew within hours that our community needed Mom hugs. We gave out over 50 hugs in the first 1.5 hours.
It is my honor to be part of teaching this community that everyone deserves love and respect as they are and to offer love and support to our LGBTQ+ people. I will be actively participating in educating others, recruiting other Mother Huggers and giving Free Mom Hugs whenever I can. I can be found on Facebook:Free Mom Hugs-Florida/Groups/Northwest Florida.