The Williams Institute at UCLA Law has estimated that of the 1.6 million homeless youth in the United States, an unimaginable 40% identify as LGBTQ. Many of these youth attribute their homelessness as a result of being kicked out and disowned by their families. This heart-wrenching reality drives home the fact that while the civil rights for the LGBTQ community has improved in recent years, there’s still a ways to go in terms of full acceptance.
But just because some families fail to accept their children, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t others out there that are willing to stand in and be a parental figure. This is where Sara Cunningham comes in. She wrote a memoir back in 2014, “How We Sleep at Night”, which details her relationship with her own gay son. It’s been somewhat of a popular book amongst parents looking for help supporting their LGBTQ children.
Cunningham has used her place in the public eye, as well as social media, to serve as an advocate and ally for the LGBTQ community.
After the passage of marriage equality, she was troubled by the fact that so many people of the LGBTQ family have been having to marry without their families surrounding them, so she took to Facebook to post about it.
Of course, the kind gesture was circulated around the internet and within months, one of Hollywood’s well-known actresses, Jamie Lee Curtis, took notice. Not long after, Curtis posted a picture of Cunningham on her official Twitter page, along with the following caption:
Spent the day with my doppelgänger, inspirational mama bear, leader, author and social activist, Sara Cunningham, whose program @freemomhugs offers support to LBGTQ members whose families don’t. As we say…. stay tuned #hero #freemomhugs pic.twitter.com/7XiQJkSm6L— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) September 27, 2018
Curtis’s very mysterious “stay tuned” actually refers to her very big announcement: she’s planning to make a movie about Cunningham’s life. She purchased the rights to the memoir. When Cunningham heard the news she was blown away and couldn’t wait to share her story.
What’s most surprising to learn about Cunningham’s life is that she wasn’t always a ready and willing ally. She experienced quite the transformation following her son’s coming out. She felt like his sexuality was something that was making her second guess her beliefs, as the fifty-five-year-told The Washington Post, “We tried to ‘pray the gay away’ for years. And I felt like I had to choose between my son and my faith.”
Eventually though, Cunningham learned how to accept her son for who he is, and since then, has gone on to be one of the most stand-out parents in the LGBTQ community today.
Personally, it’s going to be a long wait for this movie to come out.