This month, the Mama Bear we are highlighting is Robin Parker! She is a thoughtful, compassionate leader and mother. We are so thankful that she shared her Mama Bears experience with us. We are excited for you to learn more about her!
Why did you originally join the Mama Bears online group?
I joined the Mama Bears in June of 2017 after one of my children came out to me. I’ve always been affirming, and my kid had shown signs that they may be LGBTQIA+ from a very early age. It wasn’t a surprise to me, but the reaction we received from family and the church was what sent our whole family reeling. We NEVER expected the rejection, the silence, the hatefulness and the ostracizing that came with my child’s announcement, and it devastated us all as a family. I eventually connected with an affirming Pastor online who told me about the Mamas and found a whole new supportive family! There were so many beautiful people in the group, and back then, it was still small enough that you “knew” most everyone and their stories. Now we have grown beyond belief, and it’s hard to keep up, but that’s a GOOD thing.
How has Mama Bears positively impacted your life?
TREMENDOUSLY! I’ve made lasting friendships with so many of my Sister Bears, and eventually met many of them. These Mamas have helped me through some extremely tough times in my and my kid’s lives. The love, counsel, and support I’ve received has meant the world to both of us, and we are so very grateful for each and every one of these beautiful Sisters. They just make me want to be a better person, and I truly believe they saved our lives when we were going through some extremely bad times.
Additionally, they motivated me to become actively involved with the community, and led me to becoming an advocate/activist/conspirator. From lobbying to speaking engagements, to marching in Pride Parades, I’ve been challenged to do things I never thought I’d be able to do
Our Founder, Liz Dyer, has been an amazing mentor, teacher and friend to me. She is such an amazing role model, and has worked so hard to create a space that we all can be proud of. She is the heart and soul of the Mamas, and we ALL love her dearly.
It was through the Mama Bears that I met and became friends with Sara Cunningham, Founder of the national nonprofit, Free Mom Hugs. In 2018 I was asked to become their KY State Chapter Leader, and have worked hard, along with other Volunteers here, to make Kentucky a better place for the LGBTQIA+community.
Lastly, I have met some of the most wonderful folks, both in and out of the community through my connection with the Mama Bears. I count many as my closest, most treasured friends and chosen family.
What does it mean to you to be a Mama Bear?
To be a Mama Bear means first and foremost, that you love and support your child/children, and all LGBTQIA+ folks unconditionally, as YOU would want to be loved and supported. You nurture both the mental and physical health and wellbeing of every child, at every opportunity. You never stop learning. You offer and accept advice in respectful and loving ways, passing along both the good AND the bad, because we can all learn from the mistakes we’ve made.
Mama Bears are FIERCE, and we stick up for our kids, each other, and the community. We do what we can, when we can, however we can to support and serve each other. Whether it’s in schools, businesses, churches, or the halls of our state capitols, Mama Bears find their voices and USE THEM.
Did any of the nonprofits in the giving circle specifically stand out to you? If so, which one?
There are so many wonderful LGBTQ organizations, and I’m so glad the Giving Circle can honor the hard work they do. I always try to speak about and support the Trevor Project whenever I get a chance. I made my child aware of this life-saving organization when they came out. Little did I know that years later, they would make the call to Trevor that likely saved their life, and I’m forever grateful. The Tyler Clementi Foundation is close to my heart also, along with GLSEN.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Mama Bears community?
I’d like to thank each and every one of my Sister’s for their love and support for both myself AND my kid. Each of us come to the Mama Bears with a need, and though we may not have all our needs met all the time, we find community, empathy, love, laughter, and A LOT of great advice. I think I can safely speak for us all when I say that we are all indebted to the Mama of the Mama Bears, Liz Dyer. She has made our lives and the world a better, kinder place, and we all admire and are so thankful for her.
Share your story!
If you or a Mama Bear you know is interested in being our Spotlight Mama of the month, we would love to connect! Please note that Spotlight Mamas may be anonymous if this makes the person sharing their story more comfortable. It is important to us that we honor the privacy of those in our community. To get involved please email Juliana Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate you sharing your journeys with us!