This month, the Mama Bear we are highlighting is Beverly Wynne! She is a thoughtful, compassionate 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?
My son told me he was gay in 2007, after his first year of college. That, in itself, is another long story but for the purposes of this interview, I know now I spent the next several years being an ally of my own kid and his friends but not so much an advocate for others. Then, in February 2018, my husband was reading John Pavlovitz’s, A Bigger Table, and showed me the section about Serendipitydodah for Moms of LGBTQ kids. I thought, “Wow, I don’t know any other Moms of LGBTQ+ kids – that could be a ‘fun’ group ”. Little did I know how that simple decision would change my life.
How has Mama Bears positively impacted your life?
I joined Serendipitydodah and introduced myself in a happy little post about how great my son was and how terrific our family is – let the fun begin! I then proceeded to scroll through other posts. I read a mom’s account of her trans son having to sing “happy birthday” at the insistence of his Dad, even though his still high-pitched voice caused him to have to sing through tears. “It happens every birthday”, she said. In another post, a mom was pouring out her guilt and pain in that safe place, beating herself up for the unexpected feelings that surfaced when she dropped in at her beloved trans daughter’s apartment and found her without a wig, makeup and with facial stubble, catching a glimpse of her child pretransition. Both posts were flooded with comments of comfort, understanding and encouragement. I remember so clearly staring at my screen, jaw slack, with tears rolling down my face; my heart grew three sizes that day. Soon after, I learned of Kim and Kai Shappley and Rebekah Bruesehoff and her family and I knew I would never be the same, even though, as best I knew, at the time I didn’t know any transgender people. Later, a post came along looking for a nurse to help a young trans man who had transferred to the college near me and was starting T injections but was afraid of needles; I jumped in with both feet and a beautiful relationship resulted. I became involved with Georgia Mama Bears and am an admin now. In addition to the support and friendship among the moms, we show up in all sorts of ways – delivering food to houseless LGBTQ+ youth, hugging at Pride, and providing Christmas gifts for college kids stranded in the dorms because their parents wouldn’t let them come home. We helped set up a gender-affirming closet at the local college, where we also participate in their Ally and Pride events and meet kids for coffee monthly. We rose up this year fighting anti-trans bills, sending hundreds of emails, and making as many phone calls. Three of our moms and one of “our” kids testified and others showed up at the Capitol in support. I can’t say enough about what these women mean to me.
What does it mean to you to be a Mama Bear?
My son, who made me a mama bear, is so dear to my heart. I’m so proud of him and when he tells me he’s proud of me for my advocacy, my heart melts. My connections, in person or online, with other mama bears are some of the most important in my life. This is my tribe; I have found my people. I’ve never been with a group of people who love so fiercely and protect so strongly, not only in relation to their own kids but, who, with open arms, embrace everyone else’s kids as well. I’m so honored to know them and call them friends.
What compelled you to join the Mama Bears Giving Circle?
I am thankfully at an age in my life where I can do all the things. My kids are grown, I’ve recently retired and I have the time, energy, and health to be actively involved in local, hands-on advocacy as well as the resources to contribute financially to important broader-based projects through the Giving Circle. It helps me feel I am making a difference in many ways. Never doubt the power of mama bears in action!
Did any of the nonprofits in the giving circle specifically stand out to you? If so, which one?
Every single one is of value. Having gotten more than an eyeful of the workings of the state legislature in Georgia this year, I’m more committed than ever to any cause that focuses on political advocacy for protection of LGBTQIA+ rights. Also, organizations that help trans people obtain the healthcare and support they need, especially as laws are being passed to make access more difficult.
(Current: Kaleidoscope Youth Center, The Equality Crew, TransFamily Support Services, and Resilience 1220, Previous: Trevor Project, Gender Spectrum, Tyler Clementi Foundation, GLSEN, Texas Health Action: Kind Clinic, Resource Center, Covenant House, Greater Washington, Keshet.)
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Mama Bears community?
There’s a quote from Michael Moore speaking of singing in a choir and how you don’t have to do it all, all the time – an excerpt – (so that we don’t lose our will to fight):
“Take a breath. The rest of the chorus will sing. The rest of the band will play. Rejoin so others can breathe. Together, we can sustain a very beautiful song, for a very long time”. (Feb 17, 2017, Cortlandt School of Performing Arts).
Stay strong, mamas – Love will win.
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!