This month, the Mama Bear we are highlighting is Lisa Nickerson! She is a loving, steadfast example and mother. We are so thankful that she shared her Mama Bears experience with us!
Why did you originally join the Mama Bears online group?
I joined the Mama Bears group in 2016. I have an only child, a son, who is gay/NB. In 2016, he was 26 years old, fully out and living and working in Austin as a computer engineer. However, at that time I was the only one of my friends and acquaintances who had an LGBTQ child and I was feeling isolated in that part of my life. I sometimes felt like I was the only one who had a child who had always been “different”. Occasionally I would search the internet for articles about parents of gay kids and, one day, fate landed my search upon the Mama Bears. There were just 800 Mama Bears at that time, and I was so happy to read about others that I immediately wrote to Liz and requested to join.
How has Mama Bears positively impacted your life?
Mama Bears has impacted my life in a huge way. First, I feel supported and not alone knowing that there are 33,000+ in my shoes. I’m proud to be an ally to my son and the entire LGBTQ community. My son Garrett and I have always been close but I now know that because I accept him unconditionally, that he may live his life fully and pursue his dreams without the burden of censure by his mom. Second, I joined the Mama Bears to the Rescue subgroup. Within this subgroup, I send cards of encouragement to LGBTQ folks who are suffering sadness and loss and need caring and loving voices in their lives. When I send out a card, I do not know the positive impact it may make on someone else, but I feel really great knowing I may be making a difference. I have received thank you cards from a few of them. Thirdly, I have become less fearful and more bold. I wear a rainbow bracelet despite the disapproval of others and I’m not as worried about what others think of me. It’s not about me and knowing I’m part of this group has emboldened me.
What does it mean to you to be a Mama Bear?
To be a Mama Bear means that I am part of a group that listens to and supports one another with great love and caring. I love how the mamas share photos of their reasons and share triumphs but also sadness and loss. This group has the power to affect positive change for our kids and all LGBTQ people. I do think we need to collectively take action by sending cards and letters, writing and calling our politicians, and donating money, even a small amount, to efforts and organizations that help our children. I think Liz has done a great job keeping us all informed about opportunities we have to make a difference. There is strength in numbers.
What compelled you to join the Mama Bears Giving Circle?
I joined the Giving Circle because I think that, with 33,000 moms, we now have the manpower to start helping the LBGTQ community financially. I already knew about 3 of the 4 organizations it supports and was aware of the great work that they do. I moved to a retirement community and gained a mortgage, so I don’t have discretionary spending money. However, I do give $25/month to the Giving Circle because I certainly can afford a small amount. My wish for the future would be for all 33,000 moms to donate $10/month. If this happened, we would donate a minimum of $330,000/month or $4 million dollars a year to these impactful nonprofits. I also wrote to my sister asking her to join, and she did!
Did any of the nonprofits in the giving circle specifically stand out to you? If so, which one?
The nonprofit that stood out to me was the Tyler Clementi Foundation because I had read about Tyler’s story at the time of his death. He was such a lovely and gifted young man and he was driven to such despair by bullying. Tyler’s story broke my heart, as do some of the posts I read in the Mama Bears’ FB feed. If I help even one person by donating to the Giving Circle, that will be a great thing.
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!