Skip to main content

Meet Kathy

This month, the Mama Bear we are highlighting is Kathy Surbaugh! She is a thoughtful and 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?

Our son CJ came out to us as a member of the LGBTQ+ community for the first time in 2016 when he was 22. About eight months after he came out to us, we left our church where we had been very active for over thirteen years because a new pastor made some overtly homophobic statements from the pulpit. A few days later CJ wrote a blog post about our leaving the church that went viral in certain parts of the internet. While the blog post received lots of support from people and organizations all over the country, it didn’t take long until it caught the attention of two well known conservative Christian bloggers. Their followers and trolls began harassing and threatening CJ to the point he has since taken the entire blog down. In the midst of all of that tumult, I read John Pavlovitz’ book, A Bigger Table, and was very excited to read about Serendipitydodah for Moms and the Mama Bears. I was even more excited to learn that Liz Dyer, the founder, lived near me. I joined the Facebook group to get support and learn from women who had lived through similar experiences.

How has Mama Bears positively impacted your life?

Being part of the Mama Bears has given me a community that understands my family and accepts my child for who he is. They have been there to support me when my child was struggling, and they have been there to celebrate with me through my child’s triumphs. Getting to know the moms in the local groups and enjoying their company at Mama Bear events and get togethers has brought great joy to my life.

What does it mean to you to be a Mama Bear?

Being a Mama Bear has widened my friends circle and given me the confidence to publicly support my child and other children and stand up against intolerance.

What compelled you to join the Mama Bears Giving Circle?

I believe in giving back. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, I have been blessed so many times and in so many ways in my life, I feel it is not only my duty but my joy to give back, even in small ways, when I can.

Did any of the nonprofits in the giving circle specifically stand out to you? If so, which one?

I am especially grateful to any of the organizations who cater to the trans community and their families.

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 We appreciate you sharing your journeys with us!

Join the Mama Bears Giving Circle!