June is Pride Month but with the coronavirus pandemic still unfortunately in full swing, celebrations are looking a lot different this year. Colorful, crowded parades and festivals have been the norm in the past, but those types of gatherings are risky right now. This means there’s a good chance we won’t be seeing one of the sweetest staples from years past: the free mom hug.
LGBTQ+ people all too often face discrimination, and for too many, that starts at home. Gay and trans people are already at a higher risk of dealing with mental health issues, and studies have shown that being rejected by their families can make those issues even more serious.
Every year at parades, we see moms (and dads, too) offering up warm embraces to individuals who can’t, for one reason or another, hug their own parents—hugs are also available, of course, to anyone willing to throw their arms around a supportive stranger. However brief, that moment of connection can signal much needed love and acceptance to someone who hasn’t found it in within their own families.
But in these strange times, hugs and even handshakes are temporarily not allowed—which means it’s more important than ever to find other ways to support the LGBTQ community. It could be the perfect time to join in a virtual pride celebration online, check out the official Free Mom hugs website, or donate to one of the many worthy non-profit dedicated to supporting LGBTQ people, like The Trevor Project or PFLAG.
. @HRC @TrevorProject @ACLU @PFLAG Keep an eye out for Mama Bears giving out “Free Mom Hugs” at pride this year.… https://t.co/AiwmXq3MV5
— Liz Dyer (she/her) ❤️ (@lizdyer)
As disappointing as it is that the pandemic is putting a bit of a damper on Pride celebrations this year, rest assured, the mom hug will be definitely be back someday. And if there’s an LGBTQ person in your life that could really use a hug right now (and who could blame them), we’ve got some tips on doing it safely: wear masks, turn your faces away, and keep it quick. It might not be as satisfying as an uninhibited embrace, but it could mean the world to someone in need.