“I cannot be silent anymore. Even if my voice shakes, I am going for it. I must speak.” – Susan Cottrell
Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith
Many Christian parents believe they must choose between their faith and their LGBTQ child. This dichotomy is false and spiritually dangerous. There is a better way.
We equip and support Christian parents of LGBTQ children.
We offer support groups, conferences, webinars and resources for Christian parents who feel isolated and confused, helping them reconcile their faith with their God-given desire to unconditionally love, accept and affirm their LGBTQ child. They are not alone and there is help.
We encourage and fortify LGBTQ Christians and their allies.
We offer healing from parent, family, church and community wounds through support groups, events, webinars and resources, and we encourage and train LGBTQ Christians and their allies in love and truth.
We resource churches to help them be fully inclusive of, and affirming to the LGBTQ community.
Our hearts break for the unloving, unlovable way the non-affirming church has pushed the LGBTQ community away from the God they claim to represent. Many have given up ever being able to reconcile their hearts with God, and face dangerous situations like homeless and substance abuse as a result. FreedHearts is a healing, compassionate bridge between the truth of Jesus, the Church, and the LGBTQ community.
ABOUT SUSAN COTTRELL, Founder of FreedHearts
Susan graduated from the University of Texas, and currently studies at Austin Seminary. She is a national speaker, teacher, theologian and pastoral counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of faith.
She is the Founder and President of FreedHearts, served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her books – “True Colors: Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You” and “Mom, I’m Gay” – Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith — have been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay Christian Network and many others. She and her husband live in Austin, have been married nearly 30 years and have five children.
Through her own journey as a Christian parent of two LGBTQ children, Susan now brings her heart, time and talents as a tireless ally and advocate, and is the prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQ children.
“When my daughter came out to me, I prayed it was not true, that God would change her. Instead, God changed me! God generously showed me the flaw in our understanding about it and helped me let go of my expectations of her and of her future. Christian parents often find themselves in a crisis of faith when their LGBTQ comes out. They see their faith in God in conflict with unconditional embrace of their child. It’s not. Now, I come alongside parents to show that their faith in God empowers them to love, accept and affirm their LGBTQ child.” – Susan Cottrell
We are relevant, active and growing in local, regional and national Christian and LGBTQ communities.
Publications & Resources: Write and produce resources, online classes, and books to use in support groups, including study guides. Develop additional materials and resources for parents, LGBTQ, and the church.
Support Networks: Retreats & Conferences – for our FreedHearts support groups and others. Establish additional networks locally and via social media.
Speaking/Seminars: Speak at PFLAG groups, churches, other organizations – local, regional, national. Lead workshops at annual national Christian and LGBTQ conferences including workshops for Moms, Dads, church leaders, those in the LGBTQ community, and others. Develop national conference for Parents, and a deeply healing conference for LGBTQ.
Support and Counseling: Continue to provide pastoral counsel to individual adults, couples and youth. Develop training materials and programs to equip those who desire to mentor LGBTQ youth and parents. Facilitate mentor relationships for LGBTQ youth and parents through support groups, parents conference, healing conference and other events.
Social Networks and the FreedHearts Blog: Continue to expand audience (currently at tens of thousands of unique visitors every month) and writing relevant posts. Take time for personal, heartfelt responses to comments on the blog, emails, and in social media. Build relationships with those who desire and pointing them in the direction support as well as resources. Manage the FreedHearts website to keep up to date with helpful articles, books, videos and other sources of support, encouragement and information. Ongoing improvements to the site. Facilitate and dialogue with private support groups on social networks.
FreedHearts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt charitable organization based in Austin.
We seek financial partners who believe in our vision and work.
“I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love. No one should ever have to choose between who they are, whom they love and what they believe. Sadly, though, many parents feel caught between their faith and love for their LGBT child. Cottrell helps parents find a way to see their faith as a means of helping them to love better, including loving their children better, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. I am very grateful for this book.” – Sharon Groves, PhD, Director, Religion and Faith Program, The Human Rights Campaign
(NOTE: If you would like to make a donation in a different way, or just to talk about your personal giving, email me directly at FreedHearts@gmail.com
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
I’m a conservative evangelical, and I didn’t think LGBT people should marry. But I am called to love as I’ve been loved, and I know I need to open my heart to people so deeply hurt by the church. FreedHearts helped me see how families are impacted, and the dangers LGBT face when a condemning message is conveyed. You got me to pause and gave me great tools to be a more loving, Christ-like pastor. It may be a long journey, and I may resist at times, but I believe my heart has started the journey of being free. Thank you! – Scott
You are helping build bridges & that is a unique, God-given talent. God bless you and thank you for everything you do to help bridge the gap between communities. – Charles
Thank you for the love you show towards all people, it is so refreshing. I find this kind of love (“love no matter what”) to bring me more peace and a closer walk with Christ. Less friends, but more peace and more of a heart towards others than I ever thought possible. Loving life and loving God more as I continue to love others in the way Christ called us to love. You, my friend are a breathe of fresh air! – Niki
Susan, I love how you always nail it in truth and love!!!! I am sure this has come from numerous hours of studying the Scriptures. Thank you!! – Carol
I have been praying for a group like this. I don’t know who to talk to anymore. I have been in the closet with my Christian family. I am scared of their reactions. – Donna
Thank you for your blog. I so appreciate your candidness and thoughtful presentation of difficult topics! – Cheryl
The world and especially the LGBT community needs more Christians like you! – Dennis
I can’t stop reading! There are so many parents on the same journey, often alone. – Melissa
In one post, you’ve managed to describe the thought process that took me 10 years to get through on my own! I wish I’d had this to give my deeply conservative Christian parents when I came out to them at age 21. I thank God they are available now! – Laura
Finally, I feel ok about my son being gay! It has taken me 2 years to find someone who understands how it feels to be a strong Christian with a gay child! Your book, “Mom, I’m Gay!” has been a soul saver! I’m sharing it with everyone! Thanks so much for bringing me out of a pretty dark and uncomfortable place! – Judy
I have to admit, I came to comment to tell you all how wrong you were. But from that first response from another reader, I knew God was doing a work in me. My heart has been touched and I am having to revisit everything I believed about this. Thank you. – Ron