Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears



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Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group exclusively for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group was started in June 2014 and as of August 2019 there are more than 7,000 members. Each day moms of LGBTQ kids gather virtually to share a journey that is unique and often very difficult. The group is a place where they share a lot of information, ask questions, support one another, learn a lot and brag on their kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members nickname themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted there.

There are five subgroups, several special projects and more than 50 regional groups available to the members of the private Facebook group.

Go HERE to put in a request to join the group.

The five subgroups include:

SERENDIPITYDODAH MAMA BEARS TO THE RESCUE is a subgroup for Serendipitydodah Mama Bears who are willing and able to be available to do small acts of kindness for LGBTQ+ people in their local community who may need connection, care or assistance. This subgroup makes it easier for members to coordinate and organize to do things such as attend a wedding as an affirming stand in mom, visit someone in the hospital, help someone get settled in a new area, provide some transportation, include someone in their holiday gatherings, provide temporary housing, send a note of encouragement etc

SERENDIPITYDODAH MTK is a subgroup where the conversation is trans specific. It is mostly made up of moms of trans kids. All the members of Serendipitydodah MTK are in the main Serendipitydodah Facebook group.

SERENDIPITYDODAH BLUE OCEAN FAITH is a subgroup for members of Serendipitydodah for Moms who want to connect with and become a part of the Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor community via it’s online presence. Blue Ocean Faith is a faith community that fully includes, affirms and supports LGBTQ+ people and those that support them.

SERENDIPITYDODAH #BEYOU is a subgroup for LGBTQ+ youth. The group is private – a place where LGBTQ+ youth can make connections with other LGBTQ+ youth, talk about their journeys, and be vulnerable with their stories and questions without fear of judgement.

SERENDIPITYDODAH DOUBLE RAINBOW is a subgroup for moms of LGBTQ+ people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The conversation in this subgroup is specific to LGBTQ+ people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. All members are in the main group.


Several Special Projects are available for members:

The Mama Bear Story Project –  Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. The Mama Bear Story Project provides a stage for the members of “Serendipitydodah for Moms” to share autobiographical essays and personal portraits in an effort to connect with other moms like themselves and to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people to live.  The project was started in January 2017 and as of July 2018 has published more than 30 essays written by a mom of an lgbtq kid. Each essay includes a portrait of the mom and is shared on The Mama Bear Story Project Facebook page and on the Serendipitydodah Public Blog.

The Mama Bear Made With Love Project invites members of Serendipitydodah for Moms to make heart patterned friendship bracelets for members of the lgbtq community to remind them they are loved just the way they are. Anyone can submit lgbtq people to receive a “Made With Love Bracelet” by sending the person’s name and address in an email to (feel free to also add some information about the person). This is more than a bracelet – this is a movement created by moms of lgbtq kids who are committed to making the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people to live. (This project is US only)

The Mama Bear Blanket Project delivers handmade blankets to LGBTQ teens and young adults who find themselves not supported by their family. The hope is that the blankets delivered to them will serve as a reminder that there is someone who loves and cares about them. Moms of LGBTQ kids who are members of the Serendipitydodah for Moms Facebook group are invited to make no-sew fleece blankets and mail them to assigned recipients. You can nominate someone to receive a Mama Bear Blanket by emailing their name and address to  This project was inspired by Mama Bear Anita Cockrum, a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms, who started The Banner Blanket Project. (This project is US only)

Free Mom Hugs – Serendipitydodah for Moms is a proud partner of Free Mom Hugs. Free Mom Hugs is a group of affirming parents who love their LGBTQ+ kids unconditionally and take hugs of love and acceptance to others. They are dedicated to educating families, church and civic leaders, and not only affirming the value of the LGBTQ+ community, but celebrating it. Members of Serendipitydodah for Moms often connect with Free Mom Hugs and get involved with the advocacy work they are doing and the two organizations often work together on special projects and events. Visit the Free Mom Hugs website for more information.

A helpful list of resources for parents of lgbtq kids can be found here.

For more info email




True Faith Doesn’t Bully Campaign


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“True Faith Doesn’t Bully” is a letter-writing campaign sponsored by the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The purpose of the campaign is to educate Pastors of the Southern Baptist Church denomination about the pain and harm of teaching young people that they are broken, less than, or separated from God, because of who God created them to be or who God created them to love.

Here is the letter I wrote for the campaign:

Dear Pastor,

My name is Liz Dyer and I am writing to you in partnership with the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s “True Faith Doesn’t Bully” Campaign. 

I am a Christian wife and mother, and one of my sons is gay.

I am also the founder of the Mama Bears Organization which is dedicated to supporting mothers of LGBTQ kids. Read More

In June 2014 I started a private Facebook group with less than 200 Christian mothers of LGBTQ kids and today there are more than 12,000 mothers of LGBTQ kids in the group.  

As someone who comes from a conservative Christian background and was a lifelong member of Southern Baptist Churches I wanted to connect with other mothers like myself and let them know they are not alone and they do not have to give up their Christian faith in order to love, support and affirm their LGBTQ children. 

Many moms in the group come from a conservative Christian background similar to my own. Many of them arrive in the group barely hanging on to their faith with a fair amount of anger towards Christians, Christian leaders and the church in general because of the way they and their LGBTQ children have been treated. 

Many end up walking away from their local church because of the shame-based, dehumanizing messages they often hear when homosexuality comes up in a sermon, bible lesson or conversation at their church. Many leave their local church because the message they hear from their church is that LGBTQ people have rejected God and have an agenda to destroy the family and the church. These moms know that is not who their children are and they love their kids too much to allow them to believe they are less than other people and broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Over and over again I hear from these moms telling me the online community I created is like a church to them because it provides the kind of community, care and support they expected to find at their church, but didn’t receive once their kid came out.

I’m happy to have created a safe and supportive community for these moms, but I’m extremely sad and disappointed they couldn’t find this kind of community and support in their own churches. And that is why I am so happy to have this opportunity to write a few words to you today on behalf of myself and other mother’s like myself.  

In spite of everything we have experienced we remain hopeful that people like you will hear our voice, listen to our stories, and pay attention to what we have been learning.

We remain hopeful that one day you will be for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people, because we long for our children to live in a world where we don’t have to worry about the local church treating them like a second class citizen and teaching them to be ashamed of the way they were created.  

As Christian mothers who affirm their LGBTQ kids we are often accused of turning our backs on God or throwing out the Bible, but nothing could be further from the truth. As loving mothers we would never offer important life altering spiritual advice to our kids without great thought, study and prayer. In fact, I would argue that Christian mothers of LGBTQ kids study, listen and pray more than anyone as we strive to discern the truth about these matters.

Of course, we are aware that people are prone to understand scripture in a way that supports their own position, but rather than argue the meaning of a few verses in the bible we think the most important thing is to examine the fruit being produced in the lives of those who embrace certain beliefs and doctrines.

In other words, we believe good theology must pass the test of producing good fruit in the lives of those who embrace it.

We believe if a theology is mostly producing bad fruit it isn’t the truth and should be abandoned. 

When you listen to us and get to know us you will learn what we have learned … that LGBTQ people in general are being severely harmed by non-affirming theology and that LGBTQ people in general are more healthy and whole in every way when they believe and embrace affirming theology. 

Over and over again we witness non affirming theology producing bad fruit in the life of those who embrace it. 

However, those same LGBTQ people typically become more healthy and whole, in every way, when they embrace affirming theology – especially if they are also connected to an affirming Christian community. 

We know that scripture does not address most things specifically. Instead it gives us some guiding principles to live by and we are charged with learning to apply those guiding principles to our own lives. We believe when we get it right it mostly leads to whole, healthy, hopeful lives and when we get it wrong it mostly leads to broken, unhealthy, hopeless lives.  

We believe if a doctrine is mostly producing self-loathing, despair, hopelessness, depression, isolation, shame, self-harm and other such bad fruit then it’s a no brainer … it’s not good doctrine and it should be abandoned because the fruit doesn’t lie. 

Therefore, we implore you to embrace theology that produces good fruit and is life giving. 

Too many lives – both spiritual and physical lives – are hanging in the balance. 

Too much damage has already been done and too much unnecessary suffering has been endured due to non-affirming theology. 

At one time you could say you embraced non affirming theology because you didn’t know about the harm being done, but with so many LGBTQ people coming out and sharing their story; and with all the knowledge we have gained about sexuality and gender, there is no longer an excuse to hang on to theology that is obviously flawed and harmful. 

We know better now and because we know better we can relieve suffering and save lives. I am doing my part, but I need you to do your part. 

Please use your power and influence for good and lift up theology that produces life instead of death.

This is an urgent matter – there is no time to spare. 

Now is the time for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church.


Liz Dyer

Founder, Mama Bears

Pronouns: she/her/hers

If you want to write a letter for the “True Faith Doesn’t Bully” campaign and share how non affirming religious messages have harmed you and your family please send your letter to

Non-Binary Terms


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non binary

Here is a helpful list of non-binary terms. Many of these terms were gathered by crowdsourcing LGBTQ people. Of course this isn’t a comprehensive list. If you have suggestions, know of other terms or have requests let us know in the comments.


They / Them / Themselves
Ze / Zir / Zirself
Xe / Xem / Xyrself
Thon / Thons / Thonself
Fae / Faer / Faerself



Per (short for parent)
Par (short for parent)
Ren/Renny (derived from parent)
Dommy (mixture of mommy and daddy)
Maddy (mixture of mommy and daddy)
Mapa / Pama (mixture of mama and papa)
Muddy (mixture of mummy and daddy)
Moddy (mixture of mummy and daddy)
Zither (zither is also the name of a musical instrument.)
Baba (baba means dad in some languages and grandmother in others.)
Cennend (Old English Anglo-Saxon meaning parent)
Cenn (short for cennend)




Cousin – as sometimes people say aunt/uncle for parents’ cousins, or much older cousins.
Titi – from Spanish for Aunt (Tia) & Uncle (Tio)
Zizi – from Italian for Aunt (Zia) & Uncle (Zio). (zizi is also a French children’s ‘cute’ word for penis.)


Cousin – as sometimes people say aunt/uncle for parents’ cousins, or much older cousins.


Little one
Dear One










Girlfriend/Boyfriend (non-serious relationship)

Cuddle Buddy
Significant Other
S.O. (short for Significant Other)
Other Half
Soul Mate
Epox (French ‘époux’ which means husband/spouse)
Imzadi (from Star Trek, a Betazed word similar to beloved)


Significant Other
S.O. (short for Significant Other)
Other Half
Cuddle Buddy
Soul Mate
Epox (from French ‘époux’ which means husband/spouse)
Imzadi (from Star Trek, a Betazed word similar to beloved)


Significant Other
S.O. (short for Significant Other)
Other Half
Cuddle Buddy
Soul Mate
Epox (from French ‘époux’ which means husband/spouse)
Imzadi (from Star Trek, a Betazed word similar to beloved)



Mx. (pronounced Mix)
Misc or Misk (derived from the Latin word miscellus, meaning “mixed)
Msr (mixture of Ms. and Mr.)
Ind. (short for Individual)



Tiz (short for citizen)
Good Morning/Good Afternoon – a good way to start formal emails instead of Dear


Your Majesty
Quing (mix of King and Queen)
Caln (created word based on the K/Q sound of King and Queen)


Your Highness









Career/Job Titles

Police Officer
Postie or Postal Worker
Business Person
Chair Person
Door Keeper
Meteorologist or Weather Person
Administrative Assistant (instead of secretary)

Mama Bear Story Project #50 – Wendy Woodward Swanson


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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears



Hi, my name is Wendy Swanson and I am the Mom of a transgender son, queer daughter and a cis/straight daughter. I believe the most important message I want to send out is that God does NOT make mistakes and he made these kids perfect in His eyes – therefore it is our job to love unconditionally! My Momma Bear project story is about our son today.


Our son has known since he was about four or five that he was a boy. I remember the first time he wanted us to call him Clayton. It’s funny how clear this day is to me. We were on Kelly’s Island playing put-put golf and he said, “Mom, I am Clayton this week on vacation OK? I will NOT answer to anything but that name this week.” My husband and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and said, “Ok Clayton your up. Hit the ball!”


The interesting thing is our child was born with an extra X chromosome, and all the doctors said nothing but ultra feminine traits would be presented by individuals born this way. Boy, were they WRONG!! From the second this child could play and dress himself it has been ALL BOY!!


What I am about to tell you next about Oliver is something very dear to my heart. He chose his beautiful name, Oliver Mayne, with the help from his grandpa whom we call Poppops. This is something that brought the both of them so much joy. This is something I would encourage all Moms to do, to be as enthusiastic and involved in the process as possible. And listen, please listen to them. This is not something we did all the way through unfortunately. When he was younger we let him go bare chested with his boy trunks, and because of what the Dr’s told us about the XXX, we just thought he was beating to his own drum. It was when he hit puberty that we feel we went wrong and very well could have lost our child. We brushed the “Tom boy,” under the rug and shopped at more expensive stores in hopes to make our child “like” girl clothes more. (I’m cringing as I write this) This is where things started to go south. He would come home from school and sleep. His grades and attitude were horrible. He started sneaking out and not telling the truth as to where he was. This was surely a cry out for help!


I remember one night specifically where I realized we had so clearly missed ALL of it. I saw a cross that he had cut into his own skin on his forehead. A few weeks later, he snuck out of the house and we could not find him anywhere. He came home the next morning and came to me in my room. We held each other and I begged him to tell me what was happening.


This was the day he told me that he could not live another day without being his true self, and I didn’t let go of him. I told him that we love him and that we would figure this out together. We stayed in my room that day, ate a lot of comfort food and educated ourselves with movie’s and videos on transgender persons. We held each other, cried, laughed, and knew we had a journey ahead of us. We knew, however, that together we could do it!


We are so blessed with the love and acceptance he received as he came out, but there are always naysayers. This made me second guess myself greatly as a Christian Mom. We moved for the duration of his high school career, and rented a home near an all affirming school to allow him to just be who he is. It has been a WONDERFUL period of growth for him.


One night during dinner, I asked Oliver when it was that he first knew he was a boy. “Oh, that’s easy Mom,” he said. “It was when I was four or five and all I wanted to do was play with my Teenage Mutant

Turtles.” I giggled a bit and asked curiously, “Did you ever feel like a girl?” He replied, “Well, I know you shopped at stores for me that you didn’t take Jess and Case to – and I would try to like the clothes, but it just never felt right wearing them.” The last thing I said to him, and mind you he was silly and happy the whole time before this last question: ”If we didn’t support you with this transition,” and before I could look up at him I could hear him sobbing with huge tears rolling down his face. He said, “Mom, I would be dead.” I grabbed him so fast, held him in my arms and told him I allowed someone to make me feel like a bad Mom, and that I would never do that again. I’ve never second guessed myself since then.


I share this very personal experience with you in hopes that people gain insight. It is a journey for not only Oliver, but our entire family, friends and loved ones – a beautiful journey at that! Be encouraged and KNOW that all will be alright. And most importantly, not only are you loved by us, but by God as well!

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 12,000 members. For more info about the Mama Bears visit our website at 

Schitt’s Creek Mama Bears Letter


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The Mama Bears organization is dedicated to supporting, educating and empowering moms of lgbtq kids and the lgbtq community. For more info about the groups, special projects, websites and resources offered visit the website

The Mama Bears group often sends out a letter of gratitude to those who are helping create a kinder, safer, more loving world for LGBTQ people.

One of those letters was sent to Dan Levy and the cast and crew of Schitt’s creek.

The letter was read on the special documentary “Best Wishes, Warmest Regards” that was aired after the series finale on April 7, 2020.

Here is the letter with all of the signatures:

Dear Mr. Dan Levy, and cast, crew and writers of Schitt’s Creek,

We belong to a large private Facebook group called Serendipitydodah for Moms – Home of the Mama Bears. The group was created for moms of LGBTQ kids who love and support their kids. We have more than 5,000 moms in the group and many of us are working to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all LGBTQ people to live.

More than 1,800 of us are signing this letter because we wanted to say thank you for the LGBTQ characters, relationships and story lines that you have included in Schitt’s Creek. Your commitment to represent love and tolerance in your show is so important to families like ours.

Your willingness to explore, inform and educate about LGBTQ people and their relationships in an entertaining but respectful and positive manner sets a tone that is often missing.

You have created new ways for queer viewers to see themselves represented and in its own way that is just as important as the battles we are still fighting. Therefore, the work you have all done on Schitt’s Creek has encouraged us greatly and given us much hope about the future for our kids.

We sincerely believe that shows like Schitt’s Creek will serve as a catalyst to help change the world into a kinder, safer, more loving place for all LGBTQ people to live and because of that we will remain forever grateful.

Thank you for everything each of you brought to the project. You have made a lot of Mama Bears happy and as a result you have a whole bunch of forever fans.

With sincere gratitude and respect,

Abby De Fiesta Cortez
Abigail Howard
Adele Berardi
Adrienne Haslam
Adrienne Ruhnow
Agnes McKay
Aimee French
Aimee Ventura
Alanna Ireland
Alecia Moss
Aletheia Wall Zambesi
Ali Munshi
Alisa Tomette
Alise D Chaffins
Alisha Dobson
Alison Defrese
Alison Maier
Alissa Butler
Alix Maiden-Baillie
Allena Brown
Allie Ondovcik
Allison Baswell
Allison Diaz
Allison Gonzalez
Allison Wilson
Allyson Marcelle
Alyssa Corson
Alyssa Miller
Amanda Corry Thorderson
Amanda Curtis Dwyer
Amanda Dalton
Amanda Garcia
Amanda Gayle
Amanda Grace Blackmon
Amanda J Brewer
Amanda Miller
Amanda Mills
Amanda Sellers
Amanda Shingola Everly
Amanda Ukowich
Amber Fish
Amber Guerrero
Amber Lewis Williams
Amber Pugh
Amber Stults
Amira Lindbloom
Amy Brooks
Amy D’Arpino
Amy Drahos
Amy Forbes
Amy Fugate
Amy Giesecke
Amy Goad
Amy Hansley Bennett
Amy Heebner Davis
Amy Kell
Amy Koziej
Amy L Parker Orwig
Amy Lee
Amy Lowe
Amy Marshall Lambrecht
Amy McDonald
Amy Myhand
Amy Ridgely Allridge
Amy Rueter
Amy Staley
Amy Stubbs
Amy Wells
Anani Steadman
Andi Williams
Andrea Coffee Peacock
Andrea Dalhouse
Andrea Dixson-Finkboner
Andrea Kulp
Andrea Larson Schultz
Angel Barber
Angela Bengtson
Angela Garrison
Angela H. Coble
Angela H. O’Brien
Angela Harrison Darland
Angelique Chelton
Angie Birkes
Angie Fanning
Angie Hawkins Hetisimer
Angie Hickman
Angie Laws
Angie Leavitt
Angie Shreve
Angie Silver
Angie Stratz Ashmore
Angie Straub
Anita Breuer Peters
Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum
Anittra Kilgore
Ann D. Alvarez
Ann Haman
Ann McGee Green
Ann Phillips Smith
Ann Zweckbronner
Anna Parks
Anne Campolieti Anderson
Anne Hill Trask
Anne Packard
Anne Rolfert
Anne Spurgeon
Annette Bowman
Annie Shelton
AnnMarie Augugliaro Gilbert
Antoinette Sanchez
April Miller
April Silbermann
April Victorine
Ardith Young
Arlene Schulz
Ashley Doss
Ashley Leonard
Ashley Phiri
Ashley Terrell
Ashlie Burnette Webb
Athena Sims
Audra Silkey
Autumn Jibben
Autumn Kinsman
Autumn L. Wagner
Barb Cressy
Barb Duder
Barb Gallett
Barb Schneider
Barbara Cafarelli
Barbara Fay
Barbara Lohrbach
Barbara Winkler
Beau Simcoe
Becki McDermott
Becky Abbott Kelley
Becky Cantrall
Becky Henry
Becky Horness
Becky Koman
Becky Krauklis Rominger
Becky Norum Warner
Becky Richardson
Becky Yates
Beki Walkup
Belinda Adkins
Belinda King
Bella Squicciarini Kaplan
Benita Ramsey
Benjamina Balmer
Beth Barndt Ruthenburg
Beth Barnes
Beth Breems
Beth Campbell
Beth Cooper
Beth Diaz
Beth Highton Carter
Beth Karolewski
Beth Latham
Beth Loring
Beth McGill-Rizer
Beth Richardson
Beth Sands
Beth Wiggins Baswell
Bethany Kirwen
Bethany Neitz
Bethany Wood
Betsy Bruce Henning
Betsy Gutridge
Betsy Sforza Gutridge
Bev Haydon
Beverly Siegmann
Beverly Wynne
Billie Jo Marrs
Bindy Lewis
Blanca Benavidez
Bobbi-Jo Phoenix Turner
Bonnie Goodshield
Bonnie Miranda
Bonnie Sacko
Brae Adams
Brandi Walker
Brandy Darr Doty
Brandy Wilson Smith
Brea Brown
Brenda Ahlemann
Brenda Bergeron
Brenda Diesslin
Brenda Fiet Walter
Brenda Floyd
Brenda Gallagher
Brenda Hannan Hughes
Brenda Holloway Bratcher
Brenda King
Bridget Minster
Bridget Murphy
Brigitte Spence
Brita DeMars
Britiney Fife
Brittney Jo
Bryna Dawn Carter
Callie Healey
Camille Wheeler
Cammeron Kaiser
Candace Kitchkeesick
Candace Winters Johnson
Candice Breedlove Cheney
Candice Staats Morales
Candy Cathey
Cany Barron
Cara Peachick
Cari Martinez
Carie Poynor Downes
Carla Hegeman Crim
Carla Iturregui Picasso-Brown
Carla Michaelsen
Carla Scruggs
Carla Short Spivey
Carlee Roche
Carmen Catterson
Carmen Johnson
Carol Ashbrook Bapty
Carol Caudill Thames
Carol Davis
Carol Foster Lamar
Carol Lundemo
Carol Smith
Carol Tyler
Carol Vail
Carol Williams
Carole Bass
Carole Christian
Carole Glover Kuriatnikova
Carole Hiller
Carolyn Brice Briggs
Carolyn Cage Johnston
Carolyn Walker
Carrie Black
Carrie Colladay Stell
Carrie Fulton
Carrie Garske Shank
Carrie Henderson
Caryl A Williams
Caryle A Cox
Cassandra Graham
Cassandra Sparkman
Cassey Helm
Cassy Taylor Campos
Catherine Dowdy
Catherine Huebner
Catherine Johnson
Catherine Marie Matesi
Cathleen Frantzen Schaber
Cathy Calamas
Cathy Ledbetter Lafever
Cathy Light Evans
Cathy Pattat
CeCe Ibson
Celia Hadden
Chasity Davis
Chelsa Nunn Morrison
Chelsea Mornings
Cheri Nill
Cheri Sun Magelky
Cherie Andres Draper
Cherie Stevens
Cherie Thomas
Cherie Walker
Cheryel Lemley McRoy
Cheryl B. Evans
Cheryl Bakkila-Perkins
Cheryl Couch-Thomas
Cheryl Parcher
Cheryl Wilson
Chris Behne
Chris Benson
Chris Clements
Chris Hoffman
Chris Jackson
Chris López
Chris Pepple
Chris Walker
Chris Webster
Chrissy Mae Brooks
Christa Horita Kadach
Christi Johnstone
Christiane Harrison
Christie Hoos
Christie Kornmaier Wood
Christie Nader
Christie Weston Butterman
Christina Aponte
Christina Aronovici
Christina Johnson
Christina Lehmann Bergevin
Christina Pierce
Christina Rosbury
Christina Stevens
Christine Anthony
Christine Bullock
Christine Foster Shaw
Christine Gilmore
Christine Mauer
Christine Wilkinson
Christine Williams Walraven
Christy Emigh
Christy McJunkin
Christy Seps White
Cilla Thomas
Cindi Crump Rhoades
Cindy Brenner Sarquiz
Cindy Clayton
Cindy Depp-Hutchinson
Cindy Duncan
Cindy Helzer Baldwin
Cindy Homer
Cindy Jo Conner
Cindy Morgan
Cindy Naas Nathan
Cindy Pierce
Cindy Richard Broussard
Cindy Rodriguez Castro
Cindy Watson Bowen
Cindy Winsky Lear
Clare Slevin
Cleo Broam
Colette Park
Colette Stasiewich
Colleen Craig
Colleen Hepler Brassington
Colleen Jury
Colleen Kane
Colleen Laurent
Conni Mayr Desilva
Connie Dupuis
Connie Girtman
Connie Lou
Corina Dulecki
Corinna Garcia
Cosette Johnson Blanchard
Cris Ann Tryniski
Crissy Flores
Crista Mason
Crystal Baker
Crystal Miller
Crystal Ryan
Crystal Squires
Crystal Wagner
Cyndi Harper
Cyndi Houts Spieker
Cyndi Silva Raugh
Cynthia Corsetti
Cynthia Gaye Rahm-Clark
Cynthia Kelley
Cynthia Makowski
Cynthia Vermillion
Dana Baker
Dana Blankenship
Dana Burgess
Dana Huntington-Smith
Dana Ramsey
Danette Mohring
Dani Martin
Danica O’Kelley
Danielle Castellini Giannascoli
Danielle Taylor
Dannah Walter
Daphne Bookas Alvarado
Dara Dandrea-Giannotti
Daresha Kyi
Dawn Acero
Dawn Bennett
Dawn Carafeno
Dawn Ervin
Dawn Gray
Dawn Moore
Dawn Morgan
Dawn Pogalz
Dawn Roth
Dawn Varvil
Dawn Yorke
Dawna Campise Raehpour
Dayneen Glastetter
Deann McDaniel
Deanna Jolly Frazee
Deanna Kasper
Deanne Knife
Deb Berghuis
Deb Busch
Deb Foreman Cyr
Deb Gallagher
Deb Vaughn
Deb Woodman
Debbie Billetter
Debbie Ducko
Debbie Grider Perkins
Debbie Griewe
Debbie Jankowski
Debbie Kelly
Debbie King
Debbie Matsunaga Pettit
Debbie McQueen
Debbie Milteer
Debbie Nelson
Debbie Rogers Greenan
Debbie Shelden Ingram
Debbie Wasielewski Tavarez
Debbie Wilcock Kenworthy
Debbie Woods Coy
Debby Lloyd Boutwell
Debby McCrary
Debi Jackson
Debi Tucker Boland
Deborah Bettis
Deborah Carey Stanford
Deborah Carlyle Enman
Deborah Parrott
Debra Dickerson
Debra Hill
Debra Honeywell Myott
Debra Rene Skinner
Dee Dee
Dee Rankin
Dee Reed
Dee-Ann Bodenheimer-Enslin
Deeann Parker
Deena Corwin Pfahler
Deena Laurent Hernandez
Deirdre Grimm
Deleise Carper Brewer
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Tamara Darbin
Tamara Kaye Hooper
Tamara Totoro Dick
Tami Kelley
Tammi Perkins
Tammi Woodward
Tammy Chism Madley
Tammy Costello
Tammy Doud Shearer
Tammy Flowers Mejdrich
Tammy Gossett
Tammy Hess
Tammy O’Brine
Tammy Orr
Tammy Schneider
Tammy Walker
Tammy Walston
Tammy Warren Tearoe
Tammy Watchel
Tammy Watson
Tammy Wenzinger
Tamra Jennings
Tana Lightbown Hendricks
Tania Baldock
Tanya Higgins
Tanya Hutchinson
Tanza Bauer
Tara Dominy Bonner
Tara Guzman
Tara Hansen
Tara Lawrence
Tara Mazzone
Tara Nicole
Tara Seely
Tara Soughers
Tari Card
Tasha Moreno
Tenley Dyck
Teresa Comby Childers
Teresa Driskell
Teresa M. Turner
Teresa Martenson
Teresa Medlin Poston
Teresa Parker
Teresa Perkins
Teressa L’Heureux
Teri Bates
Teri Henderson
Teri Stueland Kay
Teriki Barnes
Terri Cook
Terri Gervasi
Terri Nolt
Terri Schempf
Terri Smith
Terri White
Terry Hall Sanchez
Terry Moran
Theresa Cooper
Theresa Moore Martinez
Theresa Tasker
Theresa Watson
Theresa Young
Tiffani Juarez
Tiffany Bond
Tiffany Christie
Tiffany Conchinha
Tiffany Powell
Tiffany Robinson
Tiffany Varney
Tina Fiechtner
Tina Flanagan
Tina Marie
Tina Pawlick
Tina Peck Rumbley
Tina Reeves
Tina Skelton
Tina Sparrow
Tina Thomas
Tina Wesley
Tisha Shuffield
Tona Wiegel
Tonda Campbell Hoyt
Toni Ann Bradley
Toni Black Sanchez
Toni Dyer
Tonia King
Tonia Mead
Tori Beyer
Torri Winright
Tracey Britt
Tracey DeRosa
Tracey Gombold Bell
Tracey Jo Pryor
Tracey Reams
Traci DeSheles
Traci Quebbeman
Tracie Mickey Loux
Tracie Sells
Tracy Decker Chappell
Tracy Duarte
Tracy Edmondson
Tracy Jepson
Tracy Kane
Tracy Lee
Tracy Stittleburg
Tracy Trotter Nagy
Tracy Williams Matos
Tricia Baumann
Tricia Kaufman-Waddell
Tricia Rogan Alberts Bollmann
Tricia Willard
Trinity McCoy
Trish Ives
Trisha Brumfield
Troyce Maner
Valencia Greene Foster
Valerie Amoling Cronin
Valerie Boothe
Valerie Glines Messina
Valerie Pogue
Vanessa Ford
Vanessa Goosen
Vanessa Horton-Hendershot
Vanessa Leigh White Fernandes
Vanessa Melchiori
Vanessa Wright
Vicki Delong Tacoma
Vicki Evans Sevey
Vicki Kemp Whorton
Vicki Kluzek
Vicki Luna
Vicki March Belsterling
Vicki Westphal
Vicki Wimmer Johnson
Vicky Barnes
Vicky Snow Decker
Victoria Larson
Victoria Nelson
Vida Gorbell
Viki Fratelli
Vlada Knowlton
Waleah Norton
Wendie S Dillehay
Wendy Avery
Wendy Brown
Wendy French
Wendy Hanks
Wendy Harley
Wendy Koster
Wendy Lea
Wendy Margaret Jennings
Wendy O’Rourke
Wendy Swanson
Wendy Vinson Nelson
Wendy Wiley Canedy
Whitney Treloar
Whitney Webb
Yvette Griego
Yvonne Frith
Yvonne LoPresto
Yvonne Matthews
Yvonne Y. Mendiola
Zaneta Salde Encarnacion
Zenia Robertson
Zoila Bonilla-Paul
Zora Oh

for more info about the Mama Bears visit


MAMA BEAR STORY PROJECT #49 – Reesie Parnell Laster


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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears




I don’t know all there is to know about the LGBTQ community and I don’t know all there is to know about God. What I try hard to do is lead with my heart and keep an open mind and learn as I go. No amount of research can ever compare to communication between people that have something to say. We can bicker back and forth about what our version of right and wrong is but at the end of the day that gets us nowhere. We have to learn to listen to understand and not listen to respond. When Cody came out to me I didn’t listen and why would I? He had been my son for 22 years and even though I thought I listened to him, I never really did. He tried when he was 14 to tell me how he felt different. He tried to tell me he was gay but I wasn’t ready to hear that from him. I dismissed that my son needed me to hear him and instead I pulled out my best of Dr. Phil and told him he had no idea at his age who he was. His hormones were all over the place and he was confused. Even though deep down I knew what he was saying was true. I wanted him to not be gay. I wanted him to forget who he really was and be what was comfortable for me to deal with, not what was best for him. I was wrong. I know that now but back then, I was scared and uneducated on what gay meant and was doing what I thought was best for him. I wish I would have known better. I wish I knew what I didn’t know.

Since Cody came out I have taken the time and effort to learn. I did the research and I listened to my son. I asked him the hard questions and I got to know the Cody that I never really knew. I found my son. Not the person that for all the years he was pretending to be but the person he was meant to be. The way God made him. It took time, conversions, and most of all love to get there. I had to question everything I had been taught my whole life. I had to do the work and not shy away when it got hard. I had to decide that my love for my son was the most important thing to me and that I would find a way to educate myself on who he is and what that means. It has been a journey of acceptance, knowledge and growth. A journey I am very proud to say I am still traveling.

In the weeks that followed the day Cody told me he was gay was brutal. I had to tell the ones close to me. The conservative, religious family that I knew would not understand. I had to talk to all of them about something that I didn’t understand myself. I needed reassurance that they would understand and support us and still love Cody and help me protect him from people that would attack him with hurtful words and maybe even violence. I needed support and when the support didn’t come, my mama claws came out. I went after anyone that said or did anything that was hurting him. The post, the talk, and anything that made him feel less than or unloved. Yes that meant even God. I studied the Bible like I had never studied before. I read all the verses that said homosexuality was a sin. I pulled everything I could from scholars and preachers and I talked to anyone that would listen. I needed proof that his soul was going to be ok. I needed to know that being gay wasn’t a mortal sin and that my son had hope. I needed to find a way to fight for him. I was alone in all of this. I couldn’t sleep or function. I had family and friends dropping off left and right. I was in a place I didn’t recognize any longer and I felt alone for the first time in my life and that is right where I needed to be.

It was nearing the end of the year. The holiday was not going good and I was realizing that all my hurt was taking its toll on me. I was in my house by myself cleaning up after Christmas and I broke. I hit my knees in my living room and begged God to help me. I needed peace. I needed the hurt of loss to go away. I needed answers. With my prayers and in my tears I found the answers that I had been so desperately seeking. On my knees, feeling broken, I heard a voice in my head say… Just love him. What? Say that again. It can’t be that simple. All I have done and researched and all the pain of not knowing what to do, the answer was there all the time? Just love him. Do your job. You have done the work. You have made your mistakes. You are struggling for nothing. The answer, as his mother, is to love him. Something I had never stopped doing. When I picked myself up off that floor, I was a different person. I stopped fighting myself and I realized that God gave the answers I needed long before Cody told his truth. Long before I ever heard those words… “Mom, I’m gay” … I had known what to do. Just love him.

The years have passed since that night on my knees. I still made and still make my share of mistakes and I am still learning. I went to my first pride in 2019. I wore a shirt that said “Free Mom hugs” and held a sign that let the community know I am here for you and I love you. I gave those hugs freely without judgment or question. I was a part of something bigger than my little world and I was humbled by every hug and every smile. I saw how important it is to show love and kindness everywhere I go and in everything I say or do. I realized that people need to be heard and loved. It doesn’t matter how you believe or what your version of right looks like. It doesn’t matter who you love, it matters how you love. God commands us to love each other. He doesn’t care that we are flawed in the eyes of others. We are human and he knew we would make mistakes. He knew that we would struggle. He knew we would need each other to get through those hard times. God knew us before we were born. We are wonderfully made and meant to be loved. He loved me enough to give me my beautiful boys and he trusted me to take care of them. I made God a promise that night on my knees that I would do exactly what he said, I would love Cody. I would do my job as his mother and I would spread that love to anyone that needed it. I will continue to educate, be kind, pray, love and fight for my son’s rights to be heard. To live his truth and to be who he was always meant to be.

Someone needs to hear your story. Someone needs something you have been through. Someone needs to know they are not alone.

Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 8,000 members. For more info about the Mama Bears visit our website at 

That’s a really good question #6 – How do I start a GSA?


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Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is one of the Mama Bears private Facebook groups for moms of LGBTQ kids. This series addresses common questions that often get asked by members of the group. Mama Bears is a whole network of groups, projects, resources and websites dedicated to supporting, educating and empowering moms of LGBTQ kids and the LGBTQ community.

Good Question

GSA clubs are powerful tools that can transform schools and make them safer and more welcoming for LGBTQ youth, youth with LGBTQ parents, and straight allies. Moms of LGBTQ kids often ask how to start a GSA at their LGBTQ kid’s local middle or high school because research has shown that LGBTQ students hear fewer homophobic slurs, experience less harassment, have better attendance, and feel safer at schools that have GSAs.

The first thing to note is that GSAs or Genders & Sexualities Alliances (formally known as Gay Straight Alliances)
, are student-led and student-organized school clubs that aim to create a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Typically only students can start GSAs.

The three typical functions of a GSA is to support students, build community and create change.

GSAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are LGBTQ as well as those who are experiencing harassment at school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These groups often provide one of the few safe spaces for students to express themselves.

GSAs are also social groups. They provide a sense of community and a space for LGBTQ and allied youth to build a social network where their identities are respected. Lots of GSAs organize barbecues or movie nights, organize field trips to a local LGBTQ prom or Pride parade, and attend conferences together. GSAs are a great way to build community at your school and lessen the isolation that LGBTQ+ students might otherwise experience.

In addition to providing support and community GSAs often effect change by allowing LGBTQ and straight students to work together to take on issues that affect all students, including harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. 

Starting a Gay/Straight Alliance

Here are the basic steps a student should take to start a GSA at their school. Chances are they’ll be able to start a GSA with no problems – after all, over 4,000 GSAs already exist in every state in the nation. Sometimes, though, administrators, parents, or other students try to stand in the way of GSAs. In case that happens we’re including information on how to handle opposition.

1. Be able to explain why you want to start a GSA. Some of the people you have to talk to along the way may ask you why you want to start a GSA. That’s not a bad question to ask yourself. Under the law, you don’t have to have a reason to start any non-curricular club. But it’s important to be able to explain your reasons for wanting a GSA. Is anti-gay harassment a problem at your school? Do LGBTQ+ students or allies want a safe, supportive space where they can be themselves? Those are both really good reasons to start a GSA.

2. Follow guidelines for setting up a club. Starting a GSA is just like starting any other school club. Get a copy of your student handbook, and look up your school’s requirements for student organizations so that you can be sure to follow the rules carefully. If it’s not in the student handbook, ask an administrator, guidance counselor, or the faculty sponsor of an existing club what steps are required to start a club. You most likely will need to find a faculty member to sponsor the club or write a constitution or mission statement. Be sure to do everything you’re supposed to do according to the school’s rules.

3. Find a sponsor. Most schools require that clubs have a faculty member as a sponsor. However, even if your school doesn’t require one, it’s not a bad idea to have one. Ask a teacher, counselor or librarian who has shown themselves to be supportive of LGBTQ+ students to be the advisor or sponsor for your GSA. A sponsor can help with things like writing a constitution and explaining why you want to start a GSA to others. Keep in mind that if your school isn’t very friendly to the idea of a GSA, some teachers who want to help may be more comfortable doing so in a more behind-the-scenes way.

4. Talk to your school principal or assistant principal and let them know that you plan to start a GSA. A supportive administrator can really help you move things along, and if they are not supportive, then at least you’ll know where you stand, which will help you figure out what to do next. If the principal or assistant principal says a GSA won’t be allowed, ask why so that you can prepare yourself to address their concerns. Be prepared to say that preventing a GSA from forming is against the law under the federal Equal Access Act if other non curricular clubs have been allowed. Be respectful and don’t get into a big fight about it in your initial meeting, but make notes of the reasons given for denial. You can take the time to respond to their arguments at a later date. See “Common Arguments Against GSAs and Why They’re Wrong” listed below if you are told you cannot start a GSA at your school.

5. Write a goal for your GSA. With the help of your sponsor, write a mission statement outlining what your GSA will and will not be. This can make it clear whether the GSA will be a club that will only be a safe space, or whether the club might get involved in activist events. Make sure to include that the GSA is all inclusive and non-discriminatory. Be sure to mention that it is for the purposes of peer education and support. Outline the type of activities you hope to have, as well as the reason a GSA will be an asset to the school and community as a whole.

6. Inform guidance counselors and social workers about the group. These individuals may know students who would be interested in joining.

7. Pick a meeting place. You may want to find a meeting place that offers some level of privacy or confidentiality. A high-profile meeting place may discourage reluctant participants.

8. Advertise. Figure out the best way to advertise at your school. It may be a combination of school bulletin announcements, fliers and word of mouth. If your fliers are defaced or torn down, don’t be discouraged! Keep putting them back up. Posting fliers with words like “end homophobia” or “discuss sexual orientation” can help raise awareness and can make other students feel safer even if they never attend a single meeting.

9. Get food. It really does help to get people to come to your meetings. People are more inclined to come to meetings when you provide food.

10. Hold your meeting. You may want to start out with a discussion about why people think the group is important. You can also brainstorm things your club would like to do.

11. Establish ground rules. Many groups create ground rules to ensure that group discussions are safe, confidential and respectful. Many groups adopt a rule that no assumptions or labels are used about a group member’s sexual orientation. This can help make straight allies feel comfortable about attending the club.

12. Plan for the future and register your club with the GSA network in your state. Develop an action plan. Brainstorm activities. Set goals for what you want to accomplish. Contact GLSEN or the GSA Network (for students in California) to connect with other GSAs in your state and learn about ways to get involved.

Common Arguments Against GSAs and Why They’re Wrong

“We can’t let our students have a club that’s about sex.”

GSAs are NOT about sex. GSAs are about valuing all people regardless of whether they’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Like any other club GSAs offer students with a common interest a chance to connect and give students a respite from the day-to-day grind of school. They’re about creating a supportive space where students can be themselves without fear and making schools safer for all students by promoting respect for everyone. A GSA meeting is no more about sex than the homecoming dance or any other school-sponsored activity. And several federal courts have ruled in favor of GSAs when schools have used this as an excuse to try to stop them from forming.

“We can’t let outsiders come in and start this kind of club in our school.”

Outsiders don’t form GSAs. GSAs are started and led by students. While there are a couple of organizations that have tried to create contact lists or loose coalitions of the over 4,000 GSA clubs across the country, GSAs aren’t chapters of some larger organization. There is no big conspiracy out there trying to get its hands on the youth of America. And according to the federal Equal Access Act, students can start any kind of non-curricular club at their schools that they want.

“It’s just too controversial.”

Sure, a GSA may be controversial, but it’s illegal for schools to use that as excuse to silence them. If other students, parents, or community members are in an uproar over a GSA, the school’s responsibility is to address those people’s concerns, not shut down a group that is peacefully doing its thing just because some people don’t like it. Besides, when a GSA becomes a point of contention in a community, it really only proves the need for the GSA to exist in the first place. And again, several federal courts have ruled in favor of GSAs when schools have used this as an excuse to try to stop them from forming.

“If we let students start a GSA, then we’d have to let students form any other kind of club they want. What if they wanted to start a KKK club?”

If a club’s purpose is to harass or intimidate other students, then the club is disruptive to the educational process and the school can stop it from forming, so this kind of argument doesn’t work. Letting students start a GSA doesn’t mean all sorts of other crazy clubs are going to materialize out of thin air.

Ideas To Find New Members

Advertise your group, meetings, and activities! This can be through posters, word-of mouth and social media. Set up a table during lunch or at a club fair to share information about your group. Write an editorial or letter to the editor in your school newspaper and share it with those who make the daily school announcements too.

Bring-A-Friend Day. Every member brings one friend to a meeting.

Invite a guest speaker. Invite someone from a community group (Time Out Youth, PFLAG, ACLU, etc.), a local activist, or someone who does work in a related area.

Club Share. Build coalitions with other student clubs at your school by attending their meetings and partnering on future projects/activities.

Movies! Screen a movie with an LGBTQ theme.

Provide snacks. Everyone loves free food! It is a great way to get more people to your meetings.

Special Events! Plan special events. Have a Halloween themed event, a spirit day or a thanksgiving potluck. Once your club is going ask your members for ideas for fun themes.

GLSEN, ACLU and Time Out Youth were resources used for this post.



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(last updated 3/10/2020)

AGAB / DGAB (noun phrase / abbreviation) – Assigned Gender At Birth or Designated Gender At Birth or InterSex.  It is sometimes written as GAAB or GAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. AGAB is also used by many transgender people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be,” as many trans people never identified with their birth assigned gender.


Agender (adj.) – Describes a person who identifies as having no gender.


Advocate (noun) – A person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a marginalized group. 2 (verb) – To actively support or plea in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance or educate others.


Allosexual  (adjective | allosexuality, noun) – Someone who is not asexual. Someone who experiences sexual attraction irrelevant of whether or not they engage in any sexual behavior. e.g. An allosexual person experiences sexual attraction.


Ally (noun) – A person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people.


Androgyne (adjective / noun referring to a person) –
Androgyne people define their gender in a variety of ways. Some androgyne people define their gender as being between men and women while others understand themselves as being outside of the binary gender spectrum altogether. Androgyne people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, androgyne people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. See also: androgynous


Androgynous (adjective | androgyny, noun | androgynously, adverb) – This term is often used regarding outward gender expression, though it has been occasionally used as an identity term very similar to androgyne. In terms of expression, it is generally understood as having an appearance that is beyond contextually feminine or masculinity traits or specifically blending contextually gendered traits.


Aporagender (adjective) – Aporagender people have a strong understanding of their own gender as being completely separate from the gender binary and spectrum. Aporagender does not include men or women, nor people who identify with femininity or masculinity in any way, such as nonbinary people who are bigender or genderfluid between wo/man. This can be hard to understand, as there is almost no language around gender that isn’t tied to masculinity or femininity, and even aporagender people can struggle to further specify their experience of gender. That’s why this word exists, so that there can at least be a start to that conversation– “I know my gender isn’t tied to masculinity or femininity, but beyond that, I’m not entirely sure. But I know I’m at least aporagender.” Aporagender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, aporagender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.


Aromantic (adj.) – An orientation that describes a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in forming romantic relationships.


Asexual (adj.)
– Describes a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction to others.  Asexuality is not the same as celibacy.


Assigned sex at birth (noun)
– The sex (male or female) assigned to a child at birth, most often based on the child’s external anatomy. Also referred to as birth sex, natal sex, biological sex, or sex.


Attraction (noun) –
There are many different types of attraction. All of these attractions are valid and may be independent from each other or interact with each other in a variety of ways. They can be present or absent in everything from friendships to life partners. Each relationship is a unique experience. This is why some people identify not only with their sexuality (heterosexual, bisexual, etc) but also with their romantic attraction using the suffix -romantic (panromantic, homoromantic). This is especially common in the asexual community where a focus on romantic relationships or platonic relationships is more visible.

Types of Attraction:

  • Sexual attraction: attraction that makes people desire sexual contact or shows sexual interest in another person(s). This is different from a sexual drive, which is a biological instinct distinct from someone’s sexual attraction.
  • Romantic attraction: attraction that makes people desire romantic contact or interaction with another person(s).
  • Aesthetic attraction: occurs when someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another person(s), disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction.
  • Sensual attraction: the desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling.
  • Emotional attraction: the desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality. This type of attraction is present in most relationships including platonic friendships.
  • Mental attraction: the desire to engage with another in a thoughtful manner, such as having deep conversations or engaging in thought provoking activities together. This has nothing to do with western ideas of “intelligence” as something measurable, but rather an attraction to how a person thinks, how they solve problems, or how they interpret and engage with the world.


Bigender / Trigender / Multigender / Pangender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity is a combination of two or more genders.  Some bigender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some bigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Bigender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, bigender people are considered under the polygender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as polygender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically.


Binarism (noun | binarist, adjective or a noun referring to people) – The erasing or antagonizing of people whose genders are outside of the gender binary in indigenous and colonized cultures. This is specifically the erasure of indigenous genders by colonialism as it is echoed in cultures worldwide today.


Binding (verb) – The process of tightly wrapping one’s chest in order to minimize the appearance of having breasts. This is achieved through use of constrictive materials such as cloth strips, elastic or non-elastic bandages, or specially designed undergarments.


Binder / inding (noun) – An undergarment used to alter or reduce the appearance of one’s breasts (worn similarly to how one wears a sports bra). binding (verb) – The (sometimes daily) process of wearing a binder. Binding is often used to change the way other’s read/perceive one’s anatomical sex characteristics, and/or as a form of gender expression.


Biological Sex (noun) – A medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” “anatomical sex,” or specifically as “sex assigned at birth.”

Biphobia (noun)
– The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of bisexual people or those who are perceived as such.

Birth Assignment (noun phrase) –
The gender we are assigned at birth, usually based on genitals alone. It is assumed that our identities should and will match this assignment but this isn’t the case for most transgender people. It is also known as ‘gender assignment.’


Bisexual (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their own gender and people of other genders.

Boi (noun | bois, plural) –
This term is used often by transgender people to express a relationship to masculinity or maleness but who may not have a completely male identity, used predominantly by trans people who are AFAB. It has a long history both in TQPOC communities and in BDSM/Leather communities, so it may be seen as appropriative in some contexts. Bois may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, bois are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.


Bottom surgery (noun) – Colloquial way of describing gender affirming genital surgery.


Breast Forms / Packer (noun) – Prosthetics that some trans people, crossdressers, and drag performers use to alleviate dysphoria and adjust their presentation. Prosthetics like breast forms (basically what they sound like) and packers (soft penis) allow people to better fill out cisnormative clothing. They are usually made of silicone and can come in a variety of colors and sizes. Some are self-adhesive, some require adhesive such as double sided tape, and some require specific prosthetic undergarments designed to hold them in place.


Chosen Family (noun) – Chosen family is the concept of a family made out of those who are unaffiliated by blood. Chosen families have been around since the beginning of time, especially in marginalized communities where biological families are broken up by both external and internal bigotry.


Cisgender (adj.) – A person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth correspond (i.e., a person who is not transgender).


Closeted (adj.) – An individual who is not open to themselves or others about their (queer) sexuality or gender identity. This may be by choice and/or for other reasons such as fear for one’s safety, peer or family rejection, or disapproval and/or loss of housing, job, etc. Also known as being “in the closet.” When someone chooses to break this silence they “come out” of the closet. (see coming out)


Coming out (verb) – The process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexual orientation or gender identity (to come out to oneself). Also the process by which one shares one’s sexual orientation or gender identity with others (to come out to friends, etc.).


Cross-sex hormone therapy (noun)
– The administration of hormones for those who wish to match their physical secondary sex characteristics to their gender identity.


Demiromantic (adj.) – Little or no capacity to experience romantic attraction until a strong sexual  onnection is formed with someone, often within a sexual relationship.


Demisexual (adj.) – Little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic connection is formed with someone, often within a romantic relationship.


DGAB / AGAB (noun phrase / abbreviation) – Designated Gender At Birth or Assigned Gender At Birth.  It is sometimes written as GAAB or GAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. AGAB is also used by many transgender people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be,” as many trans people never identified with their birth assigned gender.


Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) (noun) – Group of rare conditions where the reproductive organs and genitals do not develop as expected. Some DSDs include Klinefelter Syndrome and Androgen Sensitivity Syndrome. Sometimes called differences of sex development. Some people prefer to use the term intersex.

Drag (verb)
– The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically. Those who perform are called Drag Kings and Drag Queens.


Drag King (noun) – Someone who performs (hyper-) masculinity theatrically.


Drag Queen (noun) – Someone who performs (hyper-) femininity theatrically.


Dysphoria (noun) – Everyone experiences dysphoria differently; therefore, it can be hard to explain. Dysphoria is often described as the discomfort, pain, and unhappiness that is experienced by many transgender people in relationship to the commonly gendered parts of their body (physical dysphoria), and/or to the way people interact with them (social dysphoria), and/or to how they are legally required to fill out documentation (social dysphoria enforced by the legal system). Not all transgender people experience dysphoria. Some may not understand themselves as experiencing dysphoria but later recognize it as such. Transition is one way that folks manage their dysphoria.


Enby (adjective / noun) – A word based on how the letters “NB” are pronounced, with NB being short for nonbinary. “Enby” can be employed in the same ways that “nonbinary” can be. Some nonbinary people find this word diminutive and prefer other words.


Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) (noun phrase) – Facial feminization is a broad term for a variety of surgeries that alter the facial structure so that it will conform more closely to (typically) white European standards of femininity. The procedures involved include hairline correction, brow lifting, forehead recontouring, orbital recontouring, rhinoplasty, chin and jaw contouring, lip lifting, Adam’s apple reduction, and face/neck lifts. It is fairly standard to see multiple of these surgeries done at the same time, or done in two different surgeries. While most are fairly common plastic surgeries, orbital recontouring and chin/jaw recontouring are specialized surgeries that generally require the shaving of bone, removal of bone sections, and alteration and removal of muscle systems. Those surgeries are more complex and come with larger risks of prolonged and permanent damage to the jaw, esophagus, eye, and face. As such, those surgeries require specialized and experienced surgeons.


Femme (noun & adj.) – someone who identifies themselves as feminine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Often used to refer to a feminine-presenting queer woman or people.


Fluid(ity) (adj.) –  Generally with another term attached, like gender-fluid or fluid-sexuality, fluid(ity) describes an identity that may change or shift over time between or within the mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, bi and straight).


FTM or F2M (female to male) (adj.) – A transgender person who is transitioning or has transitioned from female to male.


Gaff (noun) – A gaff is a garment worn under clothes in order to better cover the genitals of someone who was AMAB, as well as smooth the region so that clothing designed for AFAB people fit better.


Gay (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their own gender. It can be used regardless of gender identity, but is more commonly used to describe men.

Gender (noun) –
A complex combination of roles, expression, aesthetics, identities, performances, social interactions, and more that are assigned certain meanings by society. Gender is both self-defined and society-defined. How gender is embodied and defined varies from culture to culture and from person to person. Gender is often simplified– purposely, due to colonization– into a binary or a spectrum, but neither fully encapsulates the whole of gender.


Gender affirming surgery (GAS) (noun) – Surgeries used to modify one’s body to be more congruent with one’s gender identity. Also referred to as sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or gender confirming surgery (GCS).


Gender binary (noun) – The idea that there are only two genders, male and female, and that a person must strictly fit into one category or the other.

Gender dysphoria (noun)
– Distress experienced by some individuals whose gender identity does not correspond with their assigned sex at birth. Manifests itself as clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) includes gender dysphoria as a diagnosis. (see dysphoria)

Gender expansive (compound adjective) –
Gender that expands beyond the typical boundaries of the binary or gender spectrum. Much like genderqueer, it is hard to specifically define because the possibilities are quite literally infinite. Gender expansive people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, gender expansive people are considered under the gender non-conforming umbrella and may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.


Gender expression (noun) – The way a person acts, dresses, speaks, and behaves (i.e., feminine, masculine, androgynous). Gender expression does not necessarily correspond to assigned sex at birth or gender identity.

Gender fluid (adj.)
– Describes a person whose gender identity is not fixed. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more one gender some days, and another gender other days.

Gender identity (noun)
– A person’s internal sense of being a man/male, woman/female, both, neither, or another gender.

Gender marker / Gender recognition (noun phrase) –
Refers to any gender designation on official forms. Often seen in discussions around driver’s licenses, state IDs, social security, and birth certificates.


Gender non-conforming (adj.) – Describes a gender expression that differs from a given society’s norms for males and females.

Gender Neutral Pronouns (noun phrase) –
Pronouns that are neither ‘he’ nor ‘she’ oriented. Some examples are: they, vi, sie, xe, ze, thon, it, ne, and per.

Gender role (noun)
– A set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived sex.


Genderqueer (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary. Other terms for people whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary include gender variant, gender expansive, etc. Sometimes written as two words (gender queer).


GSM (abbreviation | noun phrase) – An acronym standing for “gender and sexuality minorities”  GSM can be a useful term as it is succinct and includes a wide range of people including those who are gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, intersex, pansexual, asexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, genderqueer  etc.


Heteronormativity (noun) – The assumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities.


Heterosexual (straight) (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes women who are emotionally and sexually attracted to men, and men who are emotionally and sexually attracted to women. Homophobia (noun) – The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of lesbian or gay people or those who are perceived as such.


Hir (pronoun) – A gender-neutral pronoun, used in place of him/her. Pronounced “here.” See also “ze.”


Hormone therapy (noun)  – Synthetic hormones are taken to affect things like body shape, hair growth patterns, and secondary sex characteristics.


Intersectionality (noun) – The idea that identities are influenced and shaped by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality/sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, physical disability, national origin, etc., as well as by the interconnection of all of those characteristics.


Intersex (noun) – Group of rare conditions where the reproductive organs and genitals do not develop as expected. Some prefer to use the term disorders (or differences) of sex development. Intersex is also used as an identity term by some community members and advocacy groups.


Lesbian (adj., noun) – A sexual orientation that describes a woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women.


LGBTQ; GSM; DSG; TGNC (abbreviations or acronyms) – Shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non-normative (or queer) gender or sexuality, there are many different initialisms people prefer. LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer and/or Questioning (sometimes people at a + at the end in an effort to be more inclusive) and there are longer versions of LGBTQ that can be found but are not often used due to the length; GSM is Gender and Sexual Minorities; DSG is Diverse Sexualities and Genders; TGNC is Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (sometimes you’ll see “NB” added for non-binary). Other options include the initialism GLBT or LGBT and the acronym QUILTBAG (Queer [or Questioning] Undecided Intersex Lesbian Trans* Bisexual Asexual [or Allied] and Gay [or Genderqueer])


Men who have sex with men/Women who have sex with women (MSM/WSW) (noun) – Categories that are often used in research and public health settings to collectively describe those who engage in same-sex sexual behavior, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, people rarely use the terms MSM or WSW to describe themselves.


Minority stress (noun) – Chronic stress faced by members of stigmatized minority groups. Minority stress is caused by external, objective events and conditions, expectations of such events, the internalization of societal attitudes, and/or concealment of one’s sexual orientation.


Misgendering (verb) – The act of attributing the wrong gender to a person, whether intentionally or not.


MTF or M2F or male to female (adj.): A transgender person who is transitioning or has transitioned from male to female.


Non binary (adj.) – Describes a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. While many also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people do.


Outing (verb) – Involuntary or unwanted disclosure of another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.


Pangender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity is comprised of many genders.


Pansexual (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people regardless of gender.


Polyamorous (adj.) – Describes a person who has or is open to having more than one romantic or sexual relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all their partners. Sometimes abbreviated as poly.


Polygender (adjective) – Polygender is a term for anyone who experiences more than one gender identity. It can be used as a gender identity in its own right, or can be an umbrella term for other identities which fit this description. Some polygender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some multigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Polygender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, polygender people are considered under the multigender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as multigender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically.


QPOC / TQPOC (noun) – Acronym that stands for Queer Person (or People) of Color or Trans Queer Person (or People) of Color.


Queer (adj.) – An umbrella term used by some to describe people who think of their sexual orientation or gender identity as outside of societal norms. Some people view the term queer as more fluid and inclusive than traditional categories for sexual orientation and gender identity. Due to its history as a derogatory term, the term queer is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBT community.


Questioning (adj.) – Describes an individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation and/or gender identity.


QUILTBAG (acronym) – An alternative to LGBTQ+. Stands for queer, questioning, intersex, lesbian, transgender, two-spirit, bisexual, asexual, agender, aromantic, and gay, genderqueer, gender non-conforming.


Sex (noun)  – This refers to how someone is classified—either male or female. Babies are assigned a male or female sex at birth, typically due to their external anatomy (whether they have a penis or a vagina). This assignment is then written on their birth certificate. Regardless of this traditional classification, a person’s sex is actually a mix of bodily characteristics like chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.


Sex Assigned at Birth (SAAB)  – A phrase used to intentionally recognize a person’s assigned sex (not gender identity). Sometimes called “designated sex at birth” (DSAB) or “sex coercively assigned at birth” (SCAB), or specifically used as “assigned male at birth” (AMAB) or “assigned female at birth” (AFAB): Jenny was assigned male at birth, but identifies as a woman.


Sexual orientation (noun) – How a person characterizes their emotional and sexual attraction to others.


Top surgery (noun) – Colloquial way of describing gender affirming surgery on the chest.


Trans man/transgender man/female-to-male (FTM) (noun) – A transgender person whose gender identity is male may use these terms to describe themselves. Some will just use the term man.


Trans woman/transgender woman/male-to-female (MTF) (noun) – A transgender person whose gender identity is female may use these terms to describe themselves. Some will just use the term woman.


Transfeminine (adj.) – Describes people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity.


Transgender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth do not correspond. Also used as an umbrella term to include gender identities outside of male and female. Sometimes abbreviated as trans.


Transition (noun) – For transgender people, this refers to the process of coming to recognize, accept, and express one’s gender identity. Most often, this refers to the period when a person makes social, legal, and/or medical changes, such as changing their clothing, name, sex designation, and using medical interventions. Sometimes referred to as gender affirmation process.


Trans Man (compound noun) – A man who was not apparently intersex at birth and was mistakenly assigned female at birth. Trans men may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture.


Transmasculine (adj.) – Describes people who were assigned female at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity.


Transphobia (noun) – The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of transgender or gender non-conforming people or those who are perceived as such.


Transqueer (adjective) – This term can be hard to define, but is generally understood as a gender that is neither man nor woman, possibly a mix of genders, and possibly fluid. Transqueer people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, transqueer people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.


Transsexual (adj.) – Sometimes used in medical literature or by some transgender people to describe those who have transitioned through medical interventions.


Trans Woman (compound noun) – A woman who was not apparently intersex at birth and was mistakenly assigned male at birth. Trans women may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture.


Tucking (verb) – The process of hiding one’s penis and testes with tape, tight shorts, or specially designed undergarments.


Two-Spirit (adj.) – A contemporary term that connects today’s experiences of LGBT Native American and American Indian people with the traditions from their cultures.


ze / zir/ “zee”, “zerr” or “zeer”/ (pronoun) – alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some trans* people. They replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively some people who are not comfortable/do not embrace he/she use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun.


Here is a link to a pdf with all the terms that can be downloaded and printed: GLOSSARY OF LGBTQ TERMS updated 3.10.2020

Mama Bear Holiday Hugs 2019


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Registration for the second annual MAMA BEAR HOLIDAY HUGS is open and will remain open until 12/15/2019.

MAMA BEAR HOLIDAY HUGS is hosted by MAMA BEARS, an organization dedicated to supporting, educating and empowering moms of LGBTQ kids and the LGBTQ community.

The Holiday Season can be an especially lonely and stressful time for many LGBTQ people who have lost support due to their LGBTQ status. Members of MAMA BEARS are available to send Holiday messages of love, hope and affirmation to LGBTQ people during the Holiday Season.

LGBTQ people, or those who love and support them, can fill out a form to put in a request for a MAMA BEAR HOLIDAY HUGS message of love, hope and affirmation.

Information submitted will be shared with members of Mama Bears private Facebook group.

This project is limited to the United States.

If you have questions you can email


Click HERE for the request form

Here is a QR Code for the request form: qr-code



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“Prayer is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach us…Pray for prayer – pray till you can pray, pray to be helped to pray and give not up praying because you cannot pray, for it is when you think you cannot pray that you are most praying.”  – C.H. Spurgeon 

My son came out in 2006 and, as a result, I went through a process of deconstructing my faith – re-examining what I believed and why.

One of the things that came up a lot in that process of deconstruction was “prayer”  – it caused me to have a lot of questions about prayer … did it really work? how did it work? how should I pray? could I still “believe” in prayer?

It was a difficult time for me and I went though a period where it was almost impossible for me to pray because I was no longer sure what I believed about prayer.

But, eventually I got to a place where I found peace about prayer. I didn’t necessarily find answers to my questions, but I came to the conclusion that giving up prayer was not an option for me. I came to the conclusion that I was wanted to embrace the mystery of prayer and believe in prayer because I choose to be a serious and faithful follower of Jesus and Jesus prayed and encouraged us to pray the same way he prayed.

I admit that some days my prayers are accompanied with only a mustard seed of faith but I pray anyway; and sometimes I find it very hard to pray or don’t know how to pray, but I pray anyway, even if it is just to pray about my inability to pray.

In 2009, with the help of some other Christians who were on a journey similar to my own, I started putting together a list of prayers on behalf of LGBTQ people, their families and their allies. Some of the prayers were things I simply needed to pray for myself as a Christian mother of a gay son and as an LGBTQ ally. Some of the prayers were born out of conversations I had with people, news reports I read, stories told to me and things that were being revealed to me. Over the years I have changed some of the prayers and added others.

Here is my present list:

·         Prayer for the LGBTQ community, their Families and LGBTQ Allies in general; that God will protect them and bless them, that the Holy Spirit will inspire them, inform them and guide them. 

·         Prayer for LGBTQ Christians and Christians who love and support them will be able to reconcile their faith with being affirming. 

·         Prayer that LGBTQ people would be able to live wholeheartedly into the people they were created to be. 

·         Prayer that LGBTQ people will be able to make connections with affirming Christians and find affirming faith communities. 

·         Prayer for all Christian leaders, faith communities and denominations who are working through LGBTQ issues. Prayer that God will give them insight, wisdom, clear understanding and guide them towards truth,  justice, love and light.

·         Prayer that LGBTQ people, their families and allies who have been hurt by the church or by individual Christians will still be able to receive God’s love and affirmation – that they will be able to know that those people and those churches are not God and do not represent how God sees them. 

·         Prayer that LGBTQ people and those who support them will not harbor bitterness or resentment; that they will find healing and wholeness, and as a result, be able to forgive those who trespass against them. 

·         Prayer for people in long-term same-sex relationships to find lasting stability despite the lack of role models for LGBTQ couples. Prayer for God to lift up role models for same sex couples to help them form healthy and lasting relationships. Prayer of gratitude for the progress being made for same sex marriage across the world. 

·         Prayer for everyone living with HIV/AIDS. Prayer that God will comfort them and give them access to the healthcare they need. Prayer of gratitude thanking God for the medical progress made for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and prayer for continued progress. 

·         Prayer for LGBTQ youth who are experiencing bullying to know that God loves them no matter what and that they can always turn to him. Prayer for teachers, school administrators, community leaders, parents, neighbors, church leaders, youth leaders etc to see any bullying that occurs, to stand up against it, put programs in place to help create safe environments for LGBTQ youth and make it known that they are a safe person for LGBTQ youth to turn to.

 ·         Prayer that God will work in families torn apart by homophobia and that the spirit of God would lead those families to understanding, grace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

 ·         Prayer for LGBTQ people, young and old, who have been misunderstood, silenced, rejected and/or marginalized by friends and family members directly and indirectly. Prayer that they would find the support and encouragement they need to help them withstand the pain of being misunderstood, silenced, rejected and/or marginalized by their family and friends. 

 ·         Prayer that religious leaders will recognize the problem of homophobia in the church, courageously confront it and work to rid the church of homophobia. 

·         Prayer for all ex-gay ministries and conversion therapy in all forms to end. 

·         Prayer that all countries with anti LGBTQ laws to be moved by the Holy Spirit towards love and justice.

 ·         Prayer against all homophobic and transphobic violence. Prayers for all who are victims of homophobic and transphobic violence.

·         Prayer for courage, wholeness, integrity, understanding, peace, humility, love, freedom, vision, transformation.  

What prayer would you add?

That’s A Really Good Question #5 – Can I just use someone’s name instead of trying to use “they/them” pronouns?


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Serendipitydodah for Moms – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids. This series will address common questions that often get asked by members of the group. For more information about the group email


Someone recently mentioned to me that they were very uncomfortable using “they/them” pronouns for someone because there were sentences where it sounded weird to them. They asked if I thought it would be offensive to use the person’s name instead of using “they/them” in place of “he/him” or “she/her

My response was that it is always okay to substitute someone’s name for pronouns. However, I warned them, if they consistently try to avoid using someone’s personal pronouns it is more likely they would end up making more mistakes. It is extremely difficult and awkward to avoid using pronouns and, therefore, fairly obvious when someone is trying to avoid doing so. That obvious avoidance can in itself be offensive to someone who has shared their personal pronouns.

For example:

Instead of saying:

“They are coming by for dinner. They asked to bring the salad. This is so them.”

You would have to say:

“Billy is coming by for dinner and asked if Billy could bring the salad. This is so Billy.”

More than likely you would probably end up saying:

“Billy is coming by for dinner and asked if he could bring the salad. This is so Billy.”

And that would mean that you used the wrong pronoun which would be offensive.

Therefore, my advice is: if one really wants to honor and respect a person they should use their correct personal pronouns.

If you make a mistake you can simply apologize and correct yourself. (i.e. “oops, I meant to say them”) and go on.

Here’s some more thoughts about personal pronouns:

In English, whether we realize it or not, people frequently refer to others by using pronouns.

Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name, but those assumptions are not always correct.

If someone shares their pronouns with you, it’s meant to disrupt the idea of making assumptions, and to provide you with the information you need in order to refer to them appropriately.

Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them.

Just as it can be offensive to call someone by the wrong name, it can be offensive to use the wrong pronouns for someone.

Actively refusing to use the pronouns someone has stated that they go by could imply the oppressive and offensive notion that intersex, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people do not or should not exist.

It is worth noting that a person who goes by “they” could actually be a man, a woman, both, neither, or something else entirely. However, people’s genders tend to be a private issue, therefore, the sharing of pronouns should not be taken as an invitation to ask for potentially private information about someone’s gender.

What about grammar?

There is nothing grammatically wrong with using “they” as a singular pronoun. In English, we already use singular “they” all the time when the gender of a person is unknown. Say you see some money on the ground and pick it up. You might say: “Oh, someone dropped their money here. I’ll set it aside for them, I bet they are looking everywhere!”

Using “he or she” and “his or hers” in this situation is awkward, so we use singular “they” instead.

When someone uses “they/them” pronouns, all you have to do is apply that same sentence construction:

“Oh, Desmond dropped their money here. I’ll set it aside for them, I bet they are looking everywhere!”

Major dictionaries have recognized singular “they” as grammatically correct for years. The word “they” has been used as a singular pronoun since at least the 16th century, and some argue it goes back even earlier. The AP Style Guide also allows the usage of singular “they” in cases where a subject doesn’t identify as male or female.

There are certainly ways to avoid using singular “they” and some people are still insistent on doing so. However, in the end it takes a lot more linguistic gymnastics to not use pronouns and that makes it much more likely that offensive mistakes will be made more often.

So, next time you are faced with using “they” in the singular, you don’t have to worry about proper grammar, because singular “they” is grammatically correct.

Last but certainly not least … Why is it important to get pronouns right?

Using the pronouns that someone has shared with you affirms the identity of the person. It can be a difficult step for someone to find it in themselves to acknowledge their identity.  More than likely they’ve had to find the courage to share the fact that they don’t fit into the binary world and that can be very difficult because as a whole the world is not supportive of intersex, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.

When you get an intersex, transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming person’s  pronouns right you bring much needed relief to their emotional and psychological well being. The simple act of using the correct pronouns may give them the courage to keep moving forward and living their life as their most authentic self.

Recent studies have even shown that correct pronoun usage can dramatically decrease the depression and suicidal tendencies that are so prevalent among LGBTQ youth.

Therefore, as I said earlier, if you really want to honor and respect a person use their correct personal pronouns. It is the kind, loving, respectful thing to do.

Serendipitydodah for Moms – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids. Our official motto is “Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and as of July 2019 has more than 6,500 members. For more info about the private facebook group email