FreedHearts is a 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization.
Our mission is to free hearts to love and be loved.
FreedHearts reaches into hurting communities with a message of love, inclusion, belonging, and hope —for parents, LGBTQ, educators, therapists, for the church. We have a worldwide network of thousands of MamaBears and PapaBears—but we are so much more! FreedHearts is in the trenches, providing safe spaces, inspiration, and encouragement. We have dynamic, transformational live, print and film resources to reconcile faith, families, and communities—to free hearts that change the world.
MamaBears and PapaBears are choosing their child, giving free hugs, standing in, standing up, and speaking out. LGBTQ are healing deep wounds from family and religion, so they can love and be loved as they deserve. Churches are becoming more affirming and inclusive. Educators are better navigating relationships with LGBTQ students and their non-affirming families. Therapists are more equipped to deal with the tragic impact of faith-based family rejection. We are there for all of them. That is what we do. We are FreedHearts.
Our Work with Parents
Through our vibrant MamBear Nation community, in intimate gatherings and other resources, we walk with Christian parents on the journey to help them fully understand their child, reconcile faith issues, and keep their child safe and their family strong.
Our Work with LGBTQ
Through our Chosen Family community, intimate weekend retreats, and other resources, we free hearts of LGBTQ to heal shame from family, religious and community wounds, as well as internalized homophobia.
We have a FreedHearts MamaBear international support network including groups for Moms of LGBTQ children, for Moms of transgender children, for Dads of LGBTQ children. Regardless of where you are on the journey, we have the perfect group for you. these groups provide much-needed support and encouragement. We also have local and regional groups that focus on face-to-face gatherings and deepening personal relationships.
Through our LGBTQ retreats, our speaking, live events, video courses, books and consulting, we work with thousands of parents and LGBTQ, as well as churches and church leadership, schools and educators, therapists, and companies.
We provide stellar live, printed and filmed content - for parents, LGBTQ, educators, therapists, and those in the church.
From intimate LGBTQ gatherings, conferences, support groups, workshops and speaking events; to articles, books and study guides; to video messages and conference-length courses for individuals and groups: each conveys a message of lavish love and inclusion.
We are only able to do our work through the kind support of individuals and key corporate and foundation gifts.
We reach parents of the most at-risk LGBTQ children. We help educators and therapists better help those impacted by faith-based family rejection. We help churches be more affirming and inclusive. Our goal is to love, and to love well. To change the human conversation on love and inclusion. To free hearts to love and be loved.
That is who we are. That is FreedHearts.
A Letter from Susan & Rob
When our oldest daughter first came out, our family began a journey of discovery—to find out what the Bible really says and does not say, to listen for God’s heart for us and our daughter. God kept moving us forward—toward love, toward freedom, toward peace. Then our youngest daughter came out as well—for two children out of five! We were grateful we had embraced this path and following God through all of it.
Here’s the short list of what we discovered:
LGBTQI people have been bullied, shamed, abandoned and rejected from teachings the church considers “loving,” and the results are tragic. Broken families, homelessness, substance abuse, suicide. There is a better way.
The church struggles to help parents who have LGBTQI children, often conveying a message that a parent must choose between God and their child, or recommending damaging conversion therapy programs. There is a better way.
Theology on this is not nearly as clear as many Christians believe. As we studied, we were shocked at what we discovered.
We all need to follow God’s leading and trust God, even when we still have questions. And, above all else, love.
We began the blog and that grew into what is now FreedHearts, a 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization. We believed that if we could begin to address the issues theologically as well as from the heart of God’s love, we could help change the conversation. We did not know how many hurting parents, children and families were out there, and how much of an impact we would make. We only followed where God led us.
We both have fallen more in love—with God, each other, our children, and people in general—than ever before. We are fully affirming because of Jesus, because of our faith, because of Scripture, not in spite of it.
Now, we have become the prominent voices for faith parents of LGBTQI children, we connect every day with parents and LGBTQI people, telling us that the books, or talks, or videos have saved their lives. It is at once humbling and thrilling.
We invite you to check out all we have to offer here at Freedhearts—created to help you find your way, to help you love and be loved. Be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss anything as we continue to bring you quality content and new offerings.
Contact us here, and let us know how we can help you. Let's walk this journey together. You are not alone.
Susan & Robert Cottrell
About Susan & Rob
SUSAN COTTRELL, a prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children, was featured on ABC's 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, on The Advocate Magazine’s National Coming Out Day, Mother's Day, and other viral videos - as "our favorite affirming matriarch." - and is a devotional contributor on the Our Bible app. She is an international speaker who was featured on the TED stage for 5,000 people at TEDxMileHigh, a public theologian, acclaimed author, and consultant. Through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQI community and families with her authenticity and tender-hearted zeal. She challenges Christians to love as the foundation of faith. She spent 20+ years in the non-affirming Evangelical church, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin (Texas). Her books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith; True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You; and Radically Included - The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion are critically acclaimed. She and her husband Rob have been married for more than 30 years and have five children, two of whom are in the LGBTQI community.
“Susan has this fierce, loving, don’t mess with me, Mom vibe.”—Rev Ashley Harness, Auburn Seminary
ROBERT COTTRELL, is an author, an acclaimed speaker, and has more than 30 years experience in nonprofit management, spending decades helping restore hope into the lives of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. He is also a singer, worship leader, and musician and has shared the stage with George Jones, the Oak Ridge Boys, Loretta Lynn and many others. Rob is the co-founder of FreedHearts and has a tender, compassionate heart, especially for Dads of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children.
“What impresses me about Susan is that she’s not someone who argues and strongarms people into seeing things her way. She’s someone who listens and cares for others really well. Her presence challenges Christians who reject our friends in the LGBTQ community to understand the love of God.” - Michael Hidalgo, Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church