Founded in 2013, FreedHearts reaches into hurting communities with a message of love, inclusion, belonging, and hope — for parents, LGBTQ+, educators, therapists, and the church. We help people deconstruct their faith to free their heart to love and be loved. FreedHearts is in the trenches, providing safe spaces, inspiration, and encouragement. We have dynamic, transformational live, podcast, print, and film resources for LGBTQ+, parents, families, allies, and communities—to free hearts that change the world.
We have touched the hearts of millions of people! 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 nonaffirming 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.
Meet Susan and Robert Cottrell, Founders of FreedHearts
SUSAN COTTRELL is an international speaker whose TEDx talk has 1.5 million views. OutSmart magazine called her “The Mother of All MamaBears.” The Advocate dubbed her “our favorite affirming matriarch.” She is a prominent voice for the LGBTQ community and their faith parents who has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, and as a contributor on the Our Bible app. She is a public theologian and through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan expresses her authentic love for the LGBTQ+ community and families; and she sees love as the healing foundation of family, faith, and community. She spent 20+ years in the nonaffirming Evangelical church, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin. Her FreedHearts Blog and YouTube videos have millions of viewers, and 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; Radically Included: The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion; and Be the Love You Want to See in the World are critically acclaimed. She and her husband Rob have been married for 34 years and have five children, two of whom identify as queer.
“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, with 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 FreedHearts is that they are not people who argue and strongarm others into seeing things their way. They listen and care for others really well. Their presence challenges Christians who reject our friends in the LGBTQ community to understand the love of God.” - Michael Hidalgo, Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church