Introducing a cool new organization: “Gay Sons and Mothers” and founder Rick Miller!

I got introduced to “Gay Sons and Mothers” through my friendship with out Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon and his mother Kelly.

As a diversity consultant and trainer with several areas of deep expertise including LGBTQ+, I always enjoy discovering new groups that are doing innovative work within the diversity and inclusion space. And recently I discovered this unique organization focusing on the relationships between gay sons and their mothers. I thank Kelly Rippon, mother of Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon, who invited me to a webinar discussion on her new book “Parent Up,” with Gay Sons and Mothers’ founder Rick Miller. Please enjoy this brief introductory interview I recently had with Rick:

STAN: First Rick, can you tell us a little about yourself?

RICK: I am a gay man, who was the youngest of three kids , and used my status of mom’s favorite with my siblings throughout our growing up years, and maybe into adulthood as well. On a more serious note, I am also a psychotherapist, author and Executive Director of the nonprofit Gay Sons and Mothers.

Gay Sons and Mothers founder Rick Miller


STAN: What inspired you to start “Gay Sons and Mothers?”

RICK: Aside from wanting to share my special status with the world, while writing a book for mental health and medical providers about working with gay men, I was surprised to see that no literature about this topic existed about this. I decided that I wanted to share the message with people of all cultures, races and ethnic groups that a mother can be a savior to her gay son. This is especially important since historically, in the psychiatric and medical field, mothers were often blamed for making their sons gay.


STAN: What exactly is the mission of “Gay Sons and Mothers?” What do you hope to accomplish?

RICK: The mission for Gay Sons and Mother is to collect, curate, celebrate, and preserve narratives that educate, inspire, and bring hope to audiences about the significance of this emotional bond.


STAN: What kinds of programs and resources does “Gay Sons and Mothers” offer?

RICK: We offer education via workshops and lectures at the workplace or community settings, we share videos through our social media pages and Youtube page, we hold special live events throughout the year sharing how this unique mother son bond is profoundly significant in promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance, and we also provide support to individuals struggling with being gay or having gay family members community members.

 

My own loving mother and I enjoying dinner and wine while attending a figure skating competition.

STAN: Would you like to share an example of a positive impact that “Gay Sons and Mothers” has had?

RICK: One of the stories I feel most proud about is how a teenager in high school was leery to come out to his class mates, and his mom who he had already come out to and was affirming, suggested he chat with me and follow our instagram page. From seeing our posts, he was brave enough to build up his courage and come out to his classmates! I consider this a triumph!

Another incredible story which was beyond moving was that a 74 year old psychiatrist who lived in CA drove 7 hours to attend my Gay Sons and Mothers workshop at an international conference, and said “I never ever thought I would say this out loud in my lifetime, I am a 74 year old man who has never told anybody else before this moment, that I am gay!”

Rick Miller with his loving mother


STAN: Do spend full time with “Gay Sons and Mothers,” or do you have another vocation?

RICK: It feels like running gay sons and mothers is a full time job because it is always in my mind and the energy behind it is positive and exciting. But, actually, I work full time in my psychotherapy practice and my writing!


STAN: How can people learn more about “Gay Sons and Mothers” and how can they be in touch with you? Are there ways people can support this work?

RICK: Please follow us on Instagram or Facebook gaysonsandmothers, or visit us at our website www.gaysonsandmothers.org, or view a sample of our videos on our Youtube channel Gay Sons and Mothers and view our playlist content. Or I can be reached directly at [email protected]


STAN: Is there anything else you would like to share?

RICK: Just reminder to share your love with your mom, or if you are a mom, with your children!

STAN: Thank you for this inspiring chat! I love what you are doing to bring love and understanding into our world, and I wish you and Gay Sons and Mothers the very best of success.

Five Key Messages on The Importance of Out Gay Olympic Athletes

The two out 2018 American Olympians Gus Kenworthy (left) and Adam Rippon

NOTE: Links to additional blogs about out LGBT sports figures and issues are at the bottom of this blog.

The exciting 2018 Winter Olympics just concluded. As a huge figure skating fan and an adult skater myself, I spent way too many hours in front of the television this February. And as a diversity and career development consultant with a deep expertise in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace, I was thrilled to see the positive coverage and celebration of our out gay Olympians.

Most notable among the American athletes were figure skater Adam Rippon, whose brilliant long program in the team event helped secure a bronze medal for the USA in the Team Figure Skating event, and skier Gus Kenworthy, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics and then a year later came out publicly as gay on the cover of ESPN magazine. And from Canada there is pairs skater Eric Radford who won the bronze medal with his skating partner Megan Duhamel.

So why is this important? I feel it sends five very important messages to struggling LGBT youth and others to boost them in their life journey. Here are the five:
1) Embrace who you are. It is important to feel positive and good about all the aspects of yourself that make you uniquely you. That is one of the important messages of diversity and inclusion – that each and every person in unique and we should each celebrate our own distinct combination of diversity attributes.

2) You are good – there is nothing wrong in being gay or queer. It so sad that some faith traditions, certain politicians and even some families propagate the lie that being queer is sinful, wrong or defective. This can destroy a young person who is struggling to find their place of belonging in the world. Our gay Olympic athletes showed us that they are wonderful good accomplished people fully enjoying their lives as well as their Olympic experience.

3) Don’t set limits – you can achieve and excel. These athletes, who are among the best in the world, did not buy into the lie that being gay was a defect that would hold them back from achieving great things. LGBT people can win gold medals, run companies, be accomplished musicians and actors. Queer kids, like anyone else, should feel free to pursue any career and hobby for which they have passion and talent, with no limits.

It is important to connect with positive supportive people like British Skeleton gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold, a straight ally who wore rainbow laces to show her support for LGBT atheletes.

4) Find and Focus on the supportive community. In addition to being embraced by the media (Adam Rippon became the media darling of the Olympics with his sparking, fun personality and poised interviews,) these gay athletes got their share of hateful nasty tweets and online posts. It is so very sad that there are still so many people who feel the need to judge others and put others down because they are different from them. Instead of getting thrown off by the haters, it is important to find and develop relationships with the supportive community. No one needs hate. Ignore and discard it.

5) Do what you can to share positivity with others. The infectious enthusiasm of the out gay athletes brought joy to their fans. Even Adam Rippon mentioned all the positive feedback he received with people struggling with their sexual orientation who were uplifted by Adam’s appearance at the Olympics and on television. By being who he is and expressing it with such elegance and positiveness, Adam profoundly helped so many others in their life journeys.

I do know of a few well meaning people who say, “why does this person need to be so public about being gay?” The answer: it is because it is who they are, and by fully embracing themselves, they empower others to celebrate their diversity, enjoy life to the fullest, and contribute their best to the human family.

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See my other blogs about out gay figure skaters as well as other sports figures and issues:

Seven Fabulous “Out” Gay Men of Figure Skating

Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman)

Russia, LGBT Rights and the Psychology of Bullying

Fortunate is the NFL Team that Drafts Out Gay Football Standout Michael Sam!

Football, Bullying and LGBT Diversity – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Five Important Ramifications of NBA Pro Basketball Player Jason Collins’ Coming Out

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Blog author Stan Kimer, in addition to training as an adult competitive figure skater himself, is a career development and diversity consultant with a deep expertise in corporate LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website (which includes my own figure skating page) and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.