Two of Hearts
Susan Cottrell is a mother of 5, wife, public speaker, and pastor. She works to provide education and support for religious families that have a child that is part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Susan founded Freed Hearts nonprofit organization that strives to establish the church’s connection of love for the LGBTQIA+ community rather than rejection.
Susan lost her parents at an early age and cited this experience as a reflection on the many young queer people who have been rejected and lost their parents because of their identity. She later met her husband Robert and started their family. They were very involved in their church and had raised their children to be part of the community. Their family led bible studies and Robert was a worship leader and Susan was part of the praise team, Susan said in her Ted talk. Then an unexpected event occurred, Their oldest daughter called her mother from college and came out to her. Susan was stunned and admitted that she wasn’t supportive of her daughter initially, advising her not to give in to temptation. Later, she confided with some of her friends in the church as to what she should do. Instead of offering support for their friend, they denounced her conflict and told her that she couldn’t accept her daughter. Susan chose to accept her daughter over the evangelical church. Later she studied different churches' views on LGBTQIA+ and found that most churches are accepting of the queer community.
Currently, Susan and her husband run the nonprofit group called Freedhearts which seeks to connect folks that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, parents, therapists, and members of the church to a community that focuses on love and acceptance through educational programs, podcasts, officiating queer marriages, parenting courses, and workshops around healing trauma wounds caused by shame and discrimination.
Podcast: FreedHearts- Airs every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts
Books: Best Seller “Mom I’m Gay”, “ Radically Included”, “True Colors”, “Be the Love you want to See in the World”
Ted Talk: Why I chose my LGBTQ daughter over the Evangelical Church | Susan Cottrell | TEDxMileHigh