Greetings and Happy Summer!

Storytelling is a powerful way to touch hearts and open minds. Today, I am sharing a very personal story with you. As you may know, I am the proud mother of a gay son, Danny Moreno. Being his mother has taught me many lessons about unconditional love and acceptance, shared in the video below. We went through some challenging times, and the support from our family and community along the way has made all the difference. Danny will march in his first Pride Parade next week, as a proud member of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.

In 2007, I co-founded Somos Familia, to support other families with LGBTQ youth, with a focus in the Latin@ community. Being part of Somos Familia I discovered a passion I didn’t know I had. I discovered that sharing my story as the mother of a gay son could have a profound impact on people’s lives. There are many examples, but one in particular comes to mind. A mother came up to speak with me after a presentation we gave at her child’s preschool. She was very concerned about her child, who was very much like Danny was at that age. Months later, our group’s co-founder was shopping in the neighborhood market. This same mom approached her and thanked her for the work we do. She said that after hearing my story, and knowing that my son had grown up to be happy, she felt much more confident about supporting her own child.

About a year ago, I attended a workshop on transformational coaching by Leadership that Works. I volunteered to be coached in front of the group. At the end of about 10 minutes of coaching from the amazing Belma González, my life was changed. I realized that speaking out as the mother of a gay son is so important to me, I want to spend more time doing it, and get paid for it!  For the past year, I have been diligently at work, researching, creating curriculum, writing, establishing partnerships, and even making videos so that Mayeno Consulting can be a resource on these topics. And I am thrilled to announce the launch of a new focus area: Gender and Sexual Orientation.

This work has also opened my eyes in so many ways and allowed me to examine many of my own assumptions. I have become more convinced than ever that gender and sexual orientation are not side issues; they impact all of our lives. To create a world that works for everyone, it is essential that we transform widely held assumptions about gender and sexual orientation. This is very much connected to the work I have been doing for the past several decades to create inclusive organizations and communities. Please check out the services and focus areas on my updated website, developed by YDay Designs.

This video tells the story of Danny’s early childhood and the process I went through to fully accept and be proud of him. Danny has given me permission to use his story and photos, which is a testament to his courage. Part 2, coming soon, will tell the story of his school years.

Proud Mom Part 1 – Early Years from Laurin Mayeno on Vimeo.