Changing the Human Conversation on Love and Inclusion
SUSAN COTTRELL is an international speaker featured on the TED stage for a live audience of 5,000 at TEDxMileHigh, and whose TEDx talk has more than a million views. She was called “The Mother of All MamaBears” by OutSmart magazine. A prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQ children, she has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, on The Advocate Magazine’s viral videos—as “our favorite affirming matriarch”—and is a contributor on the Our Bible app. She is a public theologian, acclaimed author, and through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her authentic love; and she challenges Christians to love as the foundation of faith. 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 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 more than 30 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
“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
International Speaker | Acclaimed Author | Consultant
"Mom, I'm Gay" Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith
Susan's classic book!
When your child reveals that he or she is attracted to the same sex, how you respond may have a lot to do with your faith. Doesn't the Bible say that s wrong? Will we have to leave our church? Worst of all, you may wonder, Do I have to choose between my Christian faith and my child?
Susan Cottrell is a mom who has been there and wants you to know that loving and accepting your gay child does not mean abandoning or even compromising your faith. This is not a book about the politics or morality of homosexuality. This is a book about how to respond with love and support during this vulnerable time for your child. With practical advice and heartfelt encouragement, Cottrell guides readers through the fear and uncertainty Christian parents of LGBTQ children often feel.
True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You
"True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You" is the latest book from Susan Cottrell, the author of "Mom, I'm Gay" Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith. A fullsize workbook, "True Color" brings healing from parent, family, church and community wounds - for people who are LGBTQ and their families. It is time to heal! It is time to celebrate! "For anyone who has been spiritually hurt by the church, by parents or family members, Susan Cottrell's True Colors is a personal, intimate, powerful tool for genuine self-healing." - Meghan Stabler, National Board of Directors, The Human Rights Campaign. "You can almost hear Susan whispering between the lines 'God loves you exactly as you are. Quit being afraid. Quit hiding. Love yourself as God loves you. Begin your new life as a self-loving LGBTQ person and let the healing begin.'" - From the special foreword by Dr. Mel White, author of "Stranger at the Gate"
Radically Included - The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion
"I doubt this is breaking news, that many nonaffirming Christians marginalize, oppress, and exclude LGBTQI people—and even their families—based on 6 or 7 wrongly interpreted passages of scripture. Homelessness, substance abuse, suicide: the results are tragic.
"I do a simple, precise standdown of the 7 'clobber passages' and I multiplied 7 times 7 to bring you 49 passages that show inclusion as the core message of the Gospel and the very heart of God. The Bible contains hundreds of passages that require love, justice, mercy, hope, encouragement, and trust in God!
"This book explores 49 of those passages to get at the heart of the gospel and the heart of how we are to respond both to the Bible and to the call to be Jesus in the world; 49 passages that will change your life, change your love, and set your heart free!"
Interview with Dana Goldberg
Christians Talk featured video
The Advocate (For Parents)
You may have seen Susan on:
What Others Are Saying
Susan's vulnerability during her speech was moving, and so very heartfelt. • Her talk left a lasting impression and told a powerful struggle between humanity and strong beliefs. • You had me in tears! You are a beautiful soul and we need more people like you! • She was so human and compassionate. It let me see the LGBTQ world differently. • So so inspiring!! Exactly the type of speaker I wanted to see. - From TEDxMileHigh talk
"Susan has this fierce, loving, don’t mess with me, Mom vibe.” - Rev Ashley Harness, Auburn Seminary“
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
"Your book, True Colors, changed my life. For decades, I have lived with the belief that God hated me. No more. You showed me that God loves me – really loves and delights in me. And for the first time in my life, I truly believe that I am lovable.” – Carl
"Much has happened since you spoke here. You should know, from my perspective, the fact that Brenham Presbyterian Church will be the site on which PFLAG will be meeting, is due in no small part to the sermon that you preached here." - Pastor Brent
“Your Pastor’s Roundtable was such a great time of sharing and the conversation with the conservative clergy is continuing. What a breakthrough!” – Pastor Natalie
"Thank you Susan. I so appreciate your candidness and thoughtful presentation of difficult topics! You have helped our church take the first step towards including others as God has included us." – Pastor Cheryl
"Susan, I love how you always nail it in truth and love!!!! I am sure this has come from numerous hours of studying the Scriptures. You are a great resource for our faith community. Thank you!!" – Pastor Carol
"Susan Cottrell helps parents find a way to see their faith as a means of helping them to love better, including loving their children better, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” – Sharon Groves, The Human Rights Campaign
“Susan Cottrell offers us a book from a Christian parent’s perspective, in what will surely be an oasis in the desert for so many parents.” – Justin Lee, author TORN
“In Susan’s book, True Colors, you can also hear her whispering between the lines “God loves you exactly as you are. Quit being afraid, Quit hiding. Love yourself as God loves you. Begin your new life as a self-loving LGBTQ person and let the healing begin.” – Dr. Mel White, Soulforce
"We want you to do these videos because you are the best person to teach faith parents. And we just love you - amiable and eloquent :) Our audience loves you too!" – The Advocate Magazine
Susan's TEDx Talk!
The Advocate (For LGBTQ)
Churches, Communities, Corporations, Schools
Speaking and in-depth work dealing with difficult and divisive issues, helping establish and maintain an environment and mindset of lavish love and inclusion.
Susan offers powerful, relevant, memorable sermons and keynote talks for churches, conferences, and other events. She speaks with authenticity and tender-hearted zeal, conveying impactful messages of radical, lavish love and inclusion.
Susan presents comprehensive, powerful one-day workshops for parents, LGBTQ, people of faith, and for the community. These workshops are available for churches, conferences, corporations, schools, communities and other venues.
On a very select basis, Susan is available for in-depth work with churches, corporations, school districts and others to provide ongoing training in how to navigate difficult issues, and create and maintain a mindset, and an environment, of love, acceptance and inclusion.