Having fought the serial killer Michael Myers, Jamie Lee Curtis is out to battle homophobia.
The actress has bought the rights to the story of Sara Cunningham, a mother from Oklahoma City who offers “free mom hugs” to LGBTQ people and is willing to be a stand-in for parents who won’t attend their children’s same-sex weddings, NBC News reports.
Cunningham posted the wedding offer on Facebook last year. It went viral and led Curtis to send her a message on the site, although when Cunningham saw it, she was skeptical at first.
“I said, ‘Of course, I’ll call you right after I pray that I’m not getting catfished,’” Cunningham, 55, told NBC. But it was really Curtis, the star of Halloween, Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, and numerous other films and TV shows.
They met in September, when Curtis was in Oklahoma City for a speaking engagement. They talked about the possibility of Curtis buying the rights to Cunningham’s book How We Sleep at Night: A Mother's Memoir, which she self-published in 2014. It details her journey to acceptance after her son came out as gay at age 21.
Curtis read the book, Cunningham told NBC, and “she shared it with her people, and they loved it, and they want to tell the story, and I believe the reason why is that at one time when I wrote the book, I thought I was the only mom in Oklahoma with a gay kid.” Curtis’s team confirmed that there are plans to craft a script based on the book, although the format isn’t set yet.
The wonderful @washingtonpost is highlighting today the work of my friend Sara and her mission, along with many other Mama Bears, @freemomhugs to suit up and show up for LGBTQ couples and they are changing the world with acceptance, compassion and love. Join her? Join them? Join me? Join forces? https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/01/04/this-woman-offered-be-mom-any-gay-wedding-her-post-went-viral/
Cunningham had long attended a conservative church, but her experience with her son led her to switch to an LGBTQ-accepting one. She founded the nonprofit group Free Mom Hugs to provide support to LGBTQ people, and she eventually became a minister, marrying both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. She posted the stand-in mom offer, she once said, out of frustration when she encountered many same-sex couples whose parents were boycotting their weddings.
She provided that service last November for a couple in Texas, and she’s considering several other invitations. For those she can’t accept, she’s created a Facebook group to circulate them to other potential stand-in mothers.
Through Free Mom Hugs, she has several projects coming up, including a Valentine’s Day party for transgender people, a tour of Oklahoma to share her story and hear those of others, and working on legislation to combat conversion therapy.
She knows it may take some time to see her story brought to the big or small screen, even with the help of a major star like Curtis, but she’s willing to be patient. Curtis, she said, told her, “In show business, there's a saying that says ‘stay tuned.’” Because of that, Cunningham told NBC, “I’m just staying tuned.”