I was born and raised in central Minnesota (Lake Wobegon, actually). After living in northeast Ohio for 22 years, I returned to Minnesota to live in a beautiful spot out in the country an hour northwest of Minneapolis. St. Cloud is the closest city but this is pretty much a rural area. I’m mother to three, stepmother to another three and grandmother to four.

I’ve been a teacher and professional musician all my life. I began my teaching career here in Minnesota, taught part time and full time in Ohio, and since 1991 am working as a substitute teacher in the St. Cloud School District.

My passion for LGBT advocacy actually came with the death of Matthew Shepard. When my older son came out a year later, I was ready to hit the ground running and I realized very early on, that when you have a gay kid, you don’t just have one; they’re all your kids.

I was raised in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Catholic grade school and all-girls high school; at the time there was a huge change going on in the church. My home parish was a surprisingly liberal place in the midst of a solidly middle class, factory worker neighborhood. It has been over 30 years since I lived in Ohio but I am still friends with several of the priests and nuns who were assigned there. In fact, it was from one of the priests that I heard about Fortunate Families.

In this emotional short video, shared here with permission, Tom Nelson explains what being the father of a gay son has meant to him.

“Tom’s story and others like it, had an almost transformative power to help open the hearts and minds of Christians when it came to the welcome and inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church.” From “My Mind Was Changed”: A Communications Toolkit, developed by a collaboration of Auburn Media, Fenton, and Goodwin Simon Strategic Research — with a grant from the Arcus Foundation.