Mandy Giles

Pride Frisco bringing in Mandy Giles, Liz Dyer, Sara Cunningham for Pride Frisco Festival

From Staff Reports

Pride Frisco will hold its second annual Pride Frisco Festival on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 1-5 p.m. at Toyota Stadium, 9200 World Cup Way, and organizations this week announced that three well-known activist moms will be the keynote speakers for that event.
The three are Parents of Trans Youth founder Mandy Giles, Mama Bears founder Liz Dyer (see profile on page 54) and Free Mom Hugs founder Sara Cunningham.


Giles is the parent of two transgender young adults and “a fierce advocate for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse youth,” according to Pride Frisco organzers. Her organizations, Parents of Trans Youth, is a “mission-driven business providing learning, support and community to parents and caregivers of transgender kids.”

Giles testified before committees of both the Texas Senate and the Texas House during the 2021 and 2023 legislative sessions, speaking against the numerous bills introduced by lawmakers targeting transgender youth. She has spoken publicly at innumerable press conferences, town halls, panel discussions, media interviews and rallies, and she is the immediate past president of the PFLAG chapter in Houston, where she lives with her husband and three children.

Dyer is a writer, speaker and activist who, in 2014 Liz started a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids in hopes that the moms who joined the group “would not only find connections, support and resources, but also be inspired to work together to change the world and make it a kinder, safer, more loving place for all LGBTQ people to live and thrive.” That Facebook group, “Serendipitydodah — Home of the Mama Bears” started with about 150 moms; it now has more than 39,000 members and has evolved into the organization known as Real Mama Bears, with more than 60 Mama Bear chapters, eight additional private groups and eight programs serving the LGBTQ community.

Sara Cunningham

In addition to being featured in numerous news articles and podcasts, Dyer and her organization have been featured in the Schitt’s Creek Documentary Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell, the Radiolab podcast UnErased that promoted the award-winning Movie Boy Erased starring Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, and as the subject of the full-length, award-winning Mama Bears Documentary.

Cunningham is an author and an activist, and she founded of the non-profit organization Free Mom Hugs.

After her son, Parker, came out as gay, she has said, her conservative community and faith background had her wrestling with his revelation. But then she began to study and research and came to reconcile the two worlds. This journey resulted in her book How We Sleep at Night in which she describes her journey “from the church to the Pride parade,” how she fell in love with the LGBTQIA community and how the mission of Free Mom Hugs began. Cunningham has said that when simple acts of love and acceptance turned into a viral sensation, she knew she had the opportunity to lead impactful change.

Free Mom Hugs is now a movement across the country and around the world, with Cunningham going “beyond the hug” to educate and advocate in organizations of all types including schools and businesses striving for safe and protected spaces. She has appeared on the Today show and RuPaul’s Drag Race and spoke at the 2019 GLAAD Awards. She also has been featured in national publications including The Washington Post, Woman’s Day magazine, and People magazine. A documentary about the Mama Bears movement by award-winning director Daresha Kyi also features Cunningham and the Free Mom Hugs movement.