We are thrilled to be intoducing our new Executive Director, Karrie Fletcher to the our Free Mom Hugs family. Karrie is going to bring some amazing talents and experience to the organization. She has had a successful career in the University setting, and also working for other LGBTQ+ non-profits including The Reformation Project. Her story was featured on social media in connection to the Documentary Pray Away. She was able to share her personal and courageous story as a gay Christian who attempted to "pray the gay away". She has since become a fully, out LGBTQ+, person and continues to advocate for the community we all hold dear. We can't wait to see what the future holds with Karrie on our team.
My name is Karrie Fletcher and I am the new Executive Director of Free Mom Hugs. I was born and raised in Oklahoma but I have lived in the Dallas, Texas area for the past 21 years. I came out as a gay Christian in 2016 after spending 14 years trying to change my sexuality. Since that time, my passion has been advocating for the inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community in the church and in society. In 2017, I participated in The Reformation Project Leadership Cohort which focuses on leadership training and skill development for advancing the LGBTQ inclusion in the church. I have led several initiatives in the Dallas area for the LGBTQIA+ community including the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of The Reformation Project, bible studies, social events, served as a moderator for a pastor’s panel discussion on becoming affirming and was on a panel discussion to share my story of being involved in the “ex-gay” ministry movement.
During the time I was trying to change my sexuality, I was in counseling for many years, was prayed over and prayed for incessantly, and I sought God on a deep, intimate level. I read every book I could get my hands on regarding how to be “ex-gay” so that I could live a straight life. I have been a Christian since I was 12 years old and like many people, all I ever heard growing up was that being gay was the “worst” sin and that God hated people who were gay. For many years, I could not reconcile the fact that I was gay with being a Christian. I came across several testimonies of people who claimed to have changed their sexuality through their faith. So, I wanted to seek out that change. I wanted to be right with God and I believed at the time that I could not do that if I was gay.
I read about a large world-wide ministry for people who wanted to “change their sexual orientation through a relationship with Jesus Christ.” I attended conferences, read their resources, and heard testimonies of several people who had changed from being gay to straight. I embraced the idea that I was somehow broken and needed to be healed. I consistently worked through my issues hoping at the end of each season I would be straight. I grew personally during this time and my relationship with God was stronger than ever. I even attended seminary with the anticipation of getting into “ex-gay” ministry after graduation. I spent a short time training as a volunteer leader at a local ministry, but I didn’t have peace being there. Something was stirring in me that I didn’t understand and I made the decision to not go back. It would take another 3 years for me to process what was going on within me and for my heart (and mind) to open to the idea that I was still gay. But more importantly during this time of processing, was the complete acceptance of God’s unconditional love for me.
I understand this is a highly controversial and emotionally charged topic for all of us. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have walked this out like many others have through many years of loneliness, confusion, shame, frustration, despair and a lot of prayer. I wouldn’t be telling a complete story if I simply came out as gay without sharing the journey I’ve been on as a Christian. My relationship with God is something I’m not willing to give up. And my sexuality is something that did not change after many years of trying to make that happen. This is how I am wired to love. I’m a Christian who happens to be gay.
The first time I heard Sara’s story was at the Gay Christian Network (now Q Christian Fellowship) Conference in Houston. Sara shared her story about being the parent of a gay son. Over the next few years, I got to know Sara through mutual friends and watched the Free Mom Hugs organization evolve into a national movement. I joined the Free Mom Hugs board of directors in February of 2020 and enjoyed working with the team on the virtual tour in May of this year.
My Favorite Things
My favorite things include traveling, reading, snow skiing, working out, exploring new places, studying all things related to the Enneagram, and spending time with my fiancé Mandy, my chocolate lab named Jax and my adopted cat, Sydney. My hope for Free Mom Hugs is that we can expand our reach around the world as we show love and acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community. I believe Free Mom Hugs changes lives through the power of stories and a simple hug. I’m so excited to be involved in this movement and I can’t wait to see how these stories and a lot of hugs can impact the world.