Pride Speaks May: Parenting LGBTQIA+ Youth - Meet the Panel

May 24, 2021 | Seattle Pride

Seattle Pride’s next Pride Speaks community conversation and networking event will focus on navigating parenting LGBTQIA+.

Our panel of experts include Megan Athen, student at Evergreen High School; Marlene Lund, mother of an LGBTQIA+ child; Loren Shea, queer nonbinary parent with a gender expansive child and CEO of F*ck Yeah Weddings; Jared G. Stern Rogers, GLSEN Washington board member; and Kristina and Ori Turner, mother/child speakers of Ted Talk: Intersex is Awesome and advocates for ending “gender-normalizing” surgery. The panel will be moderated by Susan Cottrell, an international speaker whose TEDx talk has 1.5 million views.

The event will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26th. Free event registration is now open. For more information about the speakers, you can read their bios below!


Susan Cottrell (she/her) is an international speaker whose TEDx talk has 1.5 million views. OutSmart magazine called her “The Mother of All MamaBears.” The Advocate dubbed her “our favorite affirming matriarch.” She is a prominent voice for the LGBTQ community and their faith parents who has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, and as a contributor on the Our Bible app. She is a public theologian 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 non-affirming Evangelical church, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the vice-president of PFLAG Austin. Her FreedHearts Blog and YouTube videos have millions of viewers, and 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 33 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


Megan Athen (she/her) is a local teen, who attends Evergreen High School in White Center. Something that I would like to share with queer youth as well as their parents is, not all queer youth are the same. And what I mean by that is most of us just want to skate by unnoticed and unbothered, and there are some who want to be celebrated. Some wear it loud and proud while others keep to themselves. I think that it is very important to have this conversation because it can really alter someone's confidence levels and overall outlook on the world. If someone comes out to you, and you chose to spread and make it "your" business it can ruin your relationship with your queer youth. I think that people need to be more aware of boundaries when it comes to this sort of situation.

Marlene Lund (she/er) is the mother of an adult daughter who identifies as queer. She has been an advocate for full inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community for several years, both with PFLAG and as an admin for a private Facebook support group, FreedHearts Moms, for moms of LGBTQ+ kids, especially moms struggling with reconciling their faith with their love for their children.

Loren Shea (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary parent with a gender expansive 6-year old. They work in childcare, as well as being a photographer dedicated to queering the wedding industry, and representing marginalized communities. They launched "Queer Your Sh*t" in 2020 to work with other small businesses to be more inclusive in their language, imagery and practices.

Jared G. Stern Rogers (he/him) has served on the GLSEN Washington board since March of 2020. As the youngest current board member, they took up their position at the age of 18, where, at the time, they were still a high school student leading Nathan Hale High School's Pride Club (GSA). Currently, as the Youth Leadership & SHINE Chair, they work to facilitate GLSEN Washington's statewide LGBTQ+ youth leadership program, SHINE, and the chapter's statewide online weekly GSA. For inquiries, Jared can be reached at his email,