Queer woman searches for unnamed Kamloops pride mother who changed her life | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Queer woman searches for unnamed Kamloops pride mother who changed her life

This woman's sign caught Astra's eye at the Kamloops Pride Parade, and she took a photo. The photo motivated her in following years to accept her identity.
Image Credit: Melissa Astra
March 04, 2020 - 6:30 AM

Melissa Astra has a framed photo of a woman she looks at every single day. The same smiling face beams up at her from the home screen of her phone.

She doesn’t know the woman’s name, but the brief interaction they had at the 2018 Kamloops Pride Parade changed Astra's life.

It all began when the woman’s sign caught Astra’s eye during the march, and she asked the woman if she could take a picture. The sign read: “This mother is so PROUD of YOU!”

Growing up as a queer woman, Astra struggled to fit her parents’ heterosexual ideals. If asked, Astra believes her parents would say that they are accepting, but their subtle actions and words indicate otherwise. 

“I denied a lot of who I am because I wanted to be accepted by my family,” Astra said. "I just needed someone in my life who accepted me for exactly who I am.”

After battling with self hatred and doubt, Astra chose to create a fictional version of the mother she needed as a child. In her mind, the woman she met in Kamloops became her surrogate mother or “pride mom.”

"When my mind begins to race and I’m sure something is going to go horribly wrong, I think, 'What would mom say?' and bring the image of the woman into my mind’s eye,” Astra explained. The idea of this woman’s unwavering support helped Astra to accept herself and reconnect with the parts of her identity she used to hide.

“I think it’s really easy to say you should love yourself, but the actual practical steps of loving yourself is very difficult,” Astra said. “Having that [pride] mother...really helped me internalize that message." 

Astra lives in Williams Lake and hopes to reconnect with the woman. However, she doesn’t have a lot to go on.

"I have no clue who this lady is,” she explained, "I don’t even know if she lives in Kamloops, but I would love to meet her."

If given the opportunity, Astra would express her gratitude to her pride mother.

“I think that people don’t realize the effect that they have coming out and supporting people and being an ally,” she said. "People don’t realize the huge impact that it has. So I’d say thank you."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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