Leader Spotlight: Diane Seltzer Torre
Spotlighting our leaders in our states has been important for a lot of reasons, but if I didn’t already love and respect the work that Diane puts into Free Mom Hugs, I fell in love with her even more after reading her spotlight. The love and care she has for her son is so wonderful. She is truly modeling the way for all parents!
Tell us about your journey and how you came to a place of support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
I’m a little boring! It was never really a journey…I’ve always been where I am right now in terms of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. ☺
If you have an LGBTQIA+ child, your “reason”, tell us about them, him, or her.
I sure do. I have a beautiful, amazing, sweet, wise, smart and funny 21 year old son. He graduated from University of Michigan on May 1, 2020 with a degree in Organizational Studies. He will begin working in Manhattan this summer for Citibank. There are no words to describe how much I enjoy being with him and talking with him. His values and the way he lives his life as a son, big brother, student, friend, swim team member and coach, member of the community, and employee make me incredibly proud. My son had told me he was gay the day after the election in November 2016 and I remember thinking, “OH THANK GOD SOME HAPPY NEWS!!!”
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your “reason” for getting involved in advocacy work?
I think about the idea that not everyone has parents who love them and embrace them unconditionally. That some parents are so damaged themselves that they actually reject or try to change their wonderful children. I want to be there for those children to let them know how lovable and great they are exactly as they are.
What makes you proud to be their mama?
Everything. Literally everything.
When did you first hear about Free Mom Hugs and what motivated you to get involved as a volunteer for the organization?
I learned of FMH on the news in 2018 when Sara started going to weddings for LGBTQIA+ people. I thought it was amazing and heartbreaking all at once. I knew I had to help in any way that I could. I had to be there for the kids whose parents can’t or won’t be there for them. So I offered to hug!
I wrote this email in July 2018:
Hi, I think what Sara is doing is phenomenal! I have a gay son who is almost 20, and I love him to pieces. I cry when I read about LGBT children whose parents do not embrace them because of their sexual orientation, and I want to help those kids feel loved and embraced. How can I get involved? Thank you!
Also, I am an employment lawyer who has handled many discrimination cases during my career, and this seemed like another way to help the community who I hold near and dear to my heart.
What excites you most about being involved with FMH?
So many things! That I am part of a group that wants to spread love—and that is growing so fast and doing so well in carrying out its mission while expanding – is so exciting. And seeing all the faces of the FMH leaders and volunteers is a thrill.
What brings you the most fear?
The thought of someone hurting people – our children – physically or emotionally just because they are LGBTQIA+.
What brings you the most joy?
Thinking about my son getting married and having children, and that we live in a world where this is not only possible, but it’s a given!
Tell us about some of the exciting things the chapter in your state is working on.
I am excited to work on our Virtual FMH Tour. This is new and different and unexpected, and we will make it great – together.
Is there anything else we need to know about you and what makes you, you?
I’m New York born and raised and have trouble understanding people who are not progressive and open-minded. And I am SO GLAD God gave Adam to me instead of to someone who can’t or wouldn’t love him unconditionally. I feel so lucky!
If you want to get involved with Diane and her team in DC send an email to [email protected] and start volunteering today!