Mother’s Day is this weekend and it’s a year for change for Sara Mindel. Now divorced, she and her ex will join their 7-year-old son Alexander for a “super-duper Mom’s dinner with both moms.”
“It should be fun,” the 38-year-old D.C. native says. “He loves being with all of us together. … Of course divorce is hard and complicated with a kiddo, but we always work it out and I have an amazing community. This kid has a lot of love.”
Mindel, a psychotherapist who’s also on the Rainbow Families board, says LGBT families should decide what’s important to them and create their own traditions that work.
“Truly I love celebrating most things but also I think it is so important to remember that Mother’s Day was created and maintained by capitalism and is truly a Hallmark holiday,” she says. “One does not dictate the value of a mother, a family or a child in any way. We do that for ourselves and our loved ones who deserve it.”
Mindel returned to Washington after stints in Philadelphia and Boston for school. She lives in Bloomingdale and enjoys yoga, hiking, camping and crosswords “when I get a chance.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Officially I have been out since my first major break up in college. Growing up in D.C., I never felt that I “needed to be out” but now looking back I think that was a bit of a cover. Although I can say I have never really been in. The hardest people to tell were surprisingly my parents. Despite the fact that I was surrounded with LGBT folks my whole life and they were pretty liberal, I think parents are always the toughest.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Bayard Rustin, an amazing man who worked toward the greater good and never lost himself. Ellen for living boldly and letting us watch her story as it unfolded, always staying true to her authentic self. And Kaitlin Ryan for her fantastic research on LGBT youth and family acceptance allowing the focus to be on how we embrace and treat marginalized people.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Chaos or Liquid Ladies from back in the day! But now I’m a mom, so if I go out, I go out more with friends than to party.
Describe your dream wedding.
I would say that my own wedding was pretty great. It was a beautiful day out in the mountains with all of our family and friends. Regardless of where I am now, I wouldn’t take that back for the world!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Creating a more compassionate and empathetic society and children. As a therapist who specializes in trauma, it’s easy to see how corrosive judgment, shame and trauma are to the human condition and society. I believe in raising boys to be compassionate and kind and girls to be strong and bold, and vice-versa of course.
What historical outcome would you change?
I believe that everything happens for a reason and the most important thing is that we learn from history both personally and politically.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
This question is just impossible for me for a thousand reasons. I may have to answer this one over a drink!
On what do you insist?
Kindness and integrity
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A throwback video of my son and me twirling spaghetti with our fingers in our ears. Totally silly but I couldn’t resist!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Most likely “Smoke and Mirrors: a Guide to Survival.” I joke a lot about how I try to at least make it look like I am keeping it all together!
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Um, short answer, no. I don’t think science is the problem.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
A whole lot. I am a skeptic but pretty religiously get my tarot read and most of all I believe in connection. Connection to people, community, the earth, all that is around us. I believe connection is essential to our wholehearted selves.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
I think it’s so important that we begin to seriously think and become active about inclusion and intersectionality. This is not just for gender but for race, class and age. I would love to believe we have come further than we have, but we are still leaving so much of our community behind and to fend for themselves.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
That’s easy — my son. Wholeheartedly.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That lesbians don’t have sex.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
Cliché, but it would have to be “D.E.B.S.” Enough said.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Texting. I miss the days of the art of conversation.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
A Grammy. I’ve always wished I could sing.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I was worth more than I thought I was and that I would have to learn to love myself versus get it from someone else.
D.C. is my hometown and every time I leave something always called me back.