Shunned by church and family, he started his own LGBTQ support group

Six years ago, Bryan Fuenmayor’s family disowned him. He came out at age 31, leading to his departure from Jehovah’s Witnesses and the loss of his family and most of the friends he had made since he was a child in Venezuela.

“It got to a point where you either had to leave the church and face the consequences or kill yourself,” said Fuenmayor, who knew he was gay since he was 10. “I made a good choice, but I paid serious consequences and suffered the trauma of losing my entire family support system and all my friends.”

To this day, the only way his family will ever accept him again is if he returns to church.

After leaving everything he had ever known, Fuenmayor sought out an LGBTQ support network to help him deal with the trauma. There were none.

“I had heard a lot of stories in the community that there were no events or support systems for LGBTQ people,” he said. “The only thing was inside the bars and not everyone can go there: the sober and the young.”

Undeterred, Fuenmayor founded Rainbow Mobile, a non-profit LGBTQ organization. The organization acts as a support group for members of the LGBTQ community in Mobile and Baldwin County

Last year, Fuenmayor handed over the leadership of the organization to Cari Searcy. He continues to work with the group while serving as vice chairman of the Mobile Human Relations Commission and serves on the board of Prism United, an LGBTQ group that supports people ages 10-18.

Bryan is now married and continues to be an integral part of Mobile’s growing LGBTQ community.

“Life is a million times better than before,” he said. “If you’re looking for a way to get involved, find out what your passion is, whether it’s LGBTQ issues, racial justice, animals, the environment or homelessness. The more community involvement we have, the better off our world will be. »

Virginia S. Braud