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

Six years ago, Bryan Fuenmayor’s family disowned him. He came out as gay at 31, spurring his departure from the Jehovah Witnesses and the loss of his family and most of the friends he’d made since coming from Venezuela as a child.

“It got a point where it was either leave the church and suffer the consequences or take my own life,” said Fuenmayor, who had known he was gay since he was 10 years old. “I made a good choice, but I did pay severe consequences and went through the trauma of losing my entire family support system and all my friends.”

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

After leaving everything he’d ever known, Fuenmayor looked around for an LGBTQ support network to help him deal with the trauma. There wasn’t one.

“I’d been hearing 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 of bars and not everyone can go there: Sober people and young people.”

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 running of the organization to Cari Searcy. He continues working with the group alongside being a vice chair of the Mobile Human Relations Commission and is on the board for Prism United, an LGBTQ group that supports people aged 10 to 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 participation we have in the community the better our world is going to be.”

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