SPECIAL SECTION: AREA WOMEN LEADERS
by Abby Brill
From taking in homeless teenagers, to working with faith groups to help them be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ members, to starting a straw-bale garden in her yard so she can share her produce, Molly Freibott has a sunny, can-do nature that inspires us to do more for others who have less.
Molly is a co-founder of the Greater Yavapai County Coalition (GYCC), which provides an umbrella of support to members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community in Yavapai County. While working as a post-rehabilitation specialist, she also directs GYCC’s Faith Bridge program and facilitates the Quad Cities Interfaith Council. She is known as a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, deeply involved in the work of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the Gay Straight Alliance, and is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
For years Molly and her family led a very mobile life, shuttling back and forth between Prescott and Phoenix for cancer treatment for her son (now five years cancer-free). In Phoenix they met a couple who were taking in gay teens who had been forced onto the streets because their parents couldn’t accept having gay kids. That this could even happen stunned Molly and her husband into action. Later, their own church in Prescott publicly outed a boy who was living with them, during a worship service and from the pulpit. This boy had a deep faith and intended to become a pastor himself, and it was a turning point for the family.
More gay kids came, and eventually Molly and her family would adopt five in addition to their own two boys. When they began taking in gay kids, there was no local network of support for LGBTQ+ children or their families, no education resources or suicide-prevention for this specific community. In 2018 Molly helped found GYCC.
Most of the kids forced onto the streets who GYCC helps come from religious families. Molly points out that being cut off from your faith community can be even worse than being tossed out by your family, because it feels as if God himself has cut you off. Faith Bridge is there to help heal and build new connections.
GYCC also has taken up suicide-prevention work. Several years ago the suicide rate within the LGBTQ+ community was 52%, and now it's even higher. Molly has done many trainings and works to give GYCC volunteers skills for acting quickly in a crisis. GYCC also works with the Northern AZ Gender Mentors Network and the Gay Straight Alliance.
When she sees a need, Molly is on it. While she doesn’t feel comfortable blowing her own horn, the value of the effort and commitment Molly puts out on a daily basis, even while isolating at home, cannot be overstated.