I’m a national speaker and a storyteller helping LGBTQ people navigate their coming out process and educating faith leaders, healthcare workers, and loved ones on the importance of full inclusion. I’m the author of Refocusing My Family and most recently, Unashamed, which is the first coming-out guide for LGBTQ people of faith. Many people know me as the gay daughter of a 30-year executive at Focus on the Family, and just as you imagine, that one defining moment of authenticity cost me everything. Losing everything I held dear propelled me into a world of helping others dissolve shame, foster self-acceptance, and reconcile their faith with their sexuality so that they can live and thrive in the world.
The Bottom Line:
I believe stories are important. I believe they have the power to change hearts and to even change lives. At their core, I want people to love who they are. And I want them to know that they don’t have to change anything about their sexual orientation or gender identity in order to be fully loved and embraced by God. Full stop. Harmful theology is literally killing LGBTQ people both physically and spiritually. That fact, coupled with my own personal experience of pain and loss, makes me passionate about the work that I do. Prior to my advocacy work, I worked fifteen years in the field as a certified Sign Language Interpreter; I am in an inter-racial same-sex marriage, I am the dog mom of two, and I live with an invisible disability. These intersectional identities make me passionate about fighting for the equality, equity, and dignity of all people.
See official bio here. Listen to Amber tell her story publicly here.
Baby me was born in Kalispell, MT.
I win a county-wide talent competition at age 3 for my recitation of "The Moon Came Too." My mom about has a heart attack from the shock.
My dad starts working for Focus on the Family. Clearly Dobson and I hit it off from the start.
I perform my first solo piano recital at age 7...music was in my blood.
I begin acting in Adventures in Odyssey and meet Will Ryan (Eugene Meltsner).
I rock the 90's bangs and sign a Purity Pledge on my 13th birthday, vowing a chaste life of service to God until the day I marry my someday husband. Yikes.
I graduate high school at age 16 - only a slight overachiever. 😉
Did a Christian internship for a year 'cuz it was a thing. Made it all the way to graduation without dating a boy...imagine that. (It was a legit rule.)
Fell in love with a girl...but couldn't tell anybody. The inner wrestling began.
Adopted my first puppy. Named her Half Pint. Fell completely in love.
I came out as gay and lost almost everyone I knew in the weeks and months to come. My world grew very dark.
Half Pint gets me through the hardest days of my life and helps me avoid the suicidal feelings and self harm I was battling behind the smile.
Half Pint becomes a service dog to help me navigate life with PTSD.
I meet and fall in love with Clara and life gets a whole lot better.
I marry Clara, the love of my life, and officially become a Cantorna.
We buy our first home and begin life together with our little family.
We expand our family by another fur baby - Little Anne - and our love grows even wider.
"Refocusing My Family" releases into the world.
I begin speaking nationwide and sharing my story in order to bring hope to other LGBTQ people of faith.
On tour...I can hardly stand the level of adorable.
"Unashamed" releases and becomes the first coming-out guide for LGBTQ people of faith.
The love of the Cantorna Clan just keeps growing stronger and stronger. Love always wins.
I continue to speak and share my story in order to give hope to LGBTQ people and to educate faith leaders, healthcare workers, and family members on the importance of full inclusion.