PFLAG Vol. I

What is PFLAG?

PFLAG stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. By the title it doesn’t seem as if they are all inclusive to bisexuals, transgendered and intersex persons, though they might be. I have not had interactions with PFLAG, though I hear it has been a mostly positive experience. My friend who went to the one in my college town said it consisted of mostly over college-aged people and they were eager to have youth, which I am not sure is an all around problem for them (not having youth). I encourage every one to check out PFLAG’s website which is listed below:

http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2

I hope I can provide everyone who looks at this page with some more support knowing that this is out there or at least the resource. Below I have included some of the basic information about PFLAG, not all. They have an abundance of information on the website from faq, to jobs, advocacy, resources, a shop, newsroom, and education programs.

Mission

PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.” (http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=237&srcid=191)

Vision

“We, the parents, families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, celebrate diversity and envision a society that embraces everyone, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Only with respect, dignity and equality for all will we reach our full potential as human beings, individually and collectively. PFLAG welcomes the participation and support of all who share in, and hope to realize this vision.” (http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=237&srcid=191)

Goals

“I. Build the capacity of our organization at every level so that we may have all the resources, in the form of information, people and funding, necessary to move forward in our work with the greatest possible effect.

II. Create a world in which our young people may grow up and be educated with freedom from fear of violence, bullying and other forms of discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation or that of their families.

III. Make our vision and our message accessible to the broadest range of ethnic and cultural communities, ending the isolation of families with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender family members within those communities.

IV. Work toward full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons within their chosen communities of faith.

V. Create a society in which all GLBT persons may openly and safely pursue the career path of their choice, and may be valued and encouraged to grow to their full potential in the workplace.

VI. Create a society in which all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons may enjoy, in every aspect of their lives, full civil and legal equality and may participate fully in all the rights, privileges and obligations of full citizenship in this country.

We welcome the participation and support of all who share in our Vision and Mission and who hope to realize our goals.”

(http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=237&srcid=191)

History

“HISTORY SNAPSHOT

In 1972, Jeanne Manford started an international movement when she marched with her son Mortie in New York’s Gay Pride Parade. Enraged that her son had been beaten at a gay rights protest two months before while police did nothing, she carried a sign at the Pride march that said, “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support of Our Children.”

30 years later, PFLAG has grown to include more than 500 chapters nationwide, over 200,000 members, supporters, and affiliates, representing the largest chapter network in the struggle for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) rights.

For a moving article about Jeanne Manford and her historic step, click here.

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York’s Pride Day parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place in March 1973 at a local church. Approximately 20 people attended.

In the next years, through word of mouth and in response to community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering “safe havens” and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, D.C.

By 1980, PFLAG, then known as Parents FLAG, began to distribute information to educational institutions and communities of faith nationwide and established itself as a source of information for the general public. When “Dear Abby” mentioned PFLAG, more than 7,000 letters were received requesting information. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr.

In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc., then representing some 20 groups, was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1987, PFLAG re-located to Denver, under President Ellinor Lewallen. Also in the 1980’s, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military’s efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the GLBT movement. And by the late 1980’s, PFLAG began to have notable success in organizing chapters in rural and Bible Belt states like Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In 1990, following a period of significant growth, PFLAG employed an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and consolidated operations in Washington, D.C. Also in 1990, PFLAG President Paulette Goodman sent a letter to Barbara Bush asking for Mrs. Bush’s support. The first lady’s personal replied, stating, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country. Such treatment always brings with in pain and perpetuates intolerance.” Inadvertently given to the Associated Press, her comments caused a political maelstrom and were perhaps the first gay-positive comments ever to come out of the White House.

In the early 1990s, PFLAG chapters in Massachusetts helped pass the first Safe Schools legislation in the country. In 1993, PFLAG added the word “Families” to the name, and added bisexuals to its mission and work. By the mid-1990s a PFLAG family was responsible for the Department of Education’s ruling that Title 9 also protected gay and lesbian students from harassment based on sexual orientation. Also in the mid-1990s, PFLAG put the Religious Right on the defensive, when Pat Robertson threatened to sue any station that carried our Project Open Mind advertisements showing examples of his anti-gay statements. The resulting media coverage drew national attention to our message linking hate speech with hate crimes and GLBT teen suicide. In 1998, PFLAG added transgender people and their loved ones.

At the turn of the century, PFLAG began to develop nationally coordinated programs in order to better focus the work of their grassroots network. Programs such as our From Our House to the School House campaign, the Scholarship Program, Racial and Ethnic Communities, Bringing the Message Home, and Welcoming Faith Communities are already showing results. Most recently the PFLAG National office has launched its newest programs From Our House to the Courthouse and From Our House to the State House.

For a complete overview of PFLAG’s remarkable history and growth, click here.” (http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=267&srcid=191)

PFLAG Education and Programs

“In addition to providing support to families and friends of GLBT people, PFLAG members are advocates for legislation that promotes equality for GLBT people as well as for educational efforts to do the same.

From our House to the School House:Tools for creating safe schools and responding to harassment and bullying are at the center of these programs. (Also includes PFLAG’s National and Local Scholarship programs.)

In addition its programs, PFLAG also advocates and educates about GLBT civil rights and legal protections.

Each Field & Policy Coordinator has specific oversight for policy folios and programs. To find the right contact for an issue or your area, visit the Contact Us page.” (http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=212&srcid=194)

Advocacy and Issues

See PFLAG’s website for issues and advoacy: http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=210&srcid=212

Some of the issues include: military, safe space, the work space, marriage, hate crimes, and reparative therapy

News about PFLAG

To find out when, where, how, and about what PFLAG has gotten in the news about, check out this website: http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=213&srcid=210

Finding support (finding a chapter, support networks for people who have friends in the glbtq community, and support for straight spouses)

“When Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York City’s Gay Pride parade in 1972, her sign read, “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children.” A year later, 20 people attended what would be the first PFLAG support meeting.

Since that time, the meaning of “support” for PFLAG has grown to include more people than just parents. PFLAG’s support efforts provide encouragement and resources to parents, families, friends, as well as GLBT people themselves. In more recent years, we’ve added special outreach programs for transgender people and their loved ones and straight spouses of GLBT individuals.

Included here are several resources that can help you find the support that you need. For more personalized support services, contact one of the more than 500 PFLAG chapters across the United States today.

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Filed under Education, glbtq, Sexuality

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