Yesterday, we got the sad news that PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford passed away at 92 years of age. In 1972, after her gay son was beaten at a political rally, she started the gathering force of parents, friends and straight allies that became PFLAG. Now with 350 chapters across the country, PFLAG has long been one of the most important parts of the LGBT community. If you don’t believe me, just see the outpouring of love and applause they receive as walk any pride parade.
Honor the memory of Ms. Manford and get involved with PFLAG Portland. There are three chapters locally: Portland Metro, East County, and Black Portland. Vancouver has its own PFLAG chapter as well. Family members attend meetings to discuss and support one another on various issues surrounding having LGBT children and family members–from understanding the coming out process to dealing with religion to gathering a political presence.
Why would a queer person attend? To share their experiences and support the parents of others who are feeling a bit overwhelmed . I used to attend a chapter in Berkeley for a few years and found it to be a wonderful experience. And, one of my fondest memories is serving as volunteer coordinator for the national PFLAG convention in San Francisco in 1994.