Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR


Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR pflag en espanol los angeles 6e41261e4385cb458cba0b2778ebe3202651a493 s1100 c50

PFLAG En Español members celebrate Pride in Los Angeles.

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Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR pflag en espanol los angeles 6e41261e4385cb458cba0b2778ebe3202651a493 s1200

PFLAG En Español members celebrate Pride in Los Angeles.

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Jeanne Manford made headlines 50 years ago when she marched with her openly gay son in the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade: an early Pride event in New York City. Such behavior from a heterosexual mother was unheard of at the time.

The following year, Manford founded an organization for people like her: BANNER, which originally meant Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Over time, PFLAG became a leader in the fight for gay rights. It was a precious source of support for thousands of families, especially during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. These days, Pride is a family event and PFLAG serves all members of the LGBTQIA community.


Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR jeanne manford christopher street liberation day march 062572 photo credit c.pflag national 0ef4f9d12c869fcd3963d9fadcdcb9ac55a5d3a7 s1100 c50

Jeanne Manford marching in support of her son 50 years ago, at the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in 1972.

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Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR jeanne manford christopher street liberation day march 062572 photo credit c.pflag national 0ef4f9d12c869fcd3963d9fadcdcb9ac55a5d3a7 s1200

Jeanne Manford marching in support of her son 50 years ago, at the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in 1972.

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The culture has changed immeasurably, says PFLAG board member Kay Holladay. She remembers how in the early 1980s, when her son told her that he didn’t know any gay people.

“I think my choir director at church probably was,” he says dryly. Her Southern Baptist church in Norman, Oklahoma, did not accept LGBTQ members. “We had no one to talk to. We had no other families. We had no resources.”

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Holladay and her husband felt lost and isolated. They went to the public library to educate themselves but found nothing useful. However, they read about PFLAG in the syndicated advice column Dear Abby and it inspired them to co-found a local chapter. This year, they were grand marshals from Norman Pride Parade.

PFLAG was shaped by people like the Holladays for others like them: a majority-white demographic that desperately needed support in the days before Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper helped the very idea of ​​LGBTQ families go mainstream. These days, coming out has become relatively painless for many kids in families like yours. But it wasn’t easy for Devin Green, a son of immigrants who grew up in Charlotte, NC.

“It was very stressful,” the 19-year-old says of telling his parents he was trans. “Being Jamaican and having a relatively conservative upbringing, he just didn’t know what to expect.”

Green’s family attended a Southern Baptist church that taught a literal interpretation of the Bible. When she came out in the ninth grade, Green’s mom was less than thrilled. Now, she is open and honest about her family’s journey. After all, says Claudette Green, it started for her at her home in Jamaica, where she grew up hearing homophobic messages in church, on the news and in popular music.

“There were songs that glorified the murder of LGBTQ members,” he recalls. “In fact, there were laws on the books in Jamaica that said you could go to jail if you were a member of the LGBTQ community.”

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After Devin Green persuaded her mother to go to therapy, she was convinced to attend a PFLAG meeting. “It was difficult for me because when I got there, I met families who were more accepting of their children and I felt like a terrible mother,” she says. But Green was the opposite of a terrible father. She and her son talked. And most importantly, she listened. “Devin was an excellent teacher and I was a very good student,” she says.

And when the head of the local PFLAG chapter invited her out for coffee, she went. “She met me where I was,” says Green. “Going to PFLAG and seeing love helped me dismantle some of the things that I believed in.”

Five years later, Green proudly marches in Pride parades. She changed her nursing career to focus on helping LGBTQ youth and she and her husband have supported other Caribbean families adjusting to LGBTQ children. They have moved to a more affirmative church, and Green has just accepted a seat on the PFLAG board of directors in Charlotte.


Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR pflag san gabriel valley api chapter photo credit to chapter 056a9bb43f4540f57cf1c97a47441c2b9a8ac7e0 s1100 c50

The San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander PFLAG chapter marches in support of LGBTQ friends and family in a recent Pride parade.

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Pride has embraced diversity and PFLAG is following suit: NPR pflag san gabriel valley api chapter photo credit to chapter 056a9bb43f4540f57cf1c97a47441c2b9a8ac7e0 s1200

The San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander PFLAG chapter marches in support of LGBTQ friends and family in a recent Pride parade.

PFLAG San Gabriel Valley API Chapter

Still, PFLAG’s CEO, brian linksays his organization has a long way to go.

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“It’s predominantly white,” he says. But PFLAG is trying, she says, with bilingual literature and developing spaces where people with similar cultural backgrounds and competencies can support each other online. However, he is obsessed with the people PFLAG doesn’t reach.

Bond keeps a receipt in his wallet, he told NPR. It’s for the funeral of a 13-year-old trans boy who committed suicide a year and a half ago. His family had never heard of PFLAG. The organization paid for the boy’s funeral anonymously.

“Interestingly, it was a state trooper who approached us,” says Bond. “And it’s not our job, but it’s what we needed to do at the time. And making sure no family has to do that should be our ultimate goal.”

Times have changed, but in a way, they haven’t. PFLAG has new battles to fight. For the first time, has become a plaintiff in a lawsuitagainst the state of Texas to protect trans children and their parents fighting for affirmative health care.

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