"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."
-PFLAG's mission statement
Think about what it would feel like to keep a secret from all of your loved ones. Furthermore, imagine knowing that secret might not shed a good light on your character in the eyes of everyone you care about. Think of the self-doubt and pain this knowledge would cause. Now imagine the burden lifted. Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is there to help remove that weight from lesbians and gay everywhere.
Established in 1973, this organization is filled with members from all over the world who are whole-heartedly dedicated to this important cause. The founder and mother of a gay son, Jeanne Manford, aimed to create a community for family and friends of GLBT to learn more and begin the road to accepting their gay relative or friend.
Over the past thirty-six years, PFLAG has gone from a dozen people in a Manhattan church to encompassing over five hundred chapters around the country plus several internationally. Elaine Benov, a former PFLAG member involved during the early days, says that by being involved with the organization, "I became a different person."
More recently, PFLAG has created multiple educational and political programs. One such program is "Welcoming Faith Communities" which aspires to bring together the GBLT community and their religious groups. PFLAG also intends to fight "racism and other -isms" and because of this, they founded the "PFLAG Diversity Network" which involves GBLT people of color, locally and nationally.
PFLAG has become a capable and respected organization. It has provided comfort and service to an innumerable extent of people over the last three decades and advocated for important issues such as gay marriage, hates crimes and unfair military policies.
Laurie R. states that, "...even though today my son had told me he was gay, he was still the very same person I loved and respected yesterday." PFLAG has come a long way since its establishment in 1973 and it is clear that this organization has succeeded in accomplishing its goals and will continue to do so for a long time to come.