"We, the parents, families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered 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."
Vision statement of PFLAG
PFLAG is a wonderful organisation that rose out of one violent altercation at a gay rights rally. Morton Manford was brutally attacked at a gay protest rally in New York. The homophobic attack was broadcast on the local news whilst his horrified parents watched the police fail to intervene at the rally. This attack began Jeanne and Jules Manford's role as activists. The first action was a letter written to the New York Post condemning the treatment of their son and expressing their love for her gay son.
The germ of inspiration that led to the formation of a group that would eventually become PFLAG was in 1972 in New York as Jeanne marched with Morty at Pride March. It was the small sign in her hand that caused the stream of tearful hugs and general adulations. "We Love Our Gay Son" read the sign. It was then that Jeanne realised there was a deep need within the gay and lesbian community for a supportive group for and of parents of gay and lesbian children.
The first meeting of New York City Parents of Gays was held in a church in Greenwich Village in 1973. Although only twenty people turned up, this initial meeting was the little thing that a big thing grew from. During the 70's many people called from across the United States wishing to set up groups in their own area. There were groups formed from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. - all providing meetings, "safe havens", counselling and support to parents and families of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.
In 1981 the national organisation was formed, opening the first office in Los Angeles. After a structural reorganisation, the group became officially known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
There are 500 chapters in the US alone and others in nine other countries;
there is also a virtual chapter on the internet. When attending a Pride March, from Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to the Pride March commemorating Stonewall, you will always find members of PFLAG showing their pride loud and proud.
PFLAG is an essential stop for all parents, families and friends who need understanding and caring support when dealing with the issues relating to GLBT friends or family.