I was married and my husband was at a loss as to how to get support for himself. His circle of friends were mostly all evangelical Christians who deal with things like this by calling them sin and shunning the "sinner". I wish I had known about P-Flag back then because it may have helped us to save our friendship and given him the support that he needed instead of making him feel like he had to choose between God and our friendship.
P-Flag stands for Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays. They exist to support the families and friends of the GLBT community and to educate the community at large so that society will embrace everyone, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
Their mission statement:
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.
I first learned about P-Flag when I went to Pride in Atlanta. I was walking around a corner with Sweet Melissa and I saw a long line at the P-Flag booth. There was a sign for "Free Hugs From a P-Flag Parent" and the line of people waiting for a hug took me by such surprise that I fought the tears back. How many gay men and women needed to feel the physical affection of an accepting parent? Although my heart ached for myself because I know I will never feel that from a mother, I inwardly gave thanks for a father who could accept me and love me regardless of what my orientation was. But the realization that there are many GLBT's that don't have the love and/or support of either parent was incredibly sad to say the least.
I went home and looked up P-Flag. I saw that there are monthly meetings in my area and made plans to attend the next one. Sweet Melissa & I have not missed a meeting since that Sunday and we are in LOVE with our group. There are some very cool people there but we personally get the most from the mothers in the group. They love and accept their gay children and are an inspiration to both of us as mothers ourselves.
Melissa's mom lives out of state and my own mom, when she was trying to cope with my coming out, told me that she "hated the militant lesbian bitch" that I had become. She thought that I was going through some sort of mid-life crisis and was actually mad at me for coming out to my 2 teenagers, preferring that I continue to live a lie until they went away to college. Needless to say, we are now quite estranged.
The love that our P-Flag moms give us is something that Melissa & I cherish and look forward to each month, as well as the fellowship that we all share as a group of gay and straight people striving to suooprt and encourage each other. I want to encourage all of our readers to check out a meeting and refer your family & friends to them as well.
To find a local chapter near you, CLICK HERE.