Friday, March 18, 2016

PFLAG Tampa director nominated for St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal

From PFLAG Tampa, a request for Tampa Pride...a really exciting one:

Lucas Wehle, a trans activist here in the Tampa Bay area (and the most recent director of PFLAG Tampa), has been nominated for individual Grand Marshal of the 2016 St. Pete Pride parade, the largest pride celebration in Florida and the Southeastern United States, drawing more than 130,000 celebrants. Please help us put Lucas at the front of the parade by voting for him (and for our colleagues at GLSEN Tampa Bay for organizational Grand Marshal) at

One ballot per email address. Voting ends Friday, March 31, 2016.

-John Desmond, Director, PFLAG Tampa

Want to learn more about Lucas? Visit

Then please vote--AND VOTE ONLY ONCE so your vote will be counted. What an exciting opportunity for Lucas and for PFLAG Tampa.

Good luck, Lucas!

Friday, January 8, 2016

PFLAG Lower Columbia leader honored as Citizen of the Year

Mary Ann Nelson was recently selected as Citizen of the Year by the Cathlamet Womans Club, in Washington, for her tireless and generous work with PFLAG, as president and member of the Southwestern Washington Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (WELCA), as well as Kiwanis and her thirty years as a Preschool teacher for St. James Family Center.

Nelson has been a little busy!

Nelson, the mom of two kids--one gay, and one trans, was quoted in a piece in the Wahkiakum County Eagle, saying, "I've got awesome kids...They are people who are out there to help others. They've gone far educationally. They are trying to make a difference in the world in what they are doing. They are kind, they are helpful."

Clearly they aren't the only ones. Nelson, when her gay son came out, joined a local church group for support, and that group eventually became a local PFLAG chapter. That was in the early 2000s and now she has become a local leader in a variety of support groups, mostly centered around helping people who are LGBTQ and their faith-centered families.

Congrats to Mary Ann...sounds like an honor well deserved!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year from PFLAG!

Welcome to 2016!

We are excited to share more chapter news in the coming year, but to do that we need to hear from YOU. Send your chapter news to - no story is too big or too small.

We look forward to hearing from you in the coming year!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays from PFLAG!

It's Focus on the Field Friday...and it's also Christmas.

Merry and happy to all who celebrate!

Friday, December 18, 2015

PFLAG San Diego Launches It's Scholarship Season

PFLAG San Diego has just launched its scholarship program for 2016, and to celebrate the season did so with two benefit concerts which served as fundraisers in support of the students. Now in its 17th year, PFLAG SDC has awarded over $125,000 to deserving LGBT scholars.

The scholarships are funded through former and current PFLAG members, the Rob Benzon Foundation, San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, the family of Stephen G. Bowersox and the Raytheon LGBT STEM Scholarship, among others.

The scholarships are awarded to LGBT high school seniors continuing on to higher education or full-time undergraduate and graduate students through a competitive application and essay process. The scholarship committee selects recipients based on a written essay, commitment to their chosen field, financial need and academic achievement.

PFLAG will announce the 2016 recipients at an event on Friday, May 13, 2016.

To learn more, visit

Friday, December 11, 2015

Paulette Goodman keeps moving equality forward...

As reported by Jeff Getek of MyMCMedia, former PFLAG National president Paulette Goodman (1988-1992) is keeping up the good fight for equality...but not before taking a quick break earlier this year to celebrate the marriage victory at the Supreme Court.

As founding parent of PFLAG Metro DC, she has been on the frontlines of this fight for years, and not just for marriage, but for full legal equality and societal celebration of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). 

“As a child, I knew what it was like to be afraid and ostracized," Goodman tells Getek. "Just going to the movies on Thursday afternoons with my friends, forbidden to Jews, could have meant tragedy for the whole family had I been caught in a roundup near the theater,” she described.
Despite the June ruling, Goodman knows there is still a long way to go, and has no plans to slow down in her work of supporting, educating and advocating as only a PFLAGer can.
"I am committed to advocating for understanding and acceptance for transgendered people in the United States and for the LGBT community internationally in places like Russia and certain parts of Africa where people still face persecution and even death.” 

You can read the full story on the MyMCMedia website. And congratulations to Paulette for her continued inspiring work!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Welcome PFLAG Oxford!

A new chapter of PFLAG has been founded in Ohio, PFLAG Oxford. The group was founded earlier this year and among its many goals is to support the local college community at Miami University.

The president of the chapter, Brian Revalee, was quoted in The Miami Student regarding the inciting event for starting the chapter.

He said, “We wanted to bring it to Oxford because there was a need for it, there were some conversations about marriage equality and being prepared [for the changes in the community] that were coming. We felt it would be beneficial to all who were interested.”

The local community has been incredibly welcoming, reports The Miami Student, and that's great...because the chapter has big plans! Among them? To create partnerships with local businesses, and to start a program called "Reading Rainbow" in local public schools, which would help offer a students more diverse literature in their school libraries, including books that are inclusive of LGBTQ subject matter.

Revalee is excited and ready for the challenges ahead. “We wanted to be ready to have those conversations with our community and to act as an advocate for our community. We want to educate people and inform them that there are LGBTQ people in the Oxford community and that we were here to provide information.”

You can visit the chapter online via the chapter Facbook page

Congratulations, PFLAG Oxford, and welcome to the family!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A statement from PFLAG Houston on today's Prop 1 defeat

"PFLAG Houston is deeply disappointed and saddened that the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was defeated today.  Over the past few months, loving parents, friends and allies of the LGBTQ community have worked tirelessly to protect HERO.  We will go forward to share our message that all LGBTQ Houstonians should be able to live freely without the fear of discrimination, especially ourtransgender brothers and sisters who were vilified by the opponents of this ordinance.  The fight is not over, and we vow to work with our new mayor and other members of the Houston community to move equality forward."


Steven Byrum-Bratsen


PFLAG Houston

PO Box 66834

Houston, TX 77266



Friday, September 25, 2015

PFLAG Portland Black Chapter Supporting Local Queer Youth In A Powerful Way

As reported online, the PFLAG Portland Black Chapter is collecting reading materials for imprisoned queer youth, through the whole month of September. The book drive is the first step in a plan to provide support and mentorship to these young adults.

The article states that organizers are looking for any materials that would enable youth, in particular queer youth of color, to build skills to help them transition to life after incarceration. Multiple copies of books are also accepted. The PFLAG Portland Black Chapter hopes to have enough donations to create three Queer book libraries in separate facilities. If this book drive is successful, PFLAG may continue taking donations beyond September.

For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the book drive here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

PFLAG Santa Barbara and the Interfaith Pride Celebration

Today we hear from Georgia Noble of PFLAG Santa Barbara, who with her chapter helped to coordinate the first Interfaith Pride Celebration in the community.

We orchestrated the first Interfaith Pride Celebration here in Santa Barbara to take place in conjunction with our Pride Festival.  We worked together with our local LGBTQ organization, Pacific Pride, who helped us promote the event.  We applied for a received a grant for $4600 form The Fund for Santa Barbara with the idea that this event would be a way to bring together the local faith communities and promote the LGBTQ community.  We rented The Sunken Gardens, a part of the City Court House, a neutral and public space.  We gathered together an interfaith group of clergy to plan the service.  We then gathered together 19 open and inclusive local congregations to “sponsor” the event.  They had tables set up at the event promoting their congregations and people were encouraged to hang out and get to know who was there in support, which people did.  

By all measures the event was an amazing success.  We had around 350 people show up including a 50 person Interfaith Choir.  We had 19 congregations and three other non-profits come out as sponsors.  We had no idea that there were that many open and inclusive congregations in our community.  People were very, very moved by the event.  We got feedback for weeks about how moving it was.  I am sending you a couple of the pieces that were especially meaningful for the LGBTQ people present; the Litany of Confession and the Litany of Thanksgiving.  I am also sending you a link to a video of the event.

Part of our vision was to galvanize the churches to be more proactive and to become better allies.  We had a couple of congregations, for example, use the event as a way to begin an exploration and conversation of the issue within their congregations.  One of our next steps is to create an Interfaith Pride Alliance of local congregations that can take on  the work of healing some of the damage done by faith communities.  Even when congregations are open and inclusive they often still have along way to go in becoming better allies.  We will definitely do the event again and keep the momentum going.  

An incredible event...and we have the video to prove it! Click below to watch moments from the day's events!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Curriculum Victory in Montgomery County, Maryland: A Case Study and Handbook for Action.

Exciting safe schools work coming from PFLAG Metro DC and a coalition of partners, and we're happy to share their work with you, courtesy of the following from handbook author David Fishback:

With the school year beginning, I am reminded of the importance of what is taught – and not taught – in our schools about sexual orientation and gender identity.  Too often, there is a deafening silence about such important matters.  Such silence too often allows misconceptions and unwarranted prejudices to fester and poison the atmosphere for our LGBT children.  One of the most important things PFLAGers can do is to work with our schools to convey accurate information on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Efforts to change what is taught in our schools can be daunting. Such efforts demand hard work, wisdom, empathy, and determination.  But they can succeed.

On June 17, 2014, the Board of Education of Montgomery County, Maryland, unanimously gave final approval to a revised health education framework for secondary schools.  This revised framework is based specifically on the longstanding findings of every mainstream American medical and mental health professional association regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, including the propositions that being LGBTQ is not an illness and that so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapies are dangerous and ineffective. This action brought to a successful conclusion a dozen years of work by members of the Metro DC Chapter of PFLAG and others to bring the wisdom of the mainstream health care professionals into the middle and high school health education curriculum.

The Montgomery County experience may be useful for others around the country who seek to make schools not only safe for our LGBT children and children of LGBT families, but to help create a climate in which all of our children understand and appreciate each other.

Based on that experience, as PFLAG Metro DC Advocacy Chair, I created this publication, Curriculum Victory in Montgomery County, Maryland: A Case Study and Handbook for Action. The campaign, and the lessons learned in the course of that campaign, will also be the subject of a workshop I’m presenting at the upcoming 2015 PFLAG National Convention in Nashville (October 16-18).

I recommend that readers be aware, on the one hand, of the fact that this process took place in a relatively progressive community (which made it easier than it might be elsewhere); but also, on the other hand, of the fact that the culture in America has moved significantly in the last dozen years (which means that the dozen years it took from the start of the process in 2002 to the 2014 culmination could well be far longer than future efforts in other places).  

In some communities, there may be widespread opposition to change; in others, opposition may be limited to a very small group of people.  In some communities, political leaders may be very supportive; in others, they may be antagonistic or reluctant to “make waves.”  In some communities, there may be a pent up desire to make the needed changes; in others, there may be a great fear of even talking about sexual orientation or gender identity.  Within school bureaucracies, much may turn on the life experiences and hopes and fears of particular administrators.  Every community is different, but there are common threads, the main one being that, as PFLAGers, we advocate for our childrens’ lives, and we do so with the support of the mainstream American medical and mental health community.

We thank David and the PFLAG Metro DC chapter for their incredible work on this effort, and David’s work on the handbook. We are happy to make it available for download, free, on our website; click here to get your copy now.

Friday, August 28, 2015

PFLAG Charleston hits the ground running...with local press coverage!

No sooner does PFLAG Charleston get the ball rolling as a new chapter, but they've already got not one but TWO stories in the media about their arrival!

The Illinois press welcomed the new chapter by giving them great coverage in the local papers.

The Journal Gazette & Times-Courier  described the founding of the chapter as springing from a group of people who found each other through other LGBTQ organizations, but then decided that there was still a need for PFLAG.

And the Daily Eastern quoted the founding members on a variety of subjects, from their planned safe schools work to their feelings on the recent marriage equality ruling at the Supreme Court.

You can read both articles, free of charge, on the newspaper websites: Click here for the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier piece, and click here for the piece from the Daily Eastern.

We congratulate the chapter for making such a splashy entrance into the PFLAG family!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The 2015 PFLAG National Chapter Awards Winners

The 2015 PFLAG National Convention is only two months away!

And today, we’re proud to announce the winners of the 2015 PFLAG Chapter Awards. They’ll be honored at our Awards Luncheon in Nashville on Sunday, October 18th.

Join us in giving a (virtual) round of applause to:

Support (tie)
PFLAG Columbia-Howard (MD)
Established: 1995 | Active Members: 31-50
Gender Conference East demonstrates the powerful work that PFLAG Columbia-Howard County does to support transgender and gender-expansive children, their parents, their families, and the professionals who work with them. In partnership with Gender Spectrum and the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project, Gender Conference East was a multiple day conference that included a Professional Symposium and a Family & Youth Day. The event was so successful that planning is already well under way for the next conference in November 2015.
Support (tie)
PFLAG Portland (OR)
Established: 1983 | Active Members: 31-50
After reflecting on the diverse and complex needs of their community, PFLAG Portland developed a family of chapters in the Portland metro region. This includes the PFLAG Portland Black Chapter which serves the African-American community and PFLAG Portland East County which serves more conservative areas in Multnomah County. Each group works independently to meet the specific needs of the families that come to them for support and they also work together to creating real and lasting culture change in Portland area schools, religious institutions, governmental organizations, and more.

PFLAG St. Charles (MO)
Established: 2005 | Active Members: 1-15
The first-ever Pride Festival in St Charles County, MO was held in May 2015.  PFLAG St. Charles played an integral role in making that happen. It started when one PFLAG mom suggested a small gathering to celebrate Pride month, which grew into an event that attracted entertainers, food trucks, vendors, support from local companies and corporations, and more. Local organizations and agencies were in attendance to provide information and education to the community. The festival also provided a young chapter the opportunity to educate the community about PFLAG’s work.

PFLAG Indianapolis (IN)
Established: 1995 | Active Members: 1-15
In 2015, Indiana made national news when the state legislature passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Governor Pence signed it into law. In reaction to the passage of this harmful legislation, PFLAG Indianapolis organized a rally at the Indiana statehouse that drew more than 3,000 people. Local and national press coverage of the event helped shape the conversation about RFRA bills across the country. It was one of many catalysts for the changes made to the legislation to make it less discriminatory.
Want to be there to hear from these phenomenal chapters about how they did their work, and bring their expertise home to your chapter? Join us for the PFLAG National Convention in Nashville, TN. Click here to learn more, or to register now!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Gender Conference East Began with One PFLAG Family’s Dream

In 2008, we were reeling from learning that our 15 year old “son” identified as a trans girl. I was desperate for support for my child, myself, and my family. We felt alone and frightened and had not yet found PFLAG, nor any other local resources, support, or knowledgeable providers here in the Mid-Atlantic. But we did find a family conference on the west coast, so we dipped into our rainy day fund and flew to Seattle.

There we found information, resources, and the strength to tackle this amazing journey. And we found others on a similar journey. But most importantly, after years of darkness, our child began to blossom again. Understanding the life-saving value of such resources (and looking for local company on our journey), I set out to create a network of support back in Maryland for other families with trans and gender-expansive kids. Seven years later, through an amazing partnership among Gender Spectrum, The Gender and Family Project of the Ackerman Institute and PFLAG, Gender Conference East came to Maryland in 2014. In 2015, the leadership has expanded to include Chase Brexton Health Care Services and FreeState Legal Project.

We are, first and foremost, a community of support.

The Friday Professional Symposium is focused on educators, mental health and other health professionals—any professional working with transgender and gender-expansive kids. In 2014, we expected 75 professionals; instead 150 joined us.

The Saturday Family and Youth day offers tracks for youth and workshops for parents; we expected 150 last year, and ended up serving 300 family members. We expect to grow this year, hosting 250 on the professional day and more than 400 on family day.

With greater media coverage and more visible role models, our children are coming to understand themselves more and more rapidly, and we are here, local to the east coast, ready to support them.

What parents and families said about Gender Conference East 2014.

“It was beyond words. My 10-year-old was not happy about going; he had never been around other children like himself. It was exactly what he needed. That night and in the following days, he would randomly comment about what a great day he had. I might even say it was the most positively impacting event in his life.”

“My son was in the teen conference and he loved every minute and made friends and got tons of information and learned a lot. He felt empowered.”

“It was a very welcoming and positive experience for us. It exceeded our expectations. We were very grateful for the daycare so the whole family could come.”

“I was able to share my fears, highs, lows and get feedback from parents having the same issues.”

“Thank you for coming together—three great organizations—and thank you for bringing this truly amazing conference to the east coast.”

What the professionals said 
about Gender Conference East 2014.

“I was transformed by the day, personally and professionally. I was particularly deeply grateful for the parents who were there. I loved the entire day and came home telling my coworkers that they should go next year.”

“When I looked at the list of speakers and their backgrounds and experience, and the schedule for the day, I was sure I wanted to be there. I came from Boston to be there.”

“I have been looking for pediatric gender training opportunities and they are few and far between.”

Learn more and get registered.

Visit to learn more, or email us at

Ready to register now? Professionals, click here to register and families, click here to register! Early bird rates have been extended through September 15th.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Send us your stories!

That's right: we need to hear from you for the Focus on the Field blog. Have a great event? Give away scholarships? Have some successful--or not so successful--advocacy that you want to let the world know about for support?

Here's your chance!

Send your chapter stories to We'll share it here on the blog, and then elevate it on the PFLAG National Facebook page.

What are you waiting for? Send us your chapter stories today!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy Anniversary, PFLAG Thief River Falls!

Happy one-year anniversary to our friends at PFLAG Thief River Falls!
That's right, it's been one year--as of July 15th that is!--since this new chapter started in Northwest Minnesota. The chapter also offer support, education, and advocacy opportunities to people who are LGBTQ and their families, friends, and allies in North Dakota.
In a statement issued by the chapter, president David Stocum said, "This is something we are all tremendously proud of and look forward to continuing.”
The group has once-a-month meetings that include a 60-minute program or presentation, and then support circles for an hour.
The group will be celebrating with a well-earned picnic tomorrow...enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2015

PFLAG Salisbury-Rowan Awards Seven More Scholarships

PFLAG Salisbury-Rowan was founded in 2006, and in 2008, the chapter established its scholarship foundation and began awarding scholarships exclusively to LGBT students and their straight allies.

This year the chapter is handing out seven scholarships--a large rise since the first years, when they handed out two. The group leading the scholarship effort on the Scholarships Advisory Committee members are Chairperson Merry Overholser, Michael Clawson, Dr. Mary Frances Edens, Patricia Horner, Roger Hull, Vonda Kimrey-Jenkins and Carol Williams-Swoope.

The scholarships are each named after local advocates, pioneers, and people who made a different in the movement for equality. They include:

  • The Anne Stanback-Charlotte Kinlock Scholarship, named in honor of Salisbury native Anne Stanback and her wife, Charlotte Kinlock;
  • The Linda Ketner Community Service Scholarship, named in honor of Salisbury native Linda Ketner;
  • The Bob Page-Dale Frederiksen Scholarship, named in honor of Bob Page, founder and CEO of Replacements, Ltd., and his life partner, Dale Frederiksen, both longtime supporters of PFLAG;
  • The Founder’s Equality Scholarship, named in honor of Salisbury-Rowan PFLAG founder Mike Clawson;
  • The Salisbury Pride-Scotty Ray Gilbert Scholarship, is named in memory of Scotty Ray Gilbert, a past board member of Salisbury Pride, Inc.;
  • The Roger and Linda Hull Scholarship, created to honor the Hull’s gay son and awarded specifically to someone active in their faith community; and 
  • The Russell E. Hellekson, Jr. Scholarship, created in memory of the accomplished musician who died in 1988.

This year’s scholarship recipients will be recognized at the fifth annual Salisbury Pride celebration on June 20.

Congratulations to the recipients, and to the chapter for doing such a remarkable job of supporting young LGBTQ and ally scholars!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Congressional Measure Would Rename Post Office for PFLAG Founder Jeanne Manford

Rep. Crowley announces  legislation 
honoring Jeanne Manford
This week, PFLAG National is humbled by Congressman Joseph Crowley’s efforts to rename the Jackson Heights Post Office in Queens, New York, to honor Jeanne Manford. On May 19, Rep. Crowley was joined in Queens by New York State Senator Jose Peralta, Councilman Daniel Dromm, and Assemblymen Francisco Moya and Michael DenDeckker to announce Crowley’s proposed legislation.

Reported over here at the Queens Gazette, Rep. Crowley was effusive in his praise of the Manfords:

“Today, their incredible legacy is evident more than ever as their spirits live on through the countless families they touched and through our own LGBT Pride Parade which brings our family, friends and neighbors together to celebrate our diversity. Each year, as our communities march along 37th Avenue and pause at the post office to reflect on the sacrifices made, Jeanne and Jules’ names will remind us of how far we’ve come and how much we have left to accomplish in our pursuit of equality and justice.”

Reflecting on the proposed legislation, Jules and Jeanne’s daughter Suzanne Manford Swan said, “They were both born and lived their entire lives in Queens. They loved it there and loved all Queens had to offer. They would be so pleased to have this post office named after them.”

New York State Assemblyman Moya commented, “Jeanne and Jules Manford revolutionized the gay rights movement by paving the way for greater acceptance. They showed the world that the path to acceptance begins at home. I commend Congressman Joe Crowley for his foresight in choosing to recognize the trailblazing Manford family for their contributions to Queens and the gay rights movement nationwide.”

PFLAG National offers its deepest gratitude to Rep. Crowley. Be sure to contact your state representatives and ask for their support on this symbolic measure. Check back with Focus on the Field to track its progress. This is one to watch!

Friday, June 5, 2015

PFLAG St. Charles Brings Pride to Rural Missouri

Beth Finder and Jill Aul.
Credit: Beth Finder & Jill Aul
This week, we congratulate PFLAG St. Charles on its inaugural Pride event! To kick off Pride Month (all of June!), Beth Finder and Jill Aul successfully launched St. Charles Pride last Sunday.

Reported over here at St. Louis Public Radio, Beth and Jill were tabling at Pride Fest St. Louis when they decided it was time for a Pride event in St. Charles. Puzzling over the lack of a Pride event in their home area, Beth asked Jill, “Is it because they were afraid of the backlash, that there really aren’t that many people who are accepting, other than those within their own social network that they have?” Jill and Beth knew there were LGBT people and supporters in relatively conservative St. Charles, and that a Pride event could bring them together.

St. Charles Pride included an opening ceremony, vendor booths, food trucks and St. Louis performers. The Balloon Brigade, a staple of St. Louis Pride Parade, participated. It connected those in rural areas to vital resources and support.

The St. Louis Balloon Brigade. Credit: Cindy Betz.

Jill reflects, “People who live more north and west of St. Charles, people who live in Lincoln County and Warren County and places like that, who may not be able to get downtown, we’re hoping it [was] helpful to them.”

Congrats on kicking off Pride Month in St. Charles! Here’s to a month full of advocating for and affirming our LGBT friends and families.

Friday, May 29, 2015

PFLAG Omaha and Regional Director Go to the Arthouse

Last Thursday, PFLAG Omaha partnered with nonprofit arthouse Film Streams for a movie and discussion. Daniel Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks was screened. After the movie, PFLAG Regional Director Ellen James joined Anthony Hughes and Jordan Brown of the Queer Nebraska Youth Network to reflect on the film and lead discussion. By all accounts, it was an evening well spent.

Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks is a Brazilian film about Leonardo, a blind teenager who is struggling for independence from adults helping him with his blindness and the freedom to explore his sexuality.

It sounds like a great film that touches on a complicated intersection of identity issues. Discussion was undoubtedly interesting and fruitful. Congrats PFLAG Omaha on a wonderful event!

Friday, May 22, 2015

PFLAG Norman Accepts Challenge from Scholarship Recipients

This week, Focus on the Field brings attention to PFLAG Norman in Oklahoma. PFLAG Norman awarded $1,000 scholarships to two Norman High School seniors at its annual reception. Congratulations to the two honorees, Skyler Hoffstatter and Aryn Alderman!

Skyler will attend the University of Oklahoma at Edmond. Aryn will study art at the University of Oklahoma’s main campus.

Reflecting on the awards, PFLAG Norman’s spokesperson noted, "We were both encouraged and challenged by our scholarship recipients this year. Each student applauded the commitment of their teachers and Norman schools for awareness of LGBT issues but also identified a need for understanding...gender variance. If a student doesn't fit into a neat binary basis of gender, they're going to feel unsafe when a school system expects them to."

We congratulate Skyler and Aryn, and thank them for their courage to speak out and help us all push equality forward! All the best in your college careers.

Friday, May 15, 2015

PFLAG Greater Boston Honors Jason Collins, Congressman Kennedy, and 11 Deserving HS Seniors at Pride and Passion

Jason Collins and Rep. Joe Kennedy III
at Boston Pride. Credit: AP Press
On Tuesday, Greater Boston PFLAG held its annual Pride and Passion Benefit, a scholarship and fundraising event. This year, they honored Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, and Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III. Greater Boston PFLAG also awarded their scholarships to 11 high school seniors.

Quoted over here at The Edge Media Network, PFLAG Greater Boston president Tom Bourdon reflected on honoring Collins and Congressman Kennedy, a member of the Equality Caucus on the Hill: “"The acceptance and mutual support between these men, and the work they have done changing hearts and minds, has helped to make environments safer for LGBTQ people, and makes them a no-brainer for PFLAG's honorees.”

Congressman Kennedy was Jason Collins’s roommate at Stanford University. Kennedy said, referencing University of Massachusetts student-athlete Derrick Gordon, the first openly gay Division 1 NCAA basketball player, “It is Gordon and Collins who really deserve the praise.” Gordon declared himself for the NBA draft after coming out publicly following his junior season. He also attended Pride and Passion on Tuesday night.
Derrick Gordon. Credit: Ty Wright

Gordon reflected, "Everyone is waiting to see if I get drafted. It's a lot of pressure, but I don't let it get to me.”

"What we need is more possibility models," said Collins, whom Gordon refers to as his big brother.

Congrats on a great event, Greater Boston PFLAG! And special congratulations to the eleven high school seniors awarded PFLAG scholarships! Do good work, and all the best in your future endeavors.
The Boston 11 Receiving PFLAG Scholarships.
 Credit: @joepiemonte99

Friday, May 8, 2015

PFLAG St. Charles Wins Two Awards in One Month

This week, PFLAG National congratulates PFLAG St. Charles, in Missouri, on receiving two awards in one month! Chapter founder and president Jill Aul and her spouse Bill have been named the 2015 SAGE Advocates of the Year. And at the same time, Pride St. Louis has selected PFLAG St. Charles for its annual Jim Hoeffer Award. Well done!

The Dennis Hostetler SAGE Advocate Award commemorates advocates over the age of 50 who have significantly contributed to the cause of LGBT equality in St. Louis and its surrounding counties. “[Jill and Bill’s] work through PFLAG St. Charles and the first ever St. Charles Pride is a true inspiration,” Sherrill Wayland of SAGE Metro wrote by email. “[They] are making a difference in the region for LGBT equality.” 

Pride St. Louis bestows the Jim Hoefer Award to an organization that excellently demonstrates service to St. Louis’ LGBT Community. By email, Dennis Grog of Pride St. Louis said, “It is with great pride...that Pride St. Louis has selected PFLAG St. Charles as this year’s Jim Hoefer Award!”

While Jill is “thrilled and humbled” by the recognition her chapter is receiving, she is staying focused. “For the very first time, our PFLAG chapter is planning a Pride festival in our county (St. Charles county, MO) and it has gotten a LOT of local attention,” she said by email. “We’ve been on TV, in the newspaper, radio, etc. Our vision of a small family picnic has mushroomed into a huge, full scale Pride festival.”

Stay focused and have a good festival-- but be sure to take some time to celebrate! PFLAG National congratulates Jill Aul, her partner Bill, and all members of PFLAG St. Charles on two well-deserved awards. Thank you for your advocacy for and affirmation of our LGBT friends and family!

Friday, May 1, 2015

PFLAG San Diego and San Diego Human Dignity Foundation are Launching Leaders

This week, PFLAG National brings attention to a partnership forged by PFLAG San Diego County (SDC) and the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF). On May 15, they will co-host the inaugural “Launching Leaders” event. The luncheon and awards reception will celebrate PFLAG San Diego’s nearly 20 years of funding young LGBT scholars. PFLAG San Diego has awarded over $116,000 to LGBT high school seniors.

Quoted over at the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, SDHDF board president Drew Jack is looking forward to the collaboration. “We’re excited to be taking our partnership with PFLAG SDC to a new level this year,” Drew said. “Collaboration between organizations with co-equal goals is the way to go.”

Those interested in attending can purchase tickets here. They are $50 each. Eight-person tables are available for $400. PFLAG National congratulates PFLAG San Diego County and San Diego Human Dignity Foundation. Here’s to a lasting and successful partnership!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Oregon PFLAG Chapter Creates Diversity Scholarship

Roberta Frasier Anderson, 1975
This week, PFLAG National extends its gratitude to PFLAG Pendleton for creating the Roberta Frasier Anderson Diversity Scholarship. Roberta, a longtime member of PFLAG, is having her life and work commemorated by this scholarship, which will help a Pendleton High School senior go to college, exemplifying Roberta’s commitment to social justice. 

Anderson was a Family Life specialist for the Extension Service at Oregon State University from 1959-1974. She received the first Osborne teaching award and the Superior Service Award from the USDA. Anderson's focuses included child development, aging, and communications within families.

Details about the scholarship were reported over here at the East Oregonian. The $500 scholarship can be used by the winning senior at any college institution of higher education. Interested seniors may obtain an application at the ASPIRE Program Office in the Pendleton High School Counseling Center, or call Shari Dallas at 541-276-9622. The deadline is May 1, 2015.

PFLAG National joins PFLAG Pendleton in celebrating Roberta’s life and work to ensure social equality for our LGBTQ friends and family members. Thank you, PFLAG Pendleton, for putting together this worthy scholarship, and good luck to all applying Pendleton High School seniors!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day of Silence

Here at Focus on the Field, Fridays are when we report out on the incredible work of our members and chapters. 

Today, however, we're going silent for Day of Silence, as we know hundred of our chapters across the country are doing too.

We'll be back next Friday with more great stuff from our network! And, in the meantime, sssshhhhh...

Friday, April 10, 2015

PFLAG Portland Black Chapter Includes LGBTQ in National Black History Month

On February 26th, PFLAG Portland Black Chapter presented its Black LGBTQ History Project at Portland State University. The event was titled “REMEMBER OUR PAST & BUILDING TOWARDS OUR FUTURE: The Past & Future of the Black LGBTQ Movement.”

In honor of National Black History Month, PFLAGers presented video clips of interviews with Black LGBTQ elders. Around the room, posters displayed the timeline of Oregon’s Black LGBTQ History.

Reported by George T. Nicola over here at PQ Monthly, “Award winning graphics designer Rupert Kinnard created much of the printed content. Also helping facilitate the content were GLAPN President Robin Will and GLAPN videographer Daniel Spiro.”

Check out great clips of PFLAGers interviewing Black LGBTQ elders. They can be viewed here.

PFLAG National extends its gratitude to PFLAG Portland Black Chapter’s coordinator, Khalil Edwards, for organizing this great event. By all accounts, it was a successful and educational evening!

Friday, April 3, 2015

PFLAG Jersey Shore Makes Headlines

This week, we are happy to share an article written by PFLAGer Abby Maisonave. Abby is the Regional Director in the East region, and the leader of PFLAG Jersey Shore. The article was published in the Asbury Park Press on Sunday, March 15. Congratulations Abby, and PFLAG Jersey Shore!


PFLAG (Parents, Family, Friends and Allies United with LGBT People to Move Equality Forward) has over 350 chapters in the U.S.

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education and advocacy.

Jersey Shore PFLAG, founded in 2004, is the local chapter for Monmouth and Ocean counties, although there are six PFLAG chapters in New Jersey.

The Jersey Shore PFLAG board is (left to right) Gregory Pilling of Jackson Township, secretary; Michele Nelson of Lawrenceville, vice-president/facilitator; William Gaul of Manchester, fundraising/outreach and facilitator; Abby Maisonave of Howell, president/facilitator; Teri Keynton of Farmingdale, facilitator; and Seth Rainess of Monmouth County, facilitator. (Photo: Russ DeSantis/CORRESPONDENT)

JS PFLAG hosts three monthly support meetings that are strictly confidential, nonjudgmental, and offer peer-to-peer support: Toms River (second Wednesday of the month), for LGBTQ individuals and their parents and supporters; Shrewsbury (second Monday of the month), for parents and family members of LGBTQ individuals; and Shrewsbury Transgender/Transfamilies (third Monday of the month), for transgender and gender nonconfirming individuals and their families.

We also have a helpline (908-814-2155) for those who may prefer to talk confidentially prior to coming to a meeting.

Our goal is keeping families together and providing a safe, warm and comforting environment for those who don't know where else to turn, and to be able to speak openly and honestly without fear of being judged or shamed.

Who better to understand you thanomeone who has gone through what you are dealing with?

PFLAG board members and facilitators are all dedicated volunteers. We do this because we are passionate about helping people and the LGBTQ community.

When we hear someone say something derogatory or hateful about someone who is LGBTQ, we take it personally because you are talking about someone we care about and love. And we hope that the information and the support you receive from us at our meetings will enable you to take that back to your family, to your community, and educate others.

In addition to providing support for families who may be struggling when finding out a loved one is LGBTQ, JS PFLAG also offers support for those struggling to come out, or who have and are encountering difficulties with family, in school, or the work place.

We provide in-service training in the workplace, and do numerous speaking engagements in schools (from kindergarten to post-graduate) with staff, students and Gay Straight Alliances. We also speak to medical professionals dealing with LGBT patients.

Very often a person will come to PFLAG with questions about faith and having an LGBTQ loved one. Although we are not affiliated with any religion, we can help provide support and resources.

Straight allies are welcome in the chapter, as they are the voices for those that sometimes cannot speak up for various reasons out in the community.

JS PFLAG is proud to have been the recipient of a 2014 Resolution by the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey; the recipient of a 2014 Wells Fargo Community Connection Program Grant; and a 2012 Humanitarian Award by the American Conference on Diversity.

We have done workshops for the Association of Student Assistance Professionals for many years, as well as a workshop for the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians. JS PFLAG co-sponsors many programs with the Central Jersey chapter of Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Ocean County Human Relations Commission. We also have co-sponsored programs with both the Monmouth and Ocean County libraries.

Every year, we take part in community events, including the Pride festival in Asbury Park, and the New Jersey Gay Straight Alliance Forum, presented by GLSEN-Central New Jersey and the Princeton-based HiTOPS.
PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford and 
her son Morty marching in 1972 
New York City Pride parade. (Photo: 
We are very proud of our PFLAG chapter.

There is nothing more gratifying or validating than when an individual or family tells us how much we've helped them when they were overwhelmed with finding out that their loved one was LGB or T. Or hearing a teacher or physician say "I never thought about it from that perspective."

At the end of the day, it's still your child, your spouse, your friend. And they need your unconditional love and support.

Friday, March 27, 2015

PFLAG Franklin-Hampshire Inaugurates the Eric Collins Memorial Award

In February 2013, Eric Collins of West Springfield, Massachusetts, died at the much-too-young age of 15. As a high school student, Eric was active in Generation Q, a peer-led support and advocacy group for LGBTQI youth. Through his work with Generation Q, he became known for his passion and commitment to social justice.

This year, PFLAG Franklin-Hampshire inaugurates the Eric Collins Memorial Award to commemorate his life and work. A $250 stipend will be awarded to one senior from Franklin County and another from Hampshire County. These scholarships aim to foster continuing support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQI youth.

Graduating high school seniors in both Franklin and Hampshire Counties who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or an ally are eligible. Applicants should demonstrate strong support of LGBTQI individuals through community work. Seniors can obtain applications (due April 1st) from their high school guidance counselors or by contacting PFLAG Franklin-Hampshire at

PFLAG National extends its gratitude to PFLAG Franklin-Hampshire for founding the Eric Collins Memorial Award. Best of luck to Massachusetts seniors applying for a worthy scholarship.

Friday, March 20, 2015

API Project of PFLAG NYC Brings in Lunar New Year with Parade, Award

February and March this year are an exciting, festive, and rewarding time for the API Project of PFLAG NYC! 

The API Project, founded three years ago, is PFLAG NYC's special support group and outreach/education project focused on helping families of Asian & Pacific Islander backgrounds learn to accept, support, and continue to love their LGBTQ kids. Led by a Korean-American mom, Clara Yoon, the group has come to include both families and LGBTQ individuals from diverse backgrounds from all over South, Southeast, and East Asia -- Pakistan, India & Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam & the Philippines, to China, Korea and Japan.

Lunar New Year, celebrated in many Asian communities in January & February, has become as big an event on the annual calendar for the API Project as June's Pride celebrations are for PFLAG generally. On Sunday, February 22, more than 20 supporters of the API Project and PFLAG NYC joined the Lunar New Year for All contingent in the annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade that wound its way down Mott Street, Canal Street, the Bowery and all the most historic parts of New York City's oldest Asian neighborhood.

After marching, more than 100 people from Lunar New Year for All gathered at Project Reach, a youth center in Chinatown, to celebrate with a huge Chinese banquet. Speakers from Asian LGBTQ community organizations, including GAPIMNY, Q-Wave, and the Asian Pride Project talked about the origins of Lunar New Year for All. For many years, New York's Irish LGBT community has struggled to be included in the famous St. Patrick's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. Still excluded from that event, the LGBTQ community has rallied around St. Pat's for All, an alternative parade held every year in Queens. In 2010, members of the Asian LGBTQ community were inspired to seek to be included in the Chinatown New Year's Parade. It didn't happen without struggle, but in the first year they tried, the group was allowed in under the Lunar New Year for All name. Ever since, the group has grown and become an important contingent in the parade.

This year for the first time, the involvement of parents and PFLAG NYC's API Project was featured in an article in the U.S. edition of the large Hong Kong newspaper, the Sing Tao Daily. Parents proudly carried the API Projects new banner with PFLAG NYC's logo and the proclamation "We are proud of our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children" in English and six Asian languages: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Bangla, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Of course it wouldn't have been a proper "Pride" march showing without a little fun: the Lunar New Year for All contingent was led by two rollicking "sheep" for the Year of the Ram, who were enthusiastic group members in adorable sheep onesies!

This month, the API Project continues the excitement with word that we are to receive a big honor. Clara Yoon, the group's founder, will receive an NQAPIA Community Catalyst Award on March 28 and the annual awards banquet of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). PFLAG NYC is immensely proud of Clara's being recognized in this way for her work to bring PFLAG's support to API families not only in NYC, but around the country through cooperation with other parents in the API LGBTQ community, like San Gabriel Valley API PFLAG.

NQAPIA's Community Catalyst Awards Celebration will take place on March 28 at Grand Harmony Restaurant in New York City's Chinatown. Anyone interested in attending can get more info at NQAPIA's website, but should be sure to contact PFLAG NYC so all PFLAGers can sit together!