A Cedar Rapids group is working to pave the way for people supporting family members in the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and questioning community. Rita Devenney is one of those people. “It wasn't a popular thing to be gay in our community,” Devenney said. Devenney and her wife, Jennifer Rowray, both came from small towns where coming out wasn't easy. “I didn't really have anyone to look to say, 'it's okay to be me,’” Rowray said. That changed for Jennifer as a college student at a gay rights parade in Chicago where members of the group, PFLAG were marching. “Strangers from the crowd would run out and hug these parents because they didn't maybe have parents of their own to hug. That really struck me and allowed me to be brave and tell my parents and trust that they would be more like a PFLAG parents than more like a parent that would reject me,” Rowray said.
PFLAG is, a group that supports sons, daughters and friends, that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning. PFLAG also reaches out to those who are supporting someone in their life that is LGBTQ. Many of the organizers of chapters across the country are parents of those in the LGBTQ community.