Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays — Denver Chapter

Welcome to PFLAG Denver! 

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with LGBT people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in its 40th anniversary year, PFLAG has more than 368 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states.

April Program: Racism in the LGBTQ Community

deeOur speaker at the April meeting will be Dee Galloway. Her topic: Racism in the LGBTQ Community. Dee is a poet who conducts writing workshops for youth and adults throughout the Denver area, and also creates and performs original poetry and rituals to commemorate special events. She grew up in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, and earned her B.A. in English at the University of Denver.

Dee is also an accomplished vocalist who performs with a number of ensembles in Denver: Southern Journey, a roots music ensemble dedicated to sharing the music and stories collected by renowned musicologist/song catchers John and Alan Lomax; the Denver Chorale, a dynamic community chorus; and the Still Speaking Ensemble, a new musical group that offers fresh interpretations of popular music, jazz, gospel, and spirituals. She currently serves as Program Administrator for The Spirituals Project, a Denver-based organization committed to the preservation of the songs created and first sung by enslaved African people and their descendants in America in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The New Families Support Group will meet as usual at 6:30 p.m., and all will gather in the Community Room at 7:30 for the program.

March Program: GLBT Homeless Youth

WeissAt the monthly meeting on March 5, our speaker will be Chris Weiss, Development Manager at Urban Peak in Denver. Founded in 1988, Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization in Denver that provides a full convergence of services for youth ages 15 through 24 experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of becoming homeless.

Chris is originally from Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He served in the United States Peace Corps in the country of Belize from 2008 to 2010. He has worked at Urban Peak in the Education & Employment Department and the Development Department since February 2011.

Topics to be included in Chris’s presentation are the issues facing the homeless LGBTQ teen population (nationally, roughly 40% of the youth homeless population identifies as LGBTQ); and the services provided by Urban Peak, which include an LGBTQ case manager at their emergency shelter. There will also be an interactive Question/Answer session.

The New Families Support Group will meet as usual at 6:30 p.m., and all will gather in the Community Room at 7:30 for the program at 1290 Williams St.

February Program: Discussion of PFLAG’s Future

On February 5th, Bob Murray, current Chair of the Board will review the status of the Denver chapter of PFLAG and the LGBTQ community in Denver, and will then lead a discussion of where to go from here.

 The New Families Support Group will meet as usual at 6:30p.m., and all will gather in the Community Room at 7:30 for the program.

What is the role of PFLAG in the 21st Century? This is a question that PFLAG National asked local chapters recently. Let me give a little background and then I’ll ask you the same questions.

HISTORY SNAPSHOT

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York’s Christofer Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today’s Pride parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place on March 26 1973, at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended.

I joined PFLAG int he fall of 1992. Our son Patrick brought us, saying, “Here, you need this.” This was the time of the infamous Amendment 2 that said the GLBTQ community did not deserve “special rights” such as being able to rent an apartment or not to be fired simply for being LGBTQ. The problem we faced was in our faces. The chapter was large then, for instance, 120 people would come to a meeting. In 1996, Amendment 2 was overturned in the courts and our chapter began to shrink. In 2014 we had 98 members but only 20 who come to meetings. Over the years, PFLAG has played a unique role in the fight against LGBTQ discrimination. Recently, the right to marriage equality in Colorado has ben won, as was (1996) the right to equal rights in housing and the workplace. As a result it may appear that we have won everything we could want.

However, if you look at the efforts of the civil rights, women’s or abortion rights movements, you’ll notice that those who oppose them have never let up their fight. They continue to come back with new, ore subtle attacks on the gains that have been made. Texas attempted to stop abortions by requiring that all doctors who  perform them have privileges at the local hospitals. This would effectively stop abortions if these doctors can’t get credentialed. Civil rights are being fought bitterly with the creation of schools that are then 99% white. This re-segregation is occurring throughout the nation. Voting rights are being chipped away by the introduction of identification requirements that are not always easy for the power and blacker populations to meet.

There is no reason to think those who oppose equal rights for the LGBTQ community will let up on their efforts to take back our gains. WE cannot let up or relax, as they will not. This requires us to continue our support groups, advocacy and education.

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