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.


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.

Please click here to download the newsletter and consider the questions.

January Program: GLBT Life in the Former Soviet Union

GarconThe January program is one you won’t want to miss! Our speaker will be Griffin Garcon (nom de plume because her Russian name is unpronounceable by Americans, she says), an emigré from the former Soviet Union. Her topic will be “The LGBT Community in Russia Today.”

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

Griffin Garcon is a sci-fi/fantasy writer, in particular gay sci-fi, whose most recent book is Echoes of Andromeda: Zumi’s Prophecy. One reader review states, “Fast-paced action creates questions in the reader’s mind faster than the author can resolve them,” and another says, “Griffin Garcon spins a wide web that captures the emotional force that most young adults grapple with daily and puts it in an unworldly adventure.”

The author has supplied this biography:

“A bio is something that is supposed to be boring. But when I started writing my bio for the PFLAG newsletter, I just could not get my mind in the right boring and official state. I just decided to say it like it is.

“I grew up in the USSR, a fact that I always conceal, since I escaped to the USA to live a normal life, to leave the past behind. Yeah, I do not want to be ‘weird,’ I want to be a regular American. So, I never reveal that my childhood was also quite weird, shrouded in mystery and danger. In the 70s, when America was struggling with its own issues, but also having tons of fun, the USSR was one big prison.

“My parents were a part of the invisible resistance network where people who disagreed with the regime secretly relayed to each other ideas, news from Voice of America broadcast to us from England, tapes with songs of forbidden singers, and various literature you could easily get imprisoned for. Russia was like that. By God, it is still like that. Look at what’s happening now… Lack of freedom, lack of transparency and all the stuff I do not want to get into…

“So, I remember how my mother would bring some of the books home. She was the ‘secret agent’ of the group, because people would give her the copies of forbidden books, and she would use a copying machine at her government workplace to make more copies. If caught, she could face interrogations and years in prison. » Read more..

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