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.