One of the great benefits of belonging to a national organization like PFLAG is having access to the issues and conversations occurring in other communities. Since SCOTUS ruled for marriage equality in June, a common topical thread among PFLAG chapters from the state of Washington to Maryland, is what role, if any, does PFLAG have to play now that marriage equality has been achieved. The ubiquitous response to this question looks something like this….PLENTY!
It’s healthy for any organization to reflect on their purpose and impact anyway, and especially after meaningful… okay, historical/progressive events. In my conversations with people in our community who know, are friends with, or are a parent of an LGBTQ individual, there is NO question that the PFLAG mission of providing support, education and advocacy remains an important, necessary enterprise.
Youth suicide and homelessness in the face of parental rejection remains a chronic issue. Examples of other issues include the fact that discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing remain legal. Some constituents are asking us to work towards sex education that is: 1) age-appropriate, 2) comprehensive and medically accurate, and 3) inclusive. Another issue in our community is supporting our youth in the public schools by advocating for policies and practices that best support ALL students, including LGBTQ students.
Other community groups are seeking common goals, so alliances in these efforts can make our voices stronger. In addition to our mission of advocacy, our general meetings will remain a vital means of providing support and education, and various community events will continue to receive our support to the extent possible.
After the Board’s annual planning retreat in November, I will share more specific plans that will reflect the three elements of support, education and advocacy for 2016.