Peyton Ortiz – Board Member
Jane DeLaurier – Vice President
Kara Ahern – Treasurer
Stefanie Littlewood – Secretary
Jason Bradley – Board Member
Brett Petersen – Board Member
June 25th, 2022 marks 50 years since Jeanne Manford’s historic march with her son, prominent gay activist Morty Manford, at the 1972 Christopher Street Liberation Day March. Many people know that part of the story, but what many DON’T know are the events that led to that march, and the subsequent work that would lead to the formation of a meeting of parents, LGBTQ+ people, and allies just nine months later—a meeting that would eventually become known as the PFLAG organization.
PFLAG National currently has over 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced, and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the National Board of Directors and 13 volunteer Regional Directors.
PFLAG Has Transformed Values and Practices for Raising LGBTQ+ children.
- In 1973, disownment of LGBTQ+ people was commonplace.
- Today, the gold-standard advocated by PFLAG parents and families—and set forth by pediatricians and therapists—is to accept and support LGBTQ+ people’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression; parental rejection is widely understood to be abusive and damaging.
- In 1973, parents regularly subjected their children to therapies that included electroshock and traumatic residential and so-called “religious treatments.”
- Today, PFLAG’s local and statewide work to end discredited “conversion” therapies has been highly successful; we continue to build on that success.
- In 1973, schools expelled and punished LGBTQ+ students, turning a blind eye to bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
- Today, PFLAG parents continue to successfully advocate for the right to a fair and safe education for their LGBTQ+ kids. In fact, many school systems are pro-actively following PFLAG best practices for serving LGBTQ+ students, and often engaging chapters to provide training for teachers, administrators, and district leaders.
- In 1973, marriage equality was unimaginable.
- In 2015, PFLAG leaders provide critical leverage for local, statewide, and national wins on marriage, including a friend of the court brief to the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case that won the nationwide freedom to marry.
- In 1973, hotels, health clinics, and shopkeepers regularly refused service to LGBTQ+ people.
- In 2018, PFLAG parent Debra Munn and her son Charlie took their case all the way to the Supreme Court in Charlie Craig v Masterpiece Cakeshop. On the steps of the Supreme Court, Debra said: “PFLAG saved our family 15 years ago. We wouldn’t be here without you.”
How did PFLAG create such massive change in family values and LGBTQ+ life in less than half a century?
One interaction at a time. One family at a time. One chapter at a time.
It is impossible to overstate the impact of one parent or family member listening to, seeking help from, and offering love and acceptance to another. In a culture steeped in denial about massive inequalities and the depression and hopelessness they engender, PFLAG creates tiny moments of truth and hope among people whose love for their LGBTQ+ family members and friends sometimes comes into conflict with established authorities in their lives—whether it be religious institutions, employers, or government actors including police, courts, or family services, educators, coaches, doctors, or extended family.
These moments of honesty, grief, acceptance, and love propel PFLAGers through seemingly impossible dilemmas and family fractures.
We cannot estimate the number of LGBTQ+ lives that have been saved through these exchanges in PFLAG meetings; we cannot count the legions of community leaders that have sprung into action. But just as Jeanne and her family knew 45 years ago, we know that these number in the tens of thousands. We know that seemingly “small” interactions catalyze monumental changes in our families, lives, communities, and institutions over time.
PFLAG love and acceptance saves LGBTQ+ lives.
PFLAG families grow resilient and empowered LGBTQ+ children.
PFLAG groups heal and re-connect families.
PFLAG passion powers life-long parent, family, and allied leaders in the struggle for fairness and equality.