Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Bloomington-Normal offers the Twin Cities' LGBT community a safe haven for support, dialogue, and advocacy.
PFLAG Bloomington/Normal meets the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at Bloomington's Unitarian Universalist Church, 1613 E Emerson. PFLAG promotes "the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity."
PFLAG welcomes all persons -- straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or "questioning."
PFLAG is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 350 affiliates in the United States.
The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York's Pride Day 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 in March 1973 at a local church. Approximately 20 people attended.
In the next years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering "safe havens" and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC.
By 1980, PFLAG, then known as Parents FLAG, began to distribute information to educational institutions and communities of faith nationwide, establishing itself as a source of information for the general public. When "Dear Abby" mentioned PFLAG in one of her advice columns, we received more than 7,000 letters requesting information. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr.
In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc., then representing some 20 groups, was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1987, PFLAG relocated to Denver, under President Elinor Lewallen. Also in the 1980's, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant's anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military's efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the GLBT movement. And by the late 1980's, PFLAG began to have notable success in organizing chapters in rural communities.
For more information, visit http://www.pflagbn.com or drop in on PFLAG Bloomington-Normal on Facebook.