The idea for PFLAG or Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbins and Gays, began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York’s Christopher 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.
In 2014, PFLAG members across the country voted to lose “Parent, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” as the official name of the organization in favor of just, simply, PFLAG.
PFLAG Los Angeles is an all volunteer organization run by parents, family members, LGBTQ persons and their friends. Each person came for help, found support, and joined the organization to assist others on their journey to acceptance. Their chapter, together with a group in New York City, founded the national PFLAG organization, which provides assistance to over 400 independent chapters nationwide.
According to the PFLAG Los Angeles website they are “committed to the work of ending the violence and systemic racism that daily injures Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color. We welcome people of all ethnic groups, cultural backgrounds and nationalities, caring deeply for their dignity, equality and well-being.”
Over the last few years with the rise of attacks on LGBTQ+ people of color, especially transgender people of color, PFLAG had this to say, “People of Color have played a vital role in the struggle for LGBTQ equality right from its beginning. We honor the courageous pioneers of color who launched the Stonewall riots and founded the Gay Liberation Front: Marsha P Johnson, a Black transgender woman; Sylvia Rivera, a Latinx gay liberation and transgender rights activist; and Miss Major, a transgender elder and activist.
Reaching communities of color with the PFLAG message of support, education, and advocacy has been and remains a priority of our chapter, led by our African American and Latino board members. While supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and their families in communities of color is our mission, we cannot be blind to the crushing inequality that burdens them. None of us can do everything to overcome this injustice, but all of us can do something.”
In response to the attacks on transgender individuals specifically, PFLAG has established an online monthly meeting centered around Gender Focus. RSVP is required to attend ALL online meetings. The Gender Focus Meeting is held every 2nd Thursday each month at 7:30pm. This meeting is for people with a variety of gender experiences including, but not limited to, transgender, gender noncomforming, gender questioning, gender creative, queer, and transsexual. Parents of gender creative children are also encouraged to attend. The Gender Focus meeting was established because many individuals dealing with issues on gender identity find that they are minorities. Their Gender Focus meeting is designed to help end that isolation with leaders experienced in transgender issues and knowledgeable about resources for people with a variety of gender experiences.
They also have their Westwood meeting, which is also open to everyone, including those in the Gender Focus community, and that takes place every 3rd Wednesday of each month.
For more information on PFLAG meetings or to RSVP visit their website www.pflagla.org/meetings.