On Second Sundays, PFLAG-KC Opens its Doors Wide
December 8, 2011
by Bradley Osborn
There may be no place more welcoming than a monthly PFLAG meeting. From the apprehensive first-time visitor to the relaxed veteran, friends and family of LGBT people come to this affirming, safe, relaxing space to share their stories in confidence.
PFLAG-KC meets at 3 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kan. Besides family members and friends of LGBT people, gay and lesbian folks themselves attend, too. People offering support and people in need of support can be found at the meetings.
What is PFLAG exactly?
Pronounced P-flag, the acronym stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. The genesis of PFLAG can be traced to an act of maternal solidarity performed by Jeanne Manford. The year after she marched alongside her gay son, Morty, in New York’s 1972 Pride Parade, several like-minded individuals met formally as a parents’ advocacy group.
Today, the international nonprofit organization supports, educates and advocates on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and those who love them. PFLAG (pflag.org), based in Washington, D.C., works to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and to secure equal civil rights for LGBT citizens.
The Greater Kansas City chapter, known as PFLAG-KC, has been active for a couple of decades. PFLAG-KC is a primary, front-line community resource and will happily refer those with questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and family issues to other resources, as necessary.
PFLAG-KC Meeting Structure
Each general meeting starts with non-compulsory introductions (attendees may remain tacit, if they wish), news and announcements, followed by a refreshment break -- a good time to browse the chapter’s collection of literature, media and more.
After intermission, the monthly presenter takes the floor. At the same time, individual meetings are available away from the group for those who want more privacy. All matters discussed are to be held in confidence among the attendees.
The programming at PFLAG-KC can be educational, entertaining and provocative. Board member Dustin Cooper schedules a variety of speakers and panel discussions drawn from community organizations, allied groups, parents, specialists and educators.
PFLAG-KC also helps to spread the word about the Straight Spouse Network.
In 2010, PFLAG-KC hosted a Midwest Regional Conference. And you will often find chapter members at local community events and organizational meetings.
If you have an LGBT family or friend concern that needs to be addressed, please come, call or write to PFLAG-KC. For more details, check the archived newsletters on its website.
2011 National Convention
In November, PFLAG-KC president Carolyn Finken-Dove and vice president Glen Dove attended the 2011 National PFLAG Convention in Washington, D.C. The Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act were part of the focus there. Finken-Dove reported that their Capitol Hill Lobby Day speakers included U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D, Minnesota), U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D, Oregon) and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D, Colorado), who stressed the power of individual (constituent) voices in legislative decision-making.
Dr. Jill Biden, who is married to Vice President Joe Biden, delivered the keynote convention address. She quoted Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” According to Finken-Dove, as Jill Biden left the stage, one of her aides said tearfully, “If it weren’t for my mom and PFLAG, I wouldn’t be here today.”
On the final night, Finken-Dove happened to run into Ellen DeGeneres’ mom, Betty DeGeneres, and mentioned that she had received Ellen’s book as a coming-out gift from her daughter, Sarah.
Dec. 11: Holiday Potluck. Members and regulars, bring a covered dish, as you are able. All others may come freely to share in the meal and discussion.
Jan. 8: Fritz and Etta Mae Mutti presentation. (See article p.4 for details.)
Meetings & Contact Information
3 p.m. meetings, second Sunday of each month
1:30 p.m. open board meetings
Village Presbyterian ChurchRoom 307 in the education wing, east of the sanctuary
Accessible entrance off south parking lot
6641 Mission Rd., Prairie Village, Kan.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-765-9818
Special thanks to Ruth Cooper.