Raise Vegan November 2018 Raise Vegan - Page 37

PFLAG - Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - is an organization that I highly recom- mend as a place to start. With four hundred chap- ters across the United states, and 200 thousand supporters, PFLAG is a place that your child can go to meet other people like themself, hear others talk about their experiences and to have a chance to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe space. As a parent, you will have the same opportunity to meet other parents navigating similar situations. Meetings begin with large group introductions from speakers and then break into smaller, more specific support groups, such as: youth, ally/parent, LGB+ relationships, and adult transgender. Sometimes all it takes is one person to change the world and that is why I love the story of PFLAG’s creation and the Pride movement itself. The Pride movement was created in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots. The riots are regarded as the single most important turning point for gay rights in the United States. The Stonewall riots were a series of violent protests that occurred in late June, 1969 in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The raid began in the early hours of June 28th; an unfortunate series of events created the perfect storm and the scene quickly turned into a violent riot. The following year, on the anniver- sary of the riot, the first unofficial Pride Parade took to the streets of NYC and marched from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park, it inspired many more pride marches around the world in the years that followed. I n the final installment of our four part series, we discuss the brave trailblazers of the LGBTQ+ community. We explore how they give younger generations the courage to be who they truly are, how they shape the world and inspire people around them. You’ll meet individuals who stood up to their peers and said, “No, I will not conform to your expectations,” and showed society what love and support are truly capable of. “Give me the place to stand, and I shall move the earth.” -Archimedes If your child has overcome their initial fears and come out to you, you may be thinking, so what now? While your child may be comfortable showing you their true self, they could still be apprehensive about coming out to the world. Meeting peers who have gone through similar situations, and can help your child gain confidence, is a great place to start. You may not be ready for this as a parent, but there is nothing more affirming than meeting other people like yourself after you have felt isolated for a long time. I would suggest encouraging them to meet others through local support groups, but don’t force the subject. Do the initial groundwork and find local organizations, groups and individuals to whom they could reach out. Show them which support groups and friends are there for them and, when they’re ready to take that step, they will be inspired to begin a healthy progression to leading a more fulfilling life. During this first parade, Jeanne Manford, a parent and a school teacher, was marching with her son, Morty, carrying a sign that read “Parents of gays, united in support of our children.” Fellow march- ers approached her and begged her to talk to their own parents. Jeanne would later go on to create an international organization, PFLAG. This was a revolutionary act at the time, especially as the early 1970s were chaotic for anyone that was LGBTQ+ or supported the community, and yet, here was a mom that loved her son enough to stand by him and proudly show that support. PFLAG has changed to meet the support needs of the LGBTQ+ rainbow, as the times required it. Originally in support of lesbians and gays, PFLAG has expanded to provide support for bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-con- forming youth and adults, with parents and allies passing on their knowledge to those who follow in their footsteps. Their mission is to reassure people across the sexual and gender spectrum that they are not alone. Thankfully, Jeanne is not alone in her quest to create inclusiveness in the world. We’ve highlighted some of her peers here, and wish we had enough room to talk about the hundreds of thousands more who give up their lives to help others. RAISEVEGAN.COM RV. 37