Gay and Lesbian Connection

Support and Acceptance for the Gay and Lesbian Community

Rachel Maddow’s Piece about PFLAG

January 14th, 2013 by Admin

Listen to Rachel Maddow’s piece about Jeanne Manford, Model for Parental Love.  It will warm your heart.  And if you haven’t been to a PFLAG meeting yet–go–and bring your parents!   

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show#50439148

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MARRIAGE EQUALITY HEADED TO U.S. SUPREME COURT

December 8th, 2012 by Admin

 

 PFLAG’s (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Executive Director, Jody Huckaby, issued the following statement regarding the US Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert in the Prop 8 case and to hear the USA v. Windsor DOMA case:

Parents and allies of gay and lesbian people know what the merits of this case are: ending the deep harm that is inflicted upon their loved ones each day as they are denied the basic right to marry. It is our hope that the Supreme Court listens to these merits and sees them for what they are — the very reasons why this case must be heard. This is a watershed moment, one that will give the Justices the opportunity to affirm—perhaps for the 15th time—that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right for all Americans, and that the denial of that right seriously harms our gay and lesbian loved ones, as well as their children. We look forward to a decision that will affirm marriage equality across the country.

 

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Are You Still in the Closet?

June 12th, 2010 by Admin

Coming out to oneself can be a confusing and difficult process with several hurdles to cross.  First, there’s making the discovery that you are gay.  Then, there’s coming to terms with your same-sex feelings.  Next, it’s wondering, am I the only one with such feelings? It’s challenging for sure.  Society may be more accepting of gay people than ever before, but there is still a stigma attached to same-sex attraction, and of course, the biggest obstacle for most people is the fear that their families won’t be accepting.   That happens, but people can change.  A favorite quote from Carol Lynn Pearson:  When dogma collides with reality, when the people involved are those you love, you see with different eyes. Even unaccepting parents can begin to see things differently with time.    

 If you are at the point in your process that you are ready to come out, there are lots of books that can help you and your parents.  Also, for support check out www.PFLAG.org to find a chapter near you.    

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Straight for Equality

April 1st, 2010 by Admin

From PFLAG Guide to Being a Straight Ally

“I always wanted to be one of those people who would make things change for my gay friends – I just wasn’t sure how or where to do it.”

Sound familiar?

Chances are it does. Across the country, thousands of straight individuals who don’t necessarily have a family member who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) are seeing big changes in the way that their GLBT friends and colleagues are treated. If you or someone you know is straight and wants to help the gay community, join in the fight for equality, or just learn more about these issues, you’ve come to the right place. Anyone interested in any of these topics is an ally! Allies, you’ve come to the right place. Straight for Equality is the answer for you.

Straight for Equality is a national outreach and education project created by PFLAG National to empower allies in supporting and advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people by:

Inviting allies to speak up

Educating allies

Engaging allies in the pursuit of equality

 

   We’re not talking about major political protests (although that’s certainly an option) but the tiny everyday changes – like not omitting the fact that your best friend is gay when you’re telling grandma about him – can raise awareness and challenge assumptions and stereotypes. Maybe it means objecting when someone at the office tells that really over-the-top gay joke…again. Or perhaps it is about paying attention to how a candidate stands on equality issues and making your opinion heard with your vote.

 

Basically, if there’s a place where you can talk to someone else, there’s an opportunity for you to put some of the things you can learn from Straight for Equality into action.

To Learn more go to www.pflag.org

 

 

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HELP FOR PARENTS

January 19th, 2010 by Admin

It used to be that most gay children stayed in the closet until after they graduated from college, but that’s changing.  Lately, GLBT youth have been coming out to friends and family as early as middle school.  That’s a significant shift from just a few years ago.  According to David Massey, from the Greater Knoxville, Tenn. PFLAG chapter, many parents want to support their children but don’t know how.  Recently, a public lecture and discussion was held to address the challenges facing GLBT youth and their parents.  Participating were the Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society, the Greater Knoxville PFLAG, and the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.   The discussion was provided as a way to help parents provide a supportive and nurturing environment for their gay or lesbian children.

Dr. Gary Grossman, assistant clinical professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, addressed many of the questions parents had, stressing that parental empathy and the full recognition of their child’s individuality are vital to providing a supportive home life for their gay child. “One of the most important elements in providing a supportive and facilitating home environment for gay kids is acceptance,” says Grossman. “But, as a psychoanalyst, I recognize that even parents who intend to be accepting of their gay or lesbian child may still have unconscious ambivalence about having a gay child. And many parents, as they learn that their child is not growing up the way they had imagined, will need to go through a period of grief over the loss of their expectations as they grow to accept their child for who she or he is.”

Dr. Lorraine Hart, a retired psychologist said that she is now completely supportive of her son, and that, for the sake of others struggling with accepting their own gay children, she is glad there are places like PFLAG to go to for support. “There’s more support now, definitely,” she says. “There’s more acceptance of gay, lesbian and transgender people. I think the trend will increase. This younger generation doesn’t seem to be as homophobic.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Tips for Coming Out During the Holidays

December 25th, 2009 by Admin

Many people come out to their families during this time of year when visiting with their families.  The holidays can be a stressful time for GLBT people or families with GLBT members, but there are several strategies that you can use to help reduce stress and create a happy holiday this year. If you are ready to come out here are some tips from PFLAG.

If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender…

Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.

Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are GLBT. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.

Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.

Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday. Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a GLBT child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.

Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.

If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.

If you are transgender, be gentle with your family’s pronoun “slips.” Let them know you know how difficult it is.

Before the visit…

Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.

If you are partnered, discuss in advance how you will talk about your relationship, or show affection with one another, if you plan to make the visit together.

If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.

Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.

Find out about local GLBT resources.

If you do plan to “come out” to your family over the holidays, have support available, including PFLAG publications and the number of a local PFLAG chapter.

During the visit…

Focus on common interests.

Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.

If you are partnered, be sensitive to his or her needs as well as your own.

Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.

Remember to affirm yourself.

Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.

Connect with someone else who is GLBT—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.

Additional Resources:

Some of these tips were adapted from Mariana Caplan’s book When Holidays Are Hell…A Guide to Surviving Family Gatherings.

 

To help you and your family navigate through the coming out process give them the book, The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children, by Enid Jackowitz.  www.restoftheway.com

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Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly

November 23rd, 2009 by Admin

Here is the speech given by Enid Jackowitz at the Stand Up Florida rally this weekend in West Palm Beach

I am honored to be here today as the proud mother of a gay son and a PFLAG mom. 

When my son came out over twenty years ago I had a very hard time accepting that he was gay.  Back then I thought being gay was a choice.  I didn’t know it then but I was filled with homophobia.  A word I didn’t know but one I would become very familiar with.  Thankfully I found a wonderful therapist and as I began educating myself, I learned that what I knew about homosexuality was tinged with half-truths and misconceptions.   Over the years I went back to school and became a psychotherapist.  Now I specialize in Gay & Lesbian issues.

One of the things I’ve learned is that we can change many things about ourselves—like the color of our hair, or with contact lenses even the color of our eyes, and with surgery we can change the shape of our nose.

But, what we can’t change is our sexual orientation. That is part of our fundamental nature. And that is what these reparative therapy groups try to do. The reality is if someone is gay, he or she is gay. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change a bird into fish because you don’t like the song it sings. You might teach a bird to swim,  But eventually it will fly; that’s what birds do.

To purposely try to change someone who’s gay into someone who‘s straight by attempting to change his or her natural sexual orientation is not only psychologically damaging, it’s downright Orwellian.  And why is this done?  For what purpose —To make gay people “straighter” and therefore more acceptable to mainstream society.

These “reparative therapy” programs persist, even though organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, almost ½ million mental health professionals have rejected and discredited their position.

There is nothing wrong with our children. They do not need to be cured or changed. Homosexuality is not the problem in our world today. Homophobia is—and it’s not a gay problem.  It’s society’s problem.

Knowing personally as well as professionally how difficult the coming out process can be for both parents and gay children I wrote a book to help parents through the coming out process.

The book is called, The Rest of the Way.

The title comes from an ancient story about a king and son who had a major disagreement. The son, feeling angry and misunderstood, gathered his belongings and departed his father’s kingdom and settled in a distant land.    After many years had passed, the king, missing his son greatly, sent word for his son to come home.  Although time had healed some of the pain, the son could not bring himself to return to his father’s kingdom. So he sent word that he would not come because it was too far to travel. The king then sent this reply to his son: “Then come as far as you can, and I will meet you the rest of the way.”

 Isn’t it time for all of us to travel the rest of the way and end homophobia NOW.

www.restoftheway.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: ex-gay ministries, harassment, Gay-Lesbian | No Comments »

More On Coming Out

October 8th, 2009 by Admin

Oct 11th is National Coming Out Day, initiated by Rob Eichberg to bring awareness and promote acceptance of the GLBT community.  Why is coming out important?  It helps put a human face on the word homosexual, a word that’s fraught with misconceptions and half-truths. Each person who comes out can lessen the stigma about gays, and help educate the people around them that being gay is just someone’s sexual orientation.   

But coming out is a very personal decision, based on lots of variables.  So make sure you accept yourself first before you do, since there’s really no way of knowing how your family will react to the news.    

If you are ready to come out there are lots of resources to help you get through the process.  Go to a PFLAG meeting.  Find supportive friends.  Create a family of choice.  Read books, blogs, magazines.  Watch the film, “For the Bible Tells Me So.”   Find a therapist who specializes in gay and lesbian issues.   Go to a gay pride event.  You’ll see lots of straight allies there. Get involved in the GLBTQ community.   Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.   You don’t have to do this alone.  

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Gay Pride

September 5th, 2009 by Admin

 Here’s a wonderful quote from Rachel Maddow:                                                                                                                  ”I do have one problem with Gay Pride, which is that in every Gay Pride I’ve ever been to, there’s the PFLAG contingent, where the parents walk past with the signs that say ‘I love my gay [child].’ I don’t cry. I dissolve. I’m a mess for an hour and can’t do anything else and have to go home.” 

 

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