Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No One Should Feel Alone, Part III: PFLAG

I was first informed about PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in my senior year of college when my advisor gave us a bunch of information about the organization. Realizing the need to be aware of a variety of resource groups for teenagers, she thought it would be beneficial for future educators to be aware of PFLAG and what it offers.

PFLAG is, according to their website, "A national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 500 affiliates in the United States." PFLAG is a grassroots network that receives support via a national office in Washington, D.C. as well as numerous regional boards.

PFLAG sets out to, "Promote the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their family 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."

A chapter of PFLAG exists in every single state in the United States, totaling 350 chapters all across the country. Finding one is as easy as accessing their website and entering search criteria. Ten such chapters exist in Massachusetts. Additionally, the PFLAG website contains a list of specific issues relating to the LGBT population, and what advocacy efforts individuals can take on to raise awareness of such issues. Information about education programs is also provided on the organization's website. PFLAG has separate sections on their websites for family members and friends of LGBT loved ones, for gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, and a transgender network as well.

PFLAG is a perfect example of the saying, "You Are Not Alone." Their local chapters provide opportunity for individuals seeking support for themselves or someone they care about. This, combined with PFLAG's online resources and commitment to advocacy, make PFLAG a "must-know" as a teacher working with youth at any level.

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