Visalia PFLAG Starting

One evening in late 2004, while I was at work and my wife was home, our then 27 year old son tearfully called us in California from Washington, DC and told his mother he was gay. His mother’s response was very simple and very much to the point. She said: “So?” She assured him we loved and accepted him and that the fact of his being gay wasn’t going to change that. When she asked why he was crying, he said that he knew how “disappointed we would be” that we wouldn’t have a grandchild from him. Her reply was that we had him as our son and we were lucky.

 

When I came home I was told about the call from my son and my response was an immediate need to call him. I did, asked him if he was all right and told him I loved him. He became teary again and “apologized.” The pain I felt for him was so very acute that I don’t think I can ever forget it. He will never again apologize for being who he is.

As luck would have it, a small notice in the local newspaper in Placer County announced that some people were interested in starting a PFLAG chapter in the area. We immediately committed to go to a planning meeting. The rest, as they say on TV, is history.

In January 2006, the PFLAG of Great Placer County had its first official meeting open to the public. That group is a vibrant, supportive and diverse crowd of people from all backgrounds and beliefs except for one: we believe in the value of the individual and the right of that person to be who they are.

PFLAG, Parents Family and Friends of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community has the following mission statement: PFLAG promotes the health and well being of GLBT people, their families and friends through: Support, to cope with adversity in our society – Education, to enlighten the public – Advocacy, to end discrimination and secure Civil Rights. PFLAG meetings provide a safe and confidential place to talk about sexual orientation, and works to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

My wife and I have relocated to Visalia and see a huge need for a PFLAG chapter here in Tulare County. We invite everyone interested, gay or straight, to contact us and begin the journey toward filling that need. We hope to begin planning meetings in April.

Anyone interested in helping us can send contact information to: visaliapflag@gmail.com

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