About PFLAG Atlanta

Who We Are

PFLAG Atlanta is the Atlanta chapter of PFLAG National. “PFLAG” is Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays. We are a national support, education and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their families, friends and allies. With 200,000 members and supporters, and local affiliates in more than 500 communities across the U.S. and abroad, PFLAG is the largest grassroots-based family organization of its kind. PFLAG is a non-profit organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political institutions.

We are here to share the journey to acceptance with you. We are committed to giving support to each other as we discover and understand more about being human. We seek to change attitudes and to create an environment of understanding so that our GLBT family members and friends can live with dignity and respect.

Board Photo

The PFLAG Atlanta Board (April 2017) Top (L to R) : Tina Clark (Secretary), Deb Wise, Richard Bergman, Diana Burdette (Treasurer), Maria Voutos (President), Lower (L to R): Cherise Randle, Jen Slipakoff (Vice President), Barbara Dale

Welcome to an organization that supports true family values!

Family Values Sign

Since 1986, PFLAG Atlanta has been helping moms and dads learn to accept their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children as the wonderful gifts that they are.

  • We help and encourage LGBT kids to come out to their parents and families. We encourage parents to educate themselves about this new information their children are giving them.
  • We do this by having 7 support meetings a month in the Atlanta metropolitan area that’s open to anyone who would like to have that honest and loving relationship with their family or child.
  • We have speakers, educational programs and movie screenings on LGBT issues on the third Sunday of every month. We go out to local companies and talk about our stories and journeys.
  • And every year during Atlanta Pride, we march proudly in the parade to show the love we have for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members. We march to show that our families are just as good as anyone else’s. We march to show that discrimination is wrong and we will not rest till it is made right.We march to be VISIBLE. When people see us, the folks next door, and realize we have a LGBT child or children, they are forced to re-think every ugly stereotype they’ve heard before.

By telling our stories and supporting, educating and advocating every step of the way, we hope to create a world where are children are judged on the content of their character, and not by their color or sexual or gender orientation. Till that day comes, they always have a home in PFLAG Atlanta. We have other PFLAG chapters nearby that might be more convenient to you. PFLAG Johns CreekPFLAG MariettaPFLAG Macon and now PFLAG AthensContact us if you’d like to send us a suggestion or get involved in the work we do.

PFLAG’s Mission

  • Support Families — working to keep families in loving relationships by helping them understand and affirm their gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender family members.
  • Educate the Public – seeking to dispel myths and misinformation by providing programs such as our Speakers’ Bureau, Safe Schools and Straight for Equality.
  • Advocate for Equality — calling for equal human and civil rights.

Everyone is welcome at our meetings. Along with parents and GLBTs, these meetings also include allies, children, spouses, grandparents, and siblings. PFLAG literature is available, we have a free lending library and our members receive a quarterly newsletter. Contact us if you have questions, suggestions or complaints. You always have a home at PFLAG Atlanta.

What We Do

Our support meetings and events such as Pride and our annual ‘Out with the Stars‘ are detailed on the front page as they approach. We also participate in a variety of education presentations. Whenever possible we advocate for equality both as a group and through individual efforts in letters to the editor, contacting our legislative representatives or wherever opportunities arise. Over the last several years we have kept a yearly list of these activities.

Not a resident of Atlanta, GA? Look for your local PFLAG chapter!

Some PFLAG History

(reproduced from PFLAG National website : http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=267)

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York’s Pride Day parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place in March 1973 at a local church. Approximately 20 people attended.

In the next years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering “safe havens” and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC.

By 1980, PFLAG, then known as Parents FLAG, began to distribute information to educational institutions and communities of faith nationwide, establishing itself as a source of information for the general public. When “Dear Abby” mentioned PFLAG in one of her advice columns, we received more than 7,000 letters requesting information. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr.

In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc., then representing some 20 groups, was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1987, PFLAG relocated to Denver, under President Ellinor Lewallen. Also in the 1980’s, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military’s efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the GLBT movement. And by the late 1980’s, PFLAG began to have notable success in organizing chapters in rural communities.

In 1990, following a period of significant growth, PFLAG employed an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and moved to Washington, DC. Also in 1990, PFLAG President Paulette Goodman sent a letter to Barbara Bush asking for Mrs. Bush’s support. The first lady’s personal reply stated, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country. Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.” Inadvertently given to the Associated Press, her comments caused a political maelstrom and were perhaps the first gay-positive comments to come from the White House.

In the early 1990s, PFLAG chapters in Massachusetts helped pass the first Safe Schools legislation in the country. In 1993, PFLAG added the word “Families” to the name, and added bisexual people to its mission and work. By the mid-1990s a PFLAG family was responsible for the Department of Education’s ruling that Title 9 also protected gay and lesbian students from harassment based on sexual orientation. PFLAG put the Religious Right on the defensive, when Pat Robertson threatened to sue any station that carried the Project Open Mind advertisements. The resulting media coverage drew national attention to our message linking hate speech with hate crimes and GLBT teen suicide. In 1998, PFLAG added transgender people to its mission.

At the turn of the century, PFLAG began to develop nationally coordinated programs in order to better focus the grassroots network. Programs like Safe Schools for All, the Scholarship Program, the Diversity Network, Bringing the Message Home, and Welcoming Faith Communities are already showing results.

For a moving article about Jeanne Manford and her historic step, click here.

For a complete overview of PFLAG’s remarkable history and growth, click here.

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