Friday, January 18, 2008

Anyone and Everyone

When parents or family members first find out that their child is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (GLBT), the reaction varies. Some accept the fact unconditionally because their love for their child is overwhelming. Others, however, react differently. Their emotions range from shock, disbelief and disappointment to outright hostility. They sometimes blame themselves and also feel alone.

At PFLAG-Columbia/Howard County, we demonstrate to parents with gay children that they are not alone. The parents’ reactions are common and through support, they ultimately realize that their child is the same person he or she was before the disclosure. It is OK to be gay. It is OK to love the child. Getting this message out to parents is a challenge for PFLAG. With so many in denial initially, they tend not to reach out for support and absorb this new development internally. That is not healthy for the parent or the child.

The documentary that MPT is airing tonight—Anyone and Everyone—at 9 p.m. will send a message to those who would not take that first important step and seek support. Viewers will see that being gay transcends cultures and religions. It will show that parents should not feel alienated and will hopefully stop blaming themselves or the child.
Our goal is that the resources that will be offered through the live phone bank tonight (800-222-1292) will stem this alienation. There are varied and complex reasons why some need support. The referrals from the phone bank should be able to match the resource to the need.

PFLAG’s involvement in the phone bank will serve to allay the fears of parents who call, or children who are having difficulties at home or school because of their sexual orientation. We will inform them about our chapter’s mission, when and where we meet and offer information that will mitigate the caller’s fears. We have a very successful Parents Support Group that is comprised of folks who have had that initial negative reaction, but have completed the journey to full acceptance and advocacy to improve the lives of their children.

Our youth group, the Rainbow Youth Alliance, consists of GLBT youth and heterosexual allies, ages 13-22. They meet twice a month, facilitated by young adults, in a safe location where they can draw support form each other and also form social contacts. Our chapter launched a scholarship program last year, and the success of this group has served as a model for other PFLAG chapters.

The chapter also has older members who are GLBT, with many living successfully in committed long-term relationships. These members are valuable to the chapter as not only do they volunteer their time to help the chapter achieve its goals, but also serve as role models for the GLBT youth. They also demonstrate to the parents that their child has a very good chance to grow up living his or her life in a happy, stable, loving relationship.

MPT should be congratulated for helping to open doors that need opening.

PFLAG-Columbia/Howard County


Anonymous said...

thank you for airing this important and essential program. it was enlightening and engrossing and something i wish i would have seen many, many years ago.

Anonymous said...

I found ANYONE AND EVERYONE to be a heartwarming and informataive program which showed that parents can come to accept their children for who and what they are.
Keep up the good work MPT!

firegrrl said...

It was a great program! Thanks.