PFLAG provides support, education and advocacy
By STACEY WILLIAMS Stacey Williams lives in Johnson City.
On April 17, the Tri-Cities chapter of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays celebrated its first full year of existence. The group was begun in response to a growing need in Northeast Tennessee for a resource on LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning) issues. The members of the Tri-Cities chapter (and more who participate by e-mail distribution), draw from the Johnson City, Bristol and Kingsport areas as well as larger surrounding region. What is PFLAG? It is an organization that provides support, education and advocacy on issues relevant for the LGBTQ community and their families and friends. The Tri-Cities chapter meets monthly, on the third Thursday, on the East Tennessee State University campus. Who attends PFLAG meetings? Everyday folks who have people they care about who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning. The monthly meetings are open to those who would like to gain support by other like-minded individuals who care about the LGBT community. People have different reasons for attending PFLAG, and what PFLAG means to them: • Christine Pearson — “PFLAG has been an important part of my move to East Tennessee and has helped me understand the depth of our community. I have found a group of people who encourage me and my family and also, a place to offer help for those who may not have a support system.” • John Shuck — “As a Christian minister I find that many people are shunned by their families and their faith communities because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. This is unfortunate. PFLAG helps people come to terms with all of the wrong and damaging things said about them. While PFLAG is of course a secular organization, for some it fills the role that a faith community and a family should be. It is about acceptance and overcoming prejudice.” If you think PFLAG might be a good fit for you, or you would like more information, you can contact the Tri-Cities chapter by e-mail pflagtricities@yahoo. com.